Announced today are the results of the International Beer Challenge for 2012. English and Scottish brewers between them have scooped up 15 gold medals, half of the totals awarded. Its also an increase of 4 on last years haul of 14.
A panel of 50 independent judges chaired by Jeff Evans sample all of the beers to determine those of the best quality. Beers are judged in each category then pass to a "super-panel" who decide medal awards and overall winners.
Among the winners are new brews Curious Brew Lager and Elgood's M&S Royal Jubilee beer Sandringham Diamond Ale as well as Stuart Howe's (of Sharp's brewery) newly released 2011 Quadrupel.
|Image courtesy of Chapel Down Vineyards|
Curious Brew certainly lives up to its name with ingredients sourced from around the world. English malt, Czech Saaz and USA Cascade hops for bittering and dry-hopped with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin. Its fermented with a champagne yeast and is also unpasteurised which will please the afficinados of real lagers.
MD of Chapel Down Vineyard (the makers of the beer) Frazer Thompson explained the concept behind the beer:
"Mass-produced lagers taste like corporate cardboard and have the aroma of market research rather than hops. We’ve worked really hard to craft something that is more fragrant and more refreshing than other beers"
Certainly sounds like one I'd enjoy trying, despite its mixed reactions on RateBeer.
Fyne Ales repeated last years success with Jarl and also took home a gold for Hurricane Jack, their stronger golden ale. I'd certainly agree that they're both excellent beers. Fyne Ales have now taken home two Golds each year for the past three years on a number of different beers, showing their quality across the range.
Oakham also scored a second consecutive Gold for Citra and Bishops Farewell also took top prize this year. St Austell reopeated 2010's success with Golds for M&S Cornish Ale and Proper Black. That latter St Austell beer is perhaps my favourite Black IPA and I drank it in quantity during the Wetherspoon beer festival last November.
Harvey's of Sussex managed an impressive three gold medal wins (including for their Le Coq Imperial Stout, based on an old Courage recipe), bested only by American behemoth Sam Adams with their five golds.
Other British winners were Shepherd Neame with Late Red and Innis and Gunn with their Stout aged in Irish Whisky Cask. The full list of winners is available on the IBC website, congratulations are in order to everyone whose beers won an award. Its great to see that UK brewers are up there with the rest of the world when it comes to winning awards.