Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Hop In, North Walsham, is our Branch Pub of the Year 2020

The Hop In, North Walsham, is Norwich & District CAMRA’s Branch Pub of the Year 2020.

Congratulations to Jane Edrupt, Nigel Davies, Richard Cornwall and Sue Squires and their team on winning the overall Branch Pub of the Year for 2020!

Not only have the Hop In won Branch Pub of the Year 2020 but are also winners of Branch Rural Pub of the Year 2020.  The award was presented at the pub on Friday 18 September.

A jewel in the crown for North Walsham, The Hop In is a valued welcome to the local community and visitors of the market town. One of the best local transformations, this rare Norfolk micro pub offers a relaxed, friendly place to enjoy a good range of real ales on gravity, bottled and foreign beers and real ciders.

Richard and Sue decided to take early retirement in July 2020 and now Nigel and Jane are the co-owners of the pub. They are pleased to be joined by Julie and Adrian Hillier in keeping the Hop In going during these difficult times.

To allow for Covid restrictions, seating in the pub is restricted and there is additional seating outside and take-aways are also popular.

Richard Cornwall, previous joint owner of the Hop In, said: ‘I just want to thank all our customers for their valued support. We are very pleased that the business has been so successful and that we have been able to provide a venue in North Walsham for real ale drinkers. It has been a big team effort and we have been helped by local breweries supplying a great choice of ales.’

WhatPub entry for the Hop In.

More winners!

Branch City Pub of the Year 2020 has been scooped up by the ever-popular Fat Cat in Norwich.

The Fat Cat have twice won CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year and with 30+ real ales served all year round, it is little-surprising the Fat Cat has won Norwich’s City Pub of the Year! They also serve food and some of the most interesting lagers, craft ales, traditional perries and ciders.  

With additional seating outside now also extended to outside the Fat Percy, up the road from The Fat Cat, there is plenty of room to socially distance and enjoy something from their traditional real ale emporium.

WhatPub entry for the Fat Cat.

The White Lion is Branch Cider Pub of the Year 2020.

Many-times the winner of this accolade, the White Lion continues to be the trail blazer, offering the best cider and perries in the city, although, partly thanks to others following the trail over the past eight years, the pub won't be able to rest on its laurels!

Congratulations to landlord Oscar Gerdes, former landlord of The Garden House, who took over the popular pub from Russell Corke in early 2019. 

WhatPub entry for the White Lion.

Second ever Branch Club of the Year 2020 won by the Carleton Rode Social Club.

In the second year of this new branch competition, judged by Clubs Officer and a small judging panel, the Carleton Rode Social Club has beaten all local pubs to be awarded Branch Club of the Year 2020!

‘The whole team at Carleton Rode Social Club are incredibly proud of this achievement, to have our volunteer efforts be recognised by such a prestigious body is wonderful. Credit must also be given to the great local breweries who have helped us supply great real ales so well’.

Offering real ales and affordable drinks, congratulations go to the team, and the supporting community, on their win.

Now with protective screens and distanced tables both indoors and outdoors, the club is continuing to offer a full calendar of social events for all the family – with free membership being offered until May 2020!

WhatPub entry for the Carleton Rode Social Club.

Ian Stamp, Norwich & District CAMRA’s Pub Campaigns Co-ordinator, said: ‘Congratulations to the Hop In on their first Pub of the Year award, and to the Fat Cat, White Lion and Carleton Rode.

‘As always, the competition was very tough, as there are so many excellent pubs in the branch area. Thank you to all the CAMRA members who scored the pubs’.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Champion Cask Ale of Norfolk 2020

Red Mill, a 4.3% Best Bitter from the Reedham based Humpty Dumpty Brewery, has been named the top Norfolk brewed cask ale by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). 

The beer is described in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide as ‘Full bodied, robust and fruity.  Coffee, dark fruits and caramel vie for dominance against a malty bitter base.  Powerful rich ending.’

Humpty Dumpty also scooped second place with their Swallowtail, a 4.0% Bitter with a ‘marmalade and biscuit beginning enhanced by grainy bitter notes’.

Blimey Brewery from Norwich took third place with Eleven, ‘an orangey, citrus tasting Golden Ale’.

A year long programme of tasting carried out by the Norfolk Taste Panel saw the winner emerge from a field of over 350 locally brewed beers.

Panel chair Alan Edwards commented: “As can be seen from the list of winners we have a lot of good breweries in Norfolk with thirteen, from all parts of the county, gaining awards. We hope these awards will encourage pubs to stock local brews and drinkers to seek them out.

“We need to do all we can to support local pubs and breweries.  The panel will now continue judging as we look forward to naming a winner in 2021”.

The scores are not only used to judge the Champion Beers of Norfolk, they also contribute to the selection of the East Anglian and Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) competitions.

