Monday, 2 November 2009

Old Chimneys win 'Beer Of The Festival' award

The winner of the Gold award in the 'Beer Of The Festival' public voting at the 32nd Norwich Beer Festival was Old Chimneys Red Clover, a 6.0% ABV blended old ale spiced with cloves. Old Chimneys Brewery is based at Market Weston, in North Suffolk.

Silver went to Mauldons Black Adder, a 5.3% dark bitter stout which was aged in oak casks for the festival, and Bronze went to Winter's Golden, a 4.1% hoppy golden ale from Norwich's own Winter's Brewery.

Category winners were:

Mild – Gold: Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild (6.0% ABV); Silver: Beeston The Squirrels Nuts (3.5%); Bronze: Waveney Brewery East Coast Mild (3.9%).

Bitter – Gold: Elmtree Burston Cuckoo (3.8%); Silver: West Berkshire Old Father Thames (3.4%); Bronze: Grain Oak (3.8%).

Best Bitter – Gold: Waveney Brewing Welterweight (4.2%); Silver: Harviestoun Hoptober Fest (4.0%); Bronze: Woodforde's Tinseltoes (4.4%).

Strong Bitter – Gold: Fat Cat Wild Cat (5.0%); Silver: Oak Attila (7.5%); Bronze: Green Jack Ripper (8.5%).

Old, Stout & Porter – Gold: Mauldons Black Adder (5.3%); Silver: Downton Chocolate Orange Delight (5.8%); Bronze: Humpty Dumpty Reedham Porter (5.4%).

Speciality – Gold: Old Chimneys Red Clover (6.0%); Silver: Whitstable Raspberry Wheat (5.2%); Bronze: Opa Hay Wheat (4.2%).

Golden Beers – Gold: Winter's Golden (4.1%); Silver: Hornbeam Lemon Blossom (3.7%); Bronze: Crouch Vale Amarillo (5.0%).

Cider – Rich's Legbender.

Perry – Hecks Blakeny Red SV Perry.

Foreign Beer – Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Banham Barrel is East Anglian Cider Pub of the Year

The Barrel, in Banham, has won CAMRA's East Anglian Cider Pub of The Year 2009.

This is not the first time it has taken this honour.The Barrel was opened by Jonty Wright and Wendy Foster over four years ago, and they have supported real cider right from the start.

Jonty serves two of his own ciders (Early Night and Rum Ol' Night), as well as ciders from another local cider maker Robbie Crone. Both of Jonty's ciders are made with apples from two local orchards, and both are easy drinking, with the Rum Ol' Night being matured in a rum cask.

They can be found at several local and national CAMRA Beer and Cider festivals. There is plenty of music and other events held at the pub.

Jonty said: "Wendy and I are delighted that this award has returned to Banham, as Banham is the historic home of East Anglia Cider. This we also hope shows that a traditional family run pub is still valued in the community."

Chris Rouse, CAMRA’s Regional Cider Co-ordinator for East Anglia said: "The Barrel is a fantastic and fascinating pub, it's great to spend some time guessing what the various bits of old cider making and farm equipment are for."

Pubs throughout East Anglia that sell real cider or perry were nominated by CAMRA members to be entered into its national Cider Pub of The Year competition, the first round of which is the Regional Cider Pub of The Year competition.

Visit Banham Barrel's website.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Winter's Mild is Champion Beer of Norfolk

Winters Mild, a traditional Norfolk style brew, has been named as the county’s top beer by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

The beer is brewed in Norwich by David Winter who runs his small Winter’s Brewery single handed.

Alan Edwards, chairman of the Norfolk Taste Panel, explained: “The members of the panel were united in their enthusiasm for this beer and their scores reflected this.

“Comments included: ‘An excellent example of a classic British mild’, ‘a strong flavoured full bodied mild’, and ‘classic nutty mild with lashings of roast softened by a sweet hoppy dryness’.”

Although mild ales suffer from am image problem this shouldn’t stop anyone trying them. This beer has something for everyone, a range of flavours that will please most discerning drinkers.”

David Winter was delighted at the news and said: “This is tremendous news and will give the brewery a substantial boost.”

The champion mild, along with the other class winners listed below, will now go forward to the Champion Beer of East Anglia finals.

