Monday, 26 March 2018

Branch 'Pub Of The Year' winners anounced

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, on Lawson Road in Norwich, has been voted Norwich & Norfok CAMRA branch's 2018 Pub Of The Year.

The pub has been awarded both the 2018 City Pub of the Year and the Branch’s overall Pub of the Year by the members of the Norwich and Norfolk branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

Landlords Mark White and Laura Hedley-White have received the news of the win. Mark said: ‘We are thrilled and very proud of what we have achieved and very thankful to our amazing team and to the support of our customers.

‘Our aim has always been simple; seek out the best and most innovative beers the UK has to offer, then serve them in the most fun environment we can create.’

Laura also commented that she is delighted to hear that they have once again received both awards, having also won back in 2016 and added: ‘We believe good music goes hand in hand with good beer, so we select some of the finest bands we can find for you to listen to whilst exploring our extensive ale and cider menu.’

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap is a characterful real ale hotspot serving its own Fat Cat beer and a selection of around 20 other real ales, plus 12 keg beers, around 10 traditional ciders and perries plus bottled and canned beer and a range of wines.

Described as a ‘year-round beer festival with live music and the most enthusiastic managers you could wish to find’ the venue also offers a popular range of mother chips and sharing cheese platters in colourful, original, rustic surroundings.

The Norfolk Lurcher, in Colton, has scooped the Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA 2018 Rural Pub of the Year.

Purchased a little over 10 years ago by Alison and John Lainchbury, who run the pub and restaurant with the help of their son Daniel and his wife Penny, The Norfolk Lurcher is the country place to visit for a great drink and good local food.

Home to the Ugly Bug Restaurant offering quality, fresh local food, the pub itself changed its name to the Norfolk Lurcher, named after the family dog, Alfie, a Norfolk Lurcher.

Daniel commented: ‘John, Alison, Penny, myself, and not forgetting Alfie, were all absolutely thrilled to hear that we had won this year. It was completely unexpected! We would like to thank our fantastic regulars, locals and CAMRA members who nominated and voted for us, without whom we would not be in this situation.

‘We would also like to thank our local brewers for making such amazing beers that everyone loves so much! We would equally like to thank our staff, who have worked so hard all year round to help us achieve this great award.’

The Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Branch have also awarded the 2018 Cider Pub of the Year, won for the seventh time by The White Lion, Oak Street, Norwich.

Russell Corke, manager of the pub which is run by Individual Pubs, the trading arm of Milton Brewery, said: ‘We are delighted to win this award again which demonstrates our continued commitment to providing a range of quality local and traditional ciders for our customers.’

The runner-up in the City Pub of the Year is the Beehive, and the Rural Pub runner-up was the White Horse at Neatishead, both former winners.

Ian Stamp, the Norwich and Norfolk Branch Chairman said: ‘As always, the competition for Branch Pub of the Year was very tight, with only a couple of points (out of 40) separating the top ten pubs.

‘The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, a previous winner in 2016, well deserves the prize, as a well-managed pub with something for everyone - a fantastic range of both traditional and modern real ales and keg beers, a great list of ciders and perries, regular live music and great food, but also a "real pub" atmosphere. Congratulations to Mark and Laura and all their staff!

‘I would also like to congratulate Alison and John Lainchbury, owners of the Norfolk Lurcher, a new winner of our Rural Pub of the Year. They've worked very hard since buying the pub over ten years ago, and from my visits over the years I can vouch for the quality of the beer - we must visit the pub to sample the food, which I'm told is also excellent!’

The winners will be presented with their award certificates at the respective pubs in the near future.  Details will be announced on the branch Facebook page and website calendar.

The overall winner, the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, will now go on to the Norfolk Pub Of The Year competition and will be judged against the King's Arms, of Shouldham, West Norfolk Branch; Tombstone Saloon, of Great Yarmouth, East Norfolk Sub-Branch; and the Old King's Head, Brockdish, Mid Anglia Branch, to find the overall Norfolk Pub Of The Year.

The White Lion will also go head to head with other cider pub winners to find the overall Cider Pub Of The Year.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

World Beers at the Great British Beer Festival Winter

CAMRA are hosting the Great British Beer Festival Winter, taking place in Norwich from 20 to 24 February and featuring World Beers in The Halls central marquee.

World beers have been selected from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, UK and the USA and will be showcased in the marquee, accessed via the Cloisters of St Andrew’s Hall.

