Scunthorpe & District CAMRA


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Scunthorpe and District

We are a small and friendly local branch of CAMRA, a national consumer organisation which campaigns on behalf of UK drinkers on subjects such as choice, value for money, good beer and good pubs.

We have regular meetings in local pubs, plus a programme of social activities including visits to beer festivals and breweries. CAMRA members and prospective members are welcome to attend our meetings and socials.

Details can be found here on the website, in the members' newspaper, 'What's Brewing', or the branch newsletter, 'Iron Brew'; the latter is free and distributed to many real ale pubs in our area on a quarterly basis and can be downloaded from this page.



For information on pubs local and national, visit WhatPub, Camra's online pub guide.

2019 Events

Branch visit to 11th Gainsborough Beer Festival

With no 2019 Scunthorpe Beer Festival, the 11th Gainsborough Beer Festival, held in the impressive surroundings of Gainsborough Old Hall, was our 'local' festival.

Some 12 passengers on the 100 bus were heading To Gainsborough Beer festival by the time the bus had reached Messingham! A short walk through a now damp Gainsborough brought us to the Old Hall for the noon opening. Surprisingly there was no sign of a beer festival taking part, but past experience sent us to a side door where everything was ready and waiting.


Exchanging a £10 note for a festival glass and £7 worth of beer tokens we entered the fairly busy hall to be greeted with 15 ciders and 71 Real Ales, perhaps 20 or more being served through handpumps. Now the problem was what to start with! I began with an Aldwark “Baabarian Gold” at 3.8% ABV, a nice steady opener, quickly followed by a Brewsters “Hophead” another 3.8% pale ale. As the afternoon progressed, the first beer was off – Thornbridge “Crackendale” pale ale. Oh well, still 70 others to choose from! A sample of Great Newsome “Holderness Dark Mild” at 4.3% was the best so far, so a further dark beer was sampled, another Brewsters offering, this time “Stilton Porter” at 4.4%, giving a strong hoppy taste. Back onto a few more pale ales before in the interest of research I surprised a few others by sampling Beartown’s “Peach Melba”. I have never been a fan of this type of beer, but it was an acceptable way to clear the palate ready for the final flourish.


Overall an excellent festival, put on by the small band of Gainsborough CAMRA members, giving you the full range of real ales to sample, from a session pale through to the local Cat Asylum “Quince Charming”, which kept you guessing on its real ABV, being listed at 6.9% but the barrel showing it as 7.6%. I didn’t try it so no idea on its form, although I had been warned it was a hazy beer. The usual tombola was available plus hot food, served by the Old Hall staff, so something for everyone!


Time soon caught up with the Scunthorpe gang and the last bus home at ten minutes past five was well populated with more festival goers than the outward trip. A very enjoyable day out!


Report by Keith Dixon.

Scunthorpe & District 40th Anniversary Event at Pooley's, Mesingham

We celebrated the 40th anniversary of the formation of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA at Pooley's in Messingham during September.

40th_Anniversary_Celebrations 40th_Anniversary_Celebrations

Nineteen branch members attended to enjoy a tasty buffet including some home-made 40th anniversary cup cakes (made by Gill) and a selection of excellent real ales. The latter included Rat White Rat, Ossett Brunette and Batemans Salem Dark Fruits Porter.

40th_Anniversary_Celebrations 40th_Anniversary_Celebrations

We got nostalgic over some CAMRA press clippings from the local paper, the changing face of Iron Brew over the years and a selection of photos from old branch events. All too soon it was time to disperse for some members to catch the last bus back into town and we reflected on a very pleasant afternoon/evening.

Many thanks to all the members who came along and to Neil and Sharon at Pooley's for organising a prize raffle, for the beers and for the buffet. Thanks also for opening up Pooley's a little earlier than normal on our behalf. This was the second branch celebration event after the trip to the Docks Beers Stone Brewing Tap Takeover in Grimsby the previous weekend.


Stone Brewing Tap Takeover at Docks Beers

On a sunny Saturday in September, a group of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA members made their way by train over to the Docks Beers Brewery and Taproom in Grimsby for a tap takeover by Stone Brewing. Stone are based in the USA, but have brewing and distribution arms in the UK and Europe. We were able to get seated in the area spanning the brewing vessels and eagerly perused the beer menu.

