Saturday, November 19, 2005

Erewash Valley CAMRA 10th Annual Beerfest

Friday 18th & Saturday 19th November 2005
Sandiacre Friesland Sports Centre
Nursery Avenue

I am off to the Erewash Valley CAMRA 10th Annual Beerfest today with Henry. This is a nice small and steady festival to visit, with a trip round Derby on the way back.

Here is the Beerfest 2005 Beer List:

1) Oakham - Bishops Farewell 4.6 Peterborough
Intensely hoppy and full-bodied golden best bitter. Grapefruit character with a hint of tropical fruits.
Sponsored by: KRM Building Supplies, Nottingham Road, ILKESTON

2) Brakspears - Special 4.3 Witney, Oxford
Rich malt and hops combine with a fruit aroma for a long bitter-sweet finish with orange undertones

3) Cotleigh - Buzzard 4.8 Wiveliscombe, Somerset
A deep copper red traditional Winter ale. The chocolate malt gives a dry, nutty flavour with a smoky but smooth finish.

4) Crouchvale - Brewers Gold 4.0 Chelmsford, Essex
Honey toned golden ale with grapefruit sharpness,offset by suggestions of melon and pineapple.
Champion Beer of Britain 2005.

5) Salopian - Shropshire Gold 3.8 Shrewsbury
Rich golden ale. Using Golding and Styrian hops to give a malty, triple hopped flavour.

6) Rebellion - Red 4.7 Marlow, Bucks
Premium ale reflecting the colour of Autumn, it's deep copper hue derives from "Red Maize" in the malt grist. Predominately malty flavour with a subtle late hop character.

7) Castle Rock - Elsie Mo 4.7 Nottingham
A blonde and beautiful single malt beer. Supreme Champion in the Midlands SIBA awards for 2005/06
Sponsored by: Castle Rock Brewery, Queens Bridge Road, NOTTINGHAM

8) Nottingham - Dreadnought 4.5 Radford,Nottingham
Ruby in colour with deep,malty flavours leaving a throat tingling bitterness.
Sponsored by: Nottingham Brewery, St Peters Street, RADFORD

9) Full Mash - Decade 4.2 Stapleford, Notts
Specially brewed anniversary ale that is a pale, hoppy bitter with fruity aftertones
Sponsored by: The Dewdrop, Station Street, ILKESTON

10) Burton Bridge - Damson Porter 4.5 Burton on Trent, Staffs
Liquorice flavour with hops and fruit. Slightly sweet, amazingly red with a faint roast aroma,and a dry,astringent bite to finish.

11) Shardlow - Chancellors Revenge 3.6 Shardlow, Derbys
A well hopped session bitter, light coloured, refreshing and full flavoured.
Sponsored by: The Harrington Arms, Tamworth Road, SAWLEY

12) Leadmill - Marehay Mild 3.6 Denby, Derbys
Fuggles and Golding hops provide a satisfying chocolate/nutty finish to this mild.

13) Castle Rock - Rampling Fumatory 3.9 Nottingham
This seasonal special is a dark bitter with a hint of liquorice.

14) Museum Brewing - St Modwen’s 4.5 Burton on Trent, Staffs
Light and fruity pale beer. Oranges, pears and apples shine through finsihed with a little bitterness.

15) Dent - Baarister 4.5 Sedbergh, Cumbria
Mid strength golden bitter with initial sweetness. The floral aroma and citrus flavours compliment the traditional bitterness.
Sponsored by: The Needlemakers Arms, Kensington Street, ILKESTON

16) Wye Valley - Butty Bach 4.5 Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire
A burnished gold full-bodied premium ale from this Herefordshire brewery

17) Titanic - Stout 4.5 Stoke on Trent
An ultra-black stout with full roast aroma. With a mouth watering dry roast finish and touches of smoke or charcoal.
Sponsored by: The Nags Head,Wilne Road, SAWLEY

18) Nethergate - Priory Mild 3.5 Cavendish, Suffolk
Distinctive, full-flavoured very dark mild with a pronounced lingering roast and dry hop aftertaste.

19) Hop Back - Summer Lightning 5.0 Salisbury, Wilts
Finely balanced, pleasurable pale bitter with good, fresh hoppy aromas and a malty hoppy flavour with a dry finish.
Sponsored by: Edsons Joinery, Main Street, PLUMTREE

20) Butcombe - Gold 4.7 Wrington, Somerset
Medium bodied and well balanced, yellow gold in colour, quite fruity, slightly sweet with an abiding dryness.

21) Clarks - Golden Hornet 5.0 Wakefield, W.Yorks
A crisp golden premium beer with a full fruity taste, full hop aroma and dry hop aftertaste.

22) Hook Norton - Old Hooky 4.6 Banbury, Oxford
A well balanced and full bodied pale copper ale. The hoppy character gives way to a sweet and fruity finish.

23) Ringwood - Fortyniner 4.9 Ringwood, Hampshire
A mid brown beer with a fruity aroma. The finish is bittersweet with some fruit and hop flavours.

24) Milestone Brewery - Crusader 4.4 Newark, Notts
A Belgian style blond beer.Well balanced with a citrus accent.

25) Mallard - Duckade 4.1 Carlton, Nottingham
A light hoppy ale, celebrating a decade of brewing
Sponsored by: The Spanish Bar, South Street, ILKESTON

26) Funfair - Dodgem 4.7 Ilkeston, Derbys
Pale, hoppy summer beer.
Sponsored by: Sue's Corner Shop, Station Road, ILKESTON

27) John Thompson - JTS Bitter 4.1 Ingleby, Derbys
A well respected best bitter.

28) Brunswick - Triple Hop 4.9 Derby
A pale gold colour with citrus hop bouquet promise sweetness but the hops deliver a firm, dry, lasting bitterness.

29) Leek - Staffordshire Bitter 4.2 Leek, Staffs
Amber with a fruity aroma. Malty and hoppy to start but the hoppy finish diminishes quickly.

30) Thornbridge - Jaipur IPA 5.9 Bakewell, Derbys
Light golden appearance with sweet citrus notes reminiscent of lemon peel and tropical fruits.

31) Museum Brewing - White Shield 5.6 Burton on Trent, Staffs
IPA with a clean fruit aroma and a fruity/nutty taste, brewed virtualy unchanged since 1829.

32) Batemans - Valiant 4.2 Wainfleet, Lincs
A delicious golden beer, clean, crisp and zesty. As they say: "Develop a liking for a Viking"

33) Tom Woods - Old Timber 4.5 Barnetby, Lincs
A bitter, darkish brown beer. A slight lingering roast coffee flavour features.

34) Poachers - Dick 4.5 Witham St Hughes, Lincs
Ruby-red bitter with a smooth fruity flavour balanced by the bitterness of Goldings hops.

35) Nethergate - Old Growler 5.0 Cavendish, Suffolk
Smooth,distinctive and satisfying porter with bitter chocolate sweetness and roast malt and fruit featured.

36) Breconshire - Red Dragon 4.7 Brecon, Powys
Hop bitterness balances the biscuity malt characteristics of this easy drinking beer

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Gale's Brewery, Beers And Pubs Under Threat

Save Gales Campaign Group

For more information visit

It has been announced that London brewers Fuller, Smith & Turner (brewers of London Pride) have agreed a deal to take over Hampshire's oldest and most traditional brewers, George Gale. This immediately poses the questions of what will happen to the brewery, its beers, its pubs and its workers.

The local branches of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) have reacted with dismay at the devastating news for pub users, real ale drinkers and the brewery's staff.

