Thursday, 27 December 2012

Logo needed for 2013 Norwich Beer Festival

Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA's thoughts have now turned to preparing for the 36th Norwich Beer Festival, which will take place from Monday 28th  October 2013.

The first task is to get a logo for the festival, which forms one of the prime marketing tools for the festival.

Martin Ward, the current festival organiser says: “As in previous years, we expect to receive a large number of entries, with no doubt a fantastic array of ideas, but we always look forward to having a tough decision with big selection to choose from”.

The main winning entry will be judged by the organising committee at the inaugural planning meeting in the New Year and receive £100 plus a selection of goodies at the festival.

The winning under-18 entrant will get a book voucher, plus there will be ten runner-up prizes of complementary festival tickets.

On the back of the paper, or within the email, please specify "Adult" or "Under-18" and include your name, contact details and age (if under-18).

The most important element of the design is that a dragon must be included, but abstract is fine; with a maximum 5 colours (although 4 is preferable), including any black or white parts of the design.

Emailed entries should be in a computer readable format (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PDF, Postscript, GIMP, Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw), please. No MS Word document files please.

Entries (one per sheet or email, maximum size A4) can be sent to Logo Competition, 22 Branford Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 4QD or email to Jane at by Monday 18th February 2013 please.

All entries become the property of Norwich & Norfolk Campaign for Real Ale and may be used for display and publicity purposes.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review of the 2012 Norwich Beer Festival

Judging from the feedback we received from customers, volunteers and brewers, the 2012 Norwich Beer Festival can be classed another success.

Comments on the beer and range available have been mostly positive, with the public very happy with the range of styles from light golden beers to the traditional autumnal porters and stouts, with a good variety in between.

Numbers of festival goers did seem slightly down on previous years with around 19,000 people through the door and sales down by around 5%, so perhaps the recession is still biting, however we did also have to compete with two football matches, Hallowe'en and fireworks night.

The tasting sessions were well received again and all the session leaders seem pleased with those attending and their enthusiasm to acquire knowledge on the styles of beer and cider available and insight into how such products are made and where they came from.

The branch's charity, Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NORLSAR), raised their profile through their attendance and also some much needed cash which will be used to purchase essential items to enable the volunteers to perform future searches and rescues.

Through donations of unused tokens, £2,200 was been raised and along with £1,300 cash donated during the week the total has reached a very impressive £3,500.

Paul Webber of NORLSAR says: “The committee will decide how best to allocate the money in January but items we are looking at are team radios, portable weatherproof shelters for the team and personal protection equipment for riverbank searches”.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Pub Survey prize draw presentations and Beer Tax protest

On Wednesday 3rd October, Graham Freeman, Chairman of the Norwich & Norfolk Branch of CAMRA, presented prizes of a barrel of local real ale to the three winning pubs in the summer "UK Capital of Ale Survey" prize draw: the Champion on Chapelfield Road, the White Horse in Trowse and the Cottage on Silver Road.

And, to celebrate Cask Ale Week, which ran from September 28th - October 7th, and to show the massive effects of high beer tax on pub prices, all three publicans agreed to sell the prize beer at the price it would be if UK tax was cut to European levels.

Tax and VAT add over a £1 to the price of every pint and CAMRA believe that thousands of jobs could be saved in the hospitality trade if both were reduced.

The presentation evening started at the Champion pub, where the prize cask was Woodforde’s Wherry was £2.00 a pint, and Chairman Graham Freeman met the pub’s new landlady Annie Golding (picture above).

Later at the White Horse in Trowse, Graham met landlord Andy Colman (pictured below) where their prize was Grain Brewery’s Oak which was on sale at £2.30 per pint.

And finally at the Cottage on Silver Road, Graham joined landlady Sally Mann behind the bar (pictured below) where a pint of Norwich Bear Brewing’s Pooh Bear was being sold at £2.00.

Sally said that, unsurprisingly, the £2 pint was so popular that the cask had nearly run out by the time that ‘Time at the bar’ was called.

Friday, 10 August 2012

White Lion receives East Anglia Cider Pub of the Year 2012 Award

On Thursday 2nd August, the White Lion, in Norwich, was presented with their award for becoming CAMRA's East Anglia Regional Cider Pub of The Year 2012.

It is run by Ben Ackers and Becky Lakeman-Turner (pictured above), who have only been running the pub for 10 months. They regularly have over 15 real ciders and perries available from Norfolk, East Anglia and beyond.

Ben Ackers said "We are delighted to win this award. Becky has always been a cider drinker, volunteering for the cider bar at the Cambridge Beer Festival for a fifth consecutive year. I have grown to appreciate how popular real cider is from my previous experience at two other pubs.

