Looking Back 2011
I am pleased to report another successful year for our group. Total membership is up on 2010 and several of the new members are younger than our average age. This is important both for the future of the group and craft brewing on a small scale. We have also recruited two Brewsters, – very gratifying.
Average attendance at our meetings is growing but this success makes it more difficult to find suitable venues. However, this is a pleasing problem to have to solve. Last year I was able to say that the standard of beers brought along to meetings was even higher than the year before. For 2011, the standard has increased yet again with many first-class offerings being sampled.
As evidence I draw your attention to the success of MCB members in competitions around the country. Some details are in the next paragraph.
Russell P gained two second places at Bristol for an ESB and a Porter. Allan G obtained a first and second in the Spring Thing for his pale ales, and a third at both The London and South East Festival and Bristol for a stout. Steve S gained a second at the Spring Thing for a low gravity bitter and a first for an APA hopped with Simcoe. In the National competition at Bristol he achieved a second with an APA and a Belgium Blonde Ale (Dubbel Trubbel). In the London and SE Competition he won a first in the Speciality section with his Sorachi Vice; a Weizen beer. More modestly, Ron A obtained two seconds at the Lincoln Beer and Wine Circle competition in September with a Stout and Barley Wine (actually a Belgian Trippel).
A brewing theme continues to be a standard agenda item at our meetings and these are often supported by a previously circulated questionnaire. This works well and some interesting information has come to light. Some of the previous venues have been changed and the aim is to try and achieve a balance in terms of geography and travel; not easy to achieve. We are also endeavouring to introduce new chairs for some of the meetings as well as continuing with experienced chairs. Thanks to Jim N (Beeston), Peter F (Burton on Trent), Ron A (Derby), Allan G (Leicester), and James F (Birmingham).-
As an experiment, a joint meeting with another area group, in this case, Peterborough, was tried. This took the form of a social rather than a formal meeting in one location. In my opinion, this worked very well, and provided a useful and rare opportunity for some cross-fertilisation. An account has been published on our website
A brewery visit took place, arranged and organised by Allan G. The visit was to the new Thornbridge brewery just outside Bakewell. It was a very good day out and there is an account on our website,
A great deal of work has been put into the website; mainly by our Webmaster James F, and our Web Manager, Allan G. Thanks to them, I believe we now have a professional and attractive site, and I am sure that it will continue to expand and develop during 2012.
The bottle swapping has continued although it tends to be much the same people who attend regularly. I would like to see wider participation, as I believe that the potential benefits are considerable. In particular the beer swaps provide an excellent opportunity to discuss any aspect of brewing without the restriction of a fixed agenda.
To finish off the year we had a good Social in Nottingham, where after meeting in the Roundhouse and having a further drink in the Malt Cross we concentrated on pubs in the Canning Circus area. A full account of the day is on our website
Overall then, another good year for our group. To finish let me say for the second year in a row that I know it is difficult, given our geographical dispersion, family commitments, financial constraints, and the like, but do please try to take part, if you possibly can, in one or more of our activities in 2012.