2018 Ale Trail pubs announced!

Saturday 27 January 2018

The Reading & Mid Berks branch of The Campaign for Real Ale – CAMRA – are pleased to announce the names of the 24 pubs that will take part in the 2018 Ale Trail.

Brian Jones, the Ale Trail Co-ordinator said that “Choosing the pubs is never an easy task, but is helped by having established guidelines for the selection process. We have to include the finalists for our upcoming Pub of the Year competition, and ensure that at least a third of the pubs were not on last year’s Trail. We try to keep a balance between town centre, suburban and rural pubs, as well as including pubs that are developing their offer, but not yet sufficiently established to go in the Good Beer Guide. At least 18 of the pubs will be accessible by public transport and those also offering real cider are given a positive bias. We also try to cluster pubs so that travel by public transport, car or bicycle is easier.”

Brian’s final point is borne out by the inclusion Bird in Hand in Henley, which is the South Oxfordshire branch of CAMRA, but relatively close to the Flower Pot at Aston, which is in the R&MB branch. This year in fact just over half the pubs were not in the 2017 trail and six, including The Flower Pot, have never before been on the trail. Another completely new entry is the Black Boy, Shinfield, which suffered months of disturbance due to the new road bridge over the M4, but is now giving real ale a push in its refurbished bars.

The full list, in alphabetic order, is:

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence
The Bell & Bottle, Shinfield
The Bird in Hand, Henley
The Biscuit Tin, Reading
The Black Boy, Shinfield
The Black Horse, Emmer Green
The Bull, Theale
The Castle Tap, Reading
The Eldon Arms, Reading
The Flower Pot, Aston
The Foresters Arms, Reading
The Fox & Hounds, Caversham
The Fox & Hounds, Theale
The Fox & Hounds, Tilehurst
The Good Companions, Woodley
The Greyfriar, Reading
The Nags Head, Reading
The Packhorse, Mapledurham
Park House, Reading
The Prince of Wales, Caversham
The Retreat, Reading
The Shurlock Inn, Shurlock Row
The Victoria, Tilehurst
The Waggon & Horses, Twyford

“It was only at the end meeting where the pubs were chosen, that the eight of us present realised we had three pubs with the same name”, reported Brian.

The launch takes place on Saturday 11th February at noon in the Fox & Hounds, Caversham. Trailers then have nearly two months to complete the trail, so there’s no rush. Those completing 16 pubs get 3 half-pint vouchers for the Reading Beer & Cider Festival at the start of May. Those complete all 24 get 6 vouchers or one and a commemorative t-shirt, plus inclusion in a prize draw. The booklet for stickers has all the details.