Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Logo competition for 2014 Norwich Beer Festival is now open

Thoughts have already turned to preparing for the 37th Norwich beer festival, which will take place from Monday 27th October 2014, because preparations take nearly a year.

The first task is to select a logo for the festival, which will be one of the prime marketing tools for the festival.

Martin Ward, the current festival organiser, says: “We expect to receive a large number of entries as ever, with no doubt a fantastic array of ideas including a dragon, 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.

Entries should be one per sheet or email, maximum size A4. 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 should be sent to Logo Competition, 22 Branford Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 4QD or email to by Monday 17th February 2014 please.

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

Branch charity benefits from beer festival donation

Our Branch Charity for 2013, the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB), were delighted to be chosen by the branch and report that they are positive their profile has been helped by their attendance throughout the 36th Norwich Beer Festival in October.

Also through the generous donations of unused beer cards, as well as coins and notes given during the week of the festival, NNAB fundraiser Jeremy Goss said they were delighted with the record breaking total of £5,000, much needed cash which will be used to assist the lives of blind people throughout Norfolk.

Jeremy said he had never been to a beer festival before, let alone Norwich’s long-running event, indeed he had never had real ale before being served a small taster of a light, pale ale about which he said “actually that’s really nice!”.

A presentation of the cheque from the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA branch will be arranged for early next year.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Norfolk railway station micropub named Britain’s Best for Real Cider & Perry

A tiny railway platform pub in Norfolk has been named National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year 2013 by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

The National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year award is given to the pub or club which best promotes and encourages sales of quality real cider and perry. Now in its ninth year, the award’s rigorous judging process whittles down nominations for pubs, clubs & cider houses from all over the UK to regional and then super regional finalists.

Hailed by competition judges as ‘A quirky, fun little place to be’ and ‘a good reason to miss your train’, The Railway Arms is located directly on the station platform at Downham Market Railway Station, Norfolk, and has proved a hit with weary travellers and locals alike – especially those looking to sample the finest real ciders and perries the area has to offer.

A delighted Ian Pinches, who together with his wife Lesley Ann Pinches and their son Callum, runs The Railway Arms, said: “We are overjoyed (and very humbled) to hear that The Railway Arms has won this year's CAMRA National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year Award and we wish to thank our customers, supporters and suppliers – in particular special mention must be made of Charles Roberts & the team at Pickled Pig and Paul Fisher & the Directors of The Small Beer Company who, between them, have been very supportive in either making or sourcing fine ciders for us.”

Ian added, “As a ‘micropub’ we are naturally committed to the concept of ‘small is beautiful’ and, although we have extended our range this year, we remain focussed on selling high quality ciders, some of which are made by people we know personally using locally grown apples - although we also like to stock cider and perry from far and wide in the UK, with some regular favourites alongside a frequently changing range of ‘guests’.”

CAMRA has been a longtime supporter of real cider and perry, which is the pear equivalent of cider, with the Cider & Perry Pub of the Year competition being an important way to raise the profile of pubs serving traditionally made real cider and perry across the UK.

Andrea Briers, Chair of CAMRA’s Cider and Perry Committee, said: “The number of pubs that have found a market for real cider is increasing each year, which has meant that the competition has become very tough. I am lucky enough to live fairly close to the Railway Arms and have seen the work that Ian, Lesley-Ann and Callum put in to make the pub a welcoming local. Well done to them on their achievement and congratulations for a well deserved win.”

The Railway Arms beat three other finalists to take the title. These were: The Royal Oak in Wantage, the Penrhyn Arms in Penrhynside, and the George and Dragon in Dent.

The announcement of The Railway Arms as Cider & Perry Pub of the Year kicks off CAMRA's Cider & Perry Month campaign for October. This campaign asks pubs around the country to encourage customers to enjoy a real cider and perry at least once during October and hundreds of events will be hosted by participating pubs and CAMRA branches throughout the month.

