Welcome to the South Bedfordshire CAMRA Branch Website

If you are new to CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) the South Bedfordshire branch on CAMRA's behalf promotes the main aims of CAMRA. The core aims are the promotion of real ale, real cider and perry, and to promote pubs not just as places to drink but to highlight the important role they play at the heart of every community. For more information click on the CAMRA logo in the top right corner of the page for more information about them, what real ale is and for their current key campaigns. To find out more about this branch and if you would like to join us in our many activities please go to the volunteering page for more information.

Simply hover over any image to get a bigger picture!

Latest News and Updates

11th April

Apologies for the radio silence from us for a while, we have been busy putting the finishing touches to your new look Website, which we are hoping to launch in a few weeks. Keep an eye on our Social Media outlets (Facebook/Twitter) and keep checking back here for news. Anyway, in the mean time, there are a few things up and coming soon:

  • This years Bedfordshire County Cider Pub of the Year Presentation will be held at 2.30pm at the Engineers Arms in Henlow. The Engineers Arms have won the County Cider Pub of the year award for the last few years on the trott. It was a very close call between the Black Lion in South Bedfordshire and the Engineers Arms from East Bedfordshire, but the Engineers Arms just pipped them at the post! The Engineers Arms will also be hosting a mini Beer Festival that weekend with 20 Classic Real Ales from April 28th to May 1st. A few South Beds CAMRA Members are planning to go along to support them, if you spot any feel free to say hello!

  • The South Beds Pub of the Year once again went to the Black Lion in Leighton Buzzard. This was very closely fought with the Three Cups in Bedford, but for the third year on the trot, the Black Lion came out on top! Once we have finalised details with the Black Lion, we will of course let you know when their presentation will be!
  • The June 2017 Thursday Social locations have been updated here
  • The Victora, Dunstable and The Old Farm Inn in Totternhoe are both holding Beer Festivals between the 28th April and 1st May. For a full list of all upcoming Beer & Cider Festivals, you can see them all here.

  • 27th February

    The dust is starting to settle on this years festival as the halls were returned to their pre-festival use today, but there is no rest for the wicked. The Festival organising comittee have now started to plan next years festival which subject to approvals, will be held between the 15th & 18th February 2018 at the Hightown Arts & Community Centre in Luton once again. Remember, you can have your input on next years festival by anonamously completing our Feedback form. You can find the form here.

    Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for pictures from this years event!

    Here's a few comments from Reviews left on Facebook over the duration of the Festival:

    Amy Flemons We go every year and have volunteered to work as well and always an enjoyable experience 10/10 - 5*

    Mark Rivers better mix of music than I've personally experienced in recent years. Always a good meeting of kindred spirits. Number 34 already? I still remember the first one! - 4*

    Robin Lewis Gwyther Good selection of ales and bottled beers served by knowledgeable volunteers in friendly atmosphere. Well done to all concerned in the continued smooth running of this event.- 3*


    Remember there is still time for you to leave your feedback, here. The feedback window will close on the 15th March

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    14th February

    Yes, I know its Valentines Day, but some of us have been busy getting the halls ready for the Beer Festival to commence this Thursday!. Now onto some non-beer Festival realated news now..

    Leighton Buzzard Brewery was presented with a Silver Award in the Strong Bitters category for Restoration Ale at the East of England Champion Beers 2017 that was recently held at the Colchester Beer Festival. Members from South Beds CAMRA visited Leighton Buzzard Brewery`s first open day for 2017. The award was presented by Vince Hasker.

    We were joined at the Open Day by `Hattie the Hefalump` helping to promote the upcoming Beer Festival

    The Thursday Social`s for March have now also been updated on the Thursday Social page here. Remember, you can subscribe to our Google Calendar, and the events can be synchronised directly to your device!

    9th February

    There have been a few changes to the Rest of UK Beer list as some beers were unavailable. However, both beers have been replaced by like-for-like replacements so you are not left out.

    The Beer Festival is now only a few days away, and the Beer Festival Organising Comittee are now getting excited about it. Are you? Remember, you can contact us either by Facebook or on Twitter if you need any information about this years Festival!

