Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Champion Beers of Britain

Castle Rock head brewer Adrian
Redgrove (left) receiving the
Champion Beer of Britain trophy
from Good Beer Guide editor
Roger Protz.
CAMRA has just announced the best beers in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), Earls Court, London. Harvest Pale, brewed by Nottingham brewery Castle Rock, was crowned the Champion Beer of Britain during the festival's trade session; it also won Gold in the Golden Ale category. I don't think I've had it, so I'll keep an eye out for it. It has a strength of 3.8% and is described in the Good Beer Guide as 'blonde and refreshing with distinctive citrus hop.'

I've certainly had the runner up, Timothy Taylor's Landlord many times. Although some CAMRA types like to say that it's not the beer it once was, I don't agree: when it's well kept, it's a wonderful pint, and this award suggests that I'm right. It also won Gold in the Best Bitter category, and since the early 1980s has won over 20 awards at the GBBF.

Our local Southport brewery won Gold in the Best Bitter category last year, but sadly has not repeated its success this time, but that's often the way. Here are the full results - see how many you've had, or even heard of:

Champion Beer of Britain 
1st - Castle Rock, Harvest Pale (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)
2nd - Timothy Taylor, Landlord (4.3% ABV, Keighley, West Yorkshire)
3rd - Surrey Hills, Hammer Mild (3.8% ABV, Guildford, Surrey)

Mild category
Gold- Surrey Hills, Hammer Mild (3.8% ABV, Guildford, Surrey)
Silver- Greene King, XX Mild (3% ABV, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk)
Joint Bronze- Golcar, Dark Mild (3.4% ABV, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Joint Bronze- Nottingham, Rock Ale Mild (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)

Bitter category
Gold- RCH, PG Steam (3.9% ABV, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset)
Silver- Moor, Revival (3.8% ABV, Pitney, Somerset)
Joint Bronze- Orkney, Raven (3.8% ABV, Stromness, Orkney)
Joint Bronze- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (3.6% ABV, Portmadog, Gwynedd)

Best Bitter category
Gold- Timothy Taylor, Landlord (4.3% ABV, Keighley, West Yorkshire)
Silver- St Austell, Tribute (4.2% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)
Joint Bronze- Evan Evans, Cwrw (4.2% ABV, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire)
Joint Bronze- Great Oakley, Gobble (4.5% ABV, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire)

Golden Ale category
Gold- Castle Rock, Harvest Pale (3.8% ABV, Nottingham, Notts)
Silver- Marble, Manchester Bitter (4.2%, Manchester, Gtr Manchester)
Bronze- St Austell, Proper Job (4.5% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)

Strong Bitter category
Gold- Thornbridge, Jaipur IPA (5.9% ABV, Bakewell, Derbyshire)
Silver- Fuller's, Gales HSB (4.8% ABV, Chiswick, Gtr London)
Bronze- Beckstones, Rev Rob (4.6% ABV, Millom, Cumbria)

Speciality Beer category
Gold- Amber, Chocolate Orange Stout (4% ABV, Ripley, Derbyshire)
Silver- O'Hanlon's, Port Stout (4.8% ABV, Whimple, Devon)
Bronze- Breconshire, Ysbrid y Ddraig (6.5% ABV, Brecon, Powys)

Winter Beer of Britain (announced in January 2010)
Elland, 1872 Porter (6.5% ABV, Elland, West Yorkshire)

Bottled Beer of Britain (sponsored by Travelodge)
Gold- St Austell, Admiral's Ale (5% ABV, St Austell, Cornwall)
Silver- Pitfield, 1850 London Porter (5% ABV, Epping, Essex)
Bronze- Great Oakley, Delapre Dark (4.6% ABV, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire)


  1. Harvest Pale is a really good ale as is Jaipur, and in my opinion Landlord is utterly vile. It is all subjective really

  2. Yes, I can't dispute that: it is all subjective, of course. Ultimately it's only the opinion of the judges, even if they are knowledgeable and experienced.

  3. Interesting that an award has gone to a "transplanted" beer - Gales HSB brewed by Fullers. Some people may not be too happy about that.

    Mind you, I never thought Gales beers brewed at Horndean were much cop following their 1984 yeast infection.

  4. I wondered as well whether the award for HSB might raise a few hackles. I did like Gales a long time ago on my visits to family in Hampshire, but the Fullers version of HSB isn't to my mind as good as the original. I was surprised it got an award.

  5. I don't know much about beer - no really, but was pleased to see the excellent Purple Moose get a placing. I just got back from some time in mid-Wales and was able to make its acquaintance in one or two places. Flavoursome doesn't even begin to describe these beers and they're right up my street. Hurrah! Just wanted you to know.

  6. Clive: I've had Purple Moose at beer festivals and have enjoyed it too. I haven't seen it in any pubs around here.


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