Pub of the Year – runner up

CAMRA - The Campaign for Real Ale

Every year, the Reading & Mid-Berkshire CAMRA branch awards its Pub of the Year title to the pub voted for by branch members. It’s the most prestigious prize they can bestow.

We are delighted to announce that The Retreat was runner up.

The Results

Pub of the Year

Pub of the Year for 2022 is The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence, the runner-up being The Retreat, Reading.

The finalists this year, in alphabetical order, were:

Alehouse, Reading
Allied Arms, Reading
Bell, Waltham St Lawrence
Retreat, Reading
Three Guineas, Reading

Cider Pub of the Year

Cider Pub of the Year for 2022 is The Alehouse, Reading, the runner-up being The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence.

Club of the Year

Club of the Year for 2022 is the Wargrave & District Snooker Club, the runner-up being the Sonning Golf Club.

Our congratulations to The Bell who are worthy winners with a great pub.

>>> see other awards for The Retreat

The CAMRA Reading Ale Trail 2022…we’re on it

Reading Ale Trail 2022

We are pleased to announce that The Retreat is one of the 24 pubs selected by Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA to be on the Reading Ale Trail 2022. And, we are especially excited that the Ale Trail will be launched at The Retreat on Saturday 5 March, where books will be on sale from 12.00 to 16.00.

What’s the Reading Ale Trail all about?

The Ale Trail is an annual event run by Reading & Mid Berkshire CAMRA in Spring to encourage people to find some local pubs in the Reading area and publicise the forthcoming beer festival. This year 700 booklets have been printed featuring 24 pubs. The task is simple: get yourself a booklet, then for each half pint of real ale or real cider (or a soft drink for designated drivers) you ask for a sticker. Collect all 24 stickers and submit your booklet by the deadline for a prize. This does not have to be done in one day!

Ale Trail booklets will be available to purchase from the launch day at the Retreat, and also at the Nags Head and the Alehouse in Reading.

By completing the Trail (i.e. visiting all 24 pubs and getting the appropriate stickers), you win either a T-shirt AND a half-pint beer festival voucher OR six half-pint beer festival vouchers. By completing 16 pubs you get three half-pint beer festival vouchers. The booklet costs £2.

Here is a link to the full details of the Reading Ale Trail.

Real Ales at The Retreat

Brian Moignard, landlord of The Retreat said, “This is great news for The Retreat. We’ve been working hard on improvements and the Reading Ale Trail will be a wonderful opportunity for cask ale lovers to see what we’ve been up to.”

What will be the cask ales served at The Retreat for the 2022 Reading Ale Trail?

Pushing Brian on what beers will be served for the Ale Trail he kept schtum and told us to, “watch this space.” Whatever his decision, they will be well kept ales fitting for the Ale Trailers.

The pubs taking part in the Reading Ale Trail 2022

  1. Greyfriar
  2. Alehouse
  3. Allied Arms
  4. Castle Tap
  5. Nags Head
  6. Butler
  7. Victoria, Tilehurst
  8. Fox & Hounds, Tilehurst
  9. Griffin, Caversham
  10. Fox & Hounds, Caversham
  11. Loddon Tap Room, Dunsden Green
  12. Hop Leaf
  13. Park House, University
  14. Turks Head
  15. The Retreat
  16. Weather Station
  17. Three Tuns
  18. Horse & Groom, Hare Hatch
  19. Royal Oak, Knowl Hill
  20. Bell, Waltham St Lawrence
  21. Crispin, Wokingham
  22. George & Dragon, Swallowfield
  23. Elm Tree, Beech Hill
  24. Six Bells, Burghfield

We’re listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2022

The Retreat listed in CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2022

We’re thrilled, we’re listed again!

The latest edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide is published this week and The Retreat is listed again. We were originally listed in the first ever CAMRA Good Beer Guide in 1974. 

Out of more than 50,000 pubs in Britain, only 4,500 of the finest outlets for real ale are chosen for inclusion in the Good Beer Guide. The guide is compiled by members of the Campaign for Real Ale and, unlike some other beer guides, pubs cannot pay to be listed. Instead, places are awarded in the Good Beer Guide on the basis of recommendations by thousands of CAMRA volunteers across the UK. Every pub or bar listed has been carefully selected by unpaid, but knowledgeable, volunteers who have visited every one and tasted their beers. These enthusiasts understand what makes a great pint of beer and which venues serve it best.

