Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Top Norfolk beer for 2014 named

For the fourth year in a row the Grain Brewery from South Norfolk has been hailed as the brewers of the Champion Beer of Norfolk.

Grain India Pale Ale (IPA), a 6.5% strong bitter, found favour with the trained tasters of the Norwich and Norfolk Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Taste Panel.

Described in the Good Beer Guide as “Powerful, complex, and rich with malt and hops vying with tropical fruit and bitterness for dominance”, the brew scored highest of the 50 brews tasted by the panel. It also claimed the Strong Bitter award.

Taste panel chair Alan Edwards explained “We are charged with tasting, recording, and commenting on as many beers as possible. Norfolk beers are our main priority but, with more than 30 Norfolk breweries, it is an awesome task. Over individual 500 taste cards were completed by the panel last year.

"More than 300 of them were for Norfolk brews with 50 beers, from 16 breweries, being covered. To emerge as the winner shows the true quality of the beer.”

Grain Brewery was launched in 2006 by Geoff Wright and Phil Halls at premises in Alburgh near Harleston. Selling cask and bottle conditioned beers, in 2010 it opened its first pub, The Plough in St Benedict’s Street, Norwich.

Six local breweries are award winners in 2014. The Norwich based Fat Cat Brewery claimed the Bitter award with its Bitter Ale.  Norfolk’s largest brewery, Woodforde’s, claimed the Best Bitter and Old Ale categories with Nelson's Revenge and Norfolk Nog respectively.

Attleborough based Wolf Brewery’s Golden Jackal won the Golden Ale category. The Speciality category was topped by Honey Ale from the Reepham based Panther Brewery.

Another Norwich brewery, Winter’s, takes the stout award for the third time in six years with its aptly named Geniuss.

The awards will be presented at the trade session of the 2014 Norwich Beer Festival in October.

Champion -- Grain, Alburgh: IPA
Category winners
Bitter -- Fat Cat, Norwich: Bitter
Best Bitter -- Woodforde’s, Woodbastwick: Nelson's Revenge
Strong Bitter -- Grain, Alburgh: IPA          
Golden Ale -- Wolf, Besthorpe: Golden Jackal
Speciality Beer -- Panther, Reepham: Honey Ale
Old Ale -- Woodforde’s, Woodbastwick: Norfolk Nog
Stout -- Winter’s, Norwich: Geniuss