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North Dorset microbrewer Paul Smith is celebrating a unique double accolade- winning Best Beer of the Festival at two successful Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA] beer festivals. Drinkers at last weekend's Dorchester Beerex voted Elder Sarum- brewed by Paul Smith at his Small Pauls garage brewery in Gillingham [Dorset-] as CAMRA Best Beer of the Festival. This follows hot on the heels of a similar award at last October's Weymouth beer festival- Octoberfest.
Elder Sarum ale is a fresh summery brew with elderflowers added. Drinkers at Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA] beer festivals vote for their favourite beer. This is the first time in West Dorset that the same ale has won twice successively.
"We in the local CAMRA branch were pleased when in October last year, one of our own members' beers won the public vote at Octoberfest," comments Dave Harris, CAMRA's West Dorset Chairman. "We just count the votes- so it really is public acclaim for the brewer. Now we are truly delighted that four months on, Elder Sarum is still the public's favourite by a big margin. Well done again Small Pauls Brewery!"
A longtime CAMRA member, Paul Smith started brewing in his Gillingham garage in 2006, while still working as a highway engineer for Wiltshire County Council. Initially, he gave samples to friends and publicans from the half-barrel plant, which brews 18 gallons [144 pints] at a time. He received much help and advice from veteran brewer Chaz Hobden at the Wessex Brewery in Longbridge Deverill, just over the border into Wiltshire. Small Pauls ales are still hard to find, limited by the distance that it's practical to deliver. They are currently on sale in three pubs around Gillingham and two further afield. "I like to put my beer in good pubs- they know how to look after it," says Paul Smith, who currently makes five real ales- Gylla's Gold, Wyvern, Gillingham Pale, Challenger Two and Elder Sarum.
"I am pleased that once again the discerning drinkers at two Dorset CAMRA beer festivals have chosen my beer as their favourite, particularly as they are unlikely to have tasted it before in a pub," says Paul Smith. "I was at one of the festival sessions and it was gratifying to receive direct comments from drinkers who were trying the beer. Although brewed specially for the festival, Elder Sarum will be more widely available from May through to September."
The 2011 Octoberfest will be held at Weymouth Pavilion's Ocean Room on 7 and 8 October next year. "We are most grateful to Roger Dalton and Brewers Quay for their kindness and hospitality over eight happy years," comments CAMRA spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins, "but with Brewers Quay closing last week for redevelopment, we obviously cannot use the building this year. We do however thank Brewers Quay most sincerely for all their valuable help in hosting Octoberfest over eight years."
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Campaign for Real Ale,
West Dorset Branch