Ok, technically we never went away as we’ve been doing a lot of campaign work behind the scenes online over the last year or so, however now the government has announced that the Covid risk is now low enough to lift restrictions on groups meeting and pubs are able to operate in a more normal fashion we are resuming our socials, meetings and other activities that you as a member can get involved with in person from next week. You can find all the details in the diary.
For summer/autumn 2021 we are running two types of monthly event, mostly on Saturdays:
- Beery day out to pubs (normally visiting pubs and brewery tap rooms by public transport) including a bus trip to Glossop on 14 August and a tour by tram on 25 September.
- RambAle – a nice walk in the countryside with a few real ale pubs along the way. These include Bents Green to Totley via Ringinglow on 31 July and the Hope Valley on 28 August
Additionally our Pub Heritage Officer Dave Pickersgill will be leading walking tours this September for the national Heritage Open Days with a choice of two heritage pub routes, one in the City Centre and one in Kelham Island/Neepsend. These need to be booked in advance.
If you are interested in getting involved with how the branch operates, the campaigning side of things or simply catching up with us over a pint, the formal branch members meetings take place on the first Tuesday of each month. The venues change each month. The August meeting is at the soon to open Heist Brew Co and September is at the Chantry Inn (Handsworth), providing a great contrast between modern craft beer tap room and more traditional real ale pub between the two!
We are also looking for new committee members to get involved and take on specific roles that will help us operate more effectively as a branch.
Pub of the Month award scheme
Now pubs are open we have resumed the award scheme. Quite simply you can nominate and vote for pubs you think deserve recognition for serving well kept ale in a comfortable pub day in day out. All the pubs nominated before lockdown remain available to vote for and new nominations welcome too. Don’t forget this isn’t a competition between pubs, it is simply a way of celebrating good pubs. Voting forms are on our website and at branch meetings.
Beer Matters magazine
We are hoping to relaunch the printed edition from the September issue, with the magazines arriving from the printers for volunteers to distribute on 24 August (ahead of the bank holiday weekend). Articles and news from members to be included are most welcome, advertising space is now on sale and we are also looking for volunteers to deliver the magazines to pubs and other good beer venues.
With the majority of pubs now open again we have the big challenge of getting CAMRA’s national online pub guide WhatPub up to date reflecting new openings, changes to opening hours etc and those pubs that have sadly closed. We’d appreciate it if you know of any changes to pubs you go in please let us know by visiting their page on WhatPub and use the submit updates link.
Beer & Cider Festival
We are hoping to resume our annual Steel City Beer & Cider Festival at Kelham Island Museum this year, to be open from 6 to 9 October, however CAMRA HQ is currently reviewing the new government guidance for events and will be advising us soon as to whether it can go ahead or not.
Formal beer tastings
We are looking at getting together an official branch tasting panel. Volunteers will be trained then we will have a rolling programme of tasting the regularly brewed beers from local breweries to record tasting notes which will be used in the national Good Beer Guide. If you are interested, keep an eye out later in the year when we make a call for members to volunteer!
Learn & Discover
Don’t forget that as well as all the in person activity, your membership also gets you access to a lot of interesting content on the national CAMRA website including news from What’s Brewing and educational articles and videos from the Learn & Discover platform. Additionally the national Beer Magazine is published quarterly, printed editions are posted out to all members that have requested one (check your contact preferences online to see if you are down for one and change if necessary).
A note about pub going from 19 July
Whilst most legal Coronavirus restrictions are lifted from 19 July, government guidance is to continue with some caution and individual pubs have made their own decisions on how they will operate in a way that both brings back some normality and also maintains a safe environment for both staff and customers, particularly for the first month or so whilst the younger staff are not yet fully vaccinated. The industry is also being hard hit by staff shortages caused by staff being asked to self isolate after coming into contact with people that have tested positive.
A good number of pubs will not be offering bar stools and will be asking customers to move away from the bar area once served and also keeping doors and windows open for ventilation. Some pubs will be asking customers and staff to continue wearing face coverings when not seated.
We’ve not spotted any pubs planning on asking people to sign in to NHS Test & Trace after 19 July, however most will continue to display the QR code for those that still wish to.
We ask that you go out and support pubs but also respect any safety measures they feel they need to still have in place.