All beers are note-worthy, but just to select a few to whet the appetite: 

There will be a bottled Australian golden ale, Little Creatures, laden with hops with loads of character. 

Austria’s Brauerei Schloss will also be represented with its Samichlaus Doppelbock, perhaps the rarest in the world! Samichlaus is brewed on 6th December each year and older vintages become more complex with a creamy warming finish.

There is a limited edition Alvinne beer, available in bottles at the World Beer Bar from the ‘Wild West’ of Belgium.  This beer is aged in French oak barrels (Chateau La Croizillé) from 2011 and contains a wide range of handpicked berries. 

There is naturally a large selection of Belgium beers including bottled Trappist beers from Belgium, Netherlands and Italy, together with a classic Belgium Dubbel on draft, with dry fruit flavours and gentle roastiness. 

There is a wide selection on draught, such as the Thirstin More from Warpigs brewery of Denmark, a hazy golden beer with an aroma of dry orange fruits, wheat, citrus and flowers. 

There is a collaborative brew brought to us by Fuerst Wiacek of Germany together with Zagovor Brewery, ‘German Movies’, a double dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy that they acquired from the Põhjala Brewery of Estonia.

There are also lagers from Germany, Poland and UK on draft.  Also look out for the array of draught UK beers from All Day Brewing, Ampersand, Burnt Mills, Little Earth Project, Nene Valley Brewery and Redwell, alongside a tempting selection of Belgium draught beers.

From the USA, we have on draught the Gangster Frog IPA, from Hopping Frog brewery, a crisp and satisfying American IPA with a bright, spicy citrus hop character up front and a distinct orange and tropical fruit hop bouquet, adding a welcome complexity.

Other special beers of note on draughtt at the festival include keg beers La Pirata ‘Lupulus’ session IPA (3%, Spain); Prairie Artisan ‘Birthday Bomb!’ (13% double imperial stout, USA); Zywiec’s vegan Blonde lager (5.6%, Poland); and Mahrs Brau’s ‘Hell’, a 4.9% lager from Germany.

Making its first ever UK appearance will be the American Citreamcicle from Mantra Artisan Ales. A vanilla and lactose IPA with a tropical bouquet.

Cheryl Cade
Cheryl Cade, who manages the World Beer Bar comments: ‘There is a limited selection of each beer, but there is such a wide choice we are sure you will find something of interest.  If you are unsure or can’t find what you’re looking for, please ask our experienced team of volunteers, they will be happy to help you find that special something.’

Cheryl is a Beer Sommelier and hosts beer events throughout the year through her business, The Thirst Consultants.  Cheryl is also hosting the Beer & Fine Dining Experience to be held at the Maids Head Hotel, offering a three-course evening menu pairing with different local beers on Sunday 18 February, 7.30pm.

Local brewers will be sponsoring the event as part of the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival Winter. Breweries are: Ampersand Brewery, Allday Brewing, Elmtree, Boudicca, Humpty Dumpty, Beeston and Panther.

To keep track of the draught beers (including draught world beers) on offer during the festival, you can view the online beer list, which is updated as they change:
www.norwichcamra.org.uk/bf

The World Beer Bar forms an integral part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm.  It is then open to everyone from 12noon until 10.30pm every day until the 24 February. For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Live music line-up at Great British Beer Festival Winter

An exciting mix of live music, featuring some of the most popular local bands, are ready to take to the stage for this year’s Great British Beer Festival Winter.   The line-up promises to be fun and get the crowd into the festival spirit!

Preparations are well under way now for the festival to open on the Tuesday 20 February, with a CAMRA members preview from 5.30pm, and will run from Tues 20 to Sat 24 February.  The winter beer festival takes place in the medieval halls, known as St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ Halls and is organised by the local branch of CAMRA, who also organise the ever-popular Norwich Beer Festival.

A music-free session is on Wednesday and on the busy weekend nights, visitors can still enjoy a quiet conversation in the marquee, cloisters and Blackfriars’ Hall. 

Thursday evening will feature Sam Coe & The Long Shadows - a UK Country/Americana band from Norwich.  Their debut EP, “Santa Fe”, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, followed by their first UK tour and support slot with The Shires. They have played C2C (Country 2 Country) Festival this year and last year and are currently recording their first full-length album, alongside GingerDog records, due for release in Spring 2018. You can grab a copy of their EP when they appear on Thursday evening.

