The Campaign for the Revitalisation of Real Ale was formed in 1971, with the first ever branch meeting held by our sister branch, South Herts CAMRA, at the Farriers Arms in St. Albans on the 20th of November 1972.
The Mid-Chilterns branch was formed in February 1974, with the first meeting taking place at the Full Moon in Hawridge. At that time, there were 260 pubs in the branch, 59 of which sold real ale, with not a drop in our biggest town Hemel Hempstead. You were likely to find Ind Coope Bitter, Greene King IPA and Youngs Special in those early days. The branch area has also changed over the years, with places like Sarratt, Commonwood, Wendover and Denham no longer covered.
Having fallen dormant for a couple of years, the Mid-Chilterns branch of the Campaign for Real Ale was officially revived in 2001. Headed up by Dave and Gill Badminton, Dave Lewin and Liz, along with an ensemble committee of passionate drinkers, the branch set out to promote and preserve cask ale, pubs and real cider and perry in the local area.
From the outset, raising awareness through a newsletter has played a crucial part in our campaigning. Initially named the Mid-Chilterns Branch Newsletter, the was name changed to the Sparkler in 1997, before becoming the Chiltern Tapler in 2002 – evolving in to the full colour magazine we see today.
Beer festivals have also played a large role in campaign efforts, with early stands at Berkhamsted Castle and Hemel Hempstead Pavilion. In later years the branch were heavily involved in the Chesham beer Festival before running our own in Boxmoor initially to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the branch.
Today the Mid-Chilterns branch membership is close to 1,000, including a diverse committee of volunteers who organise regular socials and engage passionately with national campaign objectives.
We hope you have enjoyed the tales of our history to date, and that you may join us in our years ahead, promoting beer and protecting pubs throughout the Mid-Chilterns.
Cheers to Mid-Chilterns CAMRA!