2020 Category Winners:

1st: Red Mill, Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham
Runner Up: Swallowtail, Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham
3rd: Eleven, Blimey Brewery, Norwich

Mild Ales
1st: Mild, Winter’s Brewery, Norwich
Runner Up: Mardlers Mild, Woodforde’s Brewery, Woodbastwick

1st: Swallowtail, Humpty Dumpty, Reedham
Runner Up: Norwich Bitter, Fat Cat Brewery, Norwich
3rd: Affinity, Lacons Brewery, Great Yarmouth

Best Bitter
1st: Red Mill, Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham
Runner Up: Nelsons, Woodforde’s Brewery, Woodbastwick
3rd: Sirius Dog Star, Wolf Brewery, Besthorpe

Golden Ale
1st: Eleven, Blimey Brewery, Norwich
Runner Up: Evolution APA, Winter’s Brewery, Norwich
3rd: ThreeOneSix, Grain Brewery, Alburgh

Strong Mild
1st: Jubilee Mild, Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham

1st: Black Anna, Chalk Hill Brewery, Norwich
Runner Up: Darkest Hour, S&P Brewery, Horsford
3rd: Milk Stout, Fat Cat Brewery, Norwich

1st: Prasto’s Porter, Boudicca Brewery, West Barsham
Runner Up: Tombland Porter St Andrews Brewhouse, Norwich
3rd: Slate, Grain Brewery, Alburgh


Friday, 26 June 2020

Local Pubs – their views on re-opening

[This press release was produced before the reopening date of July 4th was announced]

Whilst a date for the reopening of pubs continues to be debated, along with safety measures and financial support; CAMRA Norwich & District’s recent survey reveals the views of local publicans.

Finance and staff pay is clearly a big issue for pub owners and operators.  Just over half of respondents reported a deferral, reduction or cancellation of rent during this period, which is extremely positive and a proportion who reported no reductions included non-rent payers.

Over 80% have invested personal funds to support them through this period, with one in five reporting an increase in loans.   One in ten reported raising funds innovatively, for example using a crowdfunding scheme. 

The vast majority, nearly 90%, of respondents reported that ongoing Government support would be extremely important to their pub’s survival.

The survey also asked what measures would be most popular for pubs?  The most popular measure for ease of implementation would be a 1m (3ft) distance between tables, however other respondents reported this to be impossible or difficult to operate and over 60% reported this to have a likely large negative effect on turnover.

Only just over 15% claimed a 2m (6ft) distance would be easy to implement, with over 37% claiming this to be impossible and a similar response was given to proposed screens or partitions between tables.

A cover or minimum charge proved unpopular or impossible to operate and pre-booked tables or a seated table service also proved unpopular due to its likely effect on income.  Of precautions such as temperature check, bar screens or imposing time/drink limits, the screen option was most popular. 

Sadly over 74% reported that reasonable restrictions would likely have 50% or more of an impact on their turnover figures.

One mentioned, ‘We all need to ensure people have confidence in returning to pubs, so all publicans should act responsibly and show the public they are doing what they can to keep safe.’ This is a view shared by other publicans; along with the view that pubs need publicity of any measures, to raise consumer confidence.

Ian Stamp, Chair of Norwich & District CAMRA, offered this comment ‘Publicans are being realistic about measures for reopening, with many able to use or access outdoor areas to increase capacity whilst allowing distancing measures.

‘However, each pub is individual with different challenges, so it is difficult to find a shared view, however we hope these results have given better insight into the views of those at the sharp end of the re-opening debate.’

Positively, the majority of those who responded are offering take-out services, with over 62% offering takeout drinks and over 33% offering takeout food, with some offering deliveries too.

However, Ian Stamp explained this may be misleading as those offering a service currently are also more likely to have responded, though notes many pubs locally have made this positive move.

Ian mentioned it is encouraging that even more wish to operate take-out food services in the future, though fewer anticipate continuing with their beer take-out service after re-opening.

Just under half of pub respondents are using the Brew2You service, though this figure also included those not offering a take-out service.

Customers can receive updated information on take-out options and individual pub re-opening news at whatpub.com which is updated by thousands of CAMRA volunteers and focuses on real ale pubs.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Norfolk Nips is CAMRA magazine of the year 2020

Norwich & District CAMRA are delighted to announce that Norfolk Nips, the branch magazine of the Norfolk branches of CAMRA, has been named Magazine of the Year in the annual national CAMRA magazine awards. It also came second in the Most Improved category, a real credit to the changes we've made since the start of last year.

Congratulations to the Editor, Lucy Cousins, who took over just over a year ago, said: "Since joining as editor, my aim has been to make Norfolk Nips engaging and relevant to all pub goers in Norfolk (and beyond) with great visual appeal and excellent written content.

"These awards are fantastic recognition of how far we've come and a perfect springboard to make Norfolk Nips even better!

