Saturday, 9 August 2008

Champion Beer of Britain

Alton's Pride brewed by the Triple fff brewery in Hampshire has been chosen as the Champion Beer of Britain at the 2008 Great British Beer Festival. Mark Phillips spoke to Graham Trott, the head brewer moments after the winner was announced.

Whilst CNN covered the Festival as well.

As well as British Satellite News

And Steven Goodwin from the Beer Crate with his video podcast

Friday, 8 August 2008

Thousands Flock to Beer Festival

Thousands flocked to the Great British Beer Festival this week at Earls Court but there was still plenty of room to move around the huge hall and plenty of real ales, ciders, perries are still available. festival Ends saturday night so head off their if you're in the city tomorrow.

Cains Brewery

Famous Liverpool Brewer's ‘last stand' at the Great British Beer Festival

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has responded to the news that Cains Beer Company has been placed in administration with a pledge to support a buyer who will keep the historic Liverpool brewery in production.

The brewer has a stand at the Great British Beer Festival, where its beers, including IPA, Raisin Beer and 2008 Culture Beer, brewed to celebrate Liverpool as the European City of Culture, are proving popular with Festival visitors.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive, said, “Beer drinkers in Liverpool should not lose out because of the credit crunch and we will support any company that puts forward a rescue plan for the ailing brewer to ensure great beer continues to be brewed at the Stanhope Street Brewery. We hope that the Cains stand at the Great British Beer Festival won't be the ‘last stand' for Cains' beers.”


For more information

Press office - 020 7244 3925
Mike Benner, Chief Executive - 07971 591224
Iain Loe - 07801 706607

The Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court, London, 5th-9th August 2008

Podcasting @ the Great British Beer Festival

The GBBF Beercast Podcasts

Get all the flavour of the Great British Beer Festival in our handy, free audio podcasts.

Beercast presenter Mark Phillips will be going behind the scenes and talking to the people that make the festival happen, and (he hopes!) tasting all sorts of beer, cider and perry too.

One reviewer said "Brings so much of the spirit of beer festivals to podcasting. You could almost be there. Great interviewing style brings out some of those funny stories from the volunteer workers that make the event happen."

You don't need an ipod to listen to the beercasts. Just go to to listen on line, or just type "beercast" into the iTunes store and you can subscribe for free.

You can listen to the beercast archive from the 2007 GBBF, and new shows will be added before and during the 2008 festival.

CNN @ the Great British Beer Festival

American TV Station CNN filmed this at the Great British Beer Festival

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Grateful Deaf Beer at the Great British Beer Festival

American home brewer Ken Fisher, brewer of the Grateful Deaf Beer, was filmed by Deafilmotion Productions at the Great British Beer Festival this week.

Deafmotion Director Francisco Betoncourt takes a break from filming to sample the Grateful Deaf Beer.....................

..................whilst Jared has too keep on filming!

The completed film is available on the Deafilmotion you tube site

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Great British Beer Festival 2008 - Wednesday

Wednesday saw ITV Wales turn up in the form of the Food Programme with presenter Hywel James. The programme will be broadcast in the autumn and will be available online from the ITV Local website after broadcasting.

The above image shows Hywel interviewing Italian Beer Supremo Lorenzo Dabove and tasting some of the 26 different Italian Beers at the Great British Beer Festival this weekend.

Whilst later in the day, Justin "Buster" Grant, Brewer at Breconshire Brewery and Bar Manager of the Welsh and Scottish Bars takes time out from his mallet dancing practise (don't ask) to answer some questions for the Food Show.

Alastair Darling Beer Protest

Tuesday at the Great British beer festival saw CAMRA members protesting over Badger Darling's increase in Beer Duty.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Great British Beer Festival - Tuesday

The Welsh Bar at the Great British Beer Festival.

And a bevy? or eisteffordii of Welsh Brewers or should that be brewers of Wales were present at the Festival. Pictured above are Don Jeffries of Brains (also Champion Beer of Britain judge) alongside Bob Jenkins of Bullmastiff Brewery


Alton's Pride is named Champion Beer of Britain 2008 at the Great British Beer Festival

The Great British Beer Festival
Tuesday 5th - Saturday 9th August, Earls Court, London

Alton's Pride brewed by Triple fff Brewery in Hampshire was today judged to be the best beer in Britain by a panel of brewers, beer writers and journalists.

Alton's Pride, which has an ABV of 3.8%, is described in the 2008 edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide as, “Clean-tasting, golden brown beer, full-bodied for its strength with an aroma of floral hops. An initial malty flavour fades as citrus notes and hoppiness take over, leading to a hoppy, bitter finish.”

The Hampshire brewed beer was chosen as the overall winner from over sixty finalists in seven categories (Best Bitters, Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Speciality, Winter Beer and Strong Bitters) including beers from tiny micros to major regional brewers.

