West Pennines Region

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Beer Tasting and Beer Tasting Panels

Beer Appreciation & CAMRA Tasting Panels

One of CAMRA’s main objectives these days is to improve the knowledge of its members, evidenced by the continued development of its Learn & Discover Zone, available on the main CAMRA website

The Learn & Discover zone has three levels: The Basics (For Beginners). Learn More (For Enthusiasts) and Discover (For Connoisseurs).

In addition, CAMRA, through its local Tasting Panels, can provide training to members depending on the level of volunteer involvement you want:

1.   Intro to Beer – Basic ingredients of beer

2.   Beer Appreciation - general introduction to beer tasting

3.   Tasting Panel Training - for those wishing to join a tasting panel

4.   Beer Judging - for those wanting to be involved in Champion Beer of Britain judging

What is a Tasting Panel

The West Pennine Tasting Panel is one of many CAMRA Tasting Panels across the UK. They are responsible for tasting all the beers that are regularly brewed within the Region, (Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man) and for submitting the descriptions to CAMRA's Good Beer Guide. They also put forward beers to CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain Competition.

All of the panel members are volunteers, who have been trained. From time to time, training sessions take place to bring in new tasters and no experience is necessary just a willingness to fill in tasting cards throughout the year and seek out local breweries' beers. The Panel get together a couple of times a year to visit pubs and breweries to help standardise the scoring on the cards.

Beer Tasting can be a solitary activity carried out in pubs on a regular basis throughout the year by trained tasters. The idea is to collect data on the beer using a tasting card (these days generally an electronic version, although paper versions are available to complete). This enables us to  create a collective piece of data called the “profile” of a beer, which is used for three purposes:

1.   Writing a description for the Good Beer Guide for a specific beer. (The "beer glass" symbol by a beer in the brewery section of the GBG denotes that a tasting panel has written the description).

2.   Confirming the ‘beer style category’ in line with the beer styles defined by CAMRA.

3.   Selection of beers for the Champion Beer of Britain competition (CBOB)

You may well be familiar with the basics of beer scoring if you use the National Beer Scoring Scheme, WhatPub

If you would like some training or are interested in getting involved in a Tasting Panel then please contact Lynda Johnson, Tasting Panel Chair for the West Pennine region: tastingpanel@westpennines.camra.org.uk

Or alternatively you can contact Chris Sandison Regional Tasting Panel Co-ordinator at northwest.tprc@tasting.camra.org.uk