"So, here's a big Thank You to all our regular contributors, advertisers and everyone else who has helped with Norfolk Nips over the past year!"

The awards are open to all 200+ CAMRA branches in the UK, with entries judged by a panel, and the winners usually announced at the Members Weekend & AGM in early April. Even though there's no awards event this year, we're still hoping to celebrate this fantastic win as soon as the pubs reopen!

Norfolk Nips is created by hard-working CAMRA volunteers, published by Shilling Lane Media, and funded through advertising from pubs, breweries and other local businesses. Around 12,000 copies are distributed to pubs across Norfolk four times a year by volunteers, but can also be downloaded from our website, or read online at Issu.com

Current and previous issues of Norfolk Nips can be found here.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Champion Bottled Beer of Norfolk 2020

Terra Firma, a strong Barley Wine brewed by the Snetterton based Elmtree Brewery, has been named the Champion Bottled Beer Of Norfolk 2020 by the local branches of The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA). 

The 7.8% beer, described by the judges as ‘Rich, well balanced and complex with a dark fruit base’ was given the accolade after a yearlong series of tastings by members of the local Taste Panel.

Panel chair Alan Edwards explained, “Real ale in a bottle is a way to explore the many traditional beers in the comfort of your own home.  The purpose of the competition is to promote awareness of this option and enable drinkers to seek out the quality beers available.”

Many of Norfolk’s 46 breweries produce Real Ale In A Bottle (RAIB).  All were invited to enter the competition.  Eleven breweries submitted 49 beers for judging by members of the Campaign.

Alan went on to add “The judges were very impressed by the quality and variety of the beers submitted.  We have some excellent breweries in the county and it is certainly worthwhile seeking out their beers.  With a plethora of styles and tastes there is a beer out there to suit everyone’s palate.”

The runner up was Lignum Vitae, a strong IPA type bitter brewed by the Grain Brewery from Alburgh.  This beer was described as ‘Solidly hoppy with a definite marmalade bias’.

Elmtree also claimed third place with their porter, Winter Solstice, brewed with added vanilla and cinnamon.

All the award winners:

Overall Champions
1st Terra Firma, Elmtree Brewery, Snetterton; Runner up Lignum Vitae, Grain Brewery, Alburgh; 3rd Winter Solstice, Elmtree Brewery

Mild, Brown Ale, Old Ale
1st Christmas Crack, Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Reedham; Runner up Chocolate Nutter, Why Not Brewery, Thorpe St Andrew

1st Branch Line Bitter, Humpty Dumpty Brewery; Runner up Red Panther, Panther Brewery

Strong Bitter
1st Lignum Vitae, Grain Brewery; Runner up Cheltenham Flyer, Humpty Dumpty Brewery

Golden Ale
1st Tom Cat, Fat Cat Brewery, Norwich; Runner up American Pale Ale, Panther Brewery

Barley Wine
1st Terra Firma, Elmtree Brewery

1st Coffee Cream Stout, Fat Cat Brewery

1st Humpty Dumpty Porter, Humpty Dumpty Brewery; Runner up Prasto's Porter, Boudicca Brewery, West Barsham

