Cambridge Beer Festival Guide 2012

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Programme to Cambridge CAMRA Beer Festival 2012 with beer listings and tasting notes.

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  • Welcome to the 39th CambridgeBeer Festival

    39th Cambridge Beer Festival 3

    Back in 1974 Cambridge held the first ever CAMRA

    beer festival. Since those relatively small beginnings in

    the Corn Exchange both CAMRA and thefestival have grown. CAMRA now has nearly140,000 members, and this beer festival is oneof the largest in the country.

    With this summers coming event, one mighthave expected a sporting theme to the festival.Much as certain large sporting events have kepttraditional British beer off their bars in favourof mass produced dross, weve kept theubiquitous sporting theme well away from ourfine festival. (Although some of our regional

    brewers have sailed somewhat closer to thatparticular litigious wind...) If we hadnt, wedhave been pursued across the land by anunstoppable crack team of corporate lawyers.In fact, wed have probably felt rather likeRichard Hannay, the accidental hero of JohnBuchans novel The 39 Steps, evading thesinister agents of the enemy.

    Like all CAMRA festivals, Cambridge is

    organised and run entirely by volunteers, andwe're always looking for more help. If you lookaround whilst at the festival, youll see thatalthough it can be hard work its also a lot offun and youll find you make a number of goodfriends at the same time. If you'd like to joinus, ask any volunteer.

    Remember to vote for your favourites in ourbeer, cheese and cider of the festivalcompetitions. Voting forms are available at theglasses counter and around the bars.

    Cambridge CAMRA also holds two other beerfestivals each year. Both are smaller than thisone, with a more seasonal feel to the beers onoffer. On the 12th and 13th of October we'll behaving our 6th Octoberfest at the UniversitySocial Club in Mill Lane. At this festival, we'llaim to have all the beers brewed for theMunich Oktoberfest, as well as somecontinental style specials from our localbrewers. In late January we'll be holding our17th Winter Beer Festival.

    Please don't drink and drive. We also have someyoung children on site during some sessions, soplease moderate your language. Finally,remember the festival is near a residential area,so please leave quietly it will help us tocontinue to use this site in future years.

    FIRST AIDWe have qualified first aid personnel on site. If you find that you need attention please askone of our stewards (the ones in yellow t-shirtsor fleeces) or any other member of staff whowill be able to contact a first aider.

    Back in 1974Cambridge held the

    first ever CAMRAbeer festival

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  • 4 39th Cambridge Beer Festival

    Whether youre a seasoned visitor or this isyour first time at a beer festival, here are a fewtips to help both you and our volunteer staffhave an enjoyable time.

    GLASSESYoull need a glass, so if you havent brought yourown you can get one from the glasses stall.If you don't want to keep your glass at the

    end of the session, you can return it to the stallfor a refund.Glasses are oversized and lined at the half and

    pint measure. This is to ensure that you get a fullmeasure something CAMRA campaigns for.

    BARSBeers are arranged on the bars in alphabeticalorder by brewery (with a few exceptions).Staff will only serve beers from the bar at

    which they are working, so please checkcarefully before ordering.The beers listed in this programme are those

    that we've ordered from the brewers, but wecan't guarantee that they'll all be available allthe time. Some beers might be available thatarent listed. Please refer to the signs on thecask ends to see exactly whats on, and theprices.Ciders, perries, mead, wine and foreign beers

    all have their own bars.As with any pub, it is an offence to buy (or

    attempt to buy) alcohol if you are under 18, orfor anyone under 18. Like many pubs in thearea, we operate a Challenge 21 scheme. So ifyou look under 21 you may be asked for ID toprove you are over 18.

    STAFFThe festival is organised and run entirely byvolunteers real ale enthusiasts who are doingthis because its fun. Do feel free to ask usabout the beers, ciders and the other drinks wehave we like talking about them and usually

    know quite a bit. You can even ask for a taste ifyoure not sure.

    BAR ETIQUETTEWhen youre at the bar please note thefollowing to ensure that we can serve you asquickly as possible.

    Try to make your decision before ordering andhave your money ready. Stand as close as youcan to the right place on the right bar. Whenyou have your drinks move away from the baras quickly as possible to allow others to beserved. Were only human, so please be patient!We try to serve everybody in turn, but whenwere very busy it can be difficult to keep track.Note that drawing attention to yourself bybanging glasses, money etc. on the bar tends tobe counterproductive.

    Finally, enjoy the festival!