Docks_Beers_Stone_Tap_Takeover Docks_Beers_Stone_Tap_Takeover

Stone specialise in hoppy IPAs and there was a good selection of those on the day. Among the best of these were Ghost Hammer IPA, a well-rounded, hoppy beer and Tangerine Express, a fruity ale, but even these were eclipsed by a strong 8.1% ABV bourbon barrel-aged version of their flagship beer Arrogant Barsteward (not it’s real name, but very similar), and a 10.6% Imperial Stout. A couple of Axholme beers were on handpump as well – Cleethorpes Pale Ale and Dubbel Agent – plus some Docks beers on keg tap including Golden Hour their collaboration with Magic Rock.

All in all a good afternoon, but in view of the high strengths of most of the beers we didn't stay as long as on previous visits.


This though was one half of a double-header to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA, with a buffet/drinks event at Pooley's in Messingham scheduled for the following week. Thanks to all who came along to sample the Stone beers and to Docks Beers for another excellent tap takeover.

Nelthorpe Arms, South Ferriby, Summer Pub of the Season Presentation

In early September, members of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA gathered at the Nelthorpe Arms in South Ferriby to present them with our Summer Pub of the Season award.

When pub closures get so much publicity, it's nice to report a good pub news story for a change. Not so long ago the Nelthorpe Arms was closed and boarded up and in a state of considerable disrepair, awaiting a sale which would probably have seen it demolished to make way for new housing. Fortunately a local benefactor stepped in, bought the pub and together with former licensee Gavin Richards, began an ambitious restoration project to return the Nelthorpe to its former glory. After a lot of hard work, the Nelthorpe Arms opened up again early in 2019 and has become a thriving community pub for the village to enjoy.

It comprises a well fitted-out bar/lounge with pool table and darts and a cosy snug called 'Wilson’s Snug' at one end. It retains an attractive restaurant with an enterprising food menu and has several rooms let out on a B&B basis.


Gavin has recently decided to offer three handpulled real ales at the pub – one will be Brew XI as a stock beer with two rotating guest beers and a changing craft keg beer. Real ales on for the presentation were Lincolnshire Craft Beers Harvest Bitter, Crafty Little Brewery Silk Stout and Sharp's Six Hop IPA.


It's good to have the Nelthorpe Arms back in the real ale fold and we congratulate Gavin and all staff at the pub on their award.

Visit to Sunfest Beer Festival

On a sunny day in July, a handful of branch members made their way by train and bus to the Rising Sun in Fulwood, Sheffield for the Sunfest Beer Festival. This annual event takes place over the same weekend in July and always features in the Scunthorpe & District CAMRA calendar. We think it's one of the best, most relaxed, pub beer festivals around.


Based in the pub car park it features around 100 weird and wonderful beers kept under canvas, including a good selection from the local Abbeydale Brewery whose pub it is. They also featured a small selection of exotic craft keg beers as well as real ciders.


We were joined at Sunfest by ex-Barton members Roger & Sue Stow, who now live in nearby Dronfield and are active in Dronfield CAMRA, and it was good to catch up with them. With a brief pit stop beforehand at the always excellent Sheffield Tap at the station this was a very enjoyable day out. Roll on next year!

Pub of the Season Presentation to the Malt Shovel

A good gathering of local members came along on a Monday evening in July to the recently refurbished Malt Shovel in Ashby for the presentation of the branch Spring Pub of the Season award. This was despite an unavoidable short notification of the event. Branch Chairman Mark Elsome (centre, right), presented a framed Pub of the Season certificate to Malt Shovel manager Jack Hanley, flanked by Scunthorpe & District branch members.


The Malt Shovel continues to provide an interesting, ever-changing range of cask beers, always served in tip top condition and some very good beers were on for the evening, including Fernandes IPA and Roosters Pilsnear. With congratulations to Jack and all staff at the Malt Shovel on their well deserved award.

Pub of the Year 2019 Presentation to Pooley's in Messingham

On a balmy evening in June, members of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA gathered at Pooley's in Messingham to present the branch's Pub of the Year award 2019.

