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
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.
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.”
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.
“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.