82 Norfolk Beers were sampled by the panel and judged in categories with overall winners found across all categories and winners first announced at the Branch Annual General Meeting on 21 March.
The overall Gold winner has now been revealed as Chalk Hill’s ‘Black Anna’ – named after the nickname given to Antoinette Hannent – a Norwich jazz singer of Italian descent and licensee of The Jolly Butchers 1947-1976, following her husband’s death in 1947.
Anna was particularly well-loved for her consideration to the gay community, in the days when the law was stacked against them and the pub became a magnet for visiting celebrities and jazz fans keen to hear Black Anna’s unique jazz voice.
The winning Black Anna has a complex, booming sweet-roasty character with echoes of caramel, coffee and chestnut, with a smooth finish.
Overall Silver winner went to St Andrew’s Brewhouse’s Tombland Porter with a rich chocolate and coconut bouquet and flavours of chocolate, malt and dried fruit, warming to a sweet creamy finish.
Overall Bronze is awarded to Grain’s Lignum Vitae, solidly orangey and hoppy with imposing oily character and a definite marmalade with an enlivening bittersweet finish. 2019 is the eleventh year in a row Grain Brewery have won an award.
Chalk Hill Brewery have chalked up their first overall win! First-time wins also went to St Andrews Brewhouse and Yetmans.
Taste Panel Chair, Alan Edwards, said: ‘Chalk Hill Black Anna is a worthy winner, combining a quality stout with a commemoration of a notable Norwich character. All the winning beers are a testimony to the quality of real ales that can be produced and served in Norfolk. The nine award winning breweries have brewed beers that have impressed the judges with their variety and balance of flavours.’
‘Though we have a healthy number of breweries in Norfolk, it is not always easy to try their beers. Many are micro brewers with their beers limited to a small number of outlets around the brewery. Despite this, the panel endeavours to taste as many beers as possible. We are always looking for CAMRA members to join the panel and add a new dimension to their beer drinking.’
To apply to be a member of the Tasting Panel you must be impartial and an existing CAMRA member. To apply please contact Alan Edwards, Chair of the Panel, or the Branch Chair, Ian Stamp – contact details can be found on the branch website. Training will be given to new members.
Alan is no stranger to Norfolk beer, being involved in the first ever Norwich Beer Festival in 1977 and having stood as Norwich Beer Festival Organiser for 16 years until the 25th festival in 2002 and has been on the organising committee every year from those early days to this year’s Great British Beer Festival Winter and Norwich Beer Festival, which will be celebrating its 42nd year in 2019.
Alan added: ‘We will continue to search out beers from all the Norfolk breweries, currently an impressive 43, giving each the opportunity to win local CAMRA awards and promote their amazing breweries.’
Category winners are:
GOLD – Yetmans, Bayfield - Red - A plummy malt carapace with balanced hop and caramel, full bodied and long lasting, with growing bittersweet
SILVER - Humpty Dumpty, Reedham - Little Sharpie
GOLD – Grain, Alburgh - Redwood - A rich fruity aroma introduces a smooth full flavoured bitter with malty red fruit and caramel base defined by hoppy bitter and lingering bitter finish
GOLD – Grain, Alburgh - Lignum Vitae
SILVER - Fat Cat, Norwich - Marmalade Cat
GOLD – Grain, Alburgh - Threeonesix – with strong citrus notes throughout of angerine, lemon and lime, with a solid hoppy base and well-balanced bitter finish.
GOLD – Wolf, Besthorpe - Lavender Honey - plummy malt with a balanced hop and caramel undercoat, full bodied and long lasting with growing bittersweet notes.
GOLD - Chalk Hill, Norwich - Black Anna
SLVER - S&P, Horsford - Darkest Hour
GOLD - St Andrew’s Brewhouse, Norwich - Tombland Porter
BARLEY WINE/STRONG OLD ALE
GOLD – Lacons, Great Yarmouth - Old Nogg – rich and imposing with prunes, molasses, liquorice, and fruitcake. Complex and long lasting with a strong malty end.