    We will also be running a Prize Draw competition using Twitter over this years festival. Stay tuned to both Twitter & Facebook for more information on this!


    4th February There have been a few updates to the Locale and Rest of UK Beer lists.

    The Cider & Perry list has also now been released. You can find the list here.

  • Locale & London - Leighton Buzzard Brewery have confirmed the last remaining beer. This will be be 'Love Struck', a 4.1% Golden Ale, described by the brewer as "A golden ale which uses lots of American hops, Cascade, Ahtanum, Simcoe and Chinook."
  • Rest of UK - There have been 4 additions to this Beer list, with beer from these following Breweries:
  • Brecon Brewing
  • Mallinsons
  • Riverhead
  • St Austell

  • 1st February Its now just under 2 weeks until the Luton Beer & Cider Festival, and preperations are now in full swing for this years festival. You will be pleased to know that the provisional Beer lists for all 3 main Bars are now available, and these can be found on the main Luton Beer & Cider Festival page here. Its still not too late to register to help at this years Festival if you are over 18, and are a CAMRA member. The online registration form can be found here.

    We will also be running a competition on Twitter to win a Luton Beer & Cider Festival T-Shirt, and two Luton Beer Festival pint glasses over the festival period. More information on this can be found on our Twitter page in the next few days! Stay tuned for details!

    7th January Firstly, Happy New Year from us all at South Beds CAMRA. Over the first few days of January, have been a number of pub changes, the first of 2017!

  • The English Rose, Luton The Landlord of the English Rose in Luton has called time on this legendary Luton pub, and will be closing up for the last time on Sunday 8th January 2016. At present there has been no comment by the current owner, Enterprise Inns. We wish Stan all the best for the future, and will of course keep you updated should we hear any news regarding the future of this legendary pub.
  • The Well, High Town Road, Luton The Well has recently reopened under new management/ownership and currently has one real ale on tap. On a recent vist by a South Beds member, the pump clip advised that this was Doom Bar but this was actually the much better Clever Girl IPA from Newcastle's Errant Brewery. The new LandLady has alot of experience in the pub trade, and does intend to increase the current cask offerings in due course. There will be live music nights starting in late February, and Food will also be offered soon. As soon as we know more, we will of course keep you updated!

  • The Black Horse, Luton Pale|02A recent visit to this pub by a South Beds Member has given praise to a new(ish) Brewery in Luton, Rockhopper Brewery. The Member has given his pint of Pale|02 a very big thumbs up indeed, and goes onto say there were other beers on tap, but Pale|02 was just too good to drink anything else. Remember, if you have a good experience in one of our Pubs, then let us know and we can put your recommendation on here too! Click here to pass on your recommedation.

  • 20th December The upcoming Beer & Cider Festival means, as usual there are some Festival branded garments you can purchase. The full list, including price information can be found here:
    Click here for the full PDF of this order form.

    7th December You may or may not be aware that there is a Brewery in Weathampsted, Hertfordshire. You can find further information on this brewery, including their opening times over the Christmas Period below.

    It is the Leighton Buzzard - Pre Christmas Tour on Saturday 10th where we are touring the Pubs that appear in the Good Beer Guide. This is open to all, and there is a rough schedule for the day in case you cant make the whole day, but can make it for one or two:

  • The Swan Hotel (noon)
  • Red Lion (1.30pm)
  • Bald Buzzard (3pm)
  • Black Lion (5pm)
  • We will try and stick to these times, but bear with us if we are few minutes late!

    29th November BestBarNoneThree pubs known for their Real Ale in Leighton buzzard have performed well in the recent National Award Scheme promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises. The 3 pubs, all in the Leighton-Linslade area, are The Dukes in Heath & Reach, The Golden Bell, Leighton Buzzard and The Black Lion. The Dukes and The Golden Bell were voted Runners Up in the Peoples Vote, but the Black Lion was the winner in the Peoples Vote. We pass our congratulations to all the winners of this award, but especially to those in the South Beds Area. The overall winner in the Leighton-Linslade area was The Lancer.