These will be held later in the year and pit the Norfolk winners against their counterparts from Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, and Bedfordshire.

Alan Edwards added: “This is a good example of a beer from a brewery that produces quality products but does not have the exposure it deserves.

"Norfolk has around 30 breweries; all of which struggle to find outlets for their beers as the number of pubs declines and those remaining are often tied to deals with the major brewers.

He continued: "We need to seek out and buy our locally brewed beers just as much as we need to ensure the survival of our local pubs. What could be greener than drinking local beer in a local pub?”

Champion Beer of Norfolk class winners:
Champion Beer - Winter’s Mild
Mild - Winter’s Mild
Bitter - Spectrum Light Fantastic
Best Bitter - Grain Best Bitter
Strong Bitter - Beeston On The Huh
Golden Ale - Wolf Golden Jackal
Speciality - Fat Cat Honey Cat
Old Ale - Spectrum Old Stoatwobbler
Porter - Woodforde’s Norfolk Nog
Stout - Winter’s Genius
Barley Wine - Spectrum Trip Hazard
Bottled Ale - Tipples Topper

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Norfolk Pub Of The Year announced

The Norwich & Norfolk and West Norfolk branches of the Campaign For Real Ale are proud to announce that the Norfolk pub of the year is the Artichoke, at Broome.

It's difficult running a pub in these testing times, with pub closures happening nearly every day round the country. However to be crowned Norfolk pub pub of the year has to be some achievement, but to John Craft it's the second time around for him.

After successfully running the King's Arms, in Hall Road, Norwich, for a number of years, John now is the landlord at the Artichoke, in Broome, and just gone and done it again.

After a closely fought contest between the Union Jack at Roydon (near King's Lynn), the Artichoke emerged as the winner.

John Craft, upon hearing the news, was very surprised: "I didn't think in a million years that I would get so far in the competition".

Graham Freeman, N&N CAMRA branch chairman, was delighted: "It only goes to show that if you run a pub well, get the basics right, good beer, excellent hospitality, the pub will thrive, especially in these tough economic times".

Andrea Briers, Competition Organiser, offered her congratulations to John: "Both pubs in this year's competition are excellent examples of thriving village pubs serving the local community, which gave a closely contested competition.

"For any pub to get this far is quite an achievement, I wish them well in the next stage of the competition".

The Artichoke, will now go on to feature in the next phase, where it will go up against other county winners from the likes of Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and others around the region.

The pub is open from 12-11 (not Mon), and is situated just off the A143 on the old Yarmouth road that runs through the village.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Norwich Beer Festival logo unveiled

Norwich & Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale unveil the winning logo for the 32nd Norwich Beer Festival. As usual the entries were of a universally high standard.

With a large number of entries to choose from, the judging process went on slightly longer than it usually does as members debated the merits of the designs. Eventually, after whittling the entries down to a final three, Paul Minns' design of a dragon overlooking the Norwich skyline came through.

Paul, who lives in Norwich, was astounded after hearing that he had won the competition, "I spent a lot of hours over the Christmas holiday, drawing and re-drawing, trying different colour combinations. To be honest, I never thought that I could win: this is the first time I have entered the competition".

Martin Ward, Festival Organiser, commented, "I think this is an excellent design, with a dragon that seems to be protecting the city from adversaries". He further said "It highlights both elegance and simplicity, and I'm sure it will be popular with our customers".

Paul will receive a winner's cheque for £100, plus a selection of festival merchandise for his efforts and is very much looking forward to the event.

Although planning is at an early stage, as in previous years, we aim to provide an exceptional range of quality real ales and ciders from not only Norfolk, but other outstanding breweries around the country.

This year's beer festival runs from Monday 26th to Saturday 31st October at its usual venue of St Andrew's & Blackfriars' Halls, Norwich.

For further information about the festival, please see our web page at

Monday, 13 April 2009

This year's Branch Committee

This year's branch Annual General Meeting saw considerable changes to the make-up of the committee.

Our new Chairman is Graham Freeman (pictured), who has served as secretary for the last few years. He replaces Des O'Brien, who leaves the committee after several years at the helm.

Graham is also continuing in his position as Branch Contact.

The Vice-Chair post remains in the hands of Martin Ward, who also continues as organiser of the Norwich Beer Festival.

