I had the usual pleasure of working at the Leicester Beer Festival this March. I say the usual, but it was anything but usual, as they had changed venue to the re- opened Haymarket Theatre in the city Centre. When I say re-opened I mean nearly re- opened as it was still ‘work in progress’ with lifts, steps and some behind the scenes walls still in various states of readiness.
The venue could not have been more different as the festival bar was on the theatre’s huge stage, surrounded by theatre seating and lots of steps all illuminated by blue lighting. There was no natural light so it did feel a bit like walking into a massive cave!
BUT, the curry was there and excellent, and of course their legendary massive selection of beers and ciders, with a gin bar, with groovy glasses, and a mead bar. To completely upset some traditionalists there was also a ‘keykeg’ bar. OOER!
The general view was this is a brave attempt to move the festival on, and that it had generally succeeded in this; and that assuming the festival remains at the Haymarket for a few years, it can overcome its ‘teething’ problems and really take the whole project forward. One such problem was the lighting with 90% of the bar flooded in bright light, whist 10% (my bit) was in gloom with beer being poured in semi darkness, and payment cards being marked in a semi braille exercise. Oh how we laughed!
My beer of the festival? I could not choose between Five Points (London) ‘Railway Porter’ absolutely fab, and Wylam (Newcastle) ‘Macciato’. It will be no surprise to those who know me to find that these were both very dark beers.
Well done Leicester CAMRA for taking a brave step into the future.
Discover Rutland, which Rutland CAMRA is part of, has produced a new guide to the county.
The guide also includes maps and money saving vouchers.
Available extensively across the county it can be down loaded here:
Our Branch Magazine the “Tiny Pint” will be hitting a bar top near you soon. We pay tribute to dear John Wood, celebrate trips out of Rutland and praise our award winning brewers. We look at ornithology and names of beer. Like us – real mash up but hopefully fun.
We are alway looking for ber/cider/pub related articles and good quality pictures send them to me: Jon Whowell email@example.com
The Rutland CAMRA Pub Of The Year (POTY – we love an acronym) 2018 goes to the Green Dragon in Ryhall. This is the second time that Shaun and Debbie Rolfe, Landlord and Landlady, their team and customers have been recognised as the best pub in the county.
With four hand pumps the Dragon is described in the Good Beer Guide as a Former Melbourns stone built pub in the heart of the village. The Main building is Grade II Listed and was built in the 17th Century and gives the Green Dragon Pub a nice cosy feel with its low ceilings and nooks and crannies. Superb home cooked meals are served and as the pub has it’s own pizza oven these are a speciality of the house and served daily.
David Laughton, Pubs Officer said “The Dragon is what it a pub should be: welcoming, friendly and at the heart of the community. They kindly offer card carrying CAMRA members a 20p discount on real ale and run a very successful beer festival usually held in May. Well worth a visit.”
Landlady, Debbie Rolfe said: “We are delighted to get the POTY again. It means a great deal to all of us here, Shaun and I are very pleased to accept this award which means a great deal to staff and customers alike. CAMRA is doing a great job in helping pubs like us remain the real heart of the community.”
REAL ALE LIST FOR EMPINGHAM CSC BEER FESTIVAL 15th – 18th March 2018.
THIS LIST WAS CORRECT AT THE TIME OF ‘GOING TO PRESS’!
CHANGES MAY OCCUR DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.
BAKERS DOZEN MAGIC POTION #8 3.8% BLONDE
BEERMATS PRAGMATIC 3.8% AMBER
BORN IN THE BORDERS GAME BIRD 4.0% AMBER
DOWNTON CEREBUS 4.2% TRAD
FERRY ALES WOODWOSE 4.0% RED
FURNACE REPRAZENT 4.2% BLONDE
GREG’S SCAMPTON ALE 3.6% BLONDE
HOPJACKER AUTOMETALOGOLEX 4.0% BLONDE
IMPERIAL CITRA SEN DOWN 4.4% BLONDE *Festival Special
IMPERIAL WHET THI’ WHISTLE 5.0% BLONDE
NEEPSEND LACUNA 3.8% BLONDE
PIGEON FISHERS TROPICAL MASH 4.3% BLONDE
PROBLEM CHILD RAPSCALLION 4.2% TRAD
RAW BROWN COW BITTER 3.8% TRAD
ROOSTERS FRANKLIN 4.3% BLONDE
SALEM BREW CO. GRASS SNAKE 4.1% BLONDE
STONEYFORD ERMINE ST EASY ALE 2.8% BLONDE
TENBY BAREFOOT BLONDE 4.7% BLONDE
WELDON ROMAN MOSAICS 4.6% BLONDE
WYLAM HICKEY THE RAKE 4.2% BLONDE
FURNACE CASCADE 4.4% BLONDE
MAGPIE BEST 4.2% TRAD
NENE VALLEY MANHATTAN PROJECT 4.0% BLONDE
SHINY 4WOOD 4.5% TRAD
Sorting out some old Tee Shirts ..it’s a bit like the sock drawer exercise… I came across an old Leicester Beer Festival shirt from 2011 which was ‘celebrating’ the introduction of decimal currency with a made up ‘slate’ of beers and prices from 1971, and YES I do remember! Whilst the prices were of interest, it was the NAMES of the beers that immediately struck
I then delved into a pile of old Beer Festival Guides (this one from Peterborough 2017) to find the following
This was a random sample, and only in one did I find any mention of beer style! Now then , is this a good or bad thing? There have been well documented examples of offensive beer names, even in the House of Commons bar, and un- pronounceable Welsh beers (well…to us English). I am not making a point of beer quality in my examples which I’m sure was sound.
