Following hard on the heels comes another august brew - Augustinian Ale (4.8%) - to be brewed not in August but in May. [It's much lighter in taste than most Nethergate beers - lighter in taste but not strength than Goldengate.]
Congratulations to Brewer Ian Hornsey for winning Champion Winter Beer of Britain with his classic Porter, Old Growler. Production of the bottled variety has been switched to King and Barnes of Sussex to enable it to appear as a naturally-conditioned bottled beer. [They are also taking over production of the classic bottled beer White Shield.]
Another brewery to be congratulated is Woodfordes. Following the success of Wherry as the Champion Beer of Britain in 1996, it is now the winner of the 1997 Champion Beer of East Anglia. In a blind tasting at the Cambridge Winter Ale Festival of the top six beers voted for by CAMRA members from the 33 breweries in East Anglia, Wherry beat Mighty Oak Burnt Wood Bitter into second place with Nethergate Bitter third.
From the beers presented at this Cambridge Festival in January, the clear winner as Beer of the Festival was the spicy Old Chimneys Winter Cloving (7.5%). Following this success, the next Old Chimneys brew is a barley wine - Annus Mirablis (9%). Runners-up at the Festival were Fenland's Rudolf's Rocket Fuel, City of Cambridge's Bramling Traditional and Adnams's Tally Ho.
City of Cambridge are launching a new 3.8% brew - True Blue - featuring some new Cascade hops. Should be right for the Cambridge Festival in May.
Morland, the Oxfordshire brewers of Old Speckled Hen, bought Ruddles
Brewery last September and have just announced the closure of it with the loss
of 38 jobs. Morland you may remember was threatened with a take-over by
Greene King in 1992. The CAMRA aggression which helped to save them then
will now be turned against them in this betrayal of Britain's beer drinkers.
[Follow-up; Morland sold to Greene King]
The Whitbread tour of brewery destruction has continued with the decision to close the Flowers Brewery in Cheltenham and the Castle Eden Brewery in Sedgefield as they pursue a policy of wantonly reducing customer choice. [In the latter case, will the local MP, Tony Blair, intervene?]