First, Gary Taylor, from Benton, writes about an award set up by local beer drinkers to recognise innovation and quality in the North East industry:
As many will know, the beer scene is heavily linked to Twitter, where many events and meet-ups are organised, and a group of the most prevalent beer tweeters set up their own award.
Anything beer-related can win the Twitter Cup – a bar, a pub, a magazine, a brewery... anything as long as it’s beery!
After many hours of deliberation, the eventual consensus was that another brewery was going to win the cup this year.
Anarchy Brew Co, located at the Whitehouse Farm Centre in Morpeth, was to be the holder for 2012-13. The huge leaps forward Anarchy Brew Co have made in quality while pushing the boundaries of the craft beer revolution in the North East made it a natural choice.
On the first Saturday of the month Anarchy Brew Co’s brewery bar is open to the public and six of us took the trip up the A1 to hand over the cup.
Anarchy were most accommodating with tasters of some up-and-coming new brews as well as plenty of regulars on tap.
Simon and Dawn provided an impromptu brewery tour and we chatted about beer till closing time. Look out for a top-secret beer celebrating Tilley’s Bar’s 180th bottle – it’s not for the faint hearted.
And don’t forget the Mashup Festival that Anarchy are hosting on August 31. Some of the North’s up-and-coming bands will be there alongside some of the most innovative UK craft brewers such as Lovibonds, Beavertown, Moor Beer, Tiny Rebel, Red Willow and, of course, Anarchy Brew Co.
Martin Ellis on the Locale scheme
Next, you may have seen Locale labels on some pump clips over the last few years. Martin Ellis, from CAMRA, talks about how the Locale scheme works and how it is being implemented in the North East:
Drinking cask beer is obviously the most environmentally sound option. After all, recycling should be encouraged, but reuse is best.
Casks are returned to the brewery, washed and used thousands of times.
Beer glasses are washed and reused countless times. Obviously there are times when it is necessary to use bottles, but clearly it is better to drink cask beer in a glass, in the pub.
Many keen beer drinkers will have seen ‘Locale’ labels attached to pump clips and these labels indicate that the beer is locally sourced.
The Locale scheme was created by the Nottingham branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) back in 2007.
The inspiration was from an obvious need to support local breweries in Nottingham and enthusiasm to embrace the Sustainable Communities Act.
Clearly the Locale scheme has economic and environmental benefits, as it supports local businesses and reduces ‘beer miles’.
Why burn up diesel and pollute the atmosphere when there are great beers that can be sourced locally?
While the Sustainable Communities Act describes local as within 30 miles of production, different CAMRA branches use different measures when determining what can be considered as local.
For some branches it is necessary for the beer to be sourced from within the branch area. Other branches may take the view that only beers brewed within 30 miles of the pub are eligible for that title.
One of Britain’s most sustainable and environmentally friendly pubs is Battlesteads at Wark in Northumberland. It has won national awards.
Battlesteads has a carbon-neutral heating and hot water system, sources locally and goes the extra mile to be ‘green’.
It is holding its annual beer festival at the end of the month and is running a courtesy bus service connecting with trains so that festival goers can travel to the festival by public transport.
The main reason why I drink beer is because I love it, but I also think that we should love the planet.