"The Norfolk and Norwich branch of CAMRA has been so friendly and very welcoming to us, and we'd like to thank them for their constant enthusiasm and support.

"We would like to thank our staff who have committed themselves fully to promoting real cider and helping customers with recommendations."

Chris Rouse, CAMRA's Regional Cider Co-ordinator for East Anglia, said: "It is so refreshing to see new landlords getting into real cider and perry in a big way."

Monday, 9 July 2012

Norwich pubs take UK real ale title!

It was a tough ‘job’ but over 30 Members of the Norwich & Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) carried out a pub and beer survey across the city on Saturday 30th June 2012 and proved again that Norwich is the UK Capital of Real Ale.

The second annual survey, undertaken by the dedicated members of CAMRA by foot, public transport and bicycle, logged an amazing 254 unique real ales available, beating York CAMRA’s result of 247 from their beer census undertaken on the same day.

This also tops Sheffield’s recent claims of 257 to the UK ale capital title, on per head of population because Sheffield’s population of 500,000 is nearly double the population of Norwich (227,000).

The team of volunteers visited almost every pub in the city, a total of 148 pubs, of which 125 (84.5%) offered a total of 569 real ales and 55 real ciders and perries.

The total of 254 different ales, an increase from last year’s total of 215, proves Norwich offers more choice per capita than anywhere else in the country.

Local ales from 19 of the county’s breweries were on sale with Woodforde’s Wherry taking the accolade of most popular ale again, being available in 39 pubs.

Furthermore, 167 beers were exclusive to just one pub on that day and also pubs across the city contributed to the total with 53 pubs selling ales not available anywhere else, such as Caledonian Double Czech at The Cottage in Thorpe St Andrew and 10% Barley Twist in the Heath House, Gertrude Road.

The price of a pint of real ale ranged from £1.89 for a pint of Greene King Ruddles Best in The Bell, to £6.20 for a pint of the particularly strong 10.5% Green Jack Baltic Trader at The Beehive, although the most expensive pint of a more typical beer was found to be £3.90. The average price was just above the £3 mark at £3.09, no doubt due to the rises in beer duty.

Ian Stamp, pubs officer for the Norwich CAMRA branch, said: “We all passionately believe that Norwich is the UK Capital of Real Ale – we proved it last year, when we found 215 different beers on sale in the city, not quite reaching Sheffield’s total, but claiming the title on the basis that Sheffield is well over twice the size of Norwich”.

“Since then Derby have also tried to claim the UK title, even though their pubs had fewer beers on sale than Norwich, and again, Derby is much bigger than Norwich (Derby’s population is 240,000 with Norwich’s at 227,000, however the Norwich survey only covered postcodes NR1-NR7 and so not including the large conurbations of Drayton, Taverham, and Hellesdon).

“So to keep Norwich on the map in the run up to CAMRA’s National AGM in April 2013, which is being held in the city, we had to prove we were the best – and have a bit of fun into the bargain! We got out to some pubs we don’t often go to so it was good to get out and about, meeting the landlords.”

Mr Stamp and other members of CAMRA made the Reindeer in Dereham Road their HQ on Saturday where the results were brought to, or called in, and then logged. There were a few nervous moments throughout the evening as updates were received from York but, as last orders was being called, the final tallies were exchanged and the Norwich team were the ones cheering.

Congratulations must go to the York CAMRA team for making it a fun day and it was a great effort by all the CAMRA members in both cities. What both surveys prove is that real ale, cider and perry is getting more popular and is helping many pubs continue to be viable in their communities.

This result further backs up the recent successful second City Of Ale festival held over 10 days across the city, and fits in with the Evening News’ “Love Your Local” campaign which promotes local people using their pubs, or risk losing them.

Also the new CAMRA book “101 Beer Days Out” stated that Norwich was the UK city of ale, with author Tim Hampson noting “Norwich is quite a city for beer and has some fine pubs”.

York’s beer census results were reported in The Press on 1st July – the article can be found here.

Other statistics:
- Total pubs surveyed: 148
- Total serving real ale: 125 (84.5%, last year 86%)
- Total pubs serving real cider or perry: 17
- Total ales on sale: 569 (plus 55 ciders and perries) [bottled beers not counted]
- Unique ales on sale: 254 (38 unique ciders and perries)
- Ales on sale in one pub only: 167 (last year 144)
- Prices: £1.89 - £6.20, average price £3.09 (avg £2.95 in 2011)
- Local Breweries: 19
- Average ABV: 4.2% (same as last year)

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rural Pub of the Year 2012 Presentation

The presentation of the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) award for 2012 Rural Pub of the Year to the Green Dragon, Wymondham took place on 12th June.

