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CAMRA Revitalisation Project

Chester’s journey from ‘fizzy beer’ to an array of real ale pubs

It was March 1971 when three young Cheshire journalists and a brewery worker gathered in the city for the first time ahead of a seven-day trip to Ireland.

Little, perhaps, did they know at that point they were soon to launch CAMRA and it would change the face of British beer and pubs and form an organisation of nearly 180,000 members.

Neither could they have guessed that not only would the organisation last but, that 45 years later members would be returning to the city to discuss and debate its future as part of the Revitalisation Project.

As the foursome traipsed around Chester’s ale houses in 1971 a consensus developed over the ‘lousy quality’ of much of the beer they had drunk.

“Too fizzy,” said Graham Mellor. “No character,” said Jim Makin. “Too dear,” said former Chronicle reporter Graham Lees. “Tastes sickly,” said Michael Hardman.

Attendees at the Revitalisation meeting to take place on 7 May in Chester at St Werburgh's Parish Centre, will need to consider the state of the modern beer market and discuss whether the concerns of the founders should still be the concerns of the Campaign today.

The venue is close to the rail station and the city centre and is itself classified as a CAMRA Heritage Pub.

Once the discussion is done, attendees can retrace some of the steps the four founders took. Only a short distance away is the Olde Cottage, the branch's 2016 Cheshire Pub of the Year (POTY).  

About five minutes walk away on City Road is the Cellar, a former branch POTY winner.

Other pubs in the area worth visiting are Kash, Mill Hotel, Old Harkers Arms and Artichoke.

In fact, the Chester & South Clwyd branch of CAMRA has written a pub guide to Chester detailing the array of fine pubs in and around the city. It’s well worth a read and, of course, to put to good use.

To register to attend the meeting visit:


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