Nottingham Post readers, pub regulars and followers of Nottinghamshire wildlife are being invited to select 12 real ales to be brewed in Nottingham in 2014 to raise money for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Back in 2001, Castle Rock Brewery began brewing a ‘natural selection’ beer with the short term aim of creating one a month to promote the trust’s work and pass on a donation to help them do more. The scheme has been so well received that in the dozen years since, Castle Rock beer drinkers have made it possible for the trust to release funding totaling £120,000.
Now, for the anniversary, all 144 recipes have been dusted down and made available for beer drinkers to choose which are to appear in pubs and bars next year.
Castle Rock’s Charlotte Blomeley thinks this is a natural way to mark the anniversary. “Over the years, we’ve created so many tastes and styles that shouldn’t really be lost. And this is the ideal opportunity for the many people who’ve asked us to bring their favourite back. My choices would be Yaffle, brewed in January 2011, Alder for November 2008 and August 2006′s Flying Ant. All are incredibly different but really worth a second chance.
“Whatever is decided is fine by us,” she says.
Erin McDaid, from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust says: “When we sat down with the folk at Castle Rock Brewery in back 2001 to discuss the idea of wildlife inspired beers to promote our work, I never imagined our partnership would still be going strong over a decade later. My favourite beer to date is Sherwood Oak, but I still have a soft spot for Red Admiral as this was our first wildlife brew.”
Voters are invited to pick their month-by-month favourite by filling in the form available online or in Castle Rock pubs. In January 2014, a selection of voters whose choice or choices will be brewed, are to be invited on a brewery tour before sampling whatever becomes the ‘natural selection’ beer for January.
Entries are welcome on line and in Castle Rock pubs where the names of all 144 beers will be available to prompt the taste bud memories.
Colin Wilde, managing director at Castle Rock, the largest brewery in Nottingham, has called on pub goers and politicians to be careful when reading or hearing about Alcohol Concern’s recent report ‘Stick to the Facts’ which calls for a restriction on the content of beer adverts.
The lobby group suggests only allowing images and references to the characteristics of the drink, meaning that the promotion of the lifestyle of drinkers or scenes that glamorise drinking would be banned.
“These people, like many lobbyists with zeal for a single issue, also want our sponsorship and association with great Nottingham sporting and grass roots organisations including Beeston Hockey Club and Nottingham Rugby, among others, to stop,” says Colin Wilde. “I have to agree with the ISBA, speaking for the UK advertising industry, who says Alcohol Concern’s report reveals an ‘abject failure to reflect the fact that the UK’s self-regulating system is working well and that fewer young people are drinking alcohol.’
“Our pubs are, and have always been, self regulating havens where sensible adults can enjoy a relaxing drink,” says Wilde. “Alcohol Concern’s call for a blanket ban on the promotion of this sensible English lifestyle choice smacks of ‘mother knows best’.
“The majority of Nottingham people are sensible and get a lot of pleasure from a visit to a pub where conversation, music or comedy entertainment, or a simple unwind after sport are what they want,” he says.
The Alexandra Hotel on Siddals Road, Derby, has taken delivery of its latest piece of railway memorabilia – the cab from a Class 37 locomotive.
Saved from the scrap yard by staff at the pub, it will be preserved in the car park and restored to its former glory for all to admire within Derby city council’s railway conservation area. It will be the first artefact on display outside the pub serving as a cultural reminder to all who pass by or pop in for a drink.
Class 37 locomotives were a successful and long lasting design with 309 built and approximately 30 still in service 50+ years later. Though not built in Derby, the class is synonymous with railways countrywide due to its flexibility working both freight and passenger trains over virtually every line countrywide.
The locomotive cab is currently in a ‘as withdrawn’ state and down at heel. It will be repainted and restored to mid 1980s ‘BR large logo blue’, although this is still to be finalised. “Whatever happens it’ll be a heritage livery in keeping with the locomotive’s past,” says pub landlord, Ralf Edge.
“I believe it’ll be a novel feature in the pub’s car park in keeping with both the area and the pub’s history.”
A friendly rivalry has broken out between two Nottingham city centre pubs over which serves the bigger choice of imported bottled beers and stake a claim to be the city’s biggest bottled beer backer. At the most recent count, both the Canalhouse on Canal Street and the Lace Market’s Kean’s Head boasted that each had over 120 European, antipodean and American craft brewed beers available at the bar.
At the Canalhouse all are on display behind the recently extended bar where eight feet of fridge space has been added to show the range off. “We’re both already well respected for our real ales,” says Canalhouse manager, Yvette Storey, “but interest in other tastes and trends has prompted the new range and what a success it’s proving to be.”
Both pubs provide drinkers with a comprehensive ‘menu’ of the range with details of strength, style and taste. The list is vital for drinkers at the Kean’s Head, where display space is limited.
Belgian Trappist, saison and red ales are the backbone of the collection with many German and US rarities and favourites adding to the choice.
For cider drinkers, both the Kean’s Head and the Canalhouse offer eight from British and northern European orchards.
Craft beers from the likes of Left Hand, Ommegang and Dominion are to be highlighted in the pubs’ American craft beer week from Monday 13 May.
… announces the arrival of a son to Elsie Moo, the Lincoln Red cow in Nottinghamshire Wildlife’s herd of native breed cattle used in land management and wildlife protection schemes across the county. With financial support from Castle Rock Brewery, the Trust manages the herd to maintain pastures and meadows improving them for wildflower, bird and insect populations.
The, as yet unnamed, bullock was born in an open field without human assistance on the Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford on Wednesday 3 April. “It was a very straightforward birth,” says Nottinghamshire Wildlife’s conservation stockman Steve Bruty. “And Elsie Moo is a fine mother helping her newborn to his feet in his first 30 minutes of life and then providing him with his first meal.