CAMRA is calling on Fuller's to maintain brewing the full range of Gale's beers at the Horndean brewery in Hampshire, and to provide a commitment to retain the full Gale's pub estate and workforce.

Save This Pint Of Gales Festival Mild
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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Opening Times: Curmudgeon Threatening To Quit

News has reached me from Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA, that Opening Times Curmudgeon is threatening to hang up his pen.

John Clarke said,
I am begging him to stay on and he says he will reconsider if there is enough demand from his fans. Please e-mail your support to this News Group.

Show your support in the SSMCAMRA Yahoo News Group.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Licensing Act To Go Ahead

Don't Panic Mr Mangering, we will be able to enjoy a beer next week!

The Licensing Act is to become law on November 24 after the Tories’ attempts to delay the regime failed in the House of Commons last night.

A Conservative motion to cancel the start date of the Licensing Act was defeated by 74 votes in the Commons. The Lib Dems also backed the motion, which was lost by 228 votes to 302.

This vote follows the House of Lords earlier this week in which peers voted by a majority of 33 to delay the implementation of the new regime “to allow more time to address public concerns about the effects of the proposed changes.”

Check out Knut Albert's Beer Blog : English licencing laws post on this subject:
As I am going to England at the end of next week, I shall be able to report first hand if the more liberal licencing laws for pubs will result in an orgy of drinking and rampaging - or if people just relax a bit more over their last pint for the evening. It is the proper time to quote George Orwell, who wrote about this issue in the Tribune in 1944...

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Beer of the Trip! Blog Is Having A Small Redesign

We are having a small redesign here at the Beer of the Trip! blog so the site may look a little strange over next few days but hopefully we will come out looking much cleaner in the end.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Hydes Insulation - Henry's 7000th Tick

Enjoyed a few excellent beers yesterday (Sunday) which included Henry's 7000th tick, Hydes Insulation at the Eagle, Buxton:

No less than three malts are used to produce this fine ale. In predominance is English pale ale malt with a sizable portion of both Roast Barley and Chocolate malts for colour and depth of flavour. Bittering and aroma are courtesy of English Fuggles and a small amount of Wye Challenger. A small amount of seasonal winter spices are added to add further warmth and character to this beer. Dry hopped in cask with Fuggles.

Malt and spice in evidence in good balance.

A pleasant bitterness with a slightly sweet initial flavour followed by long notes of toffee, Christmas pud, coffee and chocolate.

A complex winter ale bursting with seasonal flavours, hearty enough to warm the cockles on a long winter night.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Official - Well Hopped Beer Is Good For You

"Mmmm... Beer" This oft-repeated sentiment of Homer Simpson is a mantra for the millions of beer drinkers in the United States. As popular as beer is, however, it often has gotten a bad rap as a calorie-loaded beverage that only serves to create paunchy beer bellies and alcohol-fueled lapses in judgment.

But that negative image may begin to fade: Research is showing that beer could join the ranks of other guilt-inducing but wildly popular foods — chocolate, coffee and red wine — as a possible disease-fighter.

It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.

The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by researchers with Oregon State University 10 years ago. Initial testing was promising, and now an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.

Earlier this year, a German research journal even devoted an entire issue to xanthohumol, he said.
What Stevens and others are discovering is that xanthohumol has several unique effects. Along with inhibiting tumor growth and other enzymes that activate cancer cells, it also helps the body make unhealthy compounds more water-soluble, so they can be excreted.

Most beers made today are low on hops, however, and so don't contain much xanthohumol. But beers known for being "hoppy" — usually porter, stout and ale types — have much higher levels of the compound. Oregon's microbrews ranked particularly high, Stevens said, which is not surprising: U.S. hops are grown almost entirely in the Northwest.

Still, no one knows how much beer is needed to reap the benefits. Mice studies show that the compound is metabolized quickly by the body, so it's hard to get a large amount in the body at one time, Mr Stevens said
It clearly has some interesting chemo-preventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption,

Source ABC News, Drinker's Delight: Beer May Fight Disease.

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CAMRA Campaigns To Keep Gale’s Brewing

Personally I think ther is little hope in saving another lost brewery, but here goes...

Consumers to seek assurances over future of Horndean Brewery, Gale’s pubs and beer range

Beer consumer group, the Campaign for Real Ale has reacted angrily to today’s announcement that London brewer Fuller’s is to acquire George Gale and Company in Horndean, and has pledged to fight to prevent the closure of the 158 year-old Hampshire brewery.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive, said,
Gale’s is a brewing landmark in Hampshire, brewing award-winning beers such as HSB and Festival Mild. Today’s announcement by Fuller’s makes no promises to keep the Horndean brewery open and it is clearly under threat. We will campaign to protect this unique Victorian tower brewery from closure.

The irrevocable deal leaves Fuller’s with around 360 pubs and access to Gale’s substantial free trade accounts. The future of the Gale’s Brewery and its beers is unclear as Fuller’s plans a major review of its operations.

Mike Benner added,
In 2005 alone we have seen Ridleys of Essex and Belhaven in Scotland fall victim to Greene King and Jennings of Cumbria swallowed up by Wolverhampton and Dudley. Consolidation is eroding our brewing heritage and reducing consumer choice.

CAMRA will be seeking assurances from Fuller’s that the Horndean Brewery will continue to brew the full range of Gale’s beers and that Gale’s pubs will not lose their identity with the Hampshire brewer.

“CAMRA has a good relationship with Fuller’s and it has demonstrated its commitment to an interesting range of quality cask beers. We will be pressing Fuller’s to continue this tradition and ensure Gales’ beers continue to be brewed in their Horndean heartland.”

Mr. Benner said,
There are potential beer portfolio clashes and we don’t want to see Gale’s Butser Bitter or Gale’s Best handpumps replaced with Fuller’s Chiswick or London Pride. Drinkers in Hampshire will not take kindly to the loss of their favourite beers.

John Cryne, CAMRA’s Brewery Liaison Officer and former National Chairman of CAMRA, said,
Whilst we clearly oppose the takeover, it does provide some sort of counter balance to the growing domination of W&DB and Greene King. Hopefully the fact that a family owned brewery has this time found shelter with another member of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, rather than joining the ‘big two’ where its identity would quickly be subsumed, will result in a future for both Gale’s and Fuller’s.

Gale’s Festival Mild is a long standing favourite with real ale drinkers and has picked up a number of CAMRA awards including the silver medal in the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition in 2003 and 2004. Gales also brews Prize Old Ale, a unique real ale in a bottle.

Update I
New website set-up with an on-line petition.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

A Tough Assignment? - 'Go And Drink Some Beer'

If you have never been to a CAMRA Beer Festival then this article might open up a whole new world for you...

The Editor gave me a tough assignment. 'Go and drink some beer'
By Chris Wickham

IT is not every day that your main task is simply to drink beer, so when the opportunity arose to visit the Twickenham Beer Festival at York House I wasn't going to turn it down.

With 72 barrelled beers, at least a dozen ciders and perries and many more bottled beers to sample there seemed to be no better way to spend a Friday afternoon, and a hundred or so people who were also present must have felt the same.

The Richmond and Hounslow branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, organised the festival, the 13th they have run since 1992 and the seventh in Twickenham. The first six were in Feltham, and a band of volunteers did most of the hard work.

Brain Kirton, chairman of the branch, explains that all the setting up for the festival and taking it back down again is done by volunteers, who take time off work to help.

