Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Lacon’s Audit Ale has been crowned Champion Winter Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival Winter in Norwich

After over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats leading up to the finals, CAMRA has announced that Lacons Audit Ale is the winner of the Champion Winter Winter Beer of Britain competition at The Halls, Norwich, on Tuesday 19th February 2019.

The 8% barley wine was crowned champion at the winter festival, organised by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) in association with its Norwich & Norfolk Branch.

The festival continues to run until Saturday 23rd February, where ales from the competition finalists are available to sample, together with many other beers of every season, shade and style including golden beers, ciders and world beers.

Festival Organiser Martin Ward commented: " The CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain is one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world. It is the ultimate honour for UK brewers and has helped put many into the national spotlight.  Lacons’ Audit Ale is a very worthy winner of one of CAMRA's highest accolades."

The barley wine was crowned the Winter Champion over a host of other finalists in four different beer categories (barley wine & strong old ales, old ales & strong milds, porters and stouts), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.

This year's overall runner up went to Calverley’s Porter, while Old Engine Oil by Harviestoun took home the Bronze award.

The beers have already won many local and regional heats in order to be presented for the national award, so judges are able to ensure a consistent standard of quality in all of the beers in the competition.

Nick Boley, CAMRA's National Director responsible for the competition, commented on the winning ale, Lacons Audit Ale: "We were very impressed with the standard and quality this year.  The champion, Audit Ale, is a very worthy winner and was described by judges as incredibly well-rounded, with not a harsh bone in its body and the perfect balance of flavour."

Following over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats, Audit Ale impressed judges for its enticing aroma of marmalade and peach. It was described as “packed with berry fruits and spices”.

Only available on limited release, Audit Ale was named after a number of Cambridge and Oxford University colleges celebrated the end of their annual audits with the special brew. By popular demand, it was exported to the USA in champagne-style bottles from 1937.

Ian Stamp, Chairman of Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA, added: "This is a big year for us, being the third and final year of hosting the awards and the winter festival, with over 7,500 in our first year and over 10,000 attendees last year and more expected to attend this year – with the CAMRA festival moving to Birmingham, West Midlands Region – New Bingley Hall - in 2020."

Ian added: "We can all raise a glass to the fantastic team of volunteers, brewers and judges here in Norwich, as well as the Fringe Festival host publicans, for launching the 2019 Great British Beer Festival Winter in style."

Ian also wishes to remind winter-beer lovers that they may taste the award-winning beers in Blackfriars’ Hall this week, until the festival closes on Saturday 23rd February at 10.30pm, stocks permitting.  Entrance is by advance-ticket or payment on the door.

Martin Ward, Festival Organiser, has added that the beers available in St Andrew’s Hall are a selection of shades and styles, from gold summer beers to the darker winter ales, so there is something to please everyone.

Should you wish to make your selection from the online beer listing, it can be found here - – it shows beers coming soon, currently available and those which have sadly sold out, so do hurry along.

There is a range of hot and cold food offered daily with live entertainment at The Halls from Thursday evening with more live bands on Friday and Saturday lunchtimes and evenings.  See the website for more information.

Champion Winter Beer of Britain winners:

Overall Winners
Gold – Lacons’ Brewery Audit Ale
Silver – Calverley’s Porter
Bronze – Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil

Barley Wine, Strong Old Ales
Gold – Lacons’ Audit Ale
Silver – Tring Death or Glory
Bronze – Robinson’s Old Tom

Old, Aged, Strong Milds
Gold – Tintagel Excalibur
Silver – Harvey’s Old Ale
Bronze – Brampton Mild

Gold – Calverley’s Porter
Silver – Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
Bronze – Dancing Duck Indian Porter

Gold – Plain Ales Inncognito
Silver – Dark Star Imperial Stout
Bronze – Cairngorn, Black Gold

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Featured beers to ‘whet the appetite’ at February festival

Beverages from all over the world will be presented at the Great British Beer Festival Winter, the last chance to catch this rolling festival in Norwich!

As the final preparations are underway and hundreds of volunteers get ready to come together for the last February festival, Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA have given us a preview of some of their featured beers. 

In the main St Andrew’s Hall there is simply every beer of every style and season!

Starting with the subtle flavours of the golden ales, like the Hambleton Raspberry Blonde Ale or Lees Golden with light toffee sweetness and fruit-hop finish or try the berry and citrus IPAs and maybe try Oakham’s Dragon In Bavaria with tangerine, citrus and hints of rose, the Little Valleys Radical Roots Ginger Pale, or Moor’s Smokey Horyzon – a smoked, spicy beer.

The dark beer selection is equally exciting – with High Weald’s Charcoal Burner or Little Valley’s Stout with orange aroma, try Firebrick’s Cushey Butterfield (tonka bean stout) or their Conquistador (black vanilla, dark berry stout).

