Regional Awards 2018

West Midlands CAMRA Awards Extravaganza @ Barton Arms. 29th December 2018

I attended the West Midlands CAMRA awards extravaganza on 29th December on the spur of the moment not really knowing what it was about but always happy to go to the Bartons Arms and drink Citra.

The event was held upstairs with a limited bar serving Citra, JHB and Backyard’s Coaltown Coffee Stout, the full beer range was available downstairs. The event started with a heartfelt message about absent friends and a reminder to never take for granted the people you love. It was a friendly session with lots of banter – as you can imagine.

Very good to hear Gaynor get excellent recognition for her drive and energy for the Regional CAMRA shirts establishing our regional identify – Teal is the colour for 2019 – get your orders in now. I sat next to someone collecting loads of awards for Hobsons Ales. By the time you read this you will already know the beer winners but good to know the West Midlands Regional BOTY is Fixed Wheel Blackheath Stout and Regional POTY is The Fountain in Leek.

You will see there were penguins and I had to ask what they were about – well it’s a way of promoting festivals, pubs, place – where were the penguins this time!

All in it was good to know what is being looked at and that there are ‘most improved’ and ‘unsung hero’ awards. The cider awards have a new trophy in honour of Sally Lavender which was won by Broomfield Tavern in Coventry – see picture – it was very heavy trophy.

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There is a West Midlands cider representative who is trying to draw up a regional cider trial – we are asked to send in two pubs/ clubs per branch. Knowing there are awards for branch magazines, festival flyers, real ale trails makes me think we probably need to do more to get our act together. Rugby has good beer and great pubs – we need more recognition.

Finally, there were two CAMRA NEC members from West Midlands who gave an update: the revitalisation project is about empowering members. Main activity is about education, information and training, Alex Metcalfe is CAMRA’s new education and training manager. CAMRA is updating marketing logos and branding to align with the focus on pushing up quality and choice for the consumer and protecting pubs and clubs. Questions from the floor covered areas such as diversity of membership, judging beer quality, key keg beers versus cask beers, British beers versus international and European beers.

The 2020 AGM will be in York and the 2021 AGM will be in Sheffield.

West Midlands Regional pub of the year is the Fountain in Leek.

Article written by Christine Lewis