    Festival Info

    Buying Your Beer

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  • The origins of beer can be traced back at least6,000 years, to when the ancient Egyptians andSumerians began to grow cereals.

    The drink we would recognise today startedto appear in 7th century Bavaria, when hopswere first used. The hop was first seen in Britainin the 14th century, in a drink brought overfrom Germany and the Low Countries. Beercontained hops, whereas ale remained unhopped,and ale and beer brewers would remain entirelyseparate until the 17th century. However, afterthree centuries the unhopped variety had beenall but wiped out. With very few exceptions allbeer brewed today contains hops in some form.

    The modern usages of the words ale and beerare rather different. Beer refers to nearly everyalcoholic drink made with malt and hops. Alenormally refers to beersfermented with particulartypes of yeast - socalled top fermentingvarieties.

    Hops provide the bitterness and many of theother flavours and aromas in beer. Furtherflavours come from the yeast. Yeast is a single-celled organism which only began to beunderstood in the 18th century. The selectionof yeast will often give a brewers beers acommon flavour, and many breweries willguard their particular yeast strain verycarefully.

    Yeast also produces the alcohol in the drinkfrom sugars. These sugars mostly come frommalted barley. The maltster allows the barleyto just begin to germinate before stopping theprocess using heat. This makes the grain softerand easier to mill, and starts the process ofturning starch into sugar.

    Other cereals (both malted and not) may beused in some beers. Brewing sugars are used by

    some brewers and other flavourings,spices and even fruit may be added.

    As well as sugars, malts alsoprovide many of the flavours inbeer, such as the roasted andcaramel notes. The colour of abeer is almost entirelydependent on the variety andamount of malts used.

    WHAT IS REAL ALE?Real ale is a beer brewed fromtraditional ingredients, matured byfermentation in the container fromwhich it is dispensed, and servedwithout the use of additional gas. It isdescribed as living as it continues toferment in the cask, developing its flavouras it matures, ready to be poured into yourglass. Real ale is also known as cask-conditioned beer, real cask ale, real beerand naturally conditioned beer. The term

    real ale and the above definition werecoined by CAMRA in the early 1970s.

    Welcome

    What is beer?

    6 39th Cambridge Beer Festival

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  • HOW CAN I TELL IF ITS REAL ALE?Real ale has a natural taste, full of flavour witha light natural carbonation produced by thefermentation that has occurred in the cask. Areal ale should be served at cellar temperature(1114C) so that the flavour of the beer canbe best appreciated. You can recognise real alein a pub as it is usually served using a handpump, although a number of pubs sell the beerstraight from the cask using nothing butgravity like at this festival.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALEAND LAGER?Real ale is produced by top fermentation attemperatures up to 22C which produces therich variety of flavours in an ale. After primaryfermentation the ale is allowed to mature at1114C in a cask where a slow secondaryfermentation occurs.

    Lager is produced by bottom fermentation atlower temperatures (614C). It is thenconditioned for several weeks or months atclose to freezing, during which time the lagermatures. Traditionally, lager style beers werebrewed during the cooler winter months andthen stored in cool cellars through the summer.Indeed, lager is the German word for store.However, most mass-produced UK lagers arematured for less than a week and do poorservice to the name.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEENREAL ALE AND KEG BEER?As described above, real ale is a living product.It has not been pasteurised or filtered and hasundergone a slow secondary fermentation inthe vessel (i.e. cask) from which it is served.Keg beer undergoes the same primary

    fermentation as real ale but after that stage itis filtered and/or pasteurised. Therefore nofurther conditioning can take place. The beer

    All about beer

    Continued overleaf

    39th Cambridge Beer Festival 7

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  • lacks any natural carbonation which wouldhave been produced by the secondary fermen-tation and so carbon dioxide has to be addedartificially. This leads to an over-gassy product.Today some keg beers have a mixture ofnitrogen and carbon dioxide added these areknown as nitro-keg beers.

    WHAT IS CRAFT BEER?The term craft beer has received a great deal ofpress in recent years. As yet theres no realdefinition for the term - rather one knows itwhen one sees it. Much real ale is craft beer;some craft beer is dispensed from kegs. Craftbeer has its origins in the US microbreweryworld - our foreign beer bar has some fineexamples from that side of the Atlantic.

    WHAT ARE BITTER, MILD, STOUT, PORTER ETC?Beer can be produced by either ale or lagerstyle fermentation. Ale style beers can bebroken down further into various styles,although many beers are hard to fit in to oneof these categories. Weve chosen a fewexamples for each style.

