CAMRA has operated tasting panels (for Real Ale) since 1989. In the East Anglia CAMRA region there are six tasting panel areas based on the six counties in the region. Members of panels taste real ales and record their characteristics on line or on paper tasting cards. The data is used for:
- tasting notes for CAMRA’s publications and web site
- nominations for Champion Beer of East Anglia, Champion Beer of Britain (CBoB) and Champion Winter Beer of Britain awards (CWBoB)
Each tasting panel is headed by a taste-trained panel chair. Panel members taste real ales individually when visiting pubs, or sometimes in group tastings set up by the panel chair at pubs or breweries. Although the Covid-19 emergency has restricted opportunities for group tastings and training, now is a good time to join your local CAMRA tasting panel to be ready to help with the massive but fun task of assessing the UK’s real ales.
A new on-line and paper tasting card and web site have been developed alongside the revamp of CAMRA’s revised beer style classifications. On-line group tasting sessions, have been used in training tasting panels in the new styles and the use of the new card. Panels prioritise beers brewed in their area for tastings but on-line tastings of any real ales are incredibly helpful - the new web site enables tasting panel chairs to easily pick up the on line tastings for their beers, completed by tasters anywhere in the UK. For more information about tasting panels, CAMRA members can log into the CAMRA website at https://camra.org.uk/volunteers-area/branch-resources/awards-and-certificates/tasting-panels/
Anyone interested in getting involved should email their regional contact ku.gro.armac.ailgnatsae@rotanidrooC.lenaP.gnitsaT.lanoigeR indicating where they are located. They will be put in contact with their local panel and offered tasting panel training when available. Full training for tasting panels has been on hold because of the current COVID restrictions but is being reassessed for possible on-line delivery. There are also opportunities for introductory on-line taste training and group tastings that are taking place currently.
Anyone who has completed tasting panel training in the past is registered as a panel member. This means they will have access as a tasting panel member to the Brewery Information System and tasting panel forms and guidance at https://bis.camra.org.uk/ and can complete tastings using the on-line tasting card at https://tasting.camra.org.uk/ or via the link in WhatPub below ‘Submit Beer Scores’. Once in the tasting card site they can look at completed cards and download the data by clicking on ‘admin’.