Take time to find out what the cider bar has to offer.  Rated from very sweet to very dry you can find the perfect ciders and perries for your palette.

If you like something sweet, try the fruit beers in the World Beer Bar, in the marquee.

Take a look in Blackfriars' Hall to discover who won the 2019 Champion Winter Beer of Britain and sample winners and finalists.  Select from a wonderful range of sweet winter beers, like the Winter’s Vanilla Latte, Boudicca’s Prasto’s Porter – a special edition with dark cherries and liquorice – or try something different like FCB’s Honey and Elderflower or Humpty Dumpty’s NBB Frisher Gerstensaft, a Koln style beer with a golden and slightly fruity taste.

Remember to visit the Brewery Bars with award-winning beers from both Lacons and Norfolk Brewhouse.

Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free beers are also in plentiful supply thanks to our organising committee champions and are denoted by their respective symbols – V, VG, GF.

The World Beer Bar, managed by Cheryl Cade, has grown and will host some very special beers on limited supply.  Tuesday is the battle of the Berlinerner Weisse - Mikkeller, Ich Bin Berliner Weisse Watermelon verses the Alvinne Berlinerner Weisse, which is best? You decide!

Wednesday is USA day with Ale Smith, Speedway Stout (Hawaiian) and Jackie O’s Brewery Chomolungma or Electro Lyte lager. Thursday is ‘enter into the darkside’ including Westerham, Wally Winker Death by Chocolate and the Struise, Black Damnation Mocha Bomb 2018.

Friday is Belgian day with Hedonis Ouwen Duiker or try the Hof Ten Dormaal, Frambuesa y Chocolate (raspberry & chocolate, barrel aged).

Track the beers as they change with the live online beer listing, available here.

New to the beer festival?  Pay four(£)-on-the-door and grab your glass and beer tokens and away you go! With music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and hot food served every day 12 noon til 10.30pm, what’s not to like?

This national CAMRA festival moves location every three years and this will be the last year it will be hosted in Norwich by the Norwich & Norfolk Branch.

The annual Norwich Beer Festival will remain a favourite fixture in the October calendars of local beer-lovers and will celebrate its 42nd year in October 2019.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Great British Beer Festival Winter to support the Benjamin Foundation

The Benjamin Foundation are the chosen charity for the Great British Beer Festival Winter 2019, taking place at The Halls, Norwich, from 19th February.

The festival commences on Tuesday 19th February 2019, with a CAMRA members preview, then opens to the public and runs until Saturday 23rd February. The festival offers beers of every season, world beers, fruit beers and ciders, with music nights and hot food served throughout each day.

To support The Benjamin Foundation, visitors to the festival may donate coins in collection tins and buckets and give remaining beer tokens to the charity in the box at the glasses stand or pop them in the buckets.  You may also visit their stand in Blackfriars’ Hall where they will be happy to talk about the information and support they provide.

Michael Ryan, Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA
Branch Secretary with Rachel Hogg,
Communications Co-ordinator of
the Benjamin Foundation
The Benjamin Foundation was founded in 1994 and since then the charity has been helping people across Norfolk, and more recently in Suffolk, to deal with some of the challenges that life throws at them; from ‘everyday’ problems such as finding affordable childcare, to heart-breaking issues such as youth homelessness, bullying or abuse.

Every service The Benjamin Foundation delivers is focused on providing hope, opportunity, stability and independence and includes:
Working to prevent youth homelessness by providing a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young adults at any time. They give the young people a stable home and provide the skills they need so they can leave and forge an independent life.
Delivering a range of services to support children, young people and families facing challenges. By helping at an early stage their work aims to prevent more serious problems arising in the future.
Providing education to pre-school children in a safe, supportive environment which gives their parents peace of mind.
Providing positive activities to young people who have limited opportunities in life – perhaps they’re caring for a parent or come from a socially deprived area. A chance to escape their day-to-day pressures and be a child again is vital.
Their store, shop and handyman service generate profits to help fund the charity, while providing helpful services for the community.

The Great British Beer Festival Winter is open to the public from Wednesday, 20th February, from 12noon until 10.30pm every day until, and including, Saturday 23rd February. 

The Halls, including Blackfriars' and St Andrew’s medieval friary complex, is also home to the Norwich Beer Festival, which is also organised by the Norwich & Norfolk Branch of CAMRA.  The festival will feature a range of ales from traditional dark ales to light summer beers and hoppy ales, alongside ciders and world beers. 

Entrance is FREE to CAMRA members and £4 to non-members (£3 Wednesday) on the door – plus advance tickets are now on sale.  There is also a Fringe Festival taking place throughout February in local pubs and venues.  For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit

For more information about The Benjamin Foundation, please visit  For beer festival information, see