North East brewers have joked they “gave the rest of the country a chance” after returning home empty handed from the Great British Beer Festival.
Earlier in the year ales from across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear brought home a string of awards from the Society of Independent Brewers - leading some beer-works bosses to declare the region’s pints the “best in Britain.”
But after West Yorkshire brewery Timothy Taylor’s took Camra’s Champion Beer of Britain prize with its Boltmaker it has been revealed the North East’s brews were not even on the final’s individual category shortlists.
“We gave the rest of Britain a chance, because if the North East had been down there in the competition we’d have won everything,” joked North Shields-based Mordue Brewery’s Garry Fawson, who last year saw his Workie Ticket beer named Camra’s top “best bitter.”
Prizes were handed out at London’s Olympia for what Camra believe are the best milds, bitters, best bitters, golden ales, strong bitters, “speciality beers” and real ale in a bottle.
Timothy Taylors Boltmaker won the bitters category, and was named overall Champion Beer, with golden ales winner Oakham Citra in second, and best bitters winner Salopian Darwin’s Original taking bronze.
“We work very hard to produce great beers and we really believe this is the best beer we can brew,” said Timothy Taylors’ head brewer Peter Eells, whose beer may have been brewed using barley from the very north of this region. “So to have it acknowledged in such an important competition is absolutely fantastic.”
“It is fantastic to announce Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker as the Champion Beer of Britain 2014,” Nik Antona, champion beer of britain director, said.
“This full flavoured bitter is a modern classic that is as impressive today as the day it was first brewed. ”
While not in competition a number of North East beers were available to festival visitors, with Morpeth-based Anarchy Brew Co, Durham Brewery, Byker’s Tyne Bank, Northumberland’s Allendale, and Mordue, all seeing their beers served.
“We were delighted to see our beer Sublime Chaos so well received at the Great British Beer Festival,” said Anarchy Brew Co’s Andrew Mitchell.
“We were honored to be representing the North East at this fantastic celebration along with Mordue, Tyne Bank, Allendale and others.”
Garry said despite not winning yet another award, drinkers appetite for North East beer shows no sign of slowing.
“We’re really busy even though it’s the summer, which is usually quieter,” he said.
The full Camra Great British Beer Festival Champion Beer Of Britain winners list:
Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker
Silver – Oakham, Citra
Bronze – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Gold – Bank Top, Dark Mild
Silver – Branscombe Vale, Mild
Bronze – Castle Rock, Black Gold
Gold – Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker
Silver – Mighty Oak, Captain Bob
Joint Bronze – Flowerpots, Flowerpots Bitter & Sambrook’s Wandle Ale
Gold – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Silver – Red Willow, Directionless
Joint Bronze – Purity, Mad Goose & Langton, Inclined plain bitter
Gold – Oakham, Citra
Silver – Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop
Bronze – Salopian, Hop Twister
Gold – Church End, Fallen Angel
Silver – Blue Monkey, Ape Ale
Bronze –Loch Ness, HoppyNESS
Gold – Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic
Silver – Offbeat, Way Out Wheat
Bronze – Peak Ales, Chatsworth Gold
Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2014)
Cairngorm, Black Gold (Stouts Category)
Dunham Massey, Dunham Porter (Porter Category)
Exe Valley, Winter Glow (Old Ales & Strong Milds)
Kinver, Over the Edge (Barley Wines & Strong Old Ales)
Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners (Sponsored by Beer Hawk)
Gold – Marble, Chocolate Marble
Silver – St Austell, Proper Job
Bronze – Spire, Prince Igor Imperial Russian Stout