1st Winter Solstice, Elmtree Brewery; Runner up Weizen, Grain Brewery

1st Empire Slate, Grain Brewery

Monday, 16 September 2019

CAMRA Norwich Beer Festival 2019

Norwich  Norfolk CAMRA’s 42nd Norwich Beer Festival opens on Monday 21st October and runs through to Saturday 26th October 2019.
So, what are the top things to know about the festival?
The festival takes place in St Andrew’s Hall in the heart of Norwich, with beers of every shade and style.
In the adjoining Blackfriars Hall are local beers and hot food and in the downstairs Marquee are world beers, including Belgium fruit and Trappist beers along side alcohol-free, vegan, KeyKeg and gluten-free beers and lager.
There is a dedicated cider and perry bar, graded from sweet to the very dry.
There’s hot food and live music from local bands performing in St Andrew’s Hall, with music-free sessions Tuesday evening and Wednesday lunchtime.
The free programme gives a complete beer listing and details of tutored tastings, plus a live beer list is updated throughout the festival from the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA website – where you can even vote for your favourites (last year’s overall winner was People's Brewery, Thurlton Gold).
The festival kicks off on Monday 21st with a CAMRA Members preview at 4.30pm, then is open to everyone from 5.30pm until 11pm. Lunchtime sessions start at 11.30pm and evening sessions continue to run from 5.30pm until 11pm.
Saturday is fun day, with the festival open all day – you can walk straight in between from 11.30am until 9.30pm and pay on the door (or buy advance tickets if coming in a group – optional space-themed fancy dress!).
Advance tickets are only available until 28th September and entrance is free to CAMRA members (those joining during the festival are promised some free beer!).
On entrance to the Halls, visitors may purchase a festival glass and beer cards (the bars are cash-free), and remaining beer card tokens may be returned or donated to our chosen charity, Nansa – empowering people with disabilities in Norwich and Norfolk.
So, what’s new in 2019? The Curiosity bar, featuring special beers, entirely new to the festival, is returning for its 2nd year and is doubling in size, now with over 80 exciting cask beers! There will also be a traditional wooden cask section, fondly known as ‘Woody Bay’.
The World Beer Bar will feature beer sommelier selected USA beers and beers aged in Tequila! There is also an increase in the number of gluten-free and vegan cask beers this year (displayed on the beer labels).
Visitors this year are encouraged to wear fancy dress and join in with our ‘Where’s Wally Wednesdays’, ‘It’s all about Hats, Thursdays’, ‘Fraulein Fridays’ and this year’s Saturday theme, as it’s the 42nd year, is ‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and all things space’.
Craig Harmer, Beer Festival Organiser, has this advice: "Advance tickets are only available until 28th September, so be quick. Entry is never more than five pounds or one pound most lunchtimes!
"Students enter for free Tuesdays and Wednesdays and CAMRA members’ entrance is free, or join and get free beer at the festival! We offer something for everyone, from quiet evenings to our party music nights and Saturday fun day.
"With 400-500 drinks to try, very few people leave Norwich Beer Festival without having discovered a new favourite!"
The festival is attended every year by tens of thousands and each year numbers grow. Some people have commented that the festival is so successful it attracts long queues. To this Martin Ward, committee member, replied: "Gone are the days of waiting for a long time in a queue. We now have a fast-track queue system and everyone is surprised how quickly they enter the Halls and are able to purchase their glass and tokens, even on the busier Friday and Thursday."
Discover more about the history of Norwich Beer Festival in a book on sale at the festival to commemorate the first 40 years, titled ‘A Hazy History of the Beer Festival’.
The programme and festival souvenir glass this year features a magnificent red dragon perched on top of Norwich Castle, designed by Hazel Thacker. The competition to design the logo for the 2020 beer festival opens immediately after this year’s festival ends.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

The Leopard, Norwich, is Branch Pub of the Year 2019

Congratulations to Bob Utting, Michelle Elden and their team on winning the overall Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year for 2019!

The Leopard is a fantastic community pub, which has been totally transformed since Bob bought it from Bateman's back in 2014.

A complete interior and exterior renovation changed a somewhat run-down back-street boozer into a light and bright, friendly pub, with something for everyone - a great range of real ales and ciders, of course, mostly from local breweries, but also quality keg beers, including a changing craft keg beer run through an old Watney's font! The Leopard is also our City Pub of the Year.

The award will be presented at the pub on Friday April 12th at around 8pm - please join us to celebrate!

Branch Rural Pub of the Year 2019 goes to the Green Dragon at Wymondham.

The Green Dragon has regained its crown as Rural Pub of the Year. An ancient inn, dating back to the 14th century, in the shadow of Wymondham's famous Abbey, the pub features a great range of five mostly local real ales, as well as excellent food and two fantastic beer festivals every year, in May and August, offering over 60 different beers.

The White Lion, Norwich, is Branch Cider Pub of the Year 2019.

A many-times winner of this accolade, the White Lion continues to be the best cider and perry pub in the city, although, partly thanks to others following the trail it has blazed over the past seven years, it won't be able to rest on its laurels! Congratulations to Russell Corke for the win - new landlord Oscar Gerdes now takes the pub into the next round.

First ever Branch Club of the Year 2019 won by the Bob Carter Leisure Centre, Drayton.

In a close-run competition, judged by our Clubs Officer and a small judging panel, the Bob Carter Centre came out as the very first Branch Club of the Year. The club, a short walk from the centre of Drayton, allows entry to card-carrying CAMRA members, and has up to six excellent local ales available. Congratulations to the management on their win!

Congratulations to the runners-up in all categories, who in every case were only fractions of a point away from the winner!

Second place in the overall Branch Pub of the Year, and City Pub of the Year, was taken by a previous winner, the Kings Head, in Magdalen St, Norwich. With a rapidly changing list of up to a dozen real ales, many local but also from selected breweries around the country, the Kings Head is no stranger to real ale lovers in the area!

The Norfolk Lurcher, formerly the Ugly Bug Inn, at Colton, and last year's winner, was the runner up in the Rural Pub of the Year, with a selection of excellent-value local real ales, and great food.

The Cider Pub of the Year runner-up was the Vine, where Aey stocks a good range of real ciders alongside three or four real ales.

And last but not least, the runner-up in the Club of the Year is the Haig Club, which is a focal point of Mundesley’s social scene, attracting members of all ages who can enjoy live bands, darts, snooker, sea views and, of course, excellent ales!