The certificate was presented by Graham Freeman, N&N CAMRA Chairman to the joint licensees, David Bear and Justin Harvey (pictured below).

David and Justin have only been in the pub for eighteen months and are delighted with receiving the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA award.

They have also been nominated for South Norfolk District Council 'Community Pub of the Year' which they are hoping to do well in and they said “it would be wonderful if we could win that award as well”.

Photo © Warren Wordsworth 2012

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Catfield Crown crowned Pub of the Winter LocAle Trail

Out of the 31 pubs that took part in the 2012 Winter LocAle Trail, The Crown in Catfield, east Norfolk can claim the accolade of “Pub of the Trail”.

The Winter Ale Trail was organised by the Norwich and Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) to encourage beer drinkers to visit pubs that they would not normally visit during the winter month, as well as to support CAMRA's LocAle Scheme which promotes locally brewed real ale.

Graham Freeman, the branch chairman of Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA, said: “During the dark months, the CAMRA Winter LocAle Trail was a beacon to the 31 participating pubs. Many people visited the pubs for the first time and hopefully they will return again.

"The landlords and drinkers certainly enjoyed the experience. We successfully promoted local beers and local pubs which is something to look forward to when the next trail comes along”.

The well attended presentation evening took place on May 29th at the Crown when Graham Freeman presented the certificate to The Crown’s landlady and landlord Pauline and Nando Sappia.

Mr Sappia, who is still making the pub’s lasagne to his mother's secret recipe despite the fact that they have a new chef, said: “This has come as a complete surprise but we are delighted to receive this accolade”. He added: “The increase in footfall and sales was very welcome in the winter months”.

The Winter Trail proved a very popular challenge, with participants able to claim stamps from the pubs over a 3 month period.

Mr Ralph Myton, from East Dereham, commented: “A group of four of us travelled around the pubs, many we hadn’t visited before, and we thoroughly enjoyed our outings. I am delighted the Crown in Catfield won as I voted for them and we would definitely do the trail again”.

He was also very pleased to receive some brewery beer towels in the post after the prize draw, as well as his Winter LocAle Trail T-shirt which he was proudly wearing at the City of Ale Brewers Market at the Forum.

Well done to all those who took part, wear your Winter LocAle Trail T-shirts with pride and see you next time!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Norwich Pub and Beer Survey 2012

The Norwich & Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will be organising the biggest pub crawl of the year later this month, in their annual quest to prove that Norwich is the UK Capital of Real Ale – but this year they’re looking for help to beat off a head-to-head challenge from the city of York, which is running a similar survey on the same day, Saturday 30th June.

Norwich was first declared Capital of Real Ale last year, after volunteers visited over 130 pubs on the same day, and discovered a grand total of 215 different real ales on sale.

Since then Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham have all tried to claim the title, but the challenge from York may turn out to be the stiffest one yet, as the city has a similar number of pubs per head of population as Norwich.

“We expected a big number, but 215 was massive, and as we all had a great time surveying the pubs, we thought we’d do it again this year!” said Ian Stamp, N&N CAMRA’s Pubs Officer.

“Norwich has a great pub scene, as we’re seeing this week with the City of Ale, and we need to keep shouting about it to get the national attention our brewers and landlords deserve”.

“Helping with the survey is easy” Ian says, “You don’t need to commit to anything more than visiting a pub sometime during the day of the survey on the 30th June”.

And there’s even the chance to win a few bottles of beer if your guess is one of the nearest to the final total of real ales found on the day – which will be announced the same day – in one of the pubs, naturally!

Anyone who would like to help can email for details.

Monday, 21 May 2012

White Lion is East Anglia Cider Pub of the Year 2012

The White Lion in Norwich, has been awarded the title CAMRA's East Anglia Regional Cider Pub of The Year 2012.

It is run by Ben Ackers and Becky Lakerman-Turner, who have only been running the pub for 7 months.  They regularly have over 15 real ciders and perries available from Norfolk, East Anglia and beyond.

Ben Ackers said: "We are delighted to win this award.  Becky has always been a cider drinker, volunteering for the cider bar at the Cambridge Beer Festival for a fifth consecutive year.

"I have grown to appreciate how popular real cider is from my previous experience at two other pubs.  The Norfolk and Norwich branch of CAMRA has been so friendly and very welcoming to us, and we'd like to thank them for their constant enthusiasm and support.