Monday, 23 September 2013

WhatPub - nationwide online pub guide launched

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today launched its first ever national online pub guide  – - dedicated to helping the public find the best pubs to suit their needs across  Britain.
Following an extensive two year project by thousands of CAMRA volunteers, features  47,000 pubs, around 36,000 of which serve real ale – making the site the most definitive online  guide to real ale in the UK., which has been designed to automatically optimise for use on laptops, tablets and  mobile devices, offers over thirty different search fields ranging from dog friendly pubs to those  that offer newspapers or live music, making the results customizable to each person’s individual  preferences.

Another key feature is that of the 35,800 real ale pubs featured, around 22,000 have details of the real ales being served – taking the guess work out of a visit for real ale lovers. 

Locally, our branch has listed every single pub in our branch area, over 600 pubs, with the help of our branch members.  This includes opening hours, real ales available - both regular and guests,  food availability, other local information on location and transport and also a photograph of the pub.

Andy Shaw, CAMRA Director said:  “CAMRA has developed WhatPub to be the ultimate online pub  guide for all pub-goers. It may even help encourage people who have stopped using pubs regularly,  since WhatPub will help them find the ideal pub to suit their needs.”
WhatPub entries are written by local CAMRA members and then approved by dedicated branch  volunteers.

A full entry offers a description and pictures of the pub, the address, opening hours, who  owns it, lists the regular real ales they stock, states whether the pub offers Guest Beers, highlights  the pubs main features e.g. availability of food, gives a map of where the pub can be located, sat nav  reference, OS reference and highlights the local transport available.
WhatPub also allows CAMRA members to score the quality of the real ales served in the pub which  helps CAMRA select entries for a number of local and national publications.

Mr Shaw commented on the entries: “WhatPub differs from many other pub websites which are  based on details provided by the person who owns the pub, who may be a little biased! I would like  to thank the thousands of CAMRA volunteers for their time and effort in submitting these entries. It is  this process that makes WhatPub totally independent.”

He concluded: “WhatPub has plenty more future planned developments but we are very proud  of the website launched today and CAMRA hopes everybody will enjoy using it.” 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Pubs Of The Year 2013 award presentations

Two Norfolk pubs have been presented with prestigious awards this week from the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

Colin Smith, the landlord of The Locks Inn, Geldeston in South Norfolk received both certificates for the Rural and overall Norwich & Norfolk Pub of the Year for 2013 on Tuesday 16th July with many CAMRA members attending the monthly branch meeting at the pub.  

Colin said he was delighted with the awards after a particularly tough winter and being unable to open for a few weeks due to flooding where water was waist deep around the pub!

He continued that he was incredibly proud of the recognition from CAMRA and that it is a great reward for “Team Lock”, his excellent young staff who have been getting even more  passionate about real ales and ciders since the awards were announced. The recent good weather is bringing many people to visit and re-visit the Locks Inn and enjoy the large, river-fronting garden. 

On Thursday 18th July the Norwich City Pub of the Year and Norwich & Norfolk Cider Pub of the Year, as well as the silver award in the East Anglian CAMRA Regional Cider Pub of  Year certificates were presented to Ben and Becky Ackers of The White Lion, Oak Street in front of a crowd of regulars and CAMRA members. 

Ben said "we're reasonably well-known for our commitment to stocking the best range of quality real ciders and perries possible, and it's great to continue to be recognised for doing so, but to be voted City Pub of the Year 2013 for everything else we do was totally unexpected.

"Norwich has so many excellent pubs and so much variety in terms of real ale and I understand it was quite a close call. The quality of the pubs we were up against was phenomenal, and I know since they are places we try to visit whenever we can!

"When we took over in September 2011, never in our wildest dreams did we think we'd soon be receiving three awards on the same night.  We want to say a special thank you to our staff, without whom none of this would have happened, especially for running the pub so well when we  were on our honeymoon in May/June”. 

Warren Wordsworth, Chairman of Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA, said the success of the Locks Inn was a great example of non-bias towards Norwich pubs with one of the most remote  pubs in Norfolk winning the N&N branch’s major pub award and also that the White Lion thoroughly deserved their trio of awards.

