Real ale lover wins beer writing award

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

A beer enthusiast from Maidenhead has scooped a prestigious award for his work since taking over a local CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) magazine.

Matthew Rogers, 31, won the Silver Fuller, Smith & Turner Award for Best Young Beer Writer from the British Guild of Beer Writers for his work as editor of CAMRAngle magazine.

Mr Rogers became editor of the magazine in March 2020, just as pubs across the country were forced to close to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Nevertheless, Matthew rose to the challenge and - with the magazine temporarily moved to an online-only publication – sought to find different angles as to how pubs across Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead were coping with the restrictions.

Matthew said: “Most CAMRA branches’ magazines all stopped as there was nothing to write about, but our branch decided to do an online magazine during the lockdown.

“I taught myself how to make the magazine with a graphic design programme, and I was contacting breweries and pubs throughout lockdown.”

“I wanted the magazine to be visibly engaging, as well as feature engaging local stories – I didn’t want a magazine that would be gathering dust in the corner of a pub, or being used as beer coaster.

“I was keen to really tell the story ‘behind the bar’, because I imagine a lot of pubgoers do not realise how much effort goes into making and brewing the beer, delivering the beer as well as maintaining it inside the pub – it’s an awful lot of work.”

Matthew added that the local CAMRA branch had been ‘really supportive’ of his work, where they effectively gave him ‘free reign’ of the magazine throughout the lockdowns.

CAMRAngle in East Berkshire has recently returned to print publication for the first time in more than 18 months.

There was even more celebration for Matthew, however, when he secured his award at the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony in London on December 2.

“I was stunned I was even nominated, let alone won,” added Matthew.

“I got an email an email from a month after I sent my magazine to the Guild of Beer Writers saying it had been nominated.

“I thought ‘oh gosh, this is terribly exciting’ [after being nominated]. The actual awards ceremony itself was very posh, it’s all in a big fancy building, but I was not expecting a nomination itself let alone a win.

“I was rather stunned and taken aback by the accolade.”

To view the most recent edition of CAMRAngle, visit: swm.camra.org.uk/magazine

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