Booze: Good Beer Guide 2013 – Bear Abuse

It has come to my attention that CAMRA are being twats (again). It’s even worse this time as they’re being twats about a friend’s brewery.

It’s great news that Ketts Tavern which is run by owners of Norwich Bear Brewing Co, Dawn and Kev, is in the good beer guide. I mean really good news. Both Ketts Tavern and The Rose are wonderful pubs that you should definitely go to if you ever visit Norwich. They’re run by friendly people who are passionate about beer and have great bar staff too. They have pool tables and show Norwich games which are always good features. Oh and they have beer from Norwich Bear Brewing Co.

So yeah, about the beer… which is the topic of this post and why I am angry at CAMRA.

CAMRA have described Norwich Bear’s beers as ‘Norfolk Square Rebadged’. Norfolk Square rebadged? What the fuck?

Yes, Carlos at Norfolk Square has been contracted to brew for Dawn and Kev whilst they await delivery of their brewing equipment which will be in the back room of The Rose. The brewery is owned by Dawn and Kev and other than brewing, Carlos has absolutely no involvement. All of the recipes, branding and ideas come directly from Dawn and Kev.

*EDIT* I was wrong. I want to apologise to Carlos Branquinho of Norfolk Square Brewery. He has informed me that Dawn and Kev just give him a general description of what they want the beer to be like and he designs and brews it. It was completely my thinking that the recipes were designed by Dawn & Kev of Norwich Bear. *EDIT*

Apart from the occasional seasonal beers I’ve missed, I am confident in saying that I’ve had all of the beers that both Norfolk Square and Norwich Bear have and they are not alike. Not even close. Well… aside from the fact that they’re both beer.

Norfolk Square seems to stick with more traditional styles of English ale which is more malty, mainly best bitters, milds, golden ales and porters whereas Norwich Bear are very different in the way that they’re brewing more hoppy and different beers.

Oh add to the fact that Norfolk Square don’t cask their beers… they’re bottle only.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with what Carlos is doing with his beers, he’s clearly a talented brewer and he’s brewing great beers for BOTH COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BREWERIES. CAMRA seem to be completely fucking blind.

Apparently CAMRA Norwich & Norfolk refuse to acknowledge the fact that Norwich Bear is a brewery because they’re contracting and currently don’t have their own brewery which is why you previously wouldn’t have seen their beers at any official CAMRA festivals. Their brewery is on the way and they wanted to start before that came, why is that an issue? I mean, CAMRA Norwich and Norfolk had Mikkeller on the international bar at last year’s festival and he doesn’t own a brewer… in a similar fashion to the old cask Vs keg debate, there are always different rules for international beers and it takes the fucking piss.

What CAMRA have said about Norwich bear is completely unfair, libellous and in fact could be damaging to business especially if someone had drank Norfolk Square beers before and not liked them or had heard that Norfolk Square beers are bad from someone else. It’s slander. They may not currently own a brewery but they are a brewing company that [contract] brews some tasty beers that they will be brewing themselves VERY SOON. Why can’t CAMRA just leave it at the fact that they’re brewing some awesome cask ales?

It takes the fucking piss.

CAMRA can fuck off.



  1. The thing is, this was just totally unnecessary.

    If it was true that Norwich Bear's beer was Norfolk Square rebadged (and i know that it isn't), then this comment is still potentially detrimental to the business.

    Considering CAMRA are the spokesperson for real ale throughout the country, i find it very difficult to understand why they would ever slander a member of the industry.

  2. CAMRA? Was it me? No. It was CAMRA Norwich. So why slag off CAMRA as a whole? Tarring everyone with the same brush gets my goat. And you use the word "apparently". Doesn't fill me with confidence that what you say is 100% known by you as fact rather than supposition or extrapolation. So who said exactly what and under what circumstances?

    This is a grey area if they don't actually brew it themselves. If a beer is contract brewed, which is what you describe, there may be issues. It would normally be described under the brewing company as "brewed for"

    They might be different companies, but you don't describe different breweries. There is a difference. Calling it re-badged though if it isn't and you convince me it isn't, is quite a different matter. That seems wrong on the face of it.

