The Great British Beer Festival

Many thanks to CAMRA and Roger Protz, Editor of The Good Beer Guide for inviting me to be a judge in the Bottled Beer of Britain Competition 2006. Bottled conditioned beer or as it’s now known Real Ale in a