He tells me that 650 people came to the opening night of the festival on Thursday and six of the ales were finished off.

"It was mainly the strong ones that went, people do like strong beer," he explains. And strong beer is what they can get, along with any other type of beer you can think of.

I was armed with my tasting notes for the range of barrelled ales, but upon entering with my fellow taster Chris Suk -being a sensible drinker I knew I couldn't try a full range of ales on my own - the first thing that caught the eye was the range of bottled beers.

A large shelving unit was stacked high with bottled beers from Austria to Australia and including traditional brewing strongholds such as Belgium and the Netherlands.

Amongst those was a beer called Herculean Stout, which is nine per cent ABV. Chris and I were willing to try most types of beer, but neither of us were that brave.

A full range of ciders was also available but it was the ale we had come for, so we headed into the Clarendon Room and were confronted with such a wide range of ales that we didn't know where to begin.

Not a man to stand on ceremony I decided to try the first one I saw, a beer from the Hexhamshire brewery in Northumberland called Devil's Water, a copper beer with a fruity finish according to the blurb. Chris, meanwhile, was tempted by a beer from the E and S Elland brewery in West Yorkshire called Bargee.

We both enjoyed our first foray into the festival so decided not to waste any time and continue our tasting session.

A Scottish ale was next on my list, Highlander from the Fyne brewery in Argyll while Chris went for a beer slightly closer to home, Golden, from the Archers brewery in Swindon.

Both beers were stronger than our first, and in my case it was noticeably so, the intense flavours enhanced by the strength of the beer.

With four down we were keen to expand our range and keep sampling, but as Brian explains we would not get a chance to taste all 72, even if our bodies could take it.

"Ale is a live product," he says. "It takes time to settle and develop its flavours, availability of some brews may be limited during the festival."

Limited perhaps, but in no way small. People were coming in constantly and enjoying the brews but ales were being added all the time, there were still plenty available.

Chris, being slighter more brave than me, decided it was time to try a mild, beer of lower alcoholic strength which is usually darker, and went for one from Thwaites, a brewery in Blackburn, Lancashire.

When he came back with a jet black beer I feared for him, and when a slightly pungent smell wafted in my direction I urged him not to drink it, but I soon learned not to judge a beer on anything other than taste.

The tasting notes said that this beer was hard to find in this form, I can only assume that is because so many people are drinking it, Chris couldn't get it down fast enough and from my small taste I could only describe it as a joy to drink.

Not one to be outdone I went for a grapefruit beer from the St Peter's brewery in Suffolk which, in complete contrast to the mild, appealed to the nose more than it did to the palate.

My next choice also came from the eastern extreme of the country, Woodforde's brewery in Norfolk, the aptly named, seeing as it was Trafalgar Day, Nelson's Revenge. Another strong beer it got me back into the swing of things, after the slightly disappointing grapefruit beer.

Chris went for Kodiak Gold, from the Beartown brewery in Cheshire, and immediately noticed an astringent aftertaste. He didn't drink much of it.

With eight beers between us we had sampled some very good ones, and some which hadn't been what we expected, but we could have no complaints about the range available.

Brian explains that in an ideal world they could get even more beers on.

"We have been setting up here since Tuesday," he says. "If we could come on Monday and get the extra day it would be even better.

"That would give us more chance to have more beers on. We had 16 to 20 on Thursday, if we can have them all on it would even out the sales and more beers would last longer, you have more chance of them all getting through to the end of the festival."

But what about outside the festival? As Roy Hurry, one of the festival organisers, explains the Richmond and Hounslow branch has 255 real ale pubs in its area, which covers the whole of Richmond upon Thames and 80 per cent of Hounslow.

And they make it easy to find the best, with CAMRA publishing real ale guides nationally and locally, and a branch pub of the year award, won this year by The Lion, on Wick Road, Teddington. The Magpie and Crown on Brentford High Street and The Express Tavern near Kew Bridge were the runners-up.

"A good number of pubs in this area do decent real ale," says Roy. "I can't be exact but I would say about 70 per cent do a decent real ale, which is very pleasing, and we hope that the festivals have gone some way to bringing the number up to that level.

"Anyone who is active in CAMRA becomes so because they would like to walk into any pub in the country and have a decent pint of beer."

Steve Williams, Greater London regional director for CAMRA, adds: "It is good in this area because Fuller's brewery is near, as is Young's. They have their own pubs and Twickenham has its own brewery too, it would be good to see their beers available in local pubs."

Twickenham Original, which is from the Twickenham Fine Ales brewery Steve mentioned, was my last choice, while Chris finished with a bang, the Strong beer from the Exmoor brewery in Somerset being the strongest either of us sampled.

The bitter finish to the beer didn't appeal to him but I couldn't fault the local brew. Another of their ales, Advantage Ale, was also popular, being voted as ale of the festival. Having got the taste for the beer I am loath to go back to the fizz and bubble of lager and as Brian explains there is plenty of beer out there for me to try.

"We show a minute amount of the beers that are available," he says. "There are four and a half thousand beers brewed in this country, it would be nice to have choices.

"The beer festival is all about people going back to the pubs they drink in and asking why a beer isn't there."

I will certainly be looking for pubs with real ales in the future and I'm sure I'll be back at York House next year to see what they've got.

"Unfortunately we can't have every beer," says Steve. "Even at the Great British Beer Festival we can't fit them all in, although we do get over 400 there."

Perhaps the Richmond and Twickenham Times would like a report from there next year.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

CAMRA NEWS: Beer Doesn’t Have To Leave A Bitter Taste

CAMRA Books, the publishing division of the Campaign for Real Ale, today launched The Big Book of Beer, a book temptingly subtitled, ‘Everything you Need to Know About the World’s Greatest Drink!

Beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones, tells the complete story of beer in a refreshing and accessible manner. It takes you on a journey from humble beginnings in a sun-drenched field of barley, through the brewing process, to reaching the glass in various forms and styles - satisfyingly aromatic and lightly sparkling.

The Big Book of Beer
I hope the book goes some way towards changing people‘s perceptions about real beer,

said author Adrian Tierney-Jones.

People are often pleasantly shocked when they give it a go, and there’s no better place to see drinker’s reactions than at a beer tasting.

At a recent corporate tasting hosted by Adrian Tierney-Jones, two-thirds of the females at the tasting liked English Bitter, from a selection of six contrasting beer styles, which flies in the face of orthodox brewing wisdom that the female palate enjoys a sweeter beer. Interestingly none of the drinkers would have considered drinking Bitter before tasting it.

“This is obviously a small sample from one corporate event, but it does demonstrate that an English Bitter is one of the great drinks of the beer world, full of flavour and complexity, thirst-quenching and moreish. It’s a shame that people seem to have a problem with the word Bitter when applied to beer, thinking it old-fashioned and redolent of flat caps and whippets!”

Tierney-Jones continues, “Bitter to many drinkers is a negative word. Yet the same people are happy to drink a double espresso or add Angostura bitters to their slinky cocktails; hardly easy and smooth flavours. If you look beyond the name, you’ll discover a world of flavour.”

In the same tasting 43% of those taking part said they prefer to be offered a glass which is specific for the beer they are drinking.

Author Tierney Jones said: “Again this idea is nothing new, and something that the industry has talked about for some time, it’s all about changing people’s perceptions, as beer is usually served in a standard pint glass. That’s why I decided to include a section on ‘Beer Curiosities’ in the The Big Book of Beer. In order to attract different types of drinkers to this wonderful drink, we have to accept that for some people the presentation of the beer is almost as important as the taste.”

