Autumn Beer Festival “A Young at Heart Cask Affair”

Starting at 4:30 pm on Thursday, 10 October through to Sunday, 13th October the Old Cross Tavern is holding its annual Autumn Beer Festival at the pub.  

The Festival theme is:  “A Young at Heart Cask Affair” inviting all who are at young at heart to join us in an appreciation of cask ales from throughout the United Kingdom.

The Festival is for ale drinkers and conversationalists looking for solace and conviviality before the onset of winter.  We’re expecting some “waifs & strays” who have some good tales to tell and an appreciation of some good beers” (assuming all goes to plan on our part!).  Our experience is that the best thing at beer festivals are the people, so we’re hoping you’ll be able to join us. 

We’re aiming to serve some cracking pints to reflect the remarkable diversity of the current brewing scene & your diverse tastes, too, of course!  There will be 20 plus real ales.  It is a bit of a “mash up”, so to speak.  

The line-up includes breweries from throughout the United Kingdom: Scotland, Wales, Hertfordshire, London, Essex, Sussex, Cotswold, Manchester, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Newcastle upon Tyne and Warwickshire.  There will be ales of all sorts to choose from with the abv ranging from 3.5% to 6% (session pints to very strong ales) including India Pale Ales (IPAs), American Pale Ales (APA), Blondes, Milkshake style brews, Sour style brews, Traditional bitters and some excellent ‘dark arts’ brews including Porters, Milds & Stouts.  The Beer Festival list will be available online closer to the date of the Festival. 

The Tavern is an award winning pub.  It was awarded Gold in the South Herts CAMRA (CAMPAIGN for REAL ALE) “Pub of the Year” 2018 Competition.  Since the Old Cross Tavern opened its doors in May 1999, it is now a 5 times winner of South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year (1999, 2000 - joint winner, 2008, 2011, 2018).  And, in the 20 years trading, it has appeared 10 times in the top three of this award.  More recently, the Tavern was a finalist in the Hertfordshire Food and Drink Awards for Pub of the Year 2018 category.

Fund raising for the Breast Cancer Now charity (the Tavern’s nominated charity) will be part of the Festival with a raffle prize draw plus donation from the Old Cross Tavern.

  • NO RSVP required. DRESS CODE: ‘Come as You Are’.

  • Everyone is welcome. No admission charge

We’re ‘Rolling out the Red Carpet’ - World Premiere Video Showing

The Old Cross Tavern officially opened its front door on the 19th of May 1999.  And, as many of you know this is our 20th anniversary year.  In spite of our age, we’d like to remind you that we’re only 20 years young (in English pub years)!

We’ve experienced a lot of precious moments over the years and definitely learned to appreciate the ‘quirks and quarks’ of an English community pub, like the Tavern. Perhaps, the thing we’ve come to appreciate the most (even more than the beers) is the organic spirit of creativity, imagination and resourcefulness of persons coming to the pub.  

And, what we’re about to describe is a prime example.  We’d like to share with you the back story and then let you view and listen to the end product.  We would like to emphatically make the point that this project was NOT our initiative.  The conceivers of the project were simply unstoppable. We had no option but to co-operate and help them source the raw materials, i.e., photos. So, we have two regulars - Bruce & Iain, both - who have been frequenting the Tavern, almost since it opened.  For our 20th anniversary, they undertook and completed a brilliant project documenting some of the Tavern’s touching historical moments and the many faces both frequenting and working in the Tavern.  

It started when Iain used his word crafting skills to re-write the lyrics of two very well-known BEATLES songs to be about the Tavern capturing people & experiences (first two tracks from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). Top marks for his artistic imagination and poetic license because his words are indeed what happens here at the Tavern.  Copies of the lyrics are included in this post.  

At this point, Iain started to collaborate with Bruce, who has been known to record music and publish it online, do amazing things with 3D videos, amongst his many other technical and creative talents.  The result was that Bruce & Iain recorded both songs (ditties). And, yes it is them singing.  

However, they didn’t stop at this point.  They decided to turn their musical recordings into music videos full of 20 years of photographs of the Tavern and the people who have spent time here.  Yes, just like an MTV music video. They scanned old paper photos (remember we pre-dated digital photography), knocked us up for photos we’d taken over the years and contributed many of their own.  

OK, so we know that music videos about the Tavern aren’t exactly MTV calibre hits. Remember, they weren't exactly working with Jay Z's budget. Graeme (Tavern, Manager) commented, “Pretty sure there has been worse on MTV”. But in terms of wordsmithing and video production, Iain & Bruce exceeded amateur expectations. We’re not going to comment on the singing. You can form your own opinion!

There were so many photos they couldn’t all be used.  Rumour has it there might even be a 3rd video in production (rap tune) so that more photos could be used.

End result is two music videos about the Tavern to help us celebrate our 20th anniversary.

  • Video One: It was 20 Years Ago (Focusing on the beginnings of the Tavern)

  • Video Two: At the Old Cross with My Friends (Focusing on people frequenting the Tavern)

On a personal note, we confess to sentimentality.  Simply, everyone here at the Tavern is just very, very touched by 20 years of such priceless memories conjured in the videos.  

Nigel (Bev) the person who “got the Tavern going” was very moved upon first watching the videos by both the efforts of Bruce & Iain and the poignant memories in the photos. As you suspected, he was unavailable for comment, but did say the “Tavern was sticking to the founding principles:  Conviviality, Choice and Quality”.

To Bruce & Iain, thank you so much for sharing your ingenuity and creativity with us!  

