Drinkers Toast Launch of the Reading CAMRA Ale Trail
The Reading and Mid-Berks branch of CAMRA is pleased to announce the launch of one of the most popular of its regular events, both with pubs and drinkers - the Ale Trail. The 2016 trail will be launched at the Castle Tap, 120 Castle Street, Reading from opening time at noon on Saturday 6th February. Trail booklets will be on sale there and throughout the two month period of the trail, and also at The Alehouse and Nags Head in Reading, together with the Fox and Hounds in Caversham.
Rich Croton, one of the organisers of the trail, said: “We run the ale trail every spring, to encourage people to visit and enjoy some of their local pubs and also to publicize the forthcoming Reading Beer and Cider Festival.”
He continued: “It's a limited edition of 700 trail booklets, so make sure you get yours soon. Then the task is simple: work your way round the participating pubs. At each, buy a real ale or real cider (or a soft drink if you're a designated driver), and ask for a sticker. There are two months to complete the trail, so plenty of time to work out which is your favourite pub.”
This year there is a two-tier prize format and the number of pubs has increased, from 21 last year, to 24. Everyone getting a sticker from all 24 pubs receives the main prize of either a T-shirt AND a half-pint beer festival voucher OR six half-pint beer festival vouchers, plus entry to the free draw. The second tier prize for completing 16 pubs gets you three half-pint beer festival vouchers.
The choice of which pubs to include is always a contentious challenge. Chosen pubs, all from in and around the Reading area, are expected to serve real ale in good condition at all times. Almost, but not all, of the pubs are accessible by public transport. The current Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year are automatically included, then the organisers try to create a mix of new pubs and established favourites as well as creating a balance of pubs geographically. Sixteen of the 2016 trail pubs weren’t on the trail in 2015 and four have never been on the trail since its start in 2002.
Pubs cannot buy their way into the trail, as CAMRA pays for the production and printing of the Ale Trail. However, CAMRA is grateful to five of our local breweries and cider makers for sponsoring prizes for the free draw that those completing the trail are automatically entered in.
All this is done with the objective of promoting CAMRA’s aim of supporting the public house as a focus of community life and developing people’s appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture.
More details of the trail are available at www.readingcamra.org.uk/aletrail.