Friday, 15 July 2011

Got Great Taste, Well Then, Try These!

I was lucky enough recently to be asked to judge at the Great Taste Awards, run by the Guild of Fine Food, a body I genuinely admire for their warm & welcoming family nature, passion for all things tasty and for being one of the most powerful movements championing great produce and products, not only to the industry but giving consumers a clearly defined marker that they can trust in the one, two and three star system.

Not only that but, most pleasingly, the quality of the bottled beers was genuinely the best I've ever judged in any competition - full stop. This is not to denigrate any other bottled beer competition, I am only speaking as I find - and I, and the other judges, were extremely impressed with the quality of the brews.

It was a blind tasting with only two beer writers on both panels, paired with three or four others who have, what can only be described as, excellent palates. There was some healthy debate about some of the beers, downright disagreement about others and a chorus of approval for many.

However, and sorry to put a bit of dampener on this great beery moment, if I had to say one thing though, it's that a lot of the brewery's descriptions seriously let them down. I swear to god, some of the entry forms had 'bottled beer' or simply 'beer' on them!! Really chaps, if I was writing a report card it would say 'must do better' in big red letters!

But, that's a minor blip on an otherwise super result for British brewing.

So, without further ado, drum roll please for the winners!

3 star     Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moose
3 star     Harviestoun Schiehallion
3 star     Otley O Garden
3 star     Thornbridge Jaipur IPA
3 star     Thornbridge Bracia
3 star     Orkney Dark Island Reserve
3 star     Dartmoor Legend Beer
2 star     Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted
2 star     Harviestoun Old Engine Oil
2 star     Harviestoun Old Dubh 16
2 star     Monty's Sunshine
2 star     Otley 06 Porter
2 star     Otley 08
2 star     Thornbridge Kipling
2 star     Orkney Dark Island
2 star     Black Sheep Ale
2 star     Dartmoor IPA
2 star     Hobsons Old Henry 5.2% ABV
1 star     Chiltern Brewery Three Hundreds Old Ale
1 star     Chiltern Brewery Lord-Lieutenants Porter
1 star     Chiltern Bodgers Barley Wine
1 star     Bristol Hefe
1 star     Southville Hop
1 star     Otley Colombo
1 star     Thornbridge Wild Swan
1 star     Wold Top Bitter
1 star     Wold Gold
1 star     Laverstoke Park Organic Lager
1 star     Black Sheep Riggwelter
1 star     Dartmoor Jail Ale
1 star     Hobsons Town Crier 4.5% ABV
1 star     Whitewater Clotworthy Dobbin 5.0%
1 star     Cairngorm Black Gold
1 star     Cairngorm Wildcat

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