He also said “the contrast between the two pubs, with the White Lion being close to the city centre, just proved how lucky we are in Norfolk to have such diversity of pubs”.

Monday, 3 June 2013

2013 Norfolk Champion Beer of the Year revealed

The Norwich & Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) are delighted to announce the category winners, as well as the overall winner of draught Beer of the Year for 2013, which is the result of Norfolk branch’s Tasting Panel scores throughout the year.

The Panel has met over 71 sessions in the past year at various pubs and tasted 49 beers from 16 of Norfolk’s 30+ breweries.

The best beers in the eight categories were won by five Norfolk breweries with two awards each for the Fat Cat Brewery, taking best Golden beer (Hell Cat) and Speciality beer (Honey Ale), Woodforde’s took the honours for Old Ale/Strong Mild (Norfolk Nog) and Best Bitter

(Kett’s Rebellion) and Grain Brewery won the Strong Bitter (IPA) and Porter (with Porter). Humpty Dumpty won the Bitter category with Little Sharpie and Winter’s won with their Mild.

The overall champion is announced as Grain Brewery’s Porter, for the second year in succession, and the third in a row for the brewery from Alburgh, Harleston, because Grain’s Best Bitter was the champion in 2011.

Grain’s IPA won last year’s Norfolk Real Ale in a Bottle competition as well. The 5.2% Porter is described as an old-style porter; smooth and creamy, with the flavour of dark berries.

Alan Edwards, the Tasting Panel chair, said: “The continued success of the Grain Brewery shows what can be done with a clear vision and attention to detail. Having their own pub, The Plough in St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, gives them a perfect place to showcase their beers.

"It is pleasing that all the winning beers are regularly available in Norfolk pubs. Too often champion beers cannot be found by a thirsty public and too many brewers concentrate on brewing good beer but do not pay as much attention to making it freely available. Quality is as important as choice, and this is where a good landlord can make all the difference”.

The awards will be presented at the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA’s Beer Festival trade session in October.

The full results are as follows:


Category winners:

Friday, 17 May 2013

36th Norwich Beer Festival logo is unveiled

The Norwich and Norfolk Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) are pleased to announce the winning entry for the 2013 Norwich Beer Festival, which is one of the longest running CAMRA Beer Festivals in the country. 

The beer festival logo is used to promote the festival on a range of merchandise, such as the souvenir glasses and T-shirts, and so the 40 entries were carefully considered (anonymously) before the winner was selected.

The winner artist is Tim Linstead, 46 and from Sprowston, who was delighted on hearing the good news about his entry. He said: “I'm really thrilled at winning! I'll dine out on this for a while and now I know I can die happy!!!”

Tim has worked as an architectural technician for 30 years, is married with two children and has been entering the annual competition for about 10 years. In fact, Tim started when his children were young and his son actually won the children’s section a few years ago.

Martin Ward, the Festival Organiser, said Tim’s design was particularly noticeable with its characterful dragon, which is the only design requirement given to entrants, on a wooden cask.

Tim wins £100 and also a selection of merchandise featuring his logo to keep for prosperity.

Although planning is still at an early stage, the festival will again aim to provide an exceptional range of quality real ales, as well as real ciders and perries, from not only Norfolk but other outstanding breweries around the country, no doubt also including some festival specials.

This year's beer festival runs from Monday 28th  October to Saturday 2nd November at its regular home, St Andrew’s & Blackfriars’ Halls, Norwich. 

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

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Branch Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year results announced

The Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have selected The Locks Inn, Geldeston in South Norfolk, as their 2013 Pub of the Year.

The Locks Inn now goes into a head-to-head with the West Norfolk branch’s winner, The Angel at Larling, to determine the Norfolk Pub of the Year, with the victor progressing to the regional level of the competition.

Colin Smith, the landlord of the Locks Inn, said he was “over the moon” that the pub has been recognised for the first time by the Norwich & Norfolk branch of CAMRA, especially after a long winter when the pub suffered flooding on a few occasions.

He commented: “I am particularly pleased that a far-flung pub has been awarded the local branch’s Pub of the Year title this year.