Now of course there are examples of plain naming, but I suppose you can argue that a plain name equals a boring un- inventive beer. Is that so? What’s wrong with a straight forward Casewell’s Bitter? Does beer have to have hops from Patagonia, yeast from Ursa Minor, and Barley (organic of course) from the dark side of the moon for it to be interesting? I merely raise the question and raise a glass of Stoneyford’s ‘ Sheepmarket Supernova’ to you all…and very good it is too.
Send your response to our Chair!
PS Leicester Beer Festival is on 7th to 10th March for more info see our Events page.
The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham and Baker’s Dozen in Ketton have had their hard work recognised for producing excellent real ales at recent Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) festivals. CAMRA has around 200,000 members in the United Kingdom and has been protecting real ale and cider in real pubs for over 40 years.
Dean Baker, Head Brewer of Baker’s Dozen, has built up an enviable reputation for producing quality ales enjoyed by a wide audience. Their Electric Landlady secured Gold in the Golden Ales category in the Champion Beer of Britain East Midlands region finals. The Pump clip is believed to be based on Jill Perkins, Dean’s partner and landlady of the Jolly Brewer where Baker’s Dozen is a permanent feature
The Grainstore was awarded Bronze in the Barley Wine Strong Old Ale Category in the Champion Beer of Britain East Midlands region finals. The pump clip shows a more than striking resemblance of Grainstore’s founder Tony Davis. Grainstore is increasing its market share across the country.
Jon Whowell, Chairman of Rutland CAMRA said “For such a small county it is remarkable that we sustain so many good pubs. Along with our recent award winners: Grainstore and Baker’s Dozen – we are also blessed to have Stoney Ford in Ryhall that is getting appreciated by an increasing customer base. Congratulations to all involved in brewing here in Rutland”
Pics © Jon Whowell Chair@rutlandcamra.org.uk
Picture shows The “Old Bird” and her flock in Derby .
Somethings never really change! I courted the “Old Bird” many years ago, when she was a young bird – slim, blonde and very attractive. We would go out to a local hostelry, often by car but sometimes on foot. When driving, I would ask for a pint and a half of beer. The bar person would always put the pint in front of me and the half in front of the young bird. This was followed by a hand moving across in front of me and picking up the pint (so justifying her comment in her first article in the “Tiny Pint” – “Girls like pints as well”.) As a result of this, I was left with the half! This was probably a good thing, even though it was before the Drink/Drive laws. Over time, the situation has not changed, though sometimes she would have the half and drive and I had the pint. (Occasionally the world smiled on me.) On foot, I used to ask for 2 pints – 1 each!
She has a very good palate such that I ask her what she thinks of a beer’s condition if I feel that something is not right (including me – sometimes a beer doesn’t taste “right” but it is my taste buds that are wrong.) However, it used to make me so proud, and still does, when I see her with a pint!
Nick Holford The “Old Bird’s Beau” – her posh name for a miserable old b****r like me!
Starring Jon Whowell, Dave Laughton, Russ Hibbitt & Jon Watson.
The four intrepid adventurers passed our County border, at 11.00am on Saturday 17th February, bound for the Lincoln and Newark areas on a mission to return empty casks and collect or swap ales for the Empingham CSC Beer Festival.
First stop was the delightful Dambusters Inn in Scampton. The pub is full of memorabilia from the Dambusters Squadron formerly based at RAF Scampton and also from the Red Arrows, current residents of the base.
Here, we sampled Scampton Ale and Dambusters Ale brewed behind the pub by Landlord, Greg Algar, in the center of the above picture clutching his Tiny Pint.
Greg is passionate about both the memorabilia and his ale and provided enlightening information about photos, medals and ensigns that adorn the walls. We swapped a cask for a cask of Scampton Ale. How will I get my empty back? enquired Greg. Don’t worry Greg, we will be back!!
Onto Lincoln’s Jolly Brewer to swap ales from Horncastle (Wicked Blonde) and Ferry Ales (Wodewose and Spirit of Jane). Ales sampled here were Great Newsome Stoggy, Welbeck Abbey Henrietta and 3 Piers Golden Smiler, all were in good order.
A lunch of exceptional value was consumed and we were joined for lunch and a pint by George Hibbitt, a ‘poor’ Lincoln University student and newly renewed Rutland CAMRA member. (His Dad paid for that too!!)
Next stop was to be Beermats Brewery near Southwell. However, they delivered to Empingham on the previous Thursday, so a visit to Just Beer micropub in Newark town centre was hastily substituted into the itinerary. A gem of a place supplying us with Hill Top Golden and North Riding US IPA. Deciding against a second pint here or a walk across the road to the Flying Circus due to time constraints, we moved on to our final venue outside of Rutland, the Cross Keys at Upton.
Landlord and brewer at Mallard Brewery, Steve Hussey, was delayed by an unexpected afternoon nap. So, whilst waiting, the 3 adventurers tried his Mallard Golden Duck and our Pubs Officer chose Mallard Drake. Again all beers in fine fettle! Empties returned and with a new Golden Duck and Nottingham EPA on board, we pointed the vehicle South on the A1 and after an hour pulled up outside the Green Dragon at Ryhall for our last tipple of the trip.
A lovely day out and a great adventure. All the venues are worth a visit but if you choose just one, please make it the Dambusters Inn. You will not be disappointed!
Russ Hibbitt Rutland CAMRA Drayman