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Camra reveals its ‘best of British’ beers

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has kicked off the Great British Beer Festival by revealing which beers have been voted as its “Champion” ales.

The Great British Beer festival at London’s Olympia

Camra has eight different categories of beers from mild to strong and from best to speciality. The winners from these categories are then put forward as Camra’s best beers, from which an overall champion is chosen.

Although the overall UK beer market has reduced over the last three years, real ale is enjoying something of a renaissance. Over the last three years more than 250 new real ale breweries have set up business and Camra has seen its membership double.

Colin Valentine, Camra’s chairman said, “We’re enjoying a genuine and sustained revival in real ale as it shows the way to success for the UK beer market. There are now more than 1,000 breweries brewing in excess of 8,000 different real ales for consumers to choose from. More people are looking for something brewed locally and with so many breweries in Britain, everybody has a local beer to try.”

Click through the following pages to find out the various category winners and Camra’s overall champion beer.

Mild category

Gold – Great Orme – Welsh Black (Conwy). Tasting notes: “Rich, dark and full of malt flavours, this black bitter owes its characteristics to the large amount of chocolate malt giving it a velvety smooth rich coffee finish. No aroma hops are added to this beer, instead seven types of grain are used to develop the flavour.”

Silver – Cotswold Spring – Old Sodbury Mild (Gloucestershire)
Bronze – Fernandes – Malt Shovel Mild (West Yorkshire)

Bitters category

Gold – Buntingford – Twitchell (Hertfordshire). Tasting notes: “A golden fruity bitter with a floral aroma and malty / hoppy aftertaste.  Brewed with Maris Otter pale & wheat malts, and English Goldings hops, plus Cascade hops from the USA.”

Silver – Moor – Revival (Somerset)
Bronze – Surrey Hills – Ranmore Ale (Surrey) and Butcombe Bitter (Somerset)

Best Bitters

Gold – Mordue – Workie Ticket (North Shields). Tasting notes: “A tasty, complex beer with malt and hops throughout and a long, satisfying bitter finish.”

Silver – Surrey Hills – Shere Drop (Surrey)
Bronze – Purple Moose – Glaslyn (Gwynedd) and Woodfordes – Nelsons Revenge (Norfolk)

Golden Ales

Gold – Fyne Ales – Jarl (Argyll). Tasting notes: “Light and golden colour with a strong citrus and hop aroma. Citrus and grassy hop flavours dominate the palate with a light and refreshing dry finish. A superbly drinkable beer.”

Silver – Buntingford – Polar Star (Hertfordshire)
Bronze – St Austell – Proper Job (Cornwall)

Strong Bitters

Gold – Beeston – On the huh (Norfolk). Tasting notes: “This is an old style traditional strong bitter which is smooth, malty & full bodied.”

Silver –Marble – Dobber (Greater Manchester)
Bronze – Castle Rock – Screech Owl (Nottingham)

Speciality Beers

Gold – Growler Brewery, Nethergate – Umbel Magna (Suffolk). Tasting notes: This coriander beer has an aroma of coriander and roasted malts. The coriander comes through on the palate with spice, some caramel and chocolate.

Silver – Saltaire – Triple Chocolate (West Yorkshire)
Bronze – Conwy – Honey Fayre (Conwy)

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2013)

Gold – Elland – 1872 Porter (West Yorkshire). Tasting notes: “Rich, complex and dark Porter from an original 1872 recipe, with an old port nose, and coffee and bitter chocolate flavours on the palate.”

Bartram’s – Comrade Bill Bartram’s EAIS Stout (Suffolk)
Kelburn – Dark Moor (Old Ale/Strong Mild) (Glasgow)
Hog’s Back – A over T (Barley Wine/Strong Old Ale) (Surrey)

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners

Gold – Molson Coors – Worthington White Shield (Burton on Trent). Tasting notes: “Worthington’s White Shield is anything but pale. It is feisty and full flavoured with bold notes of malt and toffee, complex fermented characters dominated by fruit and higher alcohols, a powerful hoppiness and a long, bittersweet finish.”

Silver – St Austell – Proper Job (Cornwall)
Bronze – Harvey’s – Imperial Extra Double Stout (East Sussex)

Camra’s best beers – Overall winners

Gold – Elland – 1872 Porter (West Yorkshire). Michael Wynnyczuk, head brewer at Elland, said: “It’s a great beer but after we won the Winter Ales competition you wonder about it in the summer competition, as people may prefer different styles of beer in warmer weather. But we know it’s a great beer and we’re really proud to be crowned Champion Beer of Britain.”

Silver – Buntingford – Twitchell (Hertfordshire)
Bronze – Fyne Ales – Jarl (Argyll)

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