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CAMRA members angry after Boxford brewer’s beer banned from East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival

PUBLISHED: 07:08 15 April 2017 | UPDATED: 07:09 15 April 2017

Tom Norton says he is disappointed that his new Suffolk sour beer has been banned by West Suffolk CAMRA's beer and cider festival at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Tom Norton says he is disappointed that his new Suffolk sour beer has been banned by West Suffolk CAMRA's beer and cider festival at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Officials have banned a talented young Boxford craft brewer from entering his very traditional ale into the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival – because some people may not like the taste.

Tom Norton of the Little Earth Project, Edwardstone, whose traditional Suffolk sour beer has been rejected by the organisers of the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival. Picture: GREGG BROWNTom Norton of the Little Earth Project, Edwardstone, whose traditional Suffolk sour beer has been rejected by the organisers of the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival. Picture: GREGG BROWN

In an extraordinary move criticised by many CAMRA members, the organisation’s West Suffolk branch told Tom Norton they don’t want any of his Brett Terroir ale, 99% of which is brewed using Suffolk ingredients, at the event, which runs from Wednesday to Saturday at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

In an email, the organisers said: “We would have loved to have one of your sour beers at our festival, especially a Suffolk one. However it was felt that an unknowing drinker trying the beer might think it was off.

“OK, we would have told them that it isn’t but the fear is that they would use social media to spread this comment around to the detriment of the festival.”

One angry CAMRA member said: “What utter nonsense – the whole point of a beer festival is that we can try out different ales. Of course this beer would have a taste that is different and not everyone would like it – but it is exactly how it would have been made in the heart of Suffolk a hundred years ago.”

Tom and John Norton - Tom's new Suffolk sour beer, Brett Terroir, has been banned from being sold at a beer festival at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds next week. Picture: GREGG BROWNTom and John Norton - Tom's new Suffolk sour beer, Brett Terroir, has been banned from being sold at a beer festival at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds next week. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mr Norton said: “I was very disappointed. The Brett Terroir is made with local ingredients – some from fields within sight of our brewery near Boxford. We have tried the beer in real ale pubs in Colchester and Norwich and it has gone down very well.”

However, in spite of the ban on draught Brett Terroir, some of Mr Norton’s beers will be available in bottles at the festival from a stall run by Bury’s independent beer shop Beautiful Beers.

Mr Norton, who runs the Little Earth Project, at Edwardstone, added: “Brewing a modern clean beer the brewer will know how the finished beer should taste long before the grain, hops, yeast and water combine.

“But sour beers by their very nature were unpredictable – aged in oak with plenty of yeast and bacteria no two barrels are the same.

Tom Norton, of the Little Earth Project, Edwardstone. Picture: GREGG BROWNTom Norton, of the Little Earth Project, Edwardstone. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Here we monitor the flavours created over months and then decide what would enhance and complement them. This beer should have a salt and a peppery bite to complement the earthy almost savoury nature of the beer.”

The West Suffolk branch of CAMRA, who are organising the festival, were asked about the ban but refused to comment.

2 comments

  • This seems to me to be a very strange situation. If someone refused to buy a car from me would I go to the papers and whinge about it? No probably not! There may be very good reason for for the beer festival not buying his beer, think about it the pub which is less than 10 feet away from the brewery won't even stock it, in any form. Maybe he should concentrate on brewing rather than creating non stories to get himself in the press!

    Report this comment

    BillyW123

    Sunday, April 16, 2017

  • As a lover of sour beers myself, I'm very much looking forward to trying the new beers from Little Earth. But I think using the word "banned" is something of an exaggeration. There's a big difference between "deciding not to buy" and "banning". With over 1600 breweries in England alone, the festival will only be serving beers from a small number of them - have all the others been "banned"? Besides, since you report that bottles WILL be sold at the festival, clearly the brewery hasn't been "banned". Oh, and by the way... The brewery is in EDWARDSTONE, not BOXFORD. It would be nice if a "local" paper managed to get facts like that right.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Saturday, April 15, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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