Saturday, 12 June 2021

Champion Cask Ale of Norfolk 2021

The Norfolk branches of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) have declared Mad Wolf, a Red Ale brewed by the Wolf Brewery, of Besthorpe, the Champion Cask Ale of Norfolk 2021.

Described by the judges as having a “Well rounded malty foundation with chocolate and chestnut support. A bittersweet hoppiness provides depth and balance. Full bodied and lasting”, the brew emerged as winner after a difficult year of judging by the Norfolk Taste Panel.

Panel chair Alan Edwards commented: “The last few months have been difficult for both the public and the trade. We have appreciated the efforts made by brewers and publicans to ensure the availability of Real Ale, even when the pubs have been closed.

“The members of the panel have taken every opportunity to taste the many wonderful brews available to the Norfolk drinker.”

Second place overall went to Fusioneer, a dark flavoursome mild described as having a biscuity roast backbone, brewed by Mr Winter’s Brewery, of Norwich. In third place was Lignum Vitae, a strong ale with toffee, orange and banana notes, from the Grain Brewery, of Alburgh in South Norfolk.

Alan added: “CAMRA recently reviewed and revised both the guidelines to beer styles and the actual judging cards used by the panel. This has enabled the beers to be judged against, and where appropriate repositioned into, both traditional and modern styles of brewing.

“This has given a much better fit for many of the beers as well as recognising the new adventurous brews now available. The panel is to be congratulated for embracing the new styles with enthusiasm and seeking out the best of Norfolk brews.”

Eleven of the 40-plus Norfolk breweries are represented in the awards and CAMRA hopes they will encourage landlords to stock the many fine brews available from local breweries and customers to seek out, support their local pubs.

The Norfolk panel is always looking for new members. If you would like to join us, please e-mail -- the greater the number of people contributing tastings throughout the county, the more beers we can taste, giving more breweries the chance to win awards.

Champion Cask Ale of Norfolk 2021 results:

Overall Winners
Winner - Mad Wolf, Wolf, Besthorpe
Runner Up - Fusioneer, Mr Winter’s, Norwich
3rd - Lignum Vitae, Grain, Alburgh

Mild Ales
Winner - Fusioneer, Mr Winter’s, Norwich

Session Bitters
Winner= - Table Bitter, Golden Triangle, Norwich
Winner= - Wensum Ale, St. Andrews Brewhouse, Norwich
3rd - Norwich Bitter, Fat Cat, Norwich

Premium Bitters
Winner - Nelsons, Woodfordes, Woodbastwick

Session Pale Blonde and Golden Ales
Winner - Evolution, Mr Winter’s, Norwich
Runner Up - Golden Jackal, Wolf, Besthorpe
3rd - Lupus Lupus, Wolf, Besthorpe

Premium Pale Blonde and Golden Ales
Winner - Legacy, Lacons, Gt. Yarmouth
Runner Up - White Face, Moon Gazer, Hindringham

Red Ales, Brown Ales, Old Ales & Strong Milds
Winner - Mad Wolf, Wolf, Besthorpe

Session Stouts & Porters
Winner - Vanilla Latte, Mr Winter’s, Norwich
Runner Up - Tombland Porter, St. Andrews, Norwich
3rd - Black Anna, Chalk Hill, Norwich

Strong Stouts & Porters
Winner - Dark Horse Stout, Elmtree, Snetterton

Barley Wines & Strong Ales
Winner - Lignum Vitae, Grain, Alburgh

Speciality Beers
Winner - Honey Ale, Fat Cat, Norwich

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Norwich Pub Festival 2021

Missing beer festivals? Try Norwich Pub Festival!

A month-long celebration featuring over 100 local pubs and breweries

This July, over 60 pubs in and around Norwich will be part of a month-long Norwich Pub Festival. It is the first event of this type run by Norwich & District CAMRA and it is designed to get more people back to the pub and enjoying local beers.

Pub Festival organiser Craig Harmer said: “During lockdown we were all missing the pub terribly, and we had to cancel Norwich Beer Festival last October.

“During our online committee meetings, we started talking about how we could help pubs get back on their feet after a difficult year.

“We wanted to plan something exciting for people, as well as supporting our fabulous local pubs and breweries.”

How will it work?

People can visit pubs from within colour-coded zones, mapped out in a festival guide available from participating venues. Each zone will include between 8 and 11 pubs, with a whole month to visit as many as you choose! 

The festival is not about pub crawling, but an opportunity to enjoy and support our local pubs safely and leisurely. 

Anyone who gets a stamp from every pub in a zone can claim a souvenir coloured wristband, and if you collect all colours (one wristband for each zone), you’ll qualify for a special prize to be awarded at Norwich Beer Festival in October!

Each pub is partnered with a brewery and receives a free cask of beer from them. They’ll also have the opportunity to work together to organise promotional events for customers during the festival.

There are over 40 breweries taking part and we want to say a huge thank you to them all for their support.