“This is her first calf, and he’ll stay with her for a few more months before he’s old enough to cope on his own. He’ll never be alone as he was the middle one of three births to the herd this spring. I’m pleased to say that mother and baby and his cousins and aunts are all doing fine,” says Steve.
The 325 members of the young members’ group in Nottingham CAMRA have made the Lincolnshire Poacher their pub of the season. At a glittering presentation attended by many of the group’s members, other pub regulars, and on- and off-duty staff, manager Ollie Eddison was thanked for making everyone so welcome and handed a commemorative plaque by group co-ordinator Louise Pownall.
The members’ poll was taken in March and the Poacher got a resounding 95 per cent of the votes cast. “This is justly deserved,” said Louise. “The Poacher is always welcoming, the choice of ales, particularly my favourite dark ales, and ciders is the best around. And they’re always perfect.”
With an age range of 18 to 30 years, the Nottingham CAMRA young members’ group welcomes newcomers. Twitter: @NottmCAMRAYM and like their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Nottmcamraym
Thomas Villareal is a 24 year old hospitality student at l’Ecole Hoteliere in Avignon and he thinks British pub-goers are marvellous. Working to improve his understanding of our language, culture and drinking rituals, Thomas is one of five French students who spent a fortnight serving ale behind a Castle Rock bar.
Thomas’s placement was at the Poppy and Pint where, under the watchful eye of manager James Halfpenny, he added knowledge of real ale, whisky and the British bar fly to his French hospitality, catering and cocktail barman qualifications.
“I’m really glad to have been here. The customers and staff have made me very welcome and have been good to me,” he says. “People in England seem to have happiness as their normal manner. I think sometimes in France we make a bad impression with our moods.”
Thomas was one of seven French students in Nottingham on a short term professional discovery programme, organised by Destination Europe. Others in his group worked at the Lincolnshire Poacher, The Vat and Fiddle, the Stratford Haven, the Bread and Bitter and at other pubs in the city. As they honed their basic schoolroom English, all became familiar with our quaint foibles and fancies. The students were also supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vaucluse (CCI de Vaucluse).
Harry McBratney, of Destination Europe who designed the project says: “The success of any collaboration like this depends on the quality and input of the participating hosts and the motivation of the young professionals themselves. Collaborating with Castle Rock and CCI de Vaucluse has been a resounding success which we’re already keen to repeat in the future.”
For Thomas it has been the start of a love affair with real ale. He can rack, maintain and serve it with the best. “These are the skills I would really like to take back to France to let my fellow countrymen and women enjoy what I’ve discovered. Sadly for most of them beer is just a gassy and tasteless liquid.”
All you need to know from Thomas’s basic language class for Brits in France :
“Que desirez vous boire?, A votre santé, et ca suffit!” (“What can I get you? cheers, and that’s your lot.)
A Sheffield husband and wife team has scooped a top award from SIBA (the Society of Independent Brewers) in a national competition held during the first BeerX, an event designed to highlight the best of British brewing.
Steph and Kevin Woods, managers at the New Barrack Tavern on the city’s Penistone Road, have won a Best SIBA Local award for their outstanding work running this suburban real ale, music, comedy and wholesome food venue.
“This is a great day for us, for Sheffield and of course, our wonderful customers and suppliers whose loyalty and help has made our ten years here such a joy,” says Steph. “We’re particularly grateful to Dave Hughes at Acorn Brewery whose nomination made our win possible.
“This business award draws attention to our commitment to operating to the best standards possible, and we’re both very grateful that our hard work has been recognised,” she says.
The New Barrack Tavern is one of the 20 Castle Rock Brewery pubs in the East Midlands and Yorkshire. Brewery managing director, Colin Wilde, says: “This is a just award for Kevin and Steph, and echoes our regard in which they are held. I believe the SIBA scheme is a good initiative, recognising how craft beer suppliers and really good pubs come together to serve the discerning customer well.
“Well done; keep up the good work.”
Castle Rock Brewery won SIBA’s Best Overall Business Award in 2011.
SIBA’s BeerX was held at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, from Thursday 14 to Saturday 16 March 2013.
During the 2013 budget review, George Osborne revealed that he would be scrapping the beer duty escalator, and has also vowed to cut beer duty by 1p per pint effective from Sunday. All campaigners and beer drinkers, including CAMRA, SIBA, and our local MPs have been instrumental in making this happen and we thank you all sincerely.
The beer duty escalator has proven to be devastating to pubs and local jobs leading to over 10,000 pubs having to close their doors in the past decade. Colin Wilde, Castle Rock’s managing director says “our view is that the beer duty escalator should never have been put in place. It has not achieved anything apart from closing pubs”.
However, the further cut to beer duty is a start in helping sustain the British pub and the many benefits they provide to local communities and economies, although there is still a way to go. Colin Wilde goes on to say “It is of course a step in the right direction and we hope it forms the start of a joined up strategic taxation approach that will provide the Great British Pub with a fair crack of the whip. The 1p reduction is small beer in the whole scheme of things, but the great news is that it is the end of the beer duty escalator that has resulted in beer duty going up by 42% since 2008”.
Castle Rock’s February Wildlife Beer, Sweet Woodruff has won Champion Pale Ale at the Wigan Beer Festival on 2nd March 2013.
Colin Wilde, managing director at Castle Rock says: “We are delighted that Sweet Woodruff has won this award. It is another cracking light beer with a hint of vanilla at the finish, created by our head brewer Adrian, and a great addition to our Natural Selection beers (in support of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust). Wigan Beer Festival is a very well organised event at which we have had beers in the past, and we are glad that Sweet Woodruff was chosen as Champion Pale Ale. It is available for a limited time, but has certainly got people talking!”