Cheers! Here’s to a great show

Just Regional
Aug 19, 2015 4 mins read

The Aylsham Show is just days away and final preparations are well under way. A beer competition aimed at promoting the 50th anniversary of malting barley Maris Otter, a cornerstone crop for the brewing industry, will bring something new and tasty to the Bank Holiday Monday show.

Seven beers for £1? They may only be sample sizes, but it sounds like a good deal for lovers of real ale at Aylsham Show.
All have been created locally by brewers who between them are heavy users of the well-known malting barley Maris Otter, used for half a century to make some of the tastiest beers in the world.

But only one of the seven will carry off the title of Showstopper 2015. And it’s down to the public to decide through blind tasting.

Show visitors pay £1 for a score card, which comes with the seven sample sized beers, each marked only with a number between one and seven. You taste them all, then pick your favourite. Later in the day the beer with the most votes will be announced as the winner in the main ring.

“We wanted to create something fun, but which also celebrated the 50th harvest year of Maris Otter, which has been so important to the wider agricultural, brewing and distilling industries both locally and across the UK,” said organiser Paul Corfield.

“It is not the highest yielding barley, but it is widely regarded as producing the best quality malt. And because growers around Aylsham produce so much Maris Otter, it was an important anniversary for the Aylsham Show to mark.”

Paul said it had been decided to make the competition a public judgment rather than a panel judgment for a number of reasons.
“It’s a real test of how popular the winning beer is among the people drinking it day to day,” he explained. “And it means the winner can add Showstopper 2015 to their marketing. At the end of the day, it should be fun for everyone.”

In addition to the tasting, there will be a number of displays drawing out the various facets of Maris Otter, supported by a number of relevant businesses such as industry leaders Crisp Maltings at Great Ryburgh.

There will be two 1960s combines on show, information explaining how barley makes its way from the field to becoming malt, a display showing the other ingredients necessary for making beer, an example of beer bubbling away mid-brew and a demonstration of other, non-beer products created with malt such as malt loaf and breakfast cereals.

“The idea is to show the relationship between a field of barley and the beer you buy in a pub or a shop,” said Paul. “Beyond that we also want to show how different beers, with different flavours, are created.”

The seven brewers taking part are:
– Bullards, the historic Norwich brand has recently been relaunched after a 30-year absence, in a link up with the Redwell Brewery.

– The Norfolk Brewhouse, based at a family farm in North Norfolk and which uses chalk-filtered water from the brewery’s own well to hand craft beers.

– Jo C’s Brewery, whose home is the Old Store on the Barsham Estate and which is run by Jo Coubrough, wife of Chris, of Flying Kiwi fame.

– Yetman’s, run by former restaurateur Peter Yetman out of a 200-year-old barn near Holt overlooking barley fields and livestock, and whose beers have found their way into Waitrose.

– Golden Triangle, the Barford-based outfit has been brewing “modern hop forward ales” since 2011 and operates under the banner “Never Knowingly Underhopped”.

– Winter’s, a small micro brewery based on the outskirts of Norwich. The brewery was established in 2001.

– Panther, the Reepham brewery which uses traditional techniques to brew what they call “a range of sleek, modern and full flavour real ales”.

Showstopper - A2 Poster

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