Friday evening sees The Collective.  Established in 2007, this professional outfit are guaranteed to turn any event into something unique. A collection of permanent, highly professional musicians, who have performed with many top artists and have over 25 years’ experience, they are a band like no other. Classic soul, funk, disco and rock are seamlessly blended with the most up to date tracks. A real party band for a seriously fun night!
 
Saturday afternoon The Shackleton Trio (formerly The Georgia Shackleton Trio) will be delighting visitors to the festival with an exciting blend of Americana, folk and self-written material. Georgia writes and performs ‘wordy songs about other people’, instrumentally influenced by British, American, and Scandinavian folk traditions, with a regional twist from her native East Anglia.  The trio sees Georgia teamed up with guitar powerhouse, Aaren Bennett, and mandolin ace, Nic Zuppardi. Together they have toured the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands, appeared at the Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, Towersey Festival, Broadstairs Folk Week, Folk East and concert halls and folk clubs across the UK.

The Vagaband
 Saturday evening audiences will be treated to The Vagaband’s soulful, rustic Americana-led, self-penned songs with heartfelt lyrics and dazzling displays of musicianship!  This very popular band offer gentle elements of soul and swing with traditional instruments and modern flair! Norfolk’s finest musicians will perform a fabulous show full of heart, soul and song.

Live music has always played an important part of Norwich’s CAMRA beer festivals and the Great British Beer Festival Winter is no exception.  The festival starts on Tuesday, 20 February, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm. It is then open to everyone from 12noon until 10.30pm every day including Saturday 24 February.

For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Brewery Bars at the Great British Beer Festival Winter

Local rrewers will be showcasing some of the best of the region at the Great British Beer Festival Winter in Norwich this month.

Breweries from across East Anglia will be taking centre stage at the Great British Beer Festival Winter 2018, taking place from the 20th-24th February in Norwich.

The local breweries will offer a range of their finest beers to festival attendees.  Breweries include:

Lacons Brewery - a multi award-winning brewery based in Great Yarmouth that can trace its history back to 1760. Their flagship beer ‘Encore’ has been awarded many local and world accolades and their ‘Patriot’ was awarded Bronze in the Golden Ale Category of Norfolk & Norwich CAMRA 2017 and their Audit Ale has won Gold in the World Beer Awards 2017.


Norfolk Brewhouse and H Banham Ltd – The Norfolk Brewhouse and H Banham, grain merchants and custodians of Maris Otter barley, will jointly run the Maris Otter Bar, giving visitors the chance to learn more about what makes Norfolk malt, its growers, maltsters and brewers so very special.

Moonshine Brewery - a Cambridge-based brewery whose Chocolate Orange Stout has been a three-times finalist in the “Speciality Beers Category” at the Great British Beer Festival as well as winning the 6th Elysian Festival, Beer of the Festival, and being 3-times winner of the Champion Speciality Beer of East Anglia. Their beers are hand-brewed and characterised by their clean, fresh taste. They will be showcasing a few of their special, one-off beers at the upcoming festival.

The Brewery Bars form an important part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm. It is then open to everyone continually from 12noon until 10.30pm each day until the Saturday, 24 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 and which celebrated its 40th anniversary last October.

Martin Ward, the Great British Beer Festival Winter organiser, says: ‘I am delighted that we will be able to offer such excellent breweries at the Great British Beer Festival Winter. East Anglia is home to some of the finest breweries and beers in the country, and it is wonderful that we can shine a spotlight on these fantastic local brewers.’

The festival will feature a range of ales from traditional dark ales to light hoppy ales, with hot food available and live music.

Entrance is free to CAMRA members and £4 to non-members (£3 Wednesday) on the door.

For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

CAMRA Fringe Festival - Norwich Pubs host Fringe Festival

CAMRA have teamed up with Norwich pubs to create a month of celebration. The Fringe Festival will be hosted in pubs in central Norwich throughout February, with special events to celebrate CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival Winter, taking place in Norwich from 20 to 24 of February.

Local pubs will also be getting involved as the Great British Beer Festival Winter extends to The Fringe which runs for the whole of February, with organised crawls and treasure trails, special events, competitions, featured brewers and a unique fine dining and beer experience.

The Fringe Festival, running alongside the Great British Beer Festival Winter is a fantastic opportunity for Norwich to promote the range of pubs around the City, and gives a new opportunity to explore them.