Now in its 49th edition, the beer-lovers’ bible is fully revised and updated to feature recommended pubs across the United Kingdom that serve the best real ale. This is the complete book for beer lovers and for anyone wanting to experience the UK’s finest pubs.

Brian Moignard, landlord-of-The Retreat pub in Reading

Brian Moignard, landlord of The Retreat, says, “We are looking forward to customers of old visiting us again soon to enjoy the real ales, great conversation and the live music in Reading. We are also excited about the new people that are discovering us since our refurbishment. We hope the Good Beer Guide 2022 will help more people find us in our tucked away location in RG1.”

The Blunt point about British pubs

In his foreword for CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2022, World renowned singer James Blunt has thrown his support behind the Great British pub and reflected on the industry’s struggles during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following 18 months of struggles for the industry in the face of restrictions and lockdowns, Blunt, who owns the 17th-century Fox & Pheasant pub in Chelsea, remarks that as both a musician and a publican, he has “pretty much chosen the worst two jobs for a global pandemic”.

However, with plenty of optimism, he highlights the importance of pubs to communities and encourages Brits to get back to the pub to support their locals, writing: “Whilst, in recent years, there might have been a trend for people to drink cheap supermarket beer at home, those people have been locked away for the best part of a year, and now those people want out. They can taste real beer from the tap, and food cooked by a pro, and they can meet legally and joyfully.”

International Beer Day 2021

International Beer Day

Did you know that it’s International Beer Day on Friday 6 August? No? Neither did I. The good news is that we are in training and will be match fit for 6 August.

Apparently, participants are encouraged to give one another the ‘gift of beer’ by buying each other drinks, and to express gratitude to brewers, bartenders, and other beer technicians. In the international spirit of the holiday, it is also suggested that participants step out of their domestic/locally brewed comfort zone and sample a beer from another culture.

Learn more: wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Beer_Day

What a lovely post from Bernie

Bernie Facebook post

Bernie Whiten and Jane Marsden ran The Retreat from 2003 to 2012.

Bernie made his first visit back since the refurbishment and posted this on Facebook:

A wonderful visit back to The Retreat last week. Great to see the old place looking so good (and contemporary), but retaining it’s character. Serious good taste there. The Gents toilet is a revelation, and I hear the Ladies ain’t too shabby.

Facebook post

Opening New Doors

What's On Reading podcast guests at the new Reading Rep Theatre

Unlocking new doors: this month the What’s On Reading podcast was recorded at the new Reading Repertory Theatre. The guest venues were Reading Rep Theatre, Readipop and The Retreat.

What's On Reading podcast guests at the new Reading Rep Theatre
Left to right: Kevin Harrington (The Retreat), Amy Hodder (Readipop), Nick Thompson (Reading Rep Theatre), Damien Passmore (What’s On Reading).

Learn about the nearest theatre to The Retreat and the new home of Readipop…here are the links for you to listen to the programme.

What’s On Reading https://whatsonreading.com/podcast
Spotify – https://tinyurl.com/WRJn21Sp
Apple – https://tinyurl.com/WRJn21Ap
Soundcloud – https://tinyurl.com/WRJn21Sc
Google – https://tinyurl.com/WRJn21Gg

Great quotes on opening day at The Retreat

The gents at The Retreat in 2021

“Worth it for the gents alone. And, I couldn’t stop taking pictures.”

“The toilets are amazing. Bloody gorgeous. I was genuinely gobsmacked.

“It’s alright. The toilets are great.”

“Have you been in the loos? Bloody heck , you could eat your lunch off the floor.” 

The ladies at The Retreat in 2021

I think there were also some people that were pleased with other things as well.

Just a reminder, this was the gents loos in 1988.

At last, we are reopen

When David Gray, Di Whitaker and Mark Birmingham took over the tenancy of The Retreat in August 2019 they had the ambition of continuing the traditions of this famous Reading pub at the same time as making a positive contribution to it.

David Great, Di Whitaker and Mark Birmingham

Brian Moignard, the landlord of The Retreat since 2013, proudly unlocked the doors to the refurbished pub at midday today, 17 May 2021. The latest lockdown resulted in the pub being closed for over six months. But now The Retreat is back: great beers, good wines, live music and extended opening hours.

The team at The Retreat are keen to welcome back regulars and locals. We’re pretty sure that pub will be gaining new friends over the coming weeks.