The Moon Under Water

Today is the 70th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell’s essay on the perfect pub “The Moon Under Water” in the London Evening Standard (9 February 1946). Here’s a link to the full text, which is short and ell worth a read.…/essays-…/the-moon-under-water/

The briefest possible summary of Orwell’s prescription is good ale, good conversation, friendly staff and different areas for different purposes. As pubs continue to close at the rate of 27 per week, how many of them are closing because they lack one or more of these key characteristics?

Orwell admits his perfect pub didn’t exist even then. What’s your recipe for the perfect pub, and which Shropshire pub comes closest to it?


Real Ale Price Watch 2016

In common with all areas throughout the land we see quite a range of Real Ale prices in this Branch area (Shrewsbury & West Shropshire). To illustrate this, some of the extremes of the last year are listed below (price charged per pint, Real Ale only). If you think this is an issue, feel free to give your examples in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box at the bottom of the page and they will be added to the list where appropriate (please do not include use of discounts/vouchers/loyalty cards).

Dog &Pheasant (S’bury) Brakspear Oxford 4.0% 1.99 (Dec 2016) Tues only
Charles Darwin (S’bury) Salopian Golden T 5.0% 1.99 (Nov 2016) Wed only
Bull’s Head (Shrewsbury) Banks’s Amber 3.8% 1.99 (Jun 2016) Wed only
Olde Vaults (Oswestry) Offas Dyke Grim 5.0% 2.00 (Aug 2016)
S’bury Hotel (S’bury) Greene King IPA 3.6% 2.05 (Nov 2016)
Montgmrys Twr (S’bury) Greene King IPA 3.6% 2.05 (Nov 2016)  
Wilfred Owen (Oswestry) Erdigg Squires 4.2% 2.09 (Feb 2016)  
Albion Vaults (S’bury) Banks’s Bitter 3.8% 2.25 (Sep 2016)  
Last Orders (Whitchurch) Rowton Port Stout 4.5% 2.30 (Jun 2016)
Coach & Horses (S’bury) Salopian Oracle 4.0% 2.30 (Oct 2016) Happy hour
Rock& Fountain(S’bury) Banks’s Bitter 3.8% 2.35 (Dec 2016) Happy hr
Hole in the Wall (S’bury) Greene King IPA 3.6% 2.45 (Dec 2016)
Loggerheads (S’bury) Banks’s Amber 3.8% 2.45 (Sep 2016)
Salopian (Shrewsbury) Hobsons Twisted 3.6% 2.48 (Nov 2016) Happy hour
Oxon Priory (S’bury) Greene King IPA 3.6% 2.49 (Oct 2016)
Abbey (Shrewsbury) Wood Shrop Lad 4.5% 2.50 (Dec 2016) Mon only
Cock/Greyhd (Whitc’ch) Salopian Oracle 4.0% 2.50 (Nov 2016)
Beacon (Shrewsbury) Salopian Lemon 4.5% 2.50 (Oct 2016) Mon only
Battlefield Bry (S’bury) Battlefield 1403 4.1% 2.50 (Oct 2016)  Fri/Sat
Coracle (Shrewsbury) Banks’s Amber 3.8% 2.50 (Jul 2016)
Dolphin (Shrewsbury) Muirhouse Choc 4.0% 2.50 (May 2016) Happy Hour
Stables (Craven Arms) Hobsons Best 3.8% 2.50 (Apr 2016)
Royal Oak (Shrewsbury) Sharp’s Doom Bar 4.0% 2.50 (Feb 2016)
Railway (Yorton) Stonehouse Statn 3.9% 2.60 (Jul 2016)  
White Hart (Ellesmere) Salopian Shrop Gld 3.8% 2.60 (Apr 2016)  
Fox Inn (Wem) Ruddles Best 3.7% 2.65 (Dec 2016)  
Inn on the Green  (S’bury) Banks’s Mild 3.5% 2.65 (Jun 2016)  
Plough (Oswestry) Wye Vally Butty B 4.5% 2.65 (Apr 2016)  
Highwayman (Oswestry) Banks’s Mild 3.5% 2.65 (Sep 2015)
