The Cornwall branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA Kernow) has presented an exceptional achievement award to St Austell’s Brewery’s chief executive and head brewer.
CAMRA Kernow chair, Dugg Polman, presents the certificate to St Austell Brewery head brewer, Georgina Young, and chief executive, Kevin Georgel
The award recognises the brewery’s continuous production of real ale through the 50 years that CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide has been in production.
It was presented to chief executive, Kevin Georgel, and head brewer, Georgina Young, by CAMRA’s brewery liaison officer for St Austell Brewery, Russ Durbridge.
“I love St Austell Brewery,” said Russ. “Its commitment to innovation and quality is second to none.” He had trawled past Good Beer Guides and found a consistent rise in quality after a poor review in the early 70s. The arrival of the late head brewer Roger Ryman accelerated that rise in quality dramatically.
Georgina, already running St Austell’s sister brewery, Bath Ales, took over from Roger when he passed away in May 2020. She paid tribute to the team Roger had built, adding: “I’m very proud to be at the helm of production at St Austell Brewery.”
Kevin Georgel, describing himself as “the new boy” — he took over from former chief executive James Staugton in January 2020 — said he was very proud of the wonderful heritage of the company, estbalished in 1851.
“I’m also very proud of our association with CAMRA,” he said. Acknowledging Russ’s words, he added: “We still have that commitment to cask and innovation.”
A little taster of 2022 Black Square imperial stout, and the blackboard showing what’s maturing in the small batch vessels
That commitment was on show in the Hicks Bar, St Austell’s wonderful brewery tap, which is a highly recommended visit in its own right, although the entire brewery tour is one of the best in the country.
I enjoyed tasting Proper Job, the mainstream IPA Roger was particularly proud of, at source, while I was particularly pleased to see seasonal Tribute Extra still available. Richer biscuit malt with an almost English IPA-like depth of fleshy orange and a hint of alcoholic warmth. A delight.
While I waited for the once-an-hour bus on this rail strike day, I was also bought a bottle of latest small-batch Vanillaroo, an 8.8% ABV vanilla stout (thanks to Laura Hicks, head of marketing for beer and brands). Black as night with an aroma of vanilla and slightly burnt sugar, this beauty is smooth, with roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and even a savoury umami hint. The 2022 small-batch year certainly ended on a high.
That was not the best treat, though, as Georgina brought forth some samples of 2022 vintage Black Square imperial stout from the tank. This was brewed the week before Christmas, and while very young, big wood, liquorice, coffee, and black cherry charcateristics are already making their presence felt. It’s thought it will turn outat 12% ABV. What a delight and a privilege. Thank you so much!