"We would like to thank our staff who have committed themselves fully to promoting real cider and helping customers with recommendations."

Chris Rouse, CAMRA's Regional Cider Co-ordinator for East Anglia said: "It is so refreshing to see new landlords getting into real cider and perry in a big way."

Second place went to the Odd One Out in Colchester, Essex, which was the previous holder of the awarded.  Third place went to the Railway Arms, on the Railway Station at Downham Market, Norfolk.

Fat Cat is CAMRA's Norfolk Pub of the Year 2012

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today announced that the Fat Cat, Norwich, has been judged as Norfolk Pub of the Year 2012.

Owned by Colin Keatley, the Fat Cat, which normally has over 25 real ales available, is described in the Good Beer Guide as “An outstanding example of what a real ale pub should be like” and “A beer lover’s paradise that no visitor to Norwich should miss”.

Colin Keatley said: "I’m overwhelmed to be chosen – after 20 years in the trade and against such great opposition it’s a real honour".

Two pubs were judged as part of the Norfolk competition. the Union Jack in Roydon, which is the West Norfolk CAMRA branch Pub of the Year, and the Fat Cat.

Andrea Briers, East Anglia Regional Director, said: “The two pubs in this year’s competition are excellent, thriving local pubs which lead to a very close result. It shows the dedication of all those involved in running the pubs. Well done to Colin Keatley and the team at the Fat Cat.”

The Fat Cat will now go forward to the East Anglia regional pub of the year competition. The full list of pubs in that competition is:

Bedfordshire – Albion, Ampthill (GBG pg.34)
Cambridgeshire – The Letter B, Whittlesey (GBG pg.65)
Essex – Compasses, Littley Green (GBG pg.159)
Hertfordshire – Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, Heronsgate (GBG pg.201)
Norfolk – Fat Cat, Norwich (GBG Pg.348)
Suffolk – Rumburgh Buck,  Rumburgh (GBG pg. 428)

Friday, 18 May 2012

35th Norwich Beer Festival logo unveiled

Norwich & Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale has unveiled the winning logo for the 35th Norwich Beer Festival.

As usual we had many fine entries from all ages, including several newcomers who pitted their designs against our competition regulars. With a large number of entries, the judging process was again lengthy and difficult with many logo designs having significant merit.

After due deliberation, a final short list of two designs were selected, with one particular design really standing out from the others.

Anthony Miles’ design of a dragon on a diamond finally won through and was declared the winning design, after careful consideration as to how the designs could be worked up to promote the festival on its usual range of merchandise of glasses and t-shirts.

Festival Organiser, Martin Ward, and Competition Co-ordinator, Sadie Skipworth, decided not to reveal the identity of the logo designers initially to the festival meeting tasked with voting for the logo just in case there were any complaints of “favouritism” as one of the entrants, and the eventual winner, just happened to be on the organising committee of the festival.

Mr Miles was quite shocked when he was told that he had won. After thinking of entering the competition for a few years, he finally put pixels onto screen and submitted a very topical design in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as it being the branch's 35th festival making it one of the longest running CAMRA Beer Festivals in the country.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

CAMRA presents award to Norfolk cider maker

Peter Blake, from Martham, near Gt. Yarmouth, will collect his award this weekend as winner in CAMRA's East Anglian Cider Competition 2011.

The presentation will take place The Kings Arms, Fleggburgh, where local band, The Vagaband, will also be playing.

The competition, which attracted a total of 23 cider entries, took place at Norwich Beer Festival in October last year.

The winning cider, Hog & Vine, from small cider maker Peter Blake, was described by judges as having "an aroma of a cornucopia of woodland fruits, a bit Christmas puddingesque. Flavoursome with lots of body, and a long lingering finish."

Some 10 years ago, Peter Blake and a group of friends thought it would be a good idea to make cider for personal consumption. Listening to the ‘buy and sell’ programme on Radio Norfolk one Saturday morning, they discovered some cider making equipment for sale, so duly purchased it. The name, Hog and Vine comes from the old pig shed covered in vines that has been converted into a cider making shed.

Peter Blake said "To say it was hard work is a massive understatement but we persevered and were pleasantly surprised with the results. Over the years we have progressed and modernised. I would like to thank all the people in the Martham area who kindly donate their apples, and to those who assist with the production."

Peter added, "I am amazed and very proud that ‘Hog & Vine Original’ came out top against so many other excellent ciders."