Griffin (Oswestry) Stonehouse Statn 3.9% 2.70 (Oct 2016)
Bailey Head (Oswestry) Oakham Citra 4.2% 2.70 (Oct 2016)
Crown (AF Shrewsbury) Wells Bombardier 4.1% 3.30 (Oct 2016)
Bricklayers Arms (S’bury) Gower Colliers Gold 4.2% 3.30 (Oct 2016)  
Baron (Bucknell) Wye Valley Butty B 4.5% 3.30 (Sep 2016)  
Dun Cow (Shrewsbury) Salopian Shrop Gld 3.8% 3.30 (Sep 2016)  
Grove (Shrewsbury) Banks’s Sunbeam 4.2% 3.30 (Aug 2016)  
New Inn (Baschurch) Hobson’s Best 3.8% 3.30 (Aug 2016)
OPO (Shrewsbury) Marston’s EPA 3.6% 3.30 (Aug 2016)  
Hole in the Wall (S’bury) Purity UBU 4.5% 3.30 (Jul 2016)
Blue Boar (Ludlow) 3 Tuns Cleric’s Cure 5.0% 3.30 (Jul 2016)  
Red Lion (Shrewsbury) Purity Mad Goose 4.2% 3.30 (Jul 2016)  
Abbey (Shrewsbury) Titanic Plum Porter 4.9% 3.35 (Nov 2016) Exc Mon
Nags Head (Shrewsbury) Tim Taylor Landlord 4.3% 3.40 (Dec 2016)
Belle Vue Tavern (Sbury) Marston’s Bass 4.4% 3.40 (Dec 2016)
Feathers Hotel (Ludlow) Ludlow Boiling Well 4.7% 3.40 (Sep 2016)  
Rose & Crown (Ludlow) Joule’s Slumbering 4.5% 3.40 (Sep 2016)  
Featherbed (Shrewsbury) Marston’s Shipyard 5.0% 3.45 (Jul 2016)
Morgan’s (Shrewsbury) Sharp’s Doom Bar 4.0% 3.50 (Nov 2016)
Chapel Bar (Shrewsbury) 3 Tuns XXX 4.3% 3.50 (Oct 2016)  
Castle (Bishop’s Castle) 3 Tuns Rantipole 3.6% 3.50 (Oct 2016)  
Wheatsheaf (Cen S’bury) T Taylor Gold Best 3.5% 3.50 (Sep 2016)
Housmans (C Stretton) Ludlow Gold 4.2% 3.50 (Sep 2016)
Henry Tudor (S’bury) HTH Bitter 3.9% 3.50 (Sep 2016)
Three Fishes (S’bury) Exmoor Export Gold 5.5% 3.50 (Jul 2016)
Olive Tree (Shrewsbury) Salopian Oracle 4.0% 3.50 (Feb 2016)
Riverbank (Shrewsbury) Salopian Shrop Gld 3.8% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Lion Hotel (Shrewsbury Salopian Shrop Gld 3.8% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Lion & Pheasant (S’bury) Salopian Oracle 4.0% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Boathouse (S’bury) Hardy/Hns Rudolph 4.2% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Vaults (Whitchurch) Titanic Plum Porter 4.9% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Beaten Track (S’bury) Sharp’s Atlantic 4.2% 3.60 (Dec 2016)
Cromwell’s (Shrewsbury) 3 Tuns XXX 4.3% 3.60 (Aug 2016)
Loopy Shrew (S’bury) Joules Slumbering 4.5% 3.70 (Jan 2016)
Armoury (Shrewsbury) Everards Tiger 4.2% 3.80 (Jun 2016)
Abel’s Harp (Bromlow) Sharp’s Doom Bar 4.0% 4.00 (Oct 2016)
Lord Hill Hotel (S’bury) Salopian Shrop Gold 3.8% 4.10 (Feb 2016)
Alb (Shrewsbury) Sharp’s Wolf Rock 4.8% 4.50 (Nov 2016)


Pub of the Year Presentation 2015

Bank Holiday Saturday, the start of the Prince Of Wales, Shrewsbury, Spring and Summer Beer Festival, and the presentation of the certificates for Branch Pub of the Year and Shrewsbury Pub of the Year to licensees Ian Payne and Vicki Price and the team (unfortunately Vicki was unwell and unable to join us).

I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit this wonderful pub soon if you haven’t done so already.  It’s a great place, particularly in the summer when it’s rear terrace Overlooking the bowling green) comes into its own.

