Saturday, 16 October 2010

CAMRA Awards 2010

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the CAMRA awards lunch. Now having had Roger Ryman, Head Brewer at St Austells and one of the winners at The Rake the night before, I was somewhat hungover so it took me a bit of time to get into my stride.
I was lucky enough to get a mini tour of The Oval too before the function, it was awesome! It's a ground I've been to loads of times, being a member at Surrey CCC but I had never been behind the scenes before, what a treat!
I got to see the original copies of the Wisden almanacs and the dressing rooms. Interestingly, the away dressing room has a wall not unlike The Rake's brewers wall. It's been signed by lots of international players from all countries that have played at The Oval.
The Lunch itself was superb, the staff at The Oval really did a superb job. Lunch started with beer, of course! I started on a pint of the Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale, a lovely light hoppy beer that's apparently good for getting rid of hangovers!
The menu went thus...
Ravioli of Butternut Squash with a sage butter sauce, crisp sage leaves with grated aged Parmigiano Reggiano. Served with Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale.

Roast breast of creedy carver duck, celeriac souboise, root vegetable and sweet potato galette, creamed savoy cabbage and a port and sage jus. Served with Timothy Taylor Landlord and Fullers Gales HSB.

Creme Brulee with Scottish shortbread biscuit and blueberry confit. Served with O'Hanlon's Port Stout and Thornbridge Jaipur.

Served with St Austells Admiral Ale.

Now I don't usually eat posh nosh like this but it  was really rather good and the beer parings were excellent, introduced by the brewers of each beer they went extremely well. I've never really liked creme brulee but because I was in polite company(surrounded by Fullers & Thornbridge brewers!) I thought I'd give it a go and very nice it was too, exactly the right consistency and great flavour, made all the better with the beer paring of Thornbridge's Jaipur and the O'Hanlons Port Stout.
If you weren't aware there were awards going on too, these were I believe announced at GBBF but given out last week. If you didn't know who won here's the list:
Mild Category
Gold : Surrey Hills, Hammer Mild
Sliver : Greene King XX Mild
Joint Bronze : Golcar Dark Mild & Nottingham Rock Ale Mild.
Bitter Category
Gold : RCH PG Steam
Silver : Moor Revival
Joint Bronze : Orkney Raven & Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale
Best Bitter Category
Gold : Timothy Taylor Landlord
Silver : St Austell Tribute
Joint Bronze : Evan Evans Cwrw & Great Oakley Gobble
Strong Bitter Category
Gold : Thornbridge Jaipur
Silver : Fullers Gales HSB
Bronze : Beckstones Rev Rob
Golden Ale Category
Gold : Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale
Silver : Marble Manchester Bitter
Bronze : St Austell Proper Job
Speciality Category
Gold : Amber Chocolate Orange Stout
Silver : O'Hanlons Port Stout
Bronze : Breconshire Ysbrid y Draig
Bottled Beer of Britain Category
Gold : St Austell Admirals Ale
Silver : Pitfield 1850 London Porter
Bronze : Great Oakley Delapre Dark
Champion Beer of Britain 2010 : Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale
Silver : Timothy Talyors Landlord
Bronze : Surrey Hills Hammer Mild

Now I like the Castle Rock Harvest Pale Ale but Champion Beer of Britain? Really? There are better beers on this list. Likewise the Silver position and I haven't tried the Surrey Hills Hammer Mild but I am reliably informed that it was superb.
There were some very interesting results in the mix, for instance, one of my favourite beers at the moment is the Moor Revival, it's a beautifully balanced beer that's 4% and tasty as hell, it only got silver. As remarked by Roger Protz who was doing the presentations, brewers are getting a lot younger! The Great Oakley lads got a couple of bronze's and they don't look old enough to even drink! So when they went to collect their awards I thought they'd let their kids collect instead! Now I haven't had their beers but they got two bronzes which usually means they're better than the golds when it comes to CAMRA so well done chaps!
All in all a massive well done to all the guys who got through to the final stages, I enjoyed almost all the beers I tried and those I haven't I'm looking forward to!
Slap on the wrist for Protsky though who STILL can't pronounce Ysbrid y Draig! You've had two months to practice Roger, school report says must do better!
Until next time folks!


Sid Boggle said...

CBoB results "were I believe announced at GBBF". You and I were with John Keeling when they were due to start, I went to get them, and gave them to you both when I got back to the Fullers bar. You must have been pissed! ;-)

And yes, you're right about better beers. I'm becoming a bore about it, but I still can't believe that Dark Star Hophead has never even medalled in the category. Having said that, a job used to take me to Nottingham regularly, and I made use of the train timetable to have a couple of hours at the Vat & Fiddle drinking fresh Harvest Pale, which was excellent.

Rabidbarfly said...

Course I was pissed!
Harvest Pale is a good beer but Revival and Thornbridge are both better in my humble opinion. It seems to me that for all the good stuff that CAMRA does, it still seems like a bit of an old boys club, something they need to rectify...soon.