The Big Book of Beer covers a range of topics and is a great gift title, for both beer novices and aficionados alike.

The book lists everything from:

Beer Beginnings - What makes beer, beer as a natural and organic product and how it is brewed.
Beer File - How to identify beer styles, tastes and beers of the world.
Beer Brewing – Craft brewers, family brewers, brewpubs, women and beer.
Drinking Beer – Beer in the pub, at home, Fancy a beer? Which beer to choose?
Beer and Food – Beer as an ingredient, matched with food, is beer the new wine?
Beer Curiosities – Glassware, beer mats, labels, festivals and advertising.

The Big Book of Beer celebrates every aspect of beer and urges the reader with their new-found knowledge to give it a try. Quite simply it is everything you need to know about the world’s greatest drink!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

CAMRA NEWS: New Good Cider Guide Launch At Award Winning Herefordshire Cider Producer

CAMRA award prestigious Pomona award to Dunkertons
CAMRA’s new Good Cider Guide launched at the same venue

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has awarded the prestigious Pomona award to Dunkertons, Leominster, Herefordshire.

Pomona Award
Ivor and Susie Dunkerton have been awarded CAMRA’s prestigious Pomona award for their tireless work establishing cider and perry as a premium product since founding their company in 1979, being the first producer in Herefordshire to be awarded the Soil Association certificate in 1988 and extensive orcharding work including the recent planting of specialist perry pear trees.

On hearing of the success Ivor Dunkerton said,
We are delighted to have received this recognition as we believe our ciders and perries are simply the best, at least that’s what our customers tell us. We want to thank all those who support and help us throughout the year.

Gillian Williams, CAMRA’s Director of Cider & Perry Campaigning said,
Dunkertons have led the way by establishing both cider & perry as premium organic products; they have acted as an inspiration to others. Perry trees produce perry pears for about 400 years. Ivor and Susie’s recent planting of perry trees means that in the year 2405 Pembridge could still be toasting the fruits of their labour.

CAMRA’s Good Cider Guide
CAMRA’s Good Cider Guide is the guide for real cider-loving connoisseurs. It is packed with information on every producer in the UK and highlights all the best places in which to buy and sample the nation’s best ciders.

The book is divided into counties and contains maps, listings of producers and over 550 cider outlets. The guide also includes other areas of cider interest, museums, orchards and heritage areas.

Monday, October 31, 2005

CAMRA Announces Britain's Best Pub For Cider And Perry

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has been celebrating Cider and Perry Month through October, today announced that The Miners, New Road, Whitecroft, Lydney, Gloucester is the best pub in Britain for cider and perry. This is the first time this award has been made to a pub.

CAMRA’s Cider and Perry campaign celebrates ‘real’ cider and perry. A number of events have been run by pubs, CAMRA branches and Common Ground throughout the month to help promote the quality of ‘real’ cider and perry to highlight the difference in taste that ‘real’ cider and perry offers compared to gassy, tasteless, keg products.

Gillian Williams, CAMRA’s Director of Cider & Perry Campaigning said,
It has been a very successful campaign this year. A large amount of pubs have come on board to help promote ‘real’ cider and perry by organising different events and offering consumers the chance to try the fantastic ‘real’ ciders and perries Britain produce. We have in the past always awarded pubs for the quality of their real ale and felt this was the ideal time to present an award for Britain’s Best Cider and Perry pub.

CAMRA’s Cider and Perry Pub of the Year 2005 – The Miners Arms, New Road, Whitecroft, Lydney, Gloucester. Presentation at the pub - Monday 21st October 2pm

This is the first year CAMRA has awarded a prize to the best pub in Britain that promotes and encourages sales of quality ‘real’ cider and perry. Pub goers were encouraged to enter their favourite cider and perry pubs and CAMRA received over 40 different pubs entries from across Britain.

The final judges report summed up the success of The Miners:
The Miners Arms clearly shows the listings of the fantastic ‘real’ ciders that are on sale, making it simple for the consumer to decide on which ones to try. They regularly offer three real ciders, all served on handpump. These ciders were tasted and served in excellent condition and at the right temperature. The Miners Arms also scored very highly for its friendly, welcoming staff who made you feel at home straight away. The pub feels like the heart and soul of the village and attracts all age groups. There is a wide selection of traditional games in the pub for people to enjoy, they offer occasional live music and there is an attractive garden. All in all, The Miners Arms is an excellent asset to the lucky locals of Whitecroft. It made us wish we lived a lot nearer!

Bob and Liz Kirby have run The Miners Arms for two years and on hearing they had been named as CAMRA’s National Cider & Perry Pub they said,
We are obviously chuffed to bits about this. Much of the credit for the award must go to our local cider drinkers who are dedicated in their quality control and consultancy roles and to our predecessors Stuart & Elaine who established the real cider reputation of the Miners.

Gillian Williams concluded,
The National Award provides recognition for the achievement of Bob and Liz who run this thriving real cider and perry pub. The judges, who have visited many pubs, just fell in love with The Miners Arms!

The three other finalists in this judging were –

The Brandy Wharf Cider Centre, Waddingham, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire

Dave Wells runs a wonderful pub with a constantly changing range of ciders and perries in a location which needs to be seen to be believed. Brandy Wharf Cider Centre is as far away from a bland high street chain as you could imagine.

The Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham

Nigel Barker runs this busy city centre pub just five minutes from New Street Station. This is a new establishment which having been a finalist in this competition is now attracting a loyal following.

The White Horse, Village Lane, Hedgerley, Bucks

Kevin runs this pub which is lovingly described as ‘chocolate box’ due to its appearance and timeless quality. This is a pub to settle into with few strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Web In A Pint - Promoting Real Ale And Cider In The U.K.

After a busy week putting together a new website, I can finally reveal The Web in a Pint which I hope will be a great success and catch the imagination of Real Ale and Cider drinkers in the U.K.

The Web in a Pint - Promoting Real Ale and Cider in the U.K.

If you are closly related in some way to the production, sale or promotion of Real Ale or Real Cider, such as a Brewery, Wholesaler, Pub or Bar Owner, Website Owner or even if you run an Off Licence etc., you are welcome to purchase PixelAds on the Homepage Pint.

What are PixelAds?
PixelAds are images with popup text and a link to your own website. Each one is made up of 100 individual pixels in a 10x10 square. Each pixel costs 50p (U.K. pence) and can be purchased in 100 pixel blocks (i.e. a single PixelAd).

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Monday, October 17, 2005

CAMRA Launch New Bottled Cider And Perry Competition

Entries to help revise CAMRA’s definition for bottled cider and perry...

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today launched a new competition, as part of the National Cider and Perry month celebrations, to find Britain’s best bottled ‘real’ cider and perry and to help revise its definition on what constitutes a ‘real’ bottled cider or perry.

CAMRA’s National Cider & Perry Month celebrates Britain’s ‘real’ ciders and perries with a variety of different promotions and initiatives throughout October. Although CAMRA have an official definition for draught cider and perry they feel they need to revise what their current definition is for the bottled versions.

Gillian Williams, CAMRA’s Director of Cider and Perry Campaigning said,
We feel that the bottled cider and perry market has changed over the last few years and this new competition, judged at a blind tasting, will give us the perfect platform to help us constitute exactly what a ‘real’ bottle of cider and perry is from the information we receive on the entry forms. The competition is therefore open to all types of produce – pasteurised and carbonated as well as entirely natural.