Ian Payne receiving the certificates, with staff, regulars and CAMRA volunteers

Ian Payne receiving the certificates, with staff, regulars and CAMRA volunteers

Ian Payne with the certificates

Ian Payne with the certificates

Ian and Kerry Williams, of Tanners (Tanners helped the Prince of Wales buy out their tie).

Ian and Kerry Williams, of Tanners (Tanners helped the Prince of Wales buy out their tie).

Well I would, WOODn’t you? 2015

Friday 15 May, and the intrepid CAMRA bus headed off to Wood Brewery in Wistanstow to celebrate 35 years of brewing, and for the first tour of the brewery for some time.

James Owens, Ed Wood, and Sam Hale from Wood Brewery

James Owens, Ed Wood, and Sam Hale from Wood Brewery

After a warm welcome by James Owens, Ed Wood (head brewer) and Same Hale (Assistant Brewer) we inspected first the equipment, and then the product!

The equipment has been assembled and extended in several stages, as is normal with smaller artisan breweries.  The boil uses stem heating.  The brewery produces a stable range of traditional beers which are well known in Shropshire and occasionally beyond as they sometimes supply Wetherspoons, and have a full offering of seasonal beers.  They are keen to use British hops including newer and even experimental hops as in their latest offering, Sheer Folly.

The product inspected in the brewery consisted f two new beers, Chestnut Mild (the official 35 years brew) and the aforementioned Sheer Folly (named after and providing funds to nearby Flounders Folly).  The Branch were more than happy to raise a glass to our hosts.

Members of Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA raising a glass to Wood Brewery in thanks for a great tour

Members of Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA raising a glass to Wood Brewery in thanks for a great tour

We then adjourned to the adjacent Plough Inn, where we were served a further selection of Wood beers and some wonderful (no pun intended) food.  Well worth a visit on its own, even if Ed and co. are too busy to show you round.

Wood beers can be bought direct from the brewery or through their website

Pub of the Year 2015

Shrewsbury and West Shropshire’s Pub of The Year to Receive Certificates as Beer Festival Opens

Prince of Wales (1 of 3)

The Prince of Wales in Bynner Street

The Prince of Wales, in Bynner Street, Shrewsbury will be presented with its certificates for Shrewsbury and West Shropshire Pub of the Year and Shrewsbury Pub of the Year on Saturday 23 May.

The presentation will take place at 1pm, and will mark the start of the Prince of Wales’ Spring into Summer beer festival.

Prince of Wales (3 of 3)

All involved are looking forward to popular landlady Vicki joining partner Ian, David and all the team as she has been poorly recently and is currently in hospital.  Vicki is pictured here with former Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA Branch Chair, Keith Davies, at an earlier festival in the pub.

The Spring into Summer Festival will continue on Sunday and Monday of the late Spring Bank Holiday Weekend.  There will be more than 20 real ales (all on handpull) and ciders from Shropshire and across the country, including some of the pub’s favourites and some surprises.

If you haven’t been to the Prince of Wales before, you will be astounded at the warm welcome, good ale, community spirit, and the stupendous outdoor area including terrace and crown bowling green.  It will certainly repay your visit many times over.  More details of the pub can be found on WhatPub, CAMRA’s national database of pubs, hotels and clubs.  Link to WhatPub – Prince of  Wales  The pub’s website is here and will shortly have details of the festival beer list.

The Haughmond, Upton Magna 2015

The Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA Beer Bus visited the Haughmond, along with other real ale pubs east and north-east of Shrewsbury, on 24 April.  For more information on the Beer Bus and other beer quality monitoring trips, visit Pub Trip Treats.


In the article you can get to following this link One Year On…. the new(ish) licensees describe their experiences in the first year since they opened and their plans for the future.  As well as restoring a shop to the village, they’ve just about finished a very pleasant beer garden (although the view from the beer garden is of the Wrekin rather than Haughmond Hill, which can be seen from the front of the pub).


Mild In May 2016

Our Mild in May Month starts on Sunday 1st of May with 76 pubs throughout the county taking part. Find a local that is displaying our poster (see list of pubs below) and ask for a passport listing all the pubs that are joining in this Tour of Traditional Milds .