Chris Rouse, CAMRA’s Regional Cider Co-ordinator for East Anglia said, "I hope that this award will encourage those interested in making cider to start by using local apples that would otherwise go to waste"

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Branch 'Pub of the Year' results

The Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) have selected The Fat Cat pub (West End Street, Norwich) as their 2012 Pub of the Year. It is the third time that landlord Colin Keatley has been awarded the Norwich & Norfolk branch’s title.

The Fat Cat now goes into a head-to-head with the West Norfolk branch’s winner, The Union Jack at Roydon, with the victor progressing to the Regional level of the competition.

The Norwich & Norfolk Pub of the Year is chosen from the winners of the Branch’s Rural and City Pubs of the Year.

The 2012 Rural Pub of the Year was won by The Green Dragon in Wymondham, beating stiff competition from the Kings Arms, Reepham and the Windham Arms, Sheringham.

And the City Pub of the Year was won by The Fat Cat, from the other two Norwich pubs shortlisted – The King’s Head, Magdalen Street and The Duke of Wellington, Waterloo Road.

Also for the first time the Branch have awarded a Cider Pub of the Year due to the growing popularity of real ciders and perries and that many pubs are stocking a growing and permanent range.

The winner was The White Lion, Oak Street, Norwich which pipped the other shortlisted pubs - The Cottage on Silver Road, Norwich and The Oliver Twist in Great Yarmouth.

The winners will be presented with their awards at the respective pubs as below:

Tuesday April 24th, at 8pm
Presentation of Branch Pub of the Year and City Pub of the Year at the Fat Cat, West End St, Norwich

Tuesday June 12th, at 9pm
Presentation of Rural Pub of the Year at the Green Dragon, Church St, Wymondham (Bus 13B leaves Norwich Bus Stn at 19:10, and the 14B leaves Wymondham Cross at 22:37, arr Norwich 23:07)

Cider Pub of the Year at The White Lion, Oak Street, Norwich

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

2012 Bottled Beer of Norfolk Competition

The Norwich and Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) are running a Bottled Beer of Norfolk competition again this year after the successful launch in 2011. The first competition was won by Why Not Brewery’s Chocolate Nutter.

In 2011, the Norfolk Taste Panel decided to extend the scope of its tasting to include Real Ale In A Bottle. This was partly to follow national CAMRA policy, partly to ensure entries in the Champion Beer of Britain category, partly to foster better relations with local brewers, but mainly to meet together and enjoy some quality local ales.

Alan Edwards, the Bottled Beer of Norfolk competition organiser, said: “The competition is a great way for breweries to showcase their beers and get them to a wider audience. A big thank you to all the breweries that entered the first competition which made it such a success, proving again the great variety of Norfolk Real Ale that is available, hence we are launching the 2012 competition”.

The competition is open to any commercial brewery in Norfolk producing Real Ale in a Bottle with the closing date the 31st March.

With around thirty breweries in the county, and seven categories, each Norfolk brewery is limited to nominating four beers. This might be reviewed in the light of actual entries but the panel will potentially have 120 beers to taste.

A monumental challenge but one the panel is uniquely equipped for; the tasting panel is used to some forthright and spirited discussions regarding real ale! ‘Blind’ tastings will take place, one category at a time, between April and September.

All breweries should have received an entry form already, however if any brewery hasn’t so far, please contact Alan Edwards via e-mail

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Winter LocAle Trail 2012 is launched

January 2nd saw the official launch of our Winter LocAle Trail 2012 at the Wig & Pen, in Norwich – one of the 31 pubs taking part in the trail.

The aim of the trail is twofold: firstly to encourage beer drinkers to visit pubs that they would not normally visit during the winter month and secondly to promote CAMRA's LocAle Scheme and locally brewed real ale of which there is an abundance of breweries in Norfolk! There will also be an opportunity to vote for your favourite “Pub of the Trail”.

CAMRA’s LocAle is a national initiative that promotes pubs that sell locally brewed real ale. LocAle is also about reducing the amount of beer miles that the beer travels between brewery and pub.

All the pubs on the trail have joined our LocAle scheme which means that at least one real ale – brewed within 30 miles of the pub – is on sale at all times.

Each trail pub will stamp a trail card for each pint of LocAle purchased (or soft drink for a designated driver) and can be collected in any order.

Completed trail cards can be exchanged for a free ale trail t-shirt as well as being entered into a prize draw. Prizes include brewery tours, local beer and even a chance to be a day as a Head Brewer!

There's information about the trail on our website and there's also a Google Map to help guide you to the pubs.

Peter Wells, one of the trail organisers, receives his first stamp from the Wig & Pen's general manager Holly Thomas.

The trail organisers and other CAMRA members celebrating the start of the Winter LocAle Trail 2012.