    28th November Pub News - Two pubs in our area that have had very long term landlords have changed hands this week:

  • White Hart, Campton At the other end of our branch in the small village of Campton (near Shefford) Jerry Cannon has sold the White Hart free house to local couple Rob & Theresa. Jerry and his parents before him have been at the helm of the White Hart for 40 years. The pub is a real gem of a very traditional village pub, we wish Jerry and family all the best in the future. Rob happens to work at the nearby B&T brewery as assistant brewer but the regular real ale comes all the way from Cornwall in the form of St.Austell Tribute. A rotating guest will feature and we expect to see some B&T beers too. Locals can now look forward to the pub getting back to a more normal regime of opening times i.e. open every lunchtime and evening. Another welcome change will be the food as this is planned for the new year.

  • The Victoria, Dunstable At the Victoria in West Street, Dunstable the regulars waved goodbye to Dave & Val Hobbs who have run the Vic for over 30 years. This pub has long been a local CAMRA favourite and has hosted our AGMs for as long as we can remember. We wish Dave & Val a long and happy retirement. Once we have details on the new landlords, we will of course let you know.

  • Change of Brewery Liason Officer - At the recent AGM, a new Brewery Liason Officer was voted in. The previous BLO (Andrew Ramage) had to stand down due to his pending relocation to London. The new Brewery Liason Officer has been named as Graeme Halls, the current Webmaster for South Beds CAMRA. The Brewery Liason Officer can be reached on the new email address .

  • 6th November The White Hart in Maulden will be closed from Monday 14th November for a two-week refurbishment, and re-invention. The Pub is due to re-open on Sunday 26th November following this refurbishment where they plan to stock more ales. As soon as we know anymore information about this re-launch/re-invention, we will update you.

    The Thursday Socials for December 2016 have now also been updated on the Thursday Socials page. Please Note - For the first time, this includes an event on Saturday 10th December to Leighton Buzzard for the Pre-Christmas Tour of Leighton Buzzard, starting at The Swan at 12noon, and finishing at the Black Lion at 5pm.

    5th November The Black Lion in Leighton Buzzard is going on Tour! The Black Lion is hosting a tour to several different pubs, including the Yorkshire Beer Festival. More information can be obtained from this flyer, or from Nikki at the Black Lion.

    19th October You can now sponsor a Barrel at the 34th Luton Beer & Cider Festival in 2017. Simply email the Barrel Sponsorship team for more information.

    You can see more information about sponsoring a barrel on the Luton Beer & Cider Festival page here.

    London Pub Walk - 2016 - Every year the three Bedfordshire CAMRA branches get together to tour a few great pubs in a different area of London. This year's event is on Saturday 29th October and takes in ten great pubs between Bow and Bethnal Green. If you are interested in joining us, the more the merrier as they say. You can find more information and timgs see here for more information.

    6th October The Beer in Beds page has been updated with the Autumn 2016 Newsletter. I have also added a feature making the Beer in Beds Images enlarge slightly when you hover over them on a Desktop PC ensuring you can properley see its first page, this has also been added to the Pre-2012 editions too.

    We have been notified by Gynnie at the Red Lion in Leighton BUzzard that they now have a rather specical beer from the Exeter Brewery, called 'Falls Over'. This is a ruby red beer, with malty tones and a red berry finish. At 5% its strength is notable, but a really satisfying pint. We'll be sure to report back once a South Beds Member has had chance to sample the Beer and report back. In the mean time, if you ever have a cracking Pint or Two while your at your local, be sure to note it on Twitter and tag us using '@SBedsCAMRA'.

    19th September Sorry for the 'radio silence' recently, its been a busy few weeks here! The Thursday Socials have been added for October here. Also, back by popular demand, the calendar has been moved back to Google Calendar, and is now even more responsive than ever! Apologies to those who have already linked up their own calendar with the old one.

    I have also updated the "Other Beer Festivals" Page with all upcoming Beer & Cider Festivals

    There are also two Brewery Open Days coming up...

    These are on the 24th October. See the respective Brewery Websites for opening times etc

    More Pub news is available in our News Archive section. Click here for the Spring / Summer 2016 News

    Know of any more pub news or upcoming beer festivals we've not listed?
    Email us.