    Milds are low in bitterness and may be dark orlight. Although generally of a lower strength(less than 4%) they can also be strong.Son of Sid Muck Cart Mild, 3.5%Timothy Taylor Golden Best, 3.5%Gadds Thoroughly Modern Mild, 6%

    Bitter is the most common beer style. Usuallybrown, tawny, copper or amber coloured withmedium to strong bitterness. Light to mediummalt character may be present. Bitters arenormally up to 4% alcohol, whereas BestBitters are above 4%.Tydd Steam Barn Ale, 3.9%Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, 4%Lord Conrads Hedgerow Hop, 4.5%

    Golden Ales are a relative newcomer, havingfirst appeared in the 1980s. These are paleamber, gold, yellow or straw coloured beerswith light to strong bitterness and a strong hop

    character which create a refreshing taste. Thestrength is generally less than 5.5%.Fellows Crafty Fellow, 4%Oakham Citra, 4.2%

    India Pale Ale (IPA) originally appeared in theearly 19th century, and has enjoyed aresurgence in the past few years. First brewedin London and Burton-on-Trent for the colonialmarket, IPAs were strong in alcohol and high inhops: the preservative character of the hopshelped to keep the beers in good conditionduring long sea journeys. So-called IPAs withstrengths of around 3.5% are not true IPAs.Look for juicy malt, citrus fruit and a big spicy,peppery bitter hop character, with strengths of5% to much more. The recent appearance ofBlack IPAs has confused many, since they aredefinitely not pale.Milton Karolides, 6%Buntingford Black Stone, 4.4%

    Porters and Stouts are complex in flavourand typically black or dark brown. The darknesscomes from the use of dark malts. These fullbodied beers generally have a pronouncedbitter finish. Historically a stout would havebeen any stronger beer, but the term evolvedto mean a strong porter beer. In modern usage,the two terms are used almost interchangeably,although stouts tend to be less sweet thanporters. They are usually 48% in strength.Moonshine Black Hole Stout, 5%Two Towers Jewellery Porter, 5%

    Barley Wines range in colour from copper totawny and dark brown. They may have a highsweetness due to residual sugars althoughsome barley wines are fermented right out togive a dry finish. They have an almost vinousappearance in the glass and may have astrength of up to 12%. The fruity character-istics are balanced by a medium to assertivebitterness.Grainstore Nip, 7.3%Parish Baz's Bonce Blower, 12%

    All about beer continued

    8 39th Cambridge Beer Festival

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  • 10 39th Cambridge Beer Festival

    The Branch's campaigning activities over thepast 12 months have, unfortunately, beendominated by fighting pub closures inCambridge. Since 2007, 23 city pubs haveshut, which was 24% of the total stock. Mosthave been community pubs outside the centreand great swathes of the city are now badlyserved for locals. High demand for housingmakes pubs an attractive proposition fordevelopers and the Council currently lacksplanning policies which protect pubs fromconversion to residential use. We've helpedpersuade the Council to act on this and they'reboth reviewing their policies and refusing someplanning applications, though these may belost on appeal.

    The position in our rural areas is betterbecause those Councils have strong policies onpub protection. Threats continue though andwe're currently helping a local campaign tosave the Plough, Shepreth from being turnedinto a house. Greene King have been sheddinglots of their rural pubs but in most cases theseare reopening as free houses. This is a goodthing as it means more outlets for our localbreweries. This year BlackBar at Harston hasjoined Milton, Moonshine, Fellows, LordConrad's and Devil's Dyke and all produceexcellent, characterful beers.

    April saw CAMRA's first Community PubsMonth and the Branch took the opportunity topromote our local pubs. We ran a series of AleTrails encouraging people to visit places theymight not know and also held an AwardsEvening where we celebrated the achievementsof local licensees in the fields of pub and realale excellence.

    A major undertaking this year has been thecompilation and publication of our online guideto all pubs in the Branch area you can find itat http://pubs.cambridge-camra.org.uk.

    Our Branch newsletter, ALE,continues to be delivered everytwo months to most pubs inthe area. It's full of news aboutthe local pub scene and tries toget our campaigning messagesacross to all drinkers, CAMRAmembers or not.

    Perhaps the biggest aspect of ourcampaigning, though, is our three beer festivals,which are showcases for the wonders of realale and have, we're sure, resulted in manydrinkers seeing the light when it comes towhich beers are best.

    If you'd like to get actively...