Cider and Perry producers from around the country are being encouraged to enter the competition by sending four bottles of their product with the completed entry form, which can be found visiting, to Gillian Williams, CAMRA HQ, 230 Hatfield Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 4LW

The questions that CAMRA are asking on the entry form include:

Is the product pasteurised?
Is the product heat treated?
Is the product micro filtered?
Is the product carbonated?

The blind tasting of the National Champion Bottled Cider and Bottled Perry will be announced along with the National Draught Cider and Perry Champion in May 2006.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

CAMRA's About Serving Real Cider And Perry

Depending on facilities and turnover in the licences premises, real cider is usually served from a polycask or similar container on or behind the bar.

Lately there has been an innovative marketing of real cider from Manucubes or a bag in a box system to extend the shelf life to 3 months. These are available from specialist off licence shops & are increasingly being used by Weston's. Both Manucubes or the bag in a box system are similar to the well accepted Australian wine box & prevent the spoiling of the cider by excluding air, thus preventing airborne anerobic bacteria infecting the drink, or if present, growing in the container thus making the cider "hard" (or infected) once opened.

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Monday, October 10, 2005

CAMRA All About Perry (Yes It's Made From Pears)

CAMRA's Cider LadyPerry is a drink so difficult to find that most people don't even know of its existence.

* This drink is made exactly the same way as cider is from apples, perry is from perry pears.

* Like cider apples, perry pears are grown specifically for perry production.

Believe it or not more perry is made now than has been made in a century, but it is difficult to market because of its low production volumes. Perry is traditionally a speciality of the Three Counties and Welsh Borders, as perry pears were said to only thrive 'in sight of May Hill'. Now however perry pears are also grown in other areas e.g. Somerset & Norfolk.

The demand is there for perry but Producers cannot make enough of it, as there is not enough quality fruit available. It takes only three years for a perry pear planted in the right conditions to bear fruit, but up to thirty years before it is at full maturity.

* Perry is a drink rarely found in pubs.

* However at most CAMRA beer festivals you can usually sample a range of Perry.

Yearly CAMRA run a National Cider & Perry Competition and present Gold, Silver & Bronze Awards for both cider & perry.

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

CAMRA's Cider And Perry Policy Continued...

Time Of The Year
Producing or making cider this takes place from late August to early in the New Year and depending on ambient temperatures, fermentation can take until the following spring.

* There is a flat rate of duty on cider up to 7.4%abv;

* You pay on the quantity made.

* A higher rate is paid for ciders between 7.4 and 8.5%abv.

* A higher rate of duty is levied on cider using mushroom closures, mainly made using the champagne method.

* A duty exempt limit of 70 hectolitres per year (about 1500 gallons) helps the very small, local producers.

* Duty is controlled by HM Customs & Excise and it should be noted that a new Notice 162 came out in March 2002, this can be obtained by contacting

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

CAMRA's How To Make Real Cider

CAMRA's Cider And Perry Logo1. The apples are washed and checked for rot or mould. Apple which are rotting should be discarded.

2. The apples are crushed in a machine called a scratter which chops them up into small pieces. They are now called pulp.

3. The pulp is placed in layers on a press and then the juice is extracted.

4. If a traditional screw or hydraulic press is used the pulp is wrapped in fine mesh cloths, like parcels, and about eight of these are used to make one pressing - called a cheese.

The natural yeasts in the apples start the fermentation and several months later you have cider.

A number of the larger producers will add sugar at the fermentation stage, enabling the cider to reach 12-14%abv, and then it is diluted down before it is sold (the legal limit for cider is 8.5%abv). See definition to clarify acceptability of this practise by CAMRA (section A3).

The apples which are used in The West Country & other certain parts of the country are cider apples, which are grown specifically for the purpose of making cider. Cider apples are generically identified as bittersweets and bittersharps.

With most ciders the greater the variety of apples used, the better as they all have different characteristics. In recent years a number of Producers have starting making cider and perry from single varieties of fruit; these produce an interesting & sometimes surprising result from a tasting point of view.

Local Variations
In Somerset and other areas in the West Country, layers of straw were used instead of cloths. Some producers still use this method.

In Herefordshire it was the tradition to use horsehair, but there are no known producers who still do this in Herefordshire.

In the Eastern Counties - Sussex up to Norfolk (& including Kent) - the tradition for cider is to use a mixture of eating and cooking apples, although a number of producers in Norfolk are growing cider apples as well.

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Friday, October 07, 2005

PUB NEWS: Construction Work Begins In A Former Robinsons Pub

I spotted yesterday that construction work has begun in a former Robinsons pub that has been closed for many years. Charlies Bar, as it was know, which forms part of the Grove Hotel, Spring Gardens Buxton.

At this stage it is not know if this is to be turned back in to a pub or not but this may be good news.

CAMRA's What Is Keg Cider? Plus Where It Is In Buxton

Keg Cider (This Is The Stuff To Find Avoid)
It is artificially carbonated, pasteurised, served under gas pressure. Most of today's keg cider is made from apple concentrate rather than real apples, some of which can be imported from almost anywhere. Keg cider is usually filtered and may also contain any of a long list of additives and colourings as defined permissible under Section 162 produced by HM Customs & Excise Department (see forward).

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Where To Find Avoid Keg Cider In Buxton
If you know of any Keg Cider outlets in and around Buxton then please add a comment at the bottom.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

CAMRA's Definition Of Real Draught Cider And Perry

A) Ingredients
1. The liquid content before fermentation must consist entirely of non-pasteurized apple (Cider), or pear (Perry) juice.

2. No apple or pear juice concentrates to be used.

3. Normally, only the sugar naturally available in the fruit should be used to cause fermentation, but in years when the level of natural sugar in the fruit is low, the addition of extraneous sugar to aid fermentation is acceptable.

B) Process
1. No pasteurization to take place during the production process in relation to the cask product.

2. No added colourings to be used.

3. No added flavorings to be used.

4. There must be no artificial carbonation for draught products.

5. Sweetener may be added to fully fermented Cider/Perry to make it sweet or medium.

6. The addition of water is permitted to bring the alcoholic content of the Cider/Perry down to the level required by the producer. Ideally, however the minimum juice content should not be lower than 90% volume.

7. No micro filtration allowed (this takes all the yeast, leaving a "dead" product).

The above is item 5.2 as extracted from CAMRA's External Policy Document 2003 - 2004

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

An Introduction To CAMRA's Cider And Perry Policy

CAMRA Supports Real Cider And PerryCAMRA set up a cider and perry committee within CAMRA to promote the consumers choice of real cider and perry.

* The worrying thing is that real cider is in a similar situation to that which faced beer some 25 years ago as the number of outlets for real cider is diminishing, even in the West Country.

* The situation with perry is even worse, as it is rarely available away from the farm gate.

* Recent reforms of The Common Agricultural Policy may result in landowners being paid for "grubbing up" their trees. In a worst case scenario without trees there will be no fruit & without the fruit there will be no cider or perry.

Over the years, CAMRA has given advice and technical help to producers, monitored the industry and advised beer festivals. Specifically CAMRA has:

* Instigated a National Champion Cider and Perry of the Year award

* In 2003 establish October as Camra's Cider and Perry Month

* In 2004 established the hunt for The National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year (which is to be announced in October 2005)

CAMRA also publishes CAMRA's Good Cider Guide, with the next edition being planned for 2005.

(c) CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Lets Enjoy Some Cider And Perry In Buxton This October

So, it's Cider and Perry Month in October! This seems too good an excuse to me to miss out on, and organise a day (or evening) in Buxton drinking 'Real' Cider and Perry.