    Maybe now it's off your chest, you can calm down and think it all through?

    1. Fair enough, generalising was wrong. We all do it at times though.

      I say "apparently" because of what I was told by the Bear. The brewery liasion for CAMRA Norwich told Bear they weren't worth dealing with due to not actually owning a brewery.

      The beers are brewed in the same place, currently, but I'm confident in saying (through extensive sampling) that they are completely different beers.

      I have calmed down though - I hadn't written an angry post in a while. Everything's off my chest.

      Thanks for commenting.


    2. NAT..As the BLO for Norwich Bear I require you to make it very clear indeed that I DID not say, nor have I ever said or implied what you are alleging! You could easily have wrecked my relationship with Dawn and Kevin! Luckily it appears not to have done,as they, clearly appreciate that I never would say anything of the kind alleged.But then again they're mature adults..who think before sounding off from a point of total ignorance of the situation! I know the facts...unlike you! The error was due to an misunderstanding by a visitor to the area, which was pointed out very quickly indeed by local CAMRA and is to be corrected. I even believe that the person concerned has even visited The Ketts and everyone is now friends again! However, Your ill-advised and inaccurate blog made reference to defamation. As a retired Solicitor, I must point out that your statement is potentially libelous against me as there is a very strong inference that it was I who said the stupid remark you 'quote'. Which of course I did not! Accordingly, I require a full and open apology and acknowledgement of your possibly un-intended but nevertheless libelous statement, by implication,in the blog.
      Until such has can forget the drink we were going to have, following which I had intended trying to at least smooth the waters your immature, inaccurate ill-thought through ramblings have caused. I also resent you calling me and many friends of mine whom you have never met 'twats'. If ever anyone had a talent for losing friends and alienating folk..You have it in bucket loads! If you require a fine example of a 'Twat' ..look very closely in the nearest mirror!
      I'd not make any plans to attend, let alone help at next year's Dragon Hall Beer Fest until you've eaten very humble pie and learnt some very elementary common sense and good manners..both of which you have proved are totally absent from your present make up.One learns more from listening to folk than pontificating at I well know..having done so in my youth too
      One also changes minds more easily by being inside an organisation and gently persuading folk of one's views than firing off, ill-judged and ill-informed broadsides from the outside! I trust I make my point/points clearly!

    3. Mike, I have got the wrong end of the stick. Again. I’m sorry. But I would’ve liked for you to speak to me in private like Carlos did. Of course, I know you’re a retired lawyer so I guess settling in private wouldn’t be how you work [this was intended as a joke, please do not take offense]

      I will edit this post and apologise in the same way I did for Carlos. I’m sorry but I don’t have the time or the space to do a whole new blog post just for you.

      As for ‘alienating folk’… how do you think I feel when I’m in a room with a bunch of old school CAMRA members who assume I know nothing because I am young?

    4. Apology accepted. But do please try to not 'fire from the hip'. It could get you in really deep water sometime!

  3. And why do comments have to be approved?

  4. You might want to contact CAMRA centrally and point out their error. My local pub, The Olde Dog in Herongate, Essex has got back in the Guide even though the beer quality has never fallen in the 25 years that I have been drinking there. The entry in the Guide describes the ceiling covered in beer mats. Its not. They are pump clips. They have always been pump clips. It's a small detail, but it's a small entry in the Guide. It makes me wonder if the pubs are as fully researched by local branches as it claims. Surely the difference is obvious.

    1. Yeah man, we're all working on trying to get it sorted. It's really fucking unfair.

      I saw some comments on a share of my link on Facebook and apparently CAMRA Norwich are attending to the matter, whatever that means.

  5. Not surprised, so many local CAMRA branches are so far up there own arses, loving the sounds of their own voices and only putting in there own personal favourite pubs into the GBG, or the pubs that give them freebies, the GBG 2013 is already well out of date.

    1. Exactly. The people that really matter, the consumers are quickly losing faith in them. I really want to start going to CAMRA meetings but I've recently had some dreadful experiences with local CAMRA members which makes me think they're all like that.


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