"And I am really delighted with the award because the Locks Inn is a tenanted pub, owned by Green Jack Brewery but serving guest ales, and also with us being a slightly unusual, rural pub that also serves food, and features pub games and regular live music”.

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

The 2013 Rural Pub of the Year was won by The Locks Inn in Geldeston, beating stiff competition from The Artichoke in Broome, The Royal Oak in Poringland and the Sole & Heel, Rackheath.

And the Norwich City Pub of the Year was won for the first time by The White Lion, Oak Street, from three other Norwich pubs shortlisted – The Beehive (Leopold Road), The Plough (St Benedict’s Street) and The Vine (Dove Street).

Cider Pub of the Year

For the second time the branch has 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 again The White Lion, Oak Street, Norwich, who won last year’s inaugural award.

They pipped the other shortlisted pubs – The Grange in Ormesby and the Banham Barrel.

The White Lion now goes up against The Railway in Downham Market in the vote to find the overall Norfolk Cider Pub of the Year.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bottled beer competition winners announced

Forty four entries were received from twelve of Norfolk’s 30-plus breweries for the Norwich and Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Bottled Beer competition for 2012.

The winners were revealed on 24th January at The Cottage pub on Silver Road, Norwich, at the presentation evening attended by many branch members, along with numerous representatives of the local breweries.

The Beers of the Festival awards for the 2012 Norwich Beer Festival were also presented during the evening.

Alan Edwards, the Tasting Panel chair, said “We tasted a ride range of ales, proving that Norfolk brewers can live with the best. The variety of styles had something for everyone and all were well presented.

"Bottle conditioned beers are the next best thing to cask conditioned beers and offer a real alternative for home consumption. There was real competition in all categories and the winning beers are well worth seeking out.”

Phil Halls (left), of Grain Brewery, with Alan Edwards.

The overall winner in the blind tastings was Grain Brewery’s IPA. The 6.5% traditional Indian Pale Ale is described as ‘Amber coloured with a rich fruity aroma; a complex mix of flavours finds malt mixing with a dark marmalade background enhanced by hoppy overtones.’

The overall runner-up was Beeston’s Brewery’s named The Squirrels Nuts. The 3.5% Mild described as ‘A bouquet of roast coffee grains and cherries introduces this fulsome red brown ale; a well balanced blend of malt, roast and caramel is given contrast by a gentle hazelnut hoppiness.’

Alan Edwards with Mark Riches, of Beeston Brewery.

Alan continued “Grain Brewery, one of our smaller breweries, can consider themselves worthy Champions. It took a lot of hard tasting before the winners emerged. N&N CAMRA hope to run the competition again in 2013 and hope that more of the county’s brewers will enter.”


Champion Beer and Strong Bitter winner: Grain Brewery - IPA

Runner Up and Mild winner: Beeston Brewery - The Squirrels Nuts

Speciality Ale winner: Why Not Brewery - Norfolk Honey Ale

Stout and Porter winner: Norfolk Square Brewery - Winklepicker

Bitter winner: Humpty Dumpty Brewery - Humpty Dumpty Ale

Barley Wine winner: Woodfordes - Headcracker

Thursday, 24 January 2013

De Dolle Brouwers receive their certificate

In December, Annie and I made the arduous trip to Belgium to visit friends, sample some beer and do some Christmas shopping.

While we were over there, we made the trip to De Dolle Brouwers at Esen in West Flanders, to pick up some Stille Nacht (12% blonde Christmas beer) and to present them with the certificate for Foreign Beer of the 2012 Norwich Beer Festival for Arabier.

We also had the chance to sample a version of the 2010 Stille Nacht that had been maturing in oak for 25 months - superb.

The brewery was originally started by 3 brothers, one of whom, Kris Herteleer, is still at the helm.  He opens the brewery for tastings and sales only at weekends and claims that it is a hobby that got out of hand.

His 95 year old mother leads the brewery tours every Sunday and says that her health and long life are due to drinking a bottle of Arabier a day.  You can't argue with that!

Keith Loney
Foreign & Bottled Beers Manager
Norwich Beer Festival