Mild Rosette

Shropshire Mild Passport 2016






Shropshire Mild Pubs 2016 1

Shropshire Mild Pubs 2016 2Shropshire Mild Pubs 2016 3







Bridgnorth – Hare & Hounds (10)           Currently closed

Ludlow – Church (34)                             Currently closed

Oswestry – Black Lion (37)                    No longer participating

Shifnal – Jaspers (42)                             No longer participating

Wellington – Pheasant (64)                     No longer participating

Burnhill Green – Dartmouth (74)             No longer participating

Some examples of reported Milds:

Muirhouse Choc & Orange Mild







Bishop’s Castle – Three Tuns (6)  Three Tuns Mild
Clun – Sun (23)  Three Tuns Mild
Shrewsbury – Coach & Horses (47)  Three Tuns Mild
 Rowton Moonstruck
Shrewsbury – Dolphin (48)  Muirhouse Choc & Orange Mild
Shrewsbury – Montgomery’s Tower (49)  Great Newsome Holderness Dark
 Nethergate Mary’s Ruby Mild
Shrewsbury – Nags Head (50)  Hobsons Mild
 Salopian Divine Comedy
Shrewsbury – Prince of Wales (51)  Three Tuns Mild
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Hotel (52)  Lymestone Stonefish Mild
Shrewsbury – Vaults (53)  Hobsons Mild
 Rowton Moonstruck
Whitchurch – Black Bear (70)  Spitting Feathers Dark Velvet
Whitchurch – Old Town Hall Vaults (71)  Burton Bridge Moorish Mild
Hengoed – Last Inn (BONUS)  Salopian Divine Comedy
Ludlow – Queens (BONUS)  Hobsons Mild
Oswestry – Bailey Head (BONUS)  Three Tuns Mild
 Crouch Vale Blackwater Mild
 Kissingate Black Cherry Mild
 Shrewsbury – Abbey (BONUS)  Salopian Divine Comedy

Market Town Pub of The Year Presentation 2015

The Black Bear in Whitchurch has a double reason to celebrate, having won both Market Town Pub of the Year and Runner-up in the overall competition.  Here at Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA, we hope these awards bring even more dedicated fans for this superb pub.

Thanks to Mark, Ellie, Phil and the rest of the team for a superb welcome on Tuesday, and congratulations on your richly deserved success.

Mark, Phil and Ellie receive the certificates for Market Town PoTY and Runner-up in the overall competition

Mark, Phil and Ellie receive the certificates for Market Town PoTY and Runner-up in the overall competition

The Black Bear sits in Whitchurch’s High Street, just across from the eponymous white church (St Alkmund’s – white not longer, alas…)  The WhatPub entry is Black Bear, Whtchurch

Bill Bainbridge Trophy Presentation 2015

We’re pleased to announce that AtWill Pubs are the first recipients of the Bill Bainbridge Trophy for the preservation of real ale in Shrewsbury and West Shropshire.  The trophy was awarded in recognition of AtWill’s rescue and refurbishment of the Cock and Greyhound in Bargates, Whitchurch, which had been empty for some time and was heading for dereliction, a fate which has sadly befallen the Horse and Jockey on the other side of St Alkmund’s church.

AtWill not only rescued the building, they have installed a new and enthusiastic team, and keep a good range of ales.

Ed Atkinson (Manging Director) and Sophie Bartley (Manager, Cock & Greyhound) receiving the Bill Bainbridge Trophy certificate with CAMRA members

Ed Atkinson (Manging Director) and Sophie Bartley (Manager, Cock & Greyhound) receiving the Bill Bainbridge Trophy certificate with CAMRA members

The refurbishment includes one of the most quirky pub ceilings in Shropshire, composed entirely of old doors, and a wonderful new rear patio.

A ceiling of doors!

A ceiling of doors!

The Cock and Greyhound from its new patio

The Cock and Greyhound from its new patio

Bill Bainbridge was a semi retired lawyer who rescued the Three Tuns Brewery in Bishops Castle.  When Bill died last year, Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA and Three Tuns Brewery created the Bill Bainbridge Trophy to celebrate organisations and individuals who, like Bill, are committed to saving traditional British ales for the nation.

Shrewsbury Beer Festival Poppy Appeal Presentation 2015

During the 2014 Shrewsbury Beer Festival, we raffled beer donated by Wood Brewery for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. On Wednesday past we handed over the cheque in The Square in Shrewsbury.  Thanks to Ed and James for donating the beer, Digby, Judith and Becky for selling tickets (and Becky for making the arrangements for the presentation), and the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal for all the wonderful work they do.