Our new Secretary is Carolyn Jones, who has been on the committee for several years.

Tim MacDonald continues as our Social Secretary, organising meetings and trips through the year.

Chris Thomas replaces Duncan Ward as our treasurer.

The Pubs Officer role continues in the hands of Warren Wordsworth, who also co-ordinates surveys for the Good Beer Guide, amongst other duties.

Rob Derbridge continues as Membership Officer.

Dave Cleverley continues to support Warren in the role of Deputy Pubs Officer and we welcome four new members to the committee this year: Martin Hicks, Antony Miles, Helen Miles and Mark Stimpson.

There are also several un-elected branch positions, answering to the committee:

Production of our branch newsletter, "Norfolk Nips" (which amalgamated with West Norfolk Branch's "Cask Force" this year), remains in the hands of editor Andrea Kirkby.

The branch's online resources (website, calendar, mailing list, etc.) are still handled by Adrian Hennessy.

And the Beer Tasting Panel is co-ordinated by Alan Edwards.

Current committee contact details can be found on the branch website.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Real Ale Walks in Norfolk published

The Norwich and Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale is proud to launch "Real Ale Walks in Norfolk" at the Forum, Norwich, on Wednesday 8th April 2009 from 9am to 5pm.

Real Ale Walks is 128 page book that has been several years in the making, with support from branch members across the county. It documents the history of not just the pubs and
quality ales sold, but many interesting facets of local history surrounding these fine establishments.

Warren Wordsworth, Branch Pubs Officer and compiler of the guide, started out with a few ideas in late 2003. Eventually producing six walks centred around Norwich for sale as a information pack of leaflets at the 27th Norwich Beer festival in 2004.

Warrent commented: "These were quite well received by festival attendees, and encouraged myself to enlarge the project to cover more of Norfolk". With support from the branch committee, a draft was produced in 2007, but by that time, many of the walks had be revised to account for changes in the industry.

Newly elected Branch Chair, Graham Freeman comments that "Warren has done a superb job with the book, and hopes that this will encourage people to get out and about to visit not only their local, but travel slightly further afield to visit some of Norfolk's fascinating pubs and enjoy a good pint".

The book is produced in full colour, with many photographs of the pubs themselves, local landmarks, and comes with extensive notes about the buildings, their history and ranges of

The book is now on sale in Jarrolds Book Dept, Norwich, priced at £5.99.

Copies can also be obtained by mail order, price £6.95 including postage and packing (CAMRA members £5.95, quoting membership number). Please send cheques made payable to "N & N CAMRA" to Pub Walks Guide C/O 16 Grove Avenue, Norwich, NR1 2QD.

We are staging the official launch of this book at The Forum (Norwich Library) this coming Wednesday, 8th April, 9am-5pm. If you are in central Norwich on Wednesday please drop in and pay us a visit where you will be made very welcome.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Branch Pub Of The Year

The Norwich and Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale is proud to announce that their branch pub of the year is the Artichoke at Broome.

The Artichoke is situated in the Waveney valley, a stone's throw from the Suffolk border, in the small village of Broome.

Originally home to the long gone Crowfoot brewery, the Artichoke is now run by John and Nikki Craft who are no strangers in the licensed trade, having run the St. Andrews Tavern and King's Arms in Norwich.

John and Nikki were flabbergasted on hearing that they had won: "In these difficult times, it's nice to see a country pub has been given the award. We are very pleased, especially with the current economic climate, that CAMRA has recognised the hard work that goes into running this pub".

Warren Wordsworth, Branch Pubs Officer, stated that the Artichoke was a fantastic example of a rural pub, that offered good hospitality, superb beer and a quality atmosphere.

The pub has flagstone and wood floors, wooden settles and a real fire, which enhances the rural ambience of a pint from a choice of up to eight predominately local ales. Home cooked food is also served in a separate dining area.

The pub is open from 12-11 (not Mon), and is situated just off the A143 on the old Yarmouth road that runs through the village.

Des O'Brien, Branch Chairman, commented that a pub that offers so much deserved to win: " A community local, that is well patronised, well run, and serves a cracking pint. It is a good example of old fashioned values that pay a dividend in the long run".

The pub will now go on to the county competition, where it will be judged against the winner of West Norfolk CAMRA's Pub of the Year.