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Old publications uploaded

The webmaster has been having a tidy-out at home and found a CD that someone had given him at some point. The CD contains scanned copies of a number of old Durham Drinkers dating back between August 1984 and Christmas 1994. These have now been uploaded to the Durham Drinker section of the website. The issue to look out for are 33, 38, 39, 41, 45, 48, 52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 66, 68 and 69. If you have any other old Durham Drinkers that can help us fill the gaps in the archive, please get in touch.

On the CD were also a number of old posters for Durham Beer Festivals of the same era. These can be downloaded as a single PDF file by clicking here.

Finally, the CD also contained a copy of an "Independent Breweries" leaflet that was published by the North East Region of CAMRA back in 1993. At that time the region (i.e. Tyneside & Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland, Darlington, and Sunderland & South Tyneside Branches) had just 11 independent breweries - a number now surpassed by the Durham Branch alone! Click here to download the leaflet.

ACV Workshop

Feel that your local pub is a vital asset to your local community and afraid of what would happen if it were to close? Then you may be interested in an upcoming CAMRA workshop on how to nominate your local as an "Asset of Community Value" (ACV).

The workshop is to be held on Saturday 23rd July between noon and 3pm at The Bridge Hotel on Castle Square in Newcastle (NE1 1RQ) where topics covered will include nominating your pub as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, navigating the planning system, community-owned pubs, what your council should be doing for you, and engaging with local councillors.

Spaces are limited so please email CAMRA's Campaigns team to reserve a place on

Further information about ACVs within our Branch area and for any local assistance, please contact our Pubs Preservation Officer.

2016 Bishop Auckland Food Festival

The Bishop Auckland Food Festival takes place on April 23rd and 24th, with various events, demonstrations, shows, and stalls featuring “the very best food and drink the North East has to offer”.

One of the more interesting features, from a beer­lovers aspect, is the Tipple Tent. No prizes for what goes on there! Two of our Durham CAMRA area breweries will be there to offer the chance to talk to the brewers themselves, and samples their wares.

Black Paw, based just a couple of minutes stroll from the Bishops’ Castle, where the Tipple Tent will be located, will be represented by owner and brewer Phil Whitfield, while Yard of Ale, from the Surtees Arms at Ferryhill Station, will be represented by head honcho and Bishop boy Alan Hogg. Real ales of a wide range of styles will be available to either try on the spot, or to take away. Go along, talk to them about their beer (they love talking about their beer), ask them where it can be found, and, most importantly, buy some (they love that even more).

From just outside CAMRA Durham’s area, the Steam Machine Brewing Co. will be offering masterclasses in beer science, building a brewery, and brewing beer.

AGM 2016

The Branch gives notice that the 2016 Branch AGM will take place on Tuesday 12th April at The Ship in Middlestone starting at 19:30.

A bus is being provided. If you are interested in using this, please email for information. It would also be appreciated if you could email us if you plan on making your own way there so we know what size buffet is needed.

The main business of the meeting will be to receive reports of the committee (including the financial statement for the 2015 finance year,) to elect the new Branch Committee and to consider an update to the Branch Constitution.

In particular this year we are looking to elect a new Minutes Secretary and we shall also be looking to put forward new Brewery Liaison Officers for Durham Brewery and Hill Island. If you are interested in any of these roles, please reply to this email with any queries you may have.

A copy of the latest draft of the constitution for consideration can be found at

The main changes are:

  • Minor typographic and linguistic updates for clarity throughout
  • An update of the committee positions
  • Clauses to show positions that may not be held in conjunction with others
  • Clarification on voting rights where a committee member holds more than one position
  • Clarification on election procedures
  • Addition of a "Sub-committees" clause
  • References to Special and Extraordinary General Meetings standardised to Extraordinary General Meeting
  • Setting of a quorum for EGMs
  • Updates to Financial procedures to reflect changes made to banking systems

A copy of the old constitution may be found at

If you have any feedback, please send to so we can take your comments on board. We will send out a final version closer to the date of the AGM for information.

We look forward to seeing you on April 12th.

Branch Pub and Club of the Year Announced

Thanks to all Durham CAMRA members who took part in the vote for Branch pubs and club of the year 2016. The votes have been counted and ratified by the branch and the results are given below. Congratulations to winners, runners-up and all who received nominations. The winners will now go forward to the regional competitions in the respective categories.

Thanks are also due to Black Paw Brewery and the Station House, Durham for providing prizes in the draw amongst those members submitting votes. The winners of these are in the process of being contacted.

Town Pub of the Year
Winner: Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham. Retaining the title won in 2015, this pub has featured beer from the wood, revealed a railway-based mural, and simply carried on being popular. Congratulations to Stacey and all behind the bar, who keep things just right.
Runner-up: The Tap and Spile, Framwellgate Moor. Again, retaining its position only just a few votes behind, with the ever-changing range of ales from all over the country keeping drinkers satisfied. Congratulations to Lesley for keeping the ales coming.

Country Pub of the Year
Winner: The Dun Cow, Seaton Village. Out towards the eastern edge of CAMRA Durham’s area, this pub was a firm favourite in the past, and has forced its way back to the attention of beer fans by providing two light and two dark beers, and being generally what a proper pub should be. A two-roomed gem not too far from the A19. Well done.
Runner-up: The Surtees Arms, Ferryhill Station. Last year’s winner, and a previous regional winner, the Surtees continues to provide all of the things a proper pub should, with the added advantage of the Yard of Ale brewery on the premises. Guest ales also feature, as do regular beer festivals. Congratulations Alan.

Town Cider Pub of the Year
Winner: The John Duck, Durham. Another pub to retain the position it achieved in 2015, the John Duck offers ciders from across the spectrum, and has the added benefit of a good range of ales to back this up. Well done to all at the Duck.
Runner-up: The Head of Steam, Durham. With interesting cider options to complement the three real ales and wide range of bottles from around the world, there is something to satisfy every taste here. The imagination of the staff in maintaining this selection is to be commended.

Country Cider Pub of the Year
Winner: The Black Lion, Wolsingham. No surprises here, as the largest selection of cider regularly on offer in County Durham has brought the trophy to Meadhope Street for the fourth consecutive year. The cider menu hangs above the bar, offering a wide choice which often includes perry. Congratulations Sara-Jane
Runner-up: The Black Bull, Frosterley. This unique hostelry is a previous winner, and was just off the top this time, as it was last year. Duncan and the team have created a pub with great character, and one of the highlights of a winter trip up Weardale is sitting in the rocking chair by the open fire with a pint of cider or perry.

Club of the Year
Winner: Tanfield Lea WMC. Over the last year or so, the club has impressed with its passionate promotion of real ale, offering brews from across the land not often seen in the North East, never mind in a WMC. With two ales always on offer, club-goers in Tanfield Lea have a choice available in few other clubs
Runner-up: Chester le Street Cricket Club. A winner on several previous occasions, the Cricket Club continues to provide good ale and a cracking view of the cricket field.