The roots of the Oxford University Real Ale Society lie hidden, shrouded in the mists of time. We know that Richard Naisby, now running the Milton Brewery, was in charge of an OU Beer Society once upon a time, but by the 21st century little trace of this once-great group remained.
In 2006, Richard Hargreaves and Rick Padfield decided that something needed to be done. Flicking a coin to choose who would be President and who Secretary (Richard won), they recruited a founding committee (Ori Bowen and Mike Bedington), and started the long process of making the Society official with the university.
A first constitution, which conferred “Respected Member” status on Society members with beards or bellies of over a specified dimension, was rejected by the Proctors as being, “Alas, not suitable for a legal document”, and paying insufficient regard to the alleged inherent dangers of drinking ale. A second constitution, with far fewer features of interests and a considerably beefed up risk assessment, was submitted in May 2007, and accepted. OURAS was born.
Four years later, and the Society has gone from strength to strength. In this time, we have visited many pubs, beer festivals and breweries, and put on loads of our own special events, such as punting, croquet and pub walks. We have also become affiliated with CAMRA, and can offer our members a discounted membership to them.
There is every sign that OURAS will continue to prosper in the capable hands of our current committee, introducing ever more Oxford students to the delights that a good pint of ale can bring.