Beers on for the evening included Fernandes Hophead Pixie, Rat Brewery's Rat in Black and Oakham Bishop's Farewell. Branch Chairman Mark Elsome presented licensee Neil Poole with a framed Pub of the Year certificate to commemorate the award, with CAMRA members and pub regulars in attendance.


Sharon Poole provided a tasty running buffet to accompany the beers and an enjoyable night was had by all. There's always an interesting range of real ales on offer and everyone is given a warm welcome. There's no intrusive background music, conversation is encouraged and Pooley's is a pleasure to drink in.


Congratulations go to Neil, Sharon and all staff at Pooley's on their prestigious win.

Visit to Doncaster Brewery and Tap Easter Beer Festival

On Good Friday a small group of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA members met up with Anne & Stef, our friends from Grimsby, and travelled to Doncaster by train. Pausing only for a swift half at the Draughtsman's Alehouse on Doncaster Station, we made our way to the nearby Doncaster Brewery & Tap premises on Young Street. Even though we arrived just fifteen minutes after opening, the place was already packed as we sat down to peruse the beer programme.

Some of the handpulled real ales were available on the Tap bar along with ciders and craft kegs. The remaining real ales were in the back of the Tap where a bar had been set up in the brewery. I particularly enjoyed the Tiny Rebel Mango Milkshake IPA (4.2% ABV), the Brew York Dis Be Leaf (4.0%) and the 71 Brewing Breakfast Toast stout (4.5%). I also tried a couple of halves of craft keg beers - the Fizzy Bubblech Brut IPA (6.5%) and the G'Night Ryder Black IPA aged in red wine barrels (9.0%) were both excellent, but it seemed that a lot of very strong craft beers had all been put on at the same time.

In the late afternoon we decided we'd had our fill, and made our way back to the station to catch our train home and reflect on a very enjoyable day out, sampling some excellent beers along the way.


With thanks to Ian & Alison at the Doncaster Brewery Tap for putting on another great event.

Winter Pub of the season Presentation to the Haven Inn

At the end of March a good turnout of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA members and friends gathered at the Haven Inn at Barrow Haven to present them with the Winter Pub of the Season award.


The Haven Inn was recently taken over by Lindy and Joseph Mansley, who have maintained the high standards that the Haven is renowned for. They offer three handpulled real ales - Timothy Taylor's Landlord, Theakston Old Peculier as standard and a rotating guest, which on our visit was Black Sheep Best Bitter - all kept in tip-top condition. We also partook of some lunchtime food from their extensive menu and a relaxed, enjoyable afternoon ensued.


Branch committee member Sarah Morgans presented licensee Lindy Mansley with the framed Pub of the Season certificate and we congratulate all at the Haven Inn on their award.


Branch Social to Docks Beers

On a sunny Saturday in March a small group of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA members made their way by train to Grimsby to visit the Docks Beers Brewery Tap, which coincided with a tap takeover by Thornbridge Brewery.


Pausing only for a short pit stop at the Yarborough near Grimsby Station, we made our way on foot to Docks Beers and found a table to sit at and peruse the beers on offer. We were joined by Stef from Grimsby, branch member Christine Andrew and Chris a Hull CAMRA member.


The range of beers was impressive and included Sequoia, Wild Raven, Jaipur and Bronx on handpump and Green Mountain, Florida Weisse, Yiluma IPA and Strawberry Lucaria on keg tap, plus three Docks beers and a cider. The beers were excellent, if a little on the strong side and we had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Docks_Beers_Taproom Docks_Beers_Taproom

The Tap became extremely busy as the afternoon progressed, but there was a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere throughout. A street food vendor offering cheese-based toasted sandwiches was also on hand to provide sustenance. More of these tap takeovers are planned for the future and we would definitely like to return.

Club of the Year

Heslam Park sports and social club, located on Ashby Road in Scunthorpe, was selected as Scunthorpe & District CAMRA's Club of the Year for 2019, the first time we've made this award. At the club on 14 March Branch Secretary Keith Dixon presented a framed certificate to Heslam Park committee member Liam Waldron with club members and Scunthorpe & District members present.

