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Spring Newsletter 2017

A big thank you to all the members who have renewed their membership for 2017 – the total is now 75; so that leaves about 20 of you still out there with no current membership. Dennis will be checking when he gives out the 50p vouchers next time – so see Bob Newton and “give us yer money!”

The AGM was held at the Lyndon House Hotel on Monday 13th February, and was fairly well attended. Austin Morgan was guest speaker and gave an enlightening talk on the Backyard Brewery, and kindly donated a mini keg of beer to the raffle. Phil Hawley has resigned and been replaced with Trevor White, our new webmaster. You will shortly see that our web pages will be changing a bit to reflect the changing times - www.fohb.org.uk. The social secretary Peter Clarkson has also gone but we have not found anyone prepared to take his place so social duties are now undertaken by a sub-committee consisting of Mick, Dennis, Bob and Phil Knight (co-opted). The new committee has formally adopted a new constitution (copies available) and will endeavour to produce more trips and money raising events to ensure that our chosen charities can still be supported. With this in mind, it was reluctantly decided to increase subs from £5 to £6 (single) and £7.50 to £9 (joint) starting from next year. This is the first rise in all our 22 year history and reflects the harsh economic climate we all have to bear. Donations this year went to:

Walsall Breast Cancer Support Group - £350

Walsall Prostate Cancer Group -          £200

Walsall Heartcare  -                           £50

A heartfelt thank you to Ken Towe for lending us the ‘Conservatory Room’ in the Lyndon House Hotel, and for the delicious buffet.  Also thank you to all the people who donated prizes for the raffle which raised £59

A trip to Hydes Brewery has been organised for Saturday 6th May, and many seats were booked at the AGM but I am told there are about 4 left. A popular venue with all our members, we hope to take a full coach for a great day out ending with a special pub on the way home.

Backyard Brewery continue to open their ‘brewery tap’ on Fridays 12.30 till 5.30pm, and are selling a new beer for Valentines called ‘Lovebirds’. There might be some of their ‘Burns Night’ beer left called No.3 Scotch Ale 5% - and they are providing 2 special beers for the Walsall Beer Festival. A new brewer has been taken on and they are keen to start on some new beers and also ‘key keg’ beers, as there is a strong demand in the market for it. Beer volume sales are 30% up on last year and they are looking for new outlets in the free trade. ‘The Fountain’ has won Walsall CAMRA ‘Pub of the Year’, and the presentation will be on Saturday 25th February at the pub.

Beowulf has won awards at the CAMRA West Mids Presentation, Bartons Arms, in December for Dark Raven and Dragonsmoke Stout. Phil is brewing a special for the Walsall Festival called ‘Clout’.

AJ’s is having another ‘open day’ at the brewery in Long Acre St. on the 18th March 12 noon till about 5pm. Bottles and mini kegs will be available for purchase, and a range of cask beers on draught. Andy is brewing a special 4.8% bitter for the festival.

Highgate Brewery: as far as we know, the brewery did not sell at the auction in December but a SOLD sign has gone up outside the brewery gates. One might suppose that a deal has been done with a private bidder, but we watch and wait. Speculation exists about the ‘Brewery Stores’ in Walsall High St. because it is believed that it may have been sold ‘on the quiet’ to people in the pub trade but again, it’s all very hush hush.

Key Kegs: for your general information, key kegs are alternative containers for beer favoured by so-called ‘Craft’ beer producers. They offer the advantage of being made of recyclable plastic so are ‘one-way’ and work

on the ‘bag in a box’ principle; whereby the beer is contained in a foil bag inside a hard plastic case which can be shaped like a cylinder or a sphere. Air is fed into the sphere, thus squeezing the beer out of the ‘bag’ through the outlet/dispensing tube – so that no oxygen can get to the remaining beer. It is estimated that this method can extend shelf life of beer to 2-3 weeks, without resorting to pasteurisation and extensive filtering.
Diary dates:                9th-11th March – Walsall Beer Festival, MPV Whittimere St. Walsall.  
                                13th March – FoHb Social, Black Country Arms, Walsall.              
                                25th March – CAMRA trip to ‘Red Willow Brewery’ Macclesfield.
                                30th Mar-1st April – Burton Beer Festival.
                                10th April – FoHB Social, ‘The Fountain’, Lower Forster St. Walsall.
                                  6th May – Hydes Trip.

And Finally:  Aynuk is walking home with a bottle of beer in one hand and a loaf in the other, when he meets the Vicar. The vicar says,”Aynuk, I see you hold the staff of life in your hand.” “Arr.” says Aynuk, “An a loaf o’ bread fur me pidgeons.”