Results tagged “Great British Beer Festival” from Sunday Mercury - Toby Jugg

A pioneering Somerset cider-maker has scooped the Campaign for Real Ale's 2008 Pomona Award.

Named for the Roman goddess of apples, the Pomona honours outstanding achievement in the promotion of real cider or perry.

Roger Wilkins, who runs Wilkins Cider from his farm near Wedmore, Somerset, was praised by CAMRA for his lifelong devotion to producing some of the most renowned cider in the county. Some customers have been regulars for more than thirty years.

Roger took over the family business after the death of his grandfather in 1969, and currently produces up to 20,000 gallons of cider per year. The brand was named 'Cider of the Year' at both the 1988 and 1989 Great British Beer Festival.

Afterwards, Roger said: "I am delighted to receive this recognition for doing something that I love and for carrying on the tradition of farmhouse cider-making that my grandfather taught me.

"I must also thank all the people who have supported my work over the years, and I hope they have enjoyed my cider."

Sarah Newson, vice-chair of CAMRA's Cider & Perry Committee, added: "This phenomenal contributor to the industry thoroughly deserves this award for his sheer enthusiasm and commitment to producing the best real cider.

"With his farm overlooking Westhay Moor Valley, Roger could not produce cider in a more stunning location. Maybe these surroundings have been the inspiration for his continued success!"

Alton's Pride, from Hampshire independent Triple fff, was today judged Britain's best beer by a panel of brewers, beer writers and journalists.


The award was announced during the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court, London, which runs until Saturday.

Alton's Pride (3.6 3.8%) is described in the 2008 edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide as a "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." It beat off competition from more than 60 finalists in seven categories (best bitters, bitters, golden ales, milds, speciality ales, winter beers and strong bitters), with entrants ranging from tiny micros to major regional brewers.

Roger Protz, one of the finalist judges and Good Beer Guide editor, called it "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.

"[Triple fff] 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, Triple fff's head brewer 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."

Cumbrian brewer Beckstones took the silver award for its Black Dog Freddy, whilst bronze went to CAMRA's current National Winter Beer of Britain winner Station Porter, from Gloucestershire's Wickwar Brewery.

Read on for the full results:

No sparrows in this beard

By Steve Green on Jul 2, 08 04:17 PM

BLOG Toby Jugg2.jpgWhen former Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey recently referred - none too seriously - to "men with sparrows in their beards", he was dusting off one of the more tired cliches about members of the Campaign for Real Ale. True, as the photograph alongside clearly shows, I am of the unshaven persuasion, but I can't recall spotting Bill Oddie peering at me through his binoculars whilst shooting the latest season of BBC's Springwatch.

Anyway, I'm happy to cut Neil a little slack, since he's about to realise one of the dreams of any true real ale enthusiast. Together with his business partner, TV chef Richard Fox, the pair now own a pub in North Yorkshire and plan to brew their own beer. You'll be able to catch up with their progress in a forthcoming reality show called Perfect Pint. I wish them luck: the more, the merrier, so far as I'm concerned.

Of course, the range of ales in this country is already fairly mind-boggling. This year's Great British Beer Festival (to be held at London's Earls Court over 5-9 August) will have a staggering 750 different brews on tap, 450 of them British.

Even Solihull CAMRA's much smaller event managed to include 30 beers and ciders last year, including two created by our own members in collaboration with local breweries Church End and Tunnel. We're hoping our tenth festival (3-4 October at the Royal British Legion, Union Road, Solihull) will prove an even bigger hit.

Just like the quintessential British bar, I'm hoping this new blog will feature a heavy amount of interaction. I'd like to hear your own recommendations for interesting ales and pubs of distinction. If you're organising a beer festival, let me know. The only way many of these events and independent breweries stand a chance against the massive advertising budgets of the big players is by pure word of mouth.

Look forward to hearing from you. Meantime, I'm off for a quiet pint whilst double-checking for those pesky sparrows.



Toby Jugg

Toby Jugg - A former newspaper reporter, Steve Green now works as a freelance journalist and technical writer. He first joined the Campaign for Real Ale in the mid-1980s and currentlyproduces a regular column for Solihull CAMRA in the Solihull Times, under the pseudonym "Toby Jugg".

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