To properly give credit and acknowledge the epic effort by Bruce & Iain to achieve these videos, we’re rolling out the RED CARPET!!!

There will be a WORLD Premiere (RED CARPET EVENT) - cum - Birthday Party here at the Tavern on Sunday, 15 September from 4:00 to 7:00 pm (circa) to showcase the videos which will be played and share some birthday cake with you.  And, who knows perhaps a laugh or two.  EVERYONE WELCOME

PS.  This is NOT a white tie / ball gown affair.  There is no dress code. Just come as you are.  Bruce & Iain will be on hand to answer questions and sign autographs!

Cheers to the next 20 years!

Special Thanks, to the Beatles for the lovely music too, of course.

ICONIC T’ALES: Tavern’s 20th Anniversary Beer Festival 17 to 19 MAY

It’s our 20th Anniversary this year.  In terms of British pub history, we would like to remind you that we are still 20 YEARS YOUNG (in pub years).  

You could say that we fell in love with a “pint pot” when the front door of the pub opened on the 19th of MAY 1999.  20 years later, we’re still in love with a pint pot and the traditions of British pubs.

Our May Beer Festival starts on Friday 17th May when we open at 4 pm and carries on until Sunday, 19th May.

This year for our annual spring beer festival we wanted to pick a theme capturing our 20 year experience serving British ales.  Perhaps, with some nostalgia, some reminiscing and definitely with an appreciation of the developments and innovation in brewing over the past 20 years.

So, this year ……

The Theme of our Beer Festival is “ICONIC T’ALES” 

The festival will feature 20 plus Ales that fall into the category of ICONIC.  These are some of the ones that have been part of our 20 year journey in the TAVERN. 

So, what is ICONIC, you might ask?  Well, there will be award winners, ones that you remember when you had your first pint, ones that are still your favourites and ones that you still love at first sip.  Many of our festival ales will be ones that influenced and contributed to the making of the modern day British brewing scene with its wide range of breweries brewing ales of exceptional quality and diversity.  We’re aiming for some ‘CRACKING PINTS”.

So, are we looking at things through rose tinted glasses and things really aren’t as you remembered them, you might ask?  Only you’ll be able to answer that question by sampling our festival ales.  We hope you’ll be able to join us and let us know your thoughts and what your taste buds say.

More importantly, we’d like you to continue to let us know what you consider your personal iconic beers to be.  And, for the remainder of our birthday year, we’re aiming to source and serve those ICOINIC pints you love from days gone by or from the vibrant modern day brewing scene.  So, send us a tweet, an email or have a word with us when you’re in the pub.  We’re planning to continue pouring cracking pints, before, during and after the Beer Festival.

The Festival Beer List will be available closer to the time of the Festival.

Old Cross Tavern ‘20 Years Young’ Awarded Bronze

The Old Cross Tavern is in the TOP THREE --- something we’re very proud to announce.  

Out of close to 300 pubs in the South Herts CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) branch area - the Old Cross Tavern was awarded BRONZE in South Herts CAMRA’s pub of the year competition for 2019.

It is our 20th anniversary this year (2019). 20 years YOUNG we are (in pub years that is!).  It is also our 11th South Herts CAMRA Award in these 20 years.

  • GOLD: South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year

1999, 2000 (joint winner), 2008, 2011, 2018

  • SILVER: South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year

2004, 2005, 2010

  • BRONZE:  South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year

2012, 2017, 2019

Thanks, so much, to all who have made their way to the TAVERN since we opened our front door in 1999.  A pub is simply not a pub without people and what you bring to it.  You can have the premises, great beer, and a great location but without the people who come to the pub, it is not a pub.  You are the personality and heart of this pub.  You are what makes this a vibrant community pub.    Everyone here has done an admirable job!


We're really proud to announce that we made the final three of this year’s Hertfordshire Food & Drink Awards, in the Pub Category. This competition covers the whole of the county so to make the last stage is absolutely flattering.  We attended the awards ceremony which was held at The Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green where there was lots of friendly chat, inspiration and sunshine.  We'd like to thank the competition organisers for considering us and of course all of our customers for helping us to keep pushing the pub on to new heights.

South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year 2018

A special announcement: South Herts CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) awarded the Old Cross Tavern ‘Pub of the Year 2018’ 

A very special thank you to all for contributing to the “Spirit of a Community Pub!” in the Old Cross Tavern.  The Old Cross Tavern Team get FIVE GOLD STARS for their work front of house, behind the scenes, and in particular in our real ale cellar, it is as simple as because of them the Old Cross Tavern is Pub of Year 2018, South Herts CAMRA.

We would like to thank South Herts CAMRA for the recognition that comes with this award and for their long standing campaign efforts and also for excellent communication, especially at the local level and in the pub.  It is very motivating for all on the Old Cross Tavern team to have received the appreciation that comes with this award.

Since the Old Cross Tavern opened its doors in May 1999, it is now a 5 times winner of South Herts CAMRA Pub of the Year (1999, 2000 - joint winner, 2008, 2011, 2018).  And, in the 19 years trading, it has appeared 10 times in the top three of this award.

Charity Fund Raising

Fund raising for the Breast Cancer Now Charity (our nominated charity) is ongoing. To date, from April 2014 to December 2018 a total of £10,802 has been raised during beer festivals and the ‘Something for Everyone” 2014 charity auction plus pub quizzes, raffles & collection boxes including contributions from the Old Cross Tavern. A very special thank you to our customers, suppliers and local businesses for their generous support and sponsorship of the fund raising activities.

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