So dust off your ‘Gusto’ and lets get out for a few pints, and enjoy the local Cider and Perry on offer. All suggestions for local venues and a date welcome.

I may even turn one of my planned trips to Nottingham (21st) or Stoke (22nd) Beer Festivals with Henry in to a Cider and Perry day, Now that would be interesting!

CAMRA Celebrates ‘REAL’ Cider And Perry In October

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, will be celebrating 'Real' cider and perry throughout October to boost the market for Britain's independent producers.

The main aim of CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry Month is to encourage pubs to offer their customers a real cider or perry during October to highlight how much more taste and quality you get from the real products compared to the keg products which are fizzy (carbonated), tasteless and pasteurised and widely available in large numbers of pubs across Britain.

Other National Cider Month plans

Launch of CAMRA’s new Good Cider Guide - Saturday 29th October at 12 noon at Dunkertons Cider Company, Pembridge, Leominster, this is the guide for real cider and perry-loving connoisseurs. Organised into counties, the guide contains maps, listings of producers and a selection of approximately 500 outlets.

Announcement of the CAMRA’s first ever National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year - Pub-goers have been encouraged throughout the year to nominate pubs that they think serve the best real cider and perry in Britain. Over 30 pubs have been entered into the competition and CAMRA will announce who the winner is and present the Award to the winning pub on Monday 31st October at 2pm.

Launch of the new Bottled Cider & Perry Competition 2005/6 – This competition is open to all bottled ciders and perries, the Producer needs to complete a simple form stating what processes their products have gone through ( and summit four bottles. Blind tastings will take place. The winners will be announced in May 2006 at the same time as the draught cider and perry Championships.

Pomona Award 2005 Winner - Each year CAMRA members nominate the person, place or thing who has done the most for cider and perry on an ongoing basis. In 2005 CAMRA has awarded the Pomona Award to Dunkertons Cider Company of Luntley, Pembridge, Leominster. The Pomona award is made for Dunkerton’s tireless work establishing cider and perry as a premium product since 1979; being the first producer in Herefordshire to be awarded soil association certification in 1988; and for their extensive orcharding work. This award will be presented on Saturday the 29th of October at 12 noon.

Promoting a list of 'Highly Recommended' ciders and perries to try throughout October – please visit

Organising different cider and perry events throughout the month - Please visit CAMRA Cider and Perry in October to view a number of events happening around Britain.

Gillian Williams, CAMRA's Director of Cider and Perry Campaigning said,
Real ciders and perries are natural living products made from many different types of apples and perry pears, grown in local orchards. It is the different areas of production and the varieties of fruit which gives each drink a unique, living and wonderful taste. CAMRA is asking Landlord’s to make space on their bar for some real cider and perry, and to give more choice to the public

Ms Williams added,
We want people to be able to try a real cider or perry in their local pub. We think they'll be bowled over by how good they taste and urge landlords to stock them on a regular basis. Small producers can't compete with the huge national producers and it's up to consumers to choose choice in their local. As someone once said, real cider and perry should be enjoyed ‘Gusto’, so dust off your ‘Gusto’, go out, and enjoy.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

CAMRA - Real Ale in a Bottle Retailer Awards Announced

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, today announced the winners of its inaugural Real Ale in a Bottle Retailer Awards.

CAMRA’s Best Independent Retailer 2005 has been named as:
The Real Ale Shop, Brantfill Farm, Wells-next-the-Sea (

Owner Teddy Maufe said
The Real Ale Shop is delighted to win this award and we hope it will go on to further public awareness that Norfolk produces some of the world’s best malted barley for brewing many superb real ales.

CAMRA’s Best Retail Chain 2005 has been named as:
Booths Supermarkets, the Supermarket chain represented in the North West of England.

Beer Buyer David Smith said
We are delighted to have won the award. We work closely with our suppliers in order to offer the range, diversity and quality of the real ales we stock.

Retailers were judged, by representatives from CAMRA’s Awards Committee, on the following criteria:

The range of bottle-conditioned products available
The way in which they sell the beer
Innovations in promoting Real Ale in a Bottle
Helpfulness of staff
Value for money

The awards form part of CAMRA’s ‘Real Ale in a Bottle’ Scheme, whereby Breweries can opt to use the “CAMRA says this is real ale” logo on their bottle labels of bottle-conditioned products to help differentiate it from pasteurised bottled ale substitutes.

The consumer group hopes that within time the logo will become easily recognisable and consumers will be able to understand and identify the style of beer which they are drinking. The scheme was launched in August 2004, and during the first year 105 breweries (over two thirds of those eligible) have joined the scheme.

Real ale drinkers toast the first year of success with a glass of tea!

To celebrate the scheme’s success, retailers and breweries recently raised a glass at its first birthday party, with TEA and cake during the Great British Beer Festival.

The TEA was most definitely the alcoholic variety as it was supplied by Hogs Back Brewery!
Said CAMRA’s Marketing Manager Georgie Rudman.
This particular beer was one of the first to opt for the accreditation a year ago.

Tony Stanton from Hogs Back Brewery adds "With more customer awareness for label information to be found on products these days, we at Hogs Back are delighted to be one of the first to trial the " CAMRA says this is real ale" campaign logo on our bottle-conditioned range of beers....customers are far more informed about product information then ever and actively look for an industry mark of quality from respected organisations like CAMRA. Sales have increased significantly from using the logo our labels”

Real Ale in a Bottle launches New Quality Initiative
This month will see CAMRA launch its quality initiative for ‘Real Ale in A Bottle’ which is being trialled amongst its membership. The card has been designed to find out about the quality of the large numbers of real ale in a bottle available.

We have made the card as self-explanatory as possible, as we would like it to be used by anyone who enjoys real ale,
said Georgie Rudman CAMRA’s Marketing Manager.
The idea is to feed back information to retailers and brewers about the views of the participants. We hope that by monitoring any data collected we will be able to help raise the standards of real ale in a bottle across the board.

Monday, September 26, 2005

New Manager At The Cheshire Cheese, Buxton

Pub News: There is a new manager at the Cheshire Cheese, Buxton a Hardy & Hansons owned pub. I had a quick chat to him on Sunday and hopefully the quality and choice of the real ale available should improve. We may aslo get some answers from the Brewery as to the current pricing policy, more later in the week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Beer Revolution In Britain As Number Of New Breweries Soars

Choice for British beer drinkers is booming as a record number of new breweries has been recorded by the 2006 edition of the Good Beer Guide, published today by the Campaign for Real Ale. Editor Roger Protz says the guide lists more than 80 new breweries, almost twice as many as in the previous year.

“The spate of new micro breweries and the booming regional sector prove there is no ‘real ale crisis’, Protz adds. “In spite of the best efforts of the global brewers who dominate British brewing, there is greater choice today than at any time since the Good Beer Guide was first published in the early 1970s.”

The guide, which lists 4,500 of Britain’s best real ale pubs as well as all the country’s breweries, says the dramatic number of new producers as well as the stability in the regional sector has been fuelled in part by the government’s introduction of Progressive Beer Duty. PBD enables micros and small regional breweries that produce up to 30,000 barrels to pay less duty.

But the main driving force behind the upsurge in new breweries is consumer demand. “Beer lovers are tired of over-hyped national brands and avoid like the plague the bland apologies for lager and the cold, tasteless keg beers produced by the global brewers. Beers with aroma and flavour are back in vogue and smaller brewers are rushing to meet the clamour from consumers. With around 500 micros, 35 family-owned breweries and several bigger regional producers, there is now greater choice than at any time since the Campaign for Real ale was founded in 1971.Britain has more micros per head than any country in the world, including the United States.”