Club_Bar Presentation

Two excellent handpulled real ales were on for the evening - Adnams Southwold Bitter (something of a rarity for our area) and Theakston RuGby Ale No.9. A complimentary buffet was also provided for the evening.


Congratulations go to all at Heslam Park on their award and for their commitment to real ale. We'd also like to thank them for their hospitality during the presentation evening.

Trip to Manchester Beer and Cider Festival

A group of Scunthorpe & District CAMRA members caught a westbound train in late January to visit the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival. This huge event with over 700 beers was held in the Manchester Central building, a former railway station and known as the G-Mex Centre in a previous guise.


Beer_Festival_Glass The choice of beers and ciders was phenomenal, with many rare and one-off beers featured, as well as brewery bars including Blackjack, Tiny Rebel and Hawkshead, a beer from the wood bar, Irish craft beer, keykeg and continental beer bars. Although we could only make small inroads into the beers in the time we had, the recently restored cask beers from Cloudwater found favour including an 11.5% ABV red wine barrel aged porter! Two members of the group also had a 'mead-off', where they tried several of the meads on offer.

In the late afternoon those of us who were returning back to Scunthorpe sampled some choice bars in the city, including Beatnikz Republic and Northern Monk Refectory in the Northern Quarter, and the Cloudwater Brewery Tap behind Piccadilly Station, where all the beers sampled were excellent. Overall a good day out at one of the best beer festivals in the north.

Beer of the Festival presentation to Timothy Taylor's Brewery

In early January eight members of Scunthorpe & District Branch made their way by train to Keighley in West Yorkshire to present a Beer of the Festival framed certificate to Timothy Taylor's Brewery.


This award was for their 1858 Brown Ale, one of the brewery's specials for 2018, the accolade coming from th 21st Scunthorpe Beer Festival in September.


We were met at the Knowle Spring premises by Head Brewer Andy Leman, and whisked off to the boardroom for a short history of the company and to fill out the necessary health & safety forms. Once attired in disposable lab coats and non-slip shoes, Andy gave us a comprehensive tour of the various parts of the brewery, explaining the processes involved as we went along.


Taylors use Golden Promise pale malt as the basis for all their beers with crystal and dark malts added as the beers require. The hop bill is mainly English with Goldings, Challenger and Fuggles used, although Styrian Goldings from Slovenia are used exclusively in Landlord. The special short run beers like 1858 and Poulter's Porter are produced in an on-site microbrewery.

When we reached the brewery laboratory we were able to present Andy with the Beer of the Festival certificate. CAMRA member Ian Watson, born and bred in Keighley, did the honours.


Finally we gathered in the Taylor's sample room in the depths of the brewery to sample some Taylor's beers straight from the cask. Beers sampled were Boltmaker, Landlord and Ram Tam, all fresh and in peak condition.


We then shed our protective clothing, thanked Andy profusely for taking the time and trouble to show us round the brewery and for answering our questions, and bade him farewell, just having time to pick up a complimentary Taylor's goodie bag before a final group photo on the brewery steps.


For the remainder of the afternoon we visited a few selected Keighley pubs for more Taylor's beers and guest ales. These included the Lord Rodney, the Brown Cow, the Cricketers Arms and the Boltmakers Arms. We were joined on the crawl by Dave Booth, formerly a Scunthorpe & District CAMRA member, now living in Sowerby Bridge. It was good to see Dave again and catch up. All too soon it was time to catch our return train home and to reflect on a cracking day out!

With thanks to all at Taylor's for allowing us to look around the brewery and for their generous hospitality.

Click here for previous events.

Iron Brew Autumn 2019
Previous Newsletters

Sat 9 Nov, Pub of the Season
Thurs 14 Nov, Grimsby Beer Festival
See Branch Diary for further details
Good Beer Guide
Order the most recent copy of The Good Beer Guide from Camra's online shop
Neighbouring Branch Websites
Doncaster CAMRA
Gainsborough CAMRA
Grimsby CAMRA
Hull & East Yorkshire CAMRA
Lincoln CAMRA
'Rory's Beer Blog'


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