CAMRA members award Oswestry brewery in style with first trip on restored railway line

An Oswestry brewery was given an award by CAMRA members who arrived in style – on the first passenger service since 1965 on a restored railway line.

CAMRA members toasting Alison and Shane's success with a variety of Stonehouse brews
CAMRA members toasting Alison and Shane's success with a variety of Stonehouse brews

Members of Shrewsbury and West Shropshire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) travelled on the first passenger service from Oswestry Station to Weston Wharf since 1965 to award the Shropshire Brewers' Challenge Cup to Stonehouse Brewery in Oswestry.

On Sunday, November 21, the team boarded the newly restored Oswestry to Weston Wharf railway line – thanks to Cambrian Heritage Railway members who lovingly restored it.

Members of CAMRA said they were thrilled not only because of the quality of the beer, Stonehouse's Wrangler Session IPA, the warmth of the welcome at the brewery, but because we were able to travel to the brewery on the first passenger service from Oswestry Station to Weston Wharf since 19 January 1965.

Dave Ricketts with the Cup and certificate in front of the CAMRA Beer Special (Ex-BR Pacer 144006 in Northern Rail livery)

Competition organiser and CAMRA area organiser, Dave Ricketts, said: "I am really pleased to present this award. Stonehouse are a great brewery run by a wonderful couple and Wrangler is a worthy beer to showcase Shropshire beers in the year to come."

They were welcomed at the brewery by owners, Shane and Alison Parr, who accepted the Shropshire Brewers' Challenge Cup for their golden hop beer, Stonehouse Wrangler.

The trip to the brewery by train was arranged by Dave Roll of the Cambrian Heritage Railway (CHR) who is also a CAMRA member. CHR volunteers have restored the line from Oswestry and turned the goods-only Weston Wharf halt into a passenger station which will be open to the public on running days from April 2022.

The presentation group arrive at Weston Wharf with the cup and certificate with driver Phil Bradley - a CAMRA member

The trip was supported by many volunteers on the day who staffed the stations, the train and crossings in between.

Dave Roll said: "Stonehouse Brewery have acknowledged their links to the railway from the outset, with their locomotive logos and railway-themed core beers Station Bitter, Cambrian Gold and Ballast Porter amongst others.

"They have been very supportive of Cambrian Heritage Railways and it will be great to have a link between the town centre and the brewery to the benefit of both and the town's tourist economy.

"I think it is wonderful that our first passenger service on that section of the line is to take a CAMRA group to the brewery to present a much-deserved award."

Dave Ricketts presenting the cup to Alison Parr and the certificate to Shane Parr, owners of Stonehouse Brewery

The Shropshire Brewers' Cup is a judged real ale competition in which beers from brewers around the county are tasted by CAMRA members, licensees and brewers from other areas.

The 2021 judging was at Shropshire Festivals' Oktoberfest, and CAMRA would like to thank Beth Heath and the volunteer judges. In a close competition Wrangler came ahead of Salopian Brewery's First Time Caller and Three Tuns Breweries Cleric's Cure which were very creditable joint runners-up.

Alison and Shane Parr enjoying a freshly poured pint of Wrangler to celebrate their success, behind the bar of the Stonehouse Brewery Tap House

Wrangler brewer Shane Parr said: "We are thrilled to win another award from our friends in CAMRA, and for a beer which we really enjoy ourselves.

"Awards like this one opened doors for us in our early days, and continue to show us that we're doing something right!".

The Stonehouse Brewery Tap is open from 10am Monday-Saturday and 12pm on Sunday.

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