Welcome to the not particularly weird nor wonderful world of Chester & South Clwyd CAMRA branch. We are just one of many branches of the Campaign for Real Ale - a group of over 168,000 members whose collective aim is the promotion of traditional cask ale as opposed to nasty fizzy keg and the downright unpleasant smoothflow nonsense. We also champion consumer rights and strongly support the public house as a focus of community life.
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Pied Bull Winner (22/01/15)

We must admit that we nearly choked on our pints when we heard the announcement at the trade session of the Manchester Beer Festival that the Pied Bull had won Champion Beer of the North West 2015. The Black Bull porter is certainly deserving of the accolade but it was still a surprise to hear that the Chester free house had beaten off competition from such highly regarded north-west brewers such as Hawkshead, Marble and Red Willow. 

The 5.2% beer which is described as ‘a complex porter with a blend of seven different malts with flavours of chocolate, coffee and liquorice’, is produced on the tiny plant in the cllar of the pub. Brewing began in 2011 and it was only a year later that they scooped the Champion Beer of Cheshire award at the Chester Beer Festival. It is understood e that there are plans to increase the capacity at the pub to cater for burgeoning demand for their products.

Anyone who is acquainted with the brewer Tom Sinclair, will be interested to know that he admits that hearing of the Champion Beer of the North West award was a rare occasion when he was rendered speechless. Well done to Tom and the team at the Pied Bull.

(Picture from Chester Standard: shows David Poynton (manager), Carl Scourfield (owner) and Tom Sinclair (brewer))

Tale of Two Pubs (01/02/15)

Separated by the river Gowy and approximately 1.8 miles of muddy lanes and footpaths on the Longster Trail, there’s quite a lot of symmetry between the White Horse in Great Barrow and the Bird in Hand in Guilden Sutton. Both pubs over the years had become stagnant, uninviting places. In fairness to previous licensees, they had their excuses for a lack of incentive. Under the strictures of the nefarious Pub Cos there was minimal investment and opportunity for diversity and choice. And then followed the almost inevitable long periods of closure raising doubts as to whether they might open their doors again. 

But happily, they also share the blessing that they’ve now both been sold into private ownership with the benefit that they are run as the landlord/lady sees fit provided they pay their dues. And what a difference those spring cleans, refurbishments, positive vibes and ambition make. Under Lance Warburton, it’s a pleasure to call in at the cosy, tucked away Bird in Hand whether you’re there for the food (including pie and steak nights), the Monday quiz, occasional live music or to watch the discreet TV sport. There’s been a similar transformation at the White Horse which will be a year old this March under the reins of Paula Richards and son James. Inside there’s been a lovely makeover which extends upstairs to new fully furnished guest rooms. You can enjoy home made stone-baked pizzas from Thursday to Sunday and there will be more pub grub soon care of a kitchen refit. It too hosts music nights and the thirsty local cricket club are grateful to have somewhere to go back to as well!

And finally, comes the beer bit which has, surprise surprise, improved immeasurably thanks to the right to buy stock as seen fit. Both pubs have changing micros that were simply unimaginable ten years ago. Well-kept ales from Brimstage, Marble, Peerless, Purple Moose plus local favourites too are selling well as reputation spreads.

And this just goes to show, you should fight tooth and claw against any pub closure. All it takes is a positive reversal of fortunes and the down-at-heel can soon be revolutionised.

Winter Pub of the Season 2015 (12/12/14)

We've decided to have joint winners for the branch's Winter Pub of the Season 2015 - one in Cheshire and one in Wales. First congratulations go to Geraint & Esme at the Colliers Arms in Ponciau who thoroughly deserve this recognition for, not merely running a smart, tidy, friendly local pub, but for the great efforts that have been made in promoting cask ale in an area where it's especially thin on the ground. These include three handpumps, changing beers, loyalty cards and even the introduction of John Smiths Cask to wean the odd unenlightened regulars off Smooth! 

Meanwhile, more doffing of hats to the Wheatsheaf in Nomansheath where Ant & Em are doing a splendid job reviving this village pub. Amongst other things, they've created a popular niche market in vegan food - a policy extended to their beers in Facers North Star Porter.

Presentations to follow!

Wheatsheaf, Nomansheath >>
Branch Awards >>

Branch Area Pub Guides

Whether you're on a three-day anger management course in Chester, travelling to see your beloved Braintree United play Wrexham or planning a stag-do in Langollen wearing Bavarian lederhosen, you'll need to take a peek at our area guides to find out where serves cask beer. 

Area Pub Guides >> 

Pubs Under Threat

The Beeston Castle, Tiverton (RIP)In common with the rest of the nation, locally there are plenty of pubs - good, bad and indifferent - with uncertain futures. Closed, boarded up or derelict, what fate awaits them? A new licensee in thrall to a greedy pub co? Conversion to an Indian restaurant, coffee shop or private house? Further years of abandonment, rot and decay? Demolition and redevelopment? Or maybe, renaissance under wealthy new owners with an entrepreneurial eye.  

Shut Pubs >>  

Pubs Matter

CAMRA's campaign to support the nation's community pubs. Click on image to access.  


Coming Soon

Friday 6th February
Big Hand Weekend Wind-Down

Friday 13th February
South Wrexham Pub Social

Thursday 19th February
Branch Meeting (including Welsh GBG Selection): Bridge End, Ruabon

Sunday 22nd February
Cheshire Area GBG Selection: Cross Keys, Chester

Friday 27th February
Cheshire Village Pubs: Minibus trip

More Diary >>

Social Media


CAMRA Chester & S.Clwyd

News In Brief

Bridge Over Troubles
Cellar boys return.

Gunned Down (01/02/15)
Tarvin bistro shut.

Grave for Groves? (22/01/15)
Demolition proposed.

Churton Cheer (17/01/15)
White Horse re-open.

Centurion Fightback (11/01/15)
Fight for Vicars X pub.

Highfield Loss (07/01/15)
Estate pub to go.

Brynteg Loss (28/12/14)
Estate pub to go.

Shady Goings On (16/12/14)
Country pub closes

Hornsmill of Plenty (10/12/14)
Hydes at Hapsford

Set the Bar (07/12/14)
Ex-Fat Cat re-opens

Cefn Cask Gain (01/12/14)
Plassey at Queens

Hand Over (18/11/14)
Llanarmon DC hotel sold

Rhostyllen Gain (14/11/14)
Marstons at Swan

Weetwood Brewery (13/11/14)
New owners in Kelsall

Commonhall St Social (06/11/14)
Real ale at ex-Got Wine

Beer Refinery (03/11/14)
New brewer in Wervin

RIP Ken Gander (01/11/14)
Farewell to a friend

Pub Losses (16/10/14)
Ffrith and Sandycroft

Heritage Pubs (11/10/14)
A tour round Cheshire

Night at Museum (10/10/14)
Ellesmere Port fezza!

Fox & Hounds (15/09/14)
Planning app in Eyton

Buck Stops Here (05/09/14)
Bangor pub closed


WhatPub provides details of over 35,900 pubs serving real ale, making it the definitive online pub guide for the real ale drinker. In addition, WhatPub provides full details for over 24,000 of those pubs, with details of real ales available, opening times, and description of the pub. Click on image to access.




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