You may join the organised pub crawls or take your own route and visit The Fringe at your leisure, either way, you can enter the Treasure Trail to win £100 of beer!

A guide showing the featured events and the Treasure Trail is available at participating pubs and on the website winter.gbbf.org.uk/the-fringe.  The website also details the organised crawls, with the company of others, and are open to CAMRA members and non-members alike.

Special Fringe dates:
2-22 Feb - The Woolpack Yard –beer tasting palates and Green Jack takeover
5-11 Feb - The Trafford Arms – Valentine Beer Festival, live music, 60 beers!
8-11 Feb - The Ribs of Beef – ‘From the Big Smoke to the Fine City’ - London Breweries show case, including Howling Hops, Canopy, One Mile End, Wildcard, Fullers & Redemption
9 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Angel Gardens 7.30pm, Friday
13 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The William & Florence 12 noon, Tuesday
14-17 Feb - The Rose – pie and porter festival
16 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Golden Star 7.30pm, Friday
16 Feb - The Leopard – Lacons Tap Take Over Friday with Lacons festival beer
17 Feb - CAMRA Fringe Crawl – starts at The Rose 7.30pm, Saturday
20-24 Feb - The Great British Beer Festival Winter, The Halls, Norwich
20-26 Feb - The Ribs of Beef – ‘Abstract Jungle Show Case’
25 Feb - The Black Horse – comedy night, free entrance, 7.30pm, Sunday

Beer & Fine Dining Experience:
Also on 18 Feb - Maids Head Hotel - local Beer Sommelier Cheryl Cade, the Maids Head Hotel, and a selection of local breweries are presenting a three-course evening menu pairing with different local beers on Sunday 18 February – don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy fine local food and beer! Local brewers will be sponsoring the Beer & Food (Fine Dining Experience), as part of the launch of the Great British Beer Festival Winter. CAMRA, in association with the 4-star Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, will be holding a Beer & Fine Dining Experience on Sunday 18 February, at 7.30pm. Guests will be treated to a three-course dinner, matched with seven local beers. Breweries are: Ampersand Brewery, Allday Brewing, Elmtree, Boudicca, Humpty Dumpty, Beeston and Panther. Tickets are £35 pp and are selling out fast and can be purchased until Sunday 11 February - winter.gbbf.org.uk/tickets/beer-food/

Other highlights:
Earlham Arms - special ales and a chance to win a mini cask of Barsham ale
Lollards Pit – featured brewers, £3 a pint specials, £2.50 Mondays, CAMRA discount
Kings Head – East Anglian Breweries Showcase and a chance to win Boudicca beer
The Murderers – featuring local beers and a range of Lancashire real ales plus live music on Thursdays throughout February
The William & Florence – award-winning beers on tap in newly refurbished premises
Wig and Pen – A Taste of Norfolk, 5 local ales
The Rosebery – early bird £2.50 a pint on all cask ales from 1st-24th Feb, with CAMRA membership card (3-6pm weekdays, 12-6pm weekends) and showcasing a selection of top quality real ales from across the country

Live music:
Live music also features at The Golden Star and The Angel Gardens (Saturdays), The Earlham Arms (Sundays), The Belle Vue (3 Feb) and The Kings Arms (10 & 24 Feb).

Feeling hungry?  Try the special food matching events:
The Rose – pie and porter festival – 14-17 Feb
The Red Lion – special beers and pizzas
Wig and Pen – A Taste of Norfolk, pint of Norfolk bangers & mash £3!
The Buck – home-made pies for February
The Cellar House – Valentine Hot Mexican Night and music
The William & Florence – bottomless brunch 10am-2pm Saturdays and Sundays
The Angel Gardens – Sunday lunches served 12noon until 8pm!

The Fringe is part of the Great British Beer Festival Winter, which starts on Tuesday, 20 February, at The Halls, Norwich, opening with a CAMRA members-only preview from 5.30pm.  It is then open to everyone from 12noon until 10.30pm every day until the 24 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 and which celebrated its 40th anniversary last October. 

The festival will feature a range of ales from traditional dark ales to light hoppy ales, with hot food available and live music.  Entrance is free to CAMRA members and £4 to non-members (£3 Wednesday) on the door.  For more information about The Festival and The Fringe visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Great British Beer Festival Winter - information update

The organisers of the Norwich Beer Festival are calling for all beer and cider lovers to enjoy another chance to sample many of their favourite ales, ciders and world beers in Norwich, in February!

The Norwich & Norfolk branch play host to CAMRA’s national event, the Great British Beer Festival Winter running from 21 to 24 February 2017 at The Halls - St Andrew's and Blackfriars' medieval friary halls – the home of the popular Norwich CAMRA Beer Festival, with a preview for CAMRA members on Tuesday 20 February.

Martin Ward, festival organiser, commented: “A year is far too long for beer drinkers to wait for their next great festival, so we are pleased to announce the dates for the Great British Beer Festival, Winter taking place in the beautiful city of Norwich.  It will attract lovers of the annual Norwich Beer Festival and visitors to the summer national festival in London."

The event has been likened to the national London Olympia event as ‘like it, but cosier!’.  If you’ve never visited the Halls, you will find the surroundings stunning as you’ll be sampling the beery beverages in the magnificent medieval friary halls, in the heart of Norwich. There will be hot food, snacks and live music to enjoy too.

Not to be confused with a beer festival for winter beers alone, this festival will have cask, KeyKeg and bottled ales of every style, season and shade!  Visitors will enjoy fruity ruby, full-bodied dark and popular light ales, as well as world beers and delicious real ciders and perries.

Local pubs will also be getting involved as the festival extends to The Fringe which runs for the whole of February, with organised crawls and treasure trails, special events, competitions, featured brewers and a unique fine dining and beer experience.
 
Tuesday 20 February is for CAMRA members only from 5.30pm to 10.30pm.  The rest of the week is free to CAMRA members and is open to members and the public all day from 12.00noon to 10.30pm 21-24 February.

Admission is by £4 cash-only payment on the door (£3 on Wednesday), or you can secure a quick entrance with advance tickets from the website, though hurry as these are selling fast!  For further details, visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Martin Ward explained: "This year is going to be a big one for the winter festival.  It’s now in its second year in Norwich and we have done much to raise awareness of the event.  Visitors have given excellent feedback on the choice and quality of the beers and we will have an equally extensive range this February."

Ian Stamp, Branch Chairman, added: "We are proud to be hosting CAMRA’s national winter festival here in Norwich.  The CAMRA summer event is hosted in London, whilst we will be hosting the winter event for three years, this being the second year.  We hope that both CAMRA members and non-members will enjoy the array of beers and ciders on offer."

As always at the national festival, the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition will be judged.  Local and national brewers will compete to find a winner in each category and the winners and overall winner will also be selected and announced at the festival. 

For more information on the Great British Beer Festival Winter and The Fringe please visit the website winter.gbbf.org.uk.

Friday, 19 January 2018

2018 Norwich Beer Festival logo competition

The annual competition has been launched by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) to find the new logo for the 41st Norwich Beer Festival, taking place from Monday 22nd October until Saturday 27th October 2018.

The competition has commenced early this year as the Norwich & Norfolk branch will be hosting the Great British Beer Festival Winter (Tuesday 20th February until Saturday 24th February 2018). For more information about that, visit winter.gbbf.org.uk.

The deadline for competition entrants is 9pm on Monday 19th February 2018 and Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA are looking for innovative designs depicting a dragon of some form.

Members and volunteers can feel proud of another successful Norwich Beer Festival in 2017, which marked its 40th year and saw 18,000 visitors.

Now the preparations for the popular annual event can commence for 2018.

Ian Stamp, Chairman, said: “We are hoping to receive lots of entries, although they must include a dragon in some form, the entrants can choose a setting or background of their choice.

“We always look forward to seeing the selection of talented entrants. The logo of the winner will be depicted on the festival glass, programme, and other merchandise”.

As always, the essential element is that a dragon must be included within the design, although abstract is acceptable. Also, a maximum of five colours (four is preferable) can be used, including any black or white parts of the design.

Entrants are asked to specify "Adult" or "Under-18" and include their name, contact details and age (if under-18) within the email.

The main winner will be judged by the organising committee and will receive £100 along with a selection of merchandise featuring their logo at the festival.

There will be two runner-up prizes of complementary festival tickets, and the best under-18 entrant will receive a voucher.

All entries must be in a standard image format (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, BMP, or PDF). Vector files are welcome as long as a standard image format is included. Hand drawn entries are acceptable, but must be scanned or photographed.

All entries must be emailed to logo@norwichbeerfestival.org.uk and be received before 9pm Monday 19th February 2018. All email entries will be acknowledged.

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