The 2005 annual report of SIBA – the Society of Independent Brewers, which represents most of Britain’s micros and smaller regionals – says sales among its members have grown by an average of 12 per cent a year compared to 2004, with six out of 10 SIBA members reporting growth in excess of 10 per cent. The micros’ share of the cask beer market has grown to more than 20 per cent, up from 14 per cent in 2003.

Roger Protz comments:
Even the Doubting Thomas of the beer world, the statistical company A C Nielsen, which in recent years has prophesised the virtual obliteration of real ale, reported in July 2005 that the decline in the cask beer sector had bottomed out and there were signs of recovery. Most significantly, Nielsen now supports what CAMRA and the Good Beer Guide have argued for years: that if the cask beer production figures of the four global brewers – Scottish & Newcastle, Interbrew, Coors and Carlsberg – are stripped out, the regionals and micros can be seen to be in growth.

* Timothy Taylor in Keighley, West Yorkshire, have invested around £11 million over a decade to enable production to grow from 28,000 barrels a year in 1997 to close to 50,000 today.

* Fuller’s in Chiswick, west London, is a now major national force, with London Pride alone accounting for 130,000 barrels a year, making it the biggest-selling cask beer in Britain.

* Adnams in Southwold, Suffolk, has had to add new fermenting capacity three times in recent years to cope with the demand for its beers.

* Everards of Leicester has invested £20 million in its pub estate and has reaped a rich reward. Cask beer accounts for 37 per cent of sales in its pub estate – a high proportion – and between 2004 and 2005 sales of Tiger Best Bitter increased by 40 per cent and Original by 55 per cent.

* Charles Wells of Bedford, the biggest family-owned independent brewery in Britain, has turned its Bombardier premium bitter into a national brand that is now in the Top Ten biggest sellers.

* Hydes in Manchester has doubled its capacity from 100,000 barrels a year to 200,000, aided by the contract to brew cask Boddingtons for Interbrew.

* Daniel Thwaites, a regional giant in the North-west, went down the nitro-keg route in the 1990s but has now returned to the cask fold with enthusiasm. Cricket hero Andrew Flintoff appears in special promotions for the brewery’s Lancaster Bomber.

* Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire started in 1978 as a tiny micro brewing just 10 barrels a week. It is now close to 30,000 barrels a year and built a new brewhouse in 1994 and added new fermenters in 2004.

* Sharp’s in Wadebridge, Cornwall, started in 1994 in one unit on an industrial estate. It has now spread to most of the estate and vies with the long-established St Austell Brewery as the biggest producer of cask beer in the county.

* Copper Dragon in Skipton, West Yorkshire, opened in 2003 and has quadrupled production in just three years.

* Hogs Back in Tongham, Surrey, has commissioned new coppers and fermenters to cope with demand, a demand that is met not only by selling to pubs by also by e-commerce.

* The jointly-owned Brakspear and Wychwood breweries in Witney, Oxfordshire, reports sales of Hobgoblin up by almost 50 per cent in the year to the end of May 2005, contributing to a tripling in cask sales since the beer was re-launched in 2003. And sales of Brakspear Bitter grew by 20 per cent in the free trade – a figure that excludes sales in the Brakspear pub estate.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Glossop Victorian Weekend And The Railway, Buxton

I am shortly off to work at our loacal CAMRA Branch festival in Glossop at the Victorian Weekend today/tomorrow. Here is the Beer List.

The latest local news for Buxton is that The Railway is now open with three handpumps on all serving real ale. The downside as I found out last night is that they have decided to have a duel pricing policy, Cheap in the week and Expensive at the weekend, more on this later in a full report. Do you want to guess when I will be visiting?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Report Of The Trip (Part Four)

Saturday 27th August

Up early today as it is time to pack up the tent which has stood up quite well dispite the disappointing weather (food etc.) and head back home. The jury is still out the sucsess of this years festival, only time and a few more beers will tell. I may add an update later to this post, but I hope to be back even if we don't work next year.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Report Of The Trip (Part Three)

Friday 26th August

Well I awoke late again after another deep sleep feeling much beter today, good stuff this real ale. After a good strong cup of tea or three the Friday work plan was settled upon. Even though I had booked in, it was decided that moral for working at the festival this year was at an all time low as we would find out toninght (Shame really).

Off to the Brewery Tap for the best meal of the trip, a Tai Curry, Yumm Yumm with all the side dishes we could manage and some of the new Oakham IPA.

That evening at the festival the shortage of willing volenteers was very apparent as the festival got fuller, the hard working (Hum! Hum!) Cellar Staff all in with their matching uniforms had to help out serving beer to the public, some of whom did not like this. And finally at the end of the evening when you need them most the toiltes on the whole site packed for a short while and it was back to nature!

After a few beers in the staff bar it was off to bed in the tent for the last time this year.

Part four continued...

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Report Of The Trip (Part Two)

Thursday 25th August

Woke up late on Thursday in need of some breakfast, so into town it was. If any of the food vendors is reading this then they could make a small fortune selling bacon butties every morning at the festival. After a couple of rounds of bacon it was off to the Parmaston Arms for out traditional pint of mild to start the day. We met up with Henry (Another Buxton local) here and so started a small stagger close to the festival site around Peterborough, including the Coalheavers Arms, Charters (Still boat of the trip!). Then it was back to the festival for a short rest before the evening session wich turned out to be a short affair as tea (As it's now know) was taken early and I did not feel much like working after that, as so did many others.

Part three continued...

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Report Of The Trip (Part One)

Wednesday 24th August

After driving through the rain we arrived at 11:30am to a dry sky but very wet ground at the festival site. After just enough time to put the tents up the rain started again, this was going to be a soggy few days. We worked the afternoon session and we set for lunch at 2pm.

This is where things stared to go a miss this year as the food (provided free for staff) seemed to have been taken over by a bunch of wives and their children (who were served first before the hard working staff). We had been warned by our bar manager that there had been rumblings of discontent the night before as there had not been any food left when they finished the evening session. Lunch was ok but it had changed to the previous years buffet sytle (Help yourself) to ask and it will be dished up for you. So after a small lunch it was back to work on our usual bar for the rest of the day/evening.

After the end of the evening session (Spot on 11pm) we headed for the rush for our eveing meal. What a difference a year makes! the kitchen was deserted and all that was left out for us to eat was smallpaper plates of salad with either a piece of ham or cheese on each one. Where was the hearty warm food of previous years (We had worked several hours on the bar after all). Usually the are up to 100+ volenteers waiting to be fed. This is where we found out that this year things we going to be done differently and no one had told us! Things were so bad that some of the staff were having a whip round to buy food themselves for the next night! So off to a good nights sleep in a wet tent.

Part two continued...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Day Two

It's Wednesday morning and I am getting ready to set off to the beer festival at around 8:30am ish, when CK will pick me. Looking at how busy it was last night on the webcam (Didn't spot Henry), I am really looking forward to working their again this year. See you in the South Marquee if you are going, somewhere around the WXYZ bar area, just by the Batemans bar.