Getting around

Almost all the pubs taking part are on train or bus routes, and we’ll include public transport details in the festival guide. In Norwich, the central zones are walkable, and the pubs are very close to each other. 

Keep safe!

Please adhere to the latest Covid guidelines and drink responsibly.  If you need to drive or cycle, please keep everyone safe and have a soft drink, you’ll still get your stamp!

Finding out more?

Details of all the pubs and breweries taking part will be included in the festival guide, which you can pick up in pubs from June 21st. An online version will also be available via our social media pages:

Twitter @NorwichPubFest 

IG @NorwichPubFestival

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Norfolk’s 2021 Best Bottled Beers -- Lacons announced as the clear winner!

Norwich & District CAMRA’s tasting panel have carefully deliberated over some of the finest bottled beers and have selected the very best of Norfolk.

The overall Gold winner has now been revealed as Lacons Audit Ale, a dark copper barley wine bursting with marmalade, berry and spice aromas and flavours.

Brewed by the Great Yarmouth based Lacons Brewery, Audit Ale has been named the Champion Bottled Beer of Norfolk 2021.

The 8.0% strong barley wine stood out for judges who described it as having ‘Honey, marmalade and a sweet maltiness with a bitter edge’, and was given the accolade after a year-long series of tastings by members of the local Tasting Panel.

Lacons also scooped second place, for their Imperial Stout, inspired by stronger recipes from Lacons’ past, with mighty malt flavours; this beer was described by judges as ‘A kaleidoscope of malt, caramel and dried fruit with dark chocolate throughout.’

Overall third place was claimed by the new Birdhouse Brewery with their Mild. This is the first time this West Norfolk producer has featured in the awards – with one of the brewery’s original beers, a traditional mild, full of favour.

Panel chair Alan Edwards explained: ‘Real ale in a bottle has been the only way to enjoy the many quality Norfolk-brewed beers recently, due to pub closures and restrictions due to the Covid pandemic. It has also enabled many breweries to survive.’

Many of Norfolk’s 45 breweries produce Real Ale In a Bottle (RAIB). All were invited to enter the competition. Alan went on to add ‘The number of beers judged is only part of the rich portfolio available to Norfolk drinkers.

‘There are beers to suit all tastes, and we encourage ale-lovers to try them! CAMRA is part of the battle to preserve our rich pub and brewery heritage and we urge all appreciators to do their part in supporting local pubs and breweries.’

The full list of category winners:

1ST Lacons Brewery Audit Ale - Great Yarmouth
RUNNER UP Lacons Brewery Imperial Stout - Great Yarmouth
THIRD Birdhouse Brewery Mild - Downham Market

1ST Birdhouse Brewery Mild - Downham Market

1ST Humpty Dumpty Brewery Humpty Dumpty Ale - Reedham

1ST Elmtree Brewery Snetterton Scary Tree - Snetterton

1ST Elmtree Brewery Top of the Hop - Snetterton

1ST Two Rivers Brewery Happy Hopper - Denver
RUNNER UP Tindall Brewery Summer Loving - Seething

1ST Mr Winters Brewery Twisted Ladder - Norwich
RUNNER UP Elmtree Brewery Golden Pale Ale - Snetterton

1ST Lacons Brewery Old Nogg - Great Yarmouth

1ST Mr Winters Brewery Rorschach - Norwich
RUNNER UP Tindall Brewery Caramel Stout - Seething

1ST Lacons Brewery Imperial Stout - Great Yarmouth
RUNNER UP Grain Brewery Slate - Alburgh

1ST Lacons Brewery Audit Ale - Great Yarmouth

1ST Elmtree Brewery Winter Solstice - Snetterton
RUNNER UP Panther Brewery Hunter Dry Hopped Lager - Reepham

WHAT PUB? is CAMRA’s comprehensive online pub guide. It is free to members and non-members and is easily the most complete and up-to-date pub guide in the UK – giving information on local and national pubs; including updates on re-opening, facilities and special events and links to individual pubs’ social media and websites.  

Friday, 12 February 2021

Remembering Warren Wordsworth

Sadly, Warren Wordsworth, a former chairman of the Norwich & District CAMRA branch (2013-2016) died at his home in late 2020 and was cremated on January 5th 2021.

Aged 66, and originally from Polstead, in Essex, Warren lived in Norwich for many years and will probably be best remembered by many local drinkers as the person in charge of the products stall at Norwich Beer Festival.

With over 30 years membership of CAMRA, Warren was also previously the branch membership secretary, pubs officer, secretary and public affairs officer, where his administration skills were a useful asset.

Some may also recall Warren's leading role during the National CAMRA AGM & Members' Weekend held at St. Andrew's Hall in Norwich in April 2013.

Warren also enjoyed travelling, photography and trains and was an active member of the Norfolk Railway Society.

He was a keen promoter of pubs and had published a book on pub walks around Norwich, and will be remembered by several Suffolk CAMRA members as a regular competitor at the annual bowls matches played between Norfolk and Suffolk.