UK brewers scoop half of the golds at IBC

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.


  1. "despite its mixed reactions on RateBeer."

    I've long decided that RateBeer is an absolutely hopeless indicator of beer quality and the only beers that score consistently highly are 9% double IPAs and Imperial Stouts. Tedious websites full of comments by people who think they are experts.

    1. yes and no, I hink the rating within each style is more indicative of quality of the particular beer and I also appreciate being able to scan a range of comments to get the jist of a beer. Not everyone is an heavy-ABV seeker. There are certain users whose opinions I have come to trust as their views largely tie in with mine on beers I've already tried. Ratebeer is no different than reviews on blogs except there are a lot more of them in one place.

  2. Fair point - perhaps I'd get more use out of it if I seek out users who share similar tastes to me.

    Despite offering a narrower range of opinions, I find blogs like The Ormskirk Baron far more informative. They offer a fairly comprehensive explanation as to why they've rated beers in a particular way and that's more useful to me. They also have an appreciation of beers under 9% ABV ...

    1. Yes, American users who can't understand subtlety skew the ratings and it always winds me up that they rate their own up over the originals that they copied from (eg American takes on Belgian ales are rarely better than the Belgian classics yet are rated much higher). But on a by-beer basis its useful, coupled to the fact its the biggest moderated database of beer infor on trhe web so a great source of info on ABV etc.