Hope to have further posts here throughout the week, if not then a full report at the weekend when I have recovered.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: Day One

Tue 23rd to Sun 28th August, 2005
The Embankment, Bishop's Road, Peterborough

Day one and it looks like it has been a very busy night

Greene King Threat To Scotland’s Largest Regional Brewer

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is urging Belhaven’s shareholders to reject Greene King’s bid for Belhaven Brewery. CAMRA's call follows the announcement that Greene King has made an agreed bid for Belhaven Brewery.

Belhaven is a very successful Scottish brewer with rising sales and profits and an estate of over 300 pubs. Belhaven has recorded 15 years of unbroken growth.

We are hugely disappointed at the prospect of losing Scotland’s largest Independent Brewery. Belhaven is a successful independent Scottish company that brews excellent beer and runs excellent pubs.

While we welcome Greene King’s intention to keep the Brewery open, the loss of Belhaven as an independent company is a bitter blow to consumer choice and competition in Scotland. Greene King needs to reassure Scottish drinkers that they will continue to brew and promote Belhaven’s unique beers such as Belhaven 60/-.

We hope that Belhaven’s many individual shareholders will pause for thought before selling their shares to Greene King.

Ken Davie, CAMRA Scottish Director

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: The Beer keeps On Comming

Most of the beer is stillaged

And another beer delivery

You can see more pictures in the Album on the Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival website.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: A Second Webcam In The South Marquee

There is now a second webcam in the south marquee at the festival site. You can watch the the beer arriving.

The Gnomes Are Back!

Yikes! It looks like the Gnomes are back at the Peterborough Beer Festival site. You may catch a glimpse of a Gnome here on the webcam.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Glossop Beer Festival Beer List

Here is the provisional Beer List for the Glossop Beer Festival 2005 to be held on:

Friday, September 2 between 12 noon - 11.00 pm
Saturday, September 3 between 12 noon - 11.00 pm
Sunday, September 4 between 12 noon - 5.00 pm

UPDATED: 01 Sept 2005

Sovereign 4.4%
Harvester 4.5%

Eastwood & Sanders
1872 Porter 6.5%
Mosquito Photo Reccy 4.0%

Great Gable
Liar 3.4%

Holme Valley
Waterside Mill Bitter (Special)
Uncle Orinoco's Mild

Howard Town
Glott's Hop 5.0%
Dinting Arches 4.5%

Lowes Arms
Red Rose Porter Special Edition 4.7%
Kingston Bitter 4.5%

Square Peg 4.1%
True Grit 5.0%

Peak Ales
Bakewell Best Bitter 4.2%
Swift Nick 3.8%

Offa's Dyke Bitter
Hobroyd Mill Bitter

Sumners Special Ale
Woody's Ale
Golden Globe

Thornbridge Hall
Blackthorn Ale 4.4%
Lord Marples 4.0%
Foxwood 3.5%
Jiapur IPA 5.9%

Wilmans Mill Light 4.1%
Waterside Mill Hop 4.4%
Turnlee Mill Ginger 4.1%

Turnlee MGY 4.4%
Full Kiln 4.0%
Black Ice 4.1%
Laster Porter Call 4.9%

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival Webcam Is Up And Running

The webcam is now up and running at the festival site. You can now see what is going on in one of the site offices.

UPDATE: There is now a second webcam so you can now see the beer in the south marquee.

SSMCamra News: The Owl Brewery, Oldham Is One Year Old

A little news on the oldham front, owl brewery is celebrating its first birthday this weekend, it is twelve months since landlord gordon potts formed the owl brewery in greenacres oldham, this was as you know derelict until gordon potts took over and trasformed this pub into a real ale pub, with its own brewing tower and excellent beers to match, this pub is worthy of our support and well worth as visit. Gordon has even brewed a special beer to celebrate this anniversary called hoppy birthday. Anybody interested there will be a buffet on sat this week, but I am not sure when this is to take place this is a good pub to visit even though this is not in our branch area
Cheers Glen

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: The Marquees Are Well On The Way

More pictures here and here from the Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival, and the webcam is now scheduled for friday. I hope the blue sky below continues next week.

The marquees are well on the way

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 Beer Of The Month: Ridley's Old Bob Strong Premium Ale

Beer Of The Month, August
Ridley's was sold to the Greene King brewery on July 4th 2005. Greene King has already announced the closure of the old Ridley's brewery in Essex, and transfer of several beer brands, including Old Bob, to Bury St Edmunds. So for traditionalists, snapping up a few bottles of the delightful Essex-brewed Old Bob now may be your last chance... [More on]

About - all you need to know about beer, is an online magazine dedicated to real beer. Their main focus is bottled beers: bottle-conditioned ales, world beers and anything that catches our attention as a distinctive "real beer". They will look at cask ales and pubs too. You can become part of the community via the UK Beer Forum. is open to your suggestions for the beer-related things you'd like to see.

Tom Cannavan
Tom is Publishing Editor of Tom is one of the UK's most respected wine writers, who has published his, magazine since 1995.

Roger Protz
Roger is Contributing Editor of Roger is Britain's foremost beer writer and taster, who is also well-known to beer connoisseurs in the United States and mainland Europe.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival: The Site Build Begins

Today the Peterborough CAMRA Beer Festival site build has begun with the outer fencing.

You can check out further photos on the PBF website. They also say that from next Thursday the Beer Festival webcams shoud be up and running.

The main event runs from Tue 23rd to Sun 28th August, 2005 at The Embankment, Bishop's Road, Peterborough. See you there from the 24th!

Real Ale Pubs In Wilmslow, Cheshire

I Spent a few hours in Wilmsolw, Cheshire on Saturday evening while my wife went shopping. After checking out the Good Beer Guide 2005 I was droped off at the King William and decided to take a look round first to see what else I could find. Just up the road I passed the Lloyds No.1 and eventuly came across the Coach and Four, a Hydes Pub.

This turned out to be an excellent find with four beers available on Handpump. I started on the 1863 which was in excellent form (as all the beers I tried), then moved on to the Bitter. I did not manage to try all the beer so I will have to return. The food available also looked very tempting.

Next I poped in to the Lloyds to see what, if anything, they had on. Two half beers were samnpled as I did not wish to spend too long in there. Both were very nice with the Bollin Special having the edge.

Finally back to the King William which turned up the biggest supprise of the night, to actually find an excellent pint of Robinsons, which is not something I would normally say. There were two beers on, the Hatters and unicorn, and a couple of pints of both were sampled. This should have been no suprise as this pub has won Robinsons Best-kept Celler Award six years in a Row!

So if you find yourself in Wilmsolw, then I would defiantly reccomend checking out the Coach and Four and King William.

Hydes - Coach and Four, Wilmslow
1863 3.5% £1.40
Bitter 3.7% £1.63
Jekles Gold 4.2% £-.--
HPA 4.7% £-.--

Weatherspoons - Lloyds No.1, Wilmslow
Titanic, Bollin Special %5.2 £1.80
Herold, Wiessbier %5.1 £1.80

Robinsons - King William, Wilmslow
Hatters Mild %3.3 £1.90
Unicorn Bitter %4.4 £2.00

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Vores Øl: The Worlds First Open Source Beer

Here is a first, at least it is the first I've heard of!, an open source beer recipe. So the question now is, Will CK at the Fairfield Brewery be doing a corriander version 1.01?

What's this "Vores Øl"?
Vores Øl (Our Beer) is a great tasting energetic beer and it's the world's first open source beer! It is based on classic ale brewing traditions but with added guarana for a natural energy-boost.

Version 1.0 is a medium strong beer (6% vol) with a deep golden red color and an original but familiar taste.

Check out the recipe and more information at Vores Øl Recipe