Roger Protz, one of the finalist judges and Editor of the Good Beer Guide said, “A magnificent victory for a craft brewery that opened in 1997 with a five barrel plant and has just opened a new brewhouse with a 50 barrel kit. It has grown due to consumer demand for its rich and complex beer and proves that the future for real ale in Britain is assured.”

Graham Trott, Head Brewer of Triple fff Brewery said, “We are over the moon and delighted to put Alton as a brewery back on the map. I would like to thank everyone who is connected with the brewery and we look forward to more people enjoying our winning beer.”

The Silver award went to Black Dog Freddy from Beckstones (Cumbria).

Bronze went to CAMRA's current National Winter Beer of Britain winner Station Porter from the Wickar Brewery (Gloucestershire).


Complete List Winners

Champion Beer of Britain: TRIPLE FFF, ALTON'S PRIDE (Hampshire)

Second: Beckstones, Black Dog Freddy (Cumbria)

Third: Wickwar, Station Porter (Gloucestershire)

Mild Category
Gold - Beckstones, Black Dog Freddy (Cumbria)
Silver - Rudgate, Ruby Mild (York)
Bronze - Rhymney, Dark (Merthyr Tydfil)

Bitter Category Gold - Triple fff, Alton's Pride (Hampshire) Silver - Lees, Bitter (Manchester) Joint Bronze - Jarrow, Rivet Catcher (Tyne & Wear) and Surrey Hills, Ranmore Ale (Surrey)

Best Bitter Category
Gold - Skinner's, Betty Stogs (Cornwall)
Silver - Highland, Scapa Special (Orkney)
Bronze - Cairngorm, Nessies Monster Mash (Highlands) and Timothy Taylor, Landlord (West Yorkshire)

Strong Bitter Category
Gold - Thornbridge, Jaipur IPA (Derbyshire)
Silver - Fuller's, ESB (London)
Bronze - Highland, Orkney Blast (Orkney)

Golden Ale Category
Gold - Otley, O1 (Mid Glamorgan)
Silver - Loddon, Ferryman's Gold (Oxfordshire)
Bronze - Skinner's, Cornish Knocker Ale (Cornwall)

Speciality Beer Category
Gold - Otley, OGarden (Mid Glamorgan)
Silver - Wentworth, Bumble Beer (South Yorkshire)
Bronze - Nethergate, Umbel Magna (Essex)

CAMRA Bottled-Conditioned Beers
Gold - Wye Valley, Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout
Silver - Fullers, 1845
Bronze - Wells and Young's, Special London Ale

Winter Beer of Britain Winner (announced in Jan 2008)
Wickwar, Station Porter

For more information

Festival Press Office - 020 7244 3925
Jon Howard - Press Officer - 07939 425471
Mike Benner - Chief Executive - 07971 591224
Tony Jerome - Press Manager - 07736 948186
Chris Western, General Manager, Triple fff brewery - 07920 755242

Monday, 4 August 2008

CAMRA crowns real ale as ‘Drink of Britain'

Beer Consumer Group calls for pride in our national drink

The Great British Beer Festival, Tuesday 5th-Saturday 9th August, London's Earls Court

On the eve of this week's Great British Beer Festival, beer consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale is responding to recent reports that beer sales in pubs are declining by crowning real ale, our traditional pub drink, as the ‘Drink of Britain'. CAMRA is calling on adults to try real ale this week and show their support for British brewers, British pubs and a unique British product.

Research results issued today show that only 35% of British adults who drink alcohol have tried real ale, whereas 61% of the Irish, including those that do not usually drink alcohol, have tried their national drink, stout, while 84% of all French adults have tried wine.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive, said, “ Research shows only one in three British drinkers have tried real ale, which is a real growth opportunity for British pubs facing unprecedented pressures from the credit crunch, falling consumer confidence, high tax rates and increasing utility and raw material costs. Now is the time for campaigners and the beer industry to work together to get British people to try and to appreciate real ale. Our culture and heritage is intrinsically linked with ale, as a great British product brewed and enjoyed sociably in community pubs for generations, yet most people haven't even tried it.”

CAMRA says there is now more ale choice than ever before with around 700 independent breweries brewing approximately 2,500 different real ales, 450 of which are featured at the Great British Beer Festival, the biggest of its kind in the World. In the last twelve months over seventy new breweries have started up, despite the credit crunch, as consumers move towards products with taste and genuine provenance.

Mr Benner added, “Times are tough for lager brewers and many pubs as lager and keg beer sales are in freefall. Latest industry results suggest a 10.6% decline in pub beer sales, but real ale is growing its share of the on-trade beer market as consumers abandon global brands and search out natural, often locally brewed ales with real provenance. I think people increasingly care about what's in their glass, where it comes from and what it brings to the community and local economy. It's a wake-up call for pub bosses to recognise this trend and realise that real ale is the USP of the British pub.”

According to AC Nielsen real ale sales declined by 1.3% last year against a decline in the total beer market of 4.5%. There is a clear trend towards growth; SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, has reported record year on year growth amongst its 420 members of nearly 11%.

Mr Benner said, “Clearly real ale brewers are generally bucking the trend of decline and many are reporting record sales increases with the market still attracting new entrants, despite the economic downturn and credit crunch. While real ale has been in decline since the mid-nineties, its time has come once again and a return to growth is on the cards. 5.4 million people drink real ale and if each of them drunk just one pint a day that would treble the market to over 6 million barrels.”

Julian Grocock, Chief Executive of SIBA said, “There is little doubt that our members are doing well by concentrating on quality local beers which offer cash-strapped drinkers something new and exciting to try as people turn away from standard quaffing lagers to quality real ales.”

Promoting Real Ale

CAMRA has joined forces with the real ale industry on a number of initiatives to help overcome myths associated with real ale and to encourage consumer trial of real ale.

CAMRA, SIBA, Cask Marque, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, Britain's key real ale brewers and the major pub companies will hold Cask Ale Week over Easter in 2009. It will be the biggest ever event to promote real ale in pubs across Britain. A key feature of the event will be to encourage pub-goers to ‘try before you buy' with sampling glasses for real ales.

At this week's Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court 65,000 visitors will be able to try real ales using third pint glasses and many will join in beer tastings and even special beer tours for women.

The Cyclops Beer scheme, launched in 2006, aims to demystify real ale, to encourage trial and help people to recognise the beer styles they prefer. Cyclops beer tasting notes appear in the Festival programme.

CAMRA is launching a ‘LocAle' scheme across the country to celebrate local beers in local pubs, telling consumers where they can find them.

Mr Benner said, “There is much doom and gloom about the beer and pub sector at present and no one should under-estimate the significance of the threats faced by brewers and pubs, but we have a series of practical campaigns and promotions to make people realise how great British pubs - and British beer - can be.”

The main findings of the research:
1.Whilst only 35% of British drinkers had tried real ale, 78% had tried wine and 69% had tried lager.
2.29% of the Britain's adult drinkers thought that real ale should represent Britain in the same way wine represents France and stout represents Ireland. Lager was the only drink that scored higher with 31%, whilst only 16% opted for smoothflow bitters e.g John Smiths Smooth, 6% whisky, 4% cider, 2% wine and 1% gin.
3.Only 6% knew that there were over 1,000 real ales on the market. 31% thought there were under 200 and 8% thought there were less than 50.
Mike Benner commented, “There is so much choice and a huge range of diverse flavours that I'm convinced that many thousands of people will be converted to real ale. Given the huge marketing spend of the global lager brewers, it's hardly surprising that 31% of drinkers think lager should be our national drink! Our job now is to convince people that real ale meets their needs and is something we should all be proud of as a flagship British product.”

There are thousands of different real ales categorised into a number of beer styles such as golden ales, bitters, milds, porters, stouts, old ales, wheat beers, fruit beers and barley wines.

CAMRA's research also showed some interesting myths about real ale, but did highlight that people would be willing to try real ale if certain initiatives were introduced:
1. The four top reasons given for never trying real ale were (in order)
a. I wouldn't know which real ale to start with
b. I don't know what real ale is
c. I think real ale would be bitter
d. I think it would taste flat
3. 42% of non-real ale drinkers said they would try real ale if they could sample it first
33% of non-real ale drinkers said they would try real ale if a National Real Ale Week promotion/campaign, such as Cask Ale Week, was launched to promote real ale and explain why it's worth trying.
Mike Benner added, “CAMRA's plans for encouraging more people to try real ale all aim to dispel myths highlighted by this new research. Not all styles of real ale are bitter. Some are very sweet, others chocolaty and even fruity. Real ale should never be served flat due to its very natural process of creating its own carbonation. These points alone show that there is a need for more real ale education and there is no better place to try it than at the Great British Beer Festival.”


Notes for editors

Beer Tastings at the Great British Beer Festival
CAMRA will host a number of beer tasting sessions at the Great British Beer Festival. These beer tastings help educate consumers to find out more about real ale and try a variety of different beer styles. The tastings include Champion Beers, Bluffers Guide to Real Ale and a Meet the Brewer where British Brewers describe and taste their beers with the consumers. For more information please visit

Women Beer Tours at the Great British Beer Festival
For the first time ever, top beer writer Melissa Cole will take more than 100 female non-real ale drinkers on an informative beer tour of the Great British Beer Festival. If you would be interested in taking part on one of these tours then please email

Third Pint Glasses at the Great British Beer Festival
Third Pint Glasses will be available at GBBF allowing festival goers to sample more varieties of real ale responsibly.

Partner of the Cyclops Scheme -
CAMRA helped launch the Cyclops Beer Scheme with 14 other breweries in 2006. There are now over 65 breweries that are signed up to this scheme. It helps demystify real ale by using simple terms to describe what a real ale looks, smells and taste like. It also gives each beer a scale out of five for how bitter and sweet the drink is.

The LocAle scheme
CAMRA branches across the UK will promote pubs which serve real ales from local independent breweries with leaflets, posters, point of sale material and websites to inform consumers in which pubs they can find local beers. More information at

Organising more than 150 real ale festivals in the next 12 months
CAMRA will organise more than 150 real ale festivals over the next 12 months around Britain. These events allow consumers to try thousands of different real ales and at a competitive price to that area.

For further information please contact:

CAMRA Press Office (From Monday 4th August- Saturday 9th) - 020 7244 3925
Jon Howard- 07939 425471
Tony Jerome- 07736 948186
Mike Benner- 07971 591224
Julian Grocock- 07887 544748
Iain Loe- 07801 706607

‘Mike Benner and Julian Grocock are available for interview at the Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court

Welsh Ciders and Perries @ the Great British Beer Festival

It's not just beer here at the Great British Beer Festival as a range of ciders and perries are also available. A quick perusal of the cider bar and we find a few of Welsh favourites here.

The Ultimate Volunteer Holiday

1,000 beer loving volunteers set to serve 65,000 visitors at the
Great British Beer Festival

As holidaymakers abandon overseas breaks in their droves this summer, 1,000 dedicated volunteer members of the Campaign for Real Ale are heading for the capital this week to run the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court.

CAMRA thinks the event is the most fun you can have volunteering. The beer consumer group expects to welcome over 65,000 visitors and will offer them a choice of 700 real ales, foreign beers and real ciders & perries. It is gearing up for a record attendance, as the weak pound attracts overseas visitors keen to try a good pint of British real ale.

The Great British Beer Festival is CAMRA's flagship event, but the group also runs 140 local beer festivals throughout the year, all organised and manned by volunteers who have to be members of CAMRA.

Marc Holmes, Festival Organiser said, “People sometimes tell me I'm mad when I could spend my annual holiday in the sun, but we don't see this as giving up our holidays as we are collectively driven by our enthusiasm and commitment to real ale and to promoting it to as many people as possible. We get to meet up with friends at the Festival and it's a great social occasion for volunteers as well as hard work! It's an alternative credit-crunch beating holiday!”

“We couldn't run the Festival without our unique team of volunteers from across the country as it simply wouldn't be viable economically. It's difficult to think of any other event which attracts such huge volunteer support. As pubs face difficult times it shows great commitment that so many people care about this great British product, real ale.”

CAMRA's volunteers come from all walks of life. The Festival is organised by a volunteer working party which includes an investment banker, a teacher, an IT consultant and a bus driver. It takes most of the year to organise the event and volunteers enjoy many different jobs including stewarding, serving on the bars, giving tutored beer tastings as well as delivering and unloading hundreds of thousands of pints of beer and stacks of cooling equipment.

Mr. Holmes added, “It's a slick operation these days and it gives me a real sense of pride when I see the empty hall turn into a festival packed with beer and people enjoying it socially. I think many people think the Festival is run by brewers, but CAMRA organises the whole lot and carries all the risk. We are determined to encourage as many adults as possible to try the joys of real ale. We're convinced they'll be converted and will choose real ale in pubs and come back to the festival again and again."


For more information

CAMRA Press Office (From Monday 4th August- Saturday 9th) - 020 7244 3925
Jon Howard - 07939 425471
Tony Jerome - 07736 948186
Mike Benner - 07971 591224

The Great British Beer Festival

Tuesday 5th-Saturday 9th August
Earls Court, London

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Welsh Pub in London

It was a nice surprise to come across the Golden Egg, Kilburn High Road. Run by the JW Bassett Pub co, this large, open-plan pub offers Felinfoel Double Dragon at an unbelievable price for London - £1.99 a pint. Added to that another very rare beer for the area, Brains Bitter is available at £1.89 a pint. The pub is popular with all types a paeople and a welcome change from the normal Oirish pubs of Kilburn, the Golden Egg also offers a selection of good value meals. The JW Bassett pub co run 7 pubs in an empire stretching from Penarth to London. Their Cardiff pub is the Queens vaults, one of the favoured haunts of staff from the Western Mail and Echo.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Great British Beer Festival - Saturday

The best beers have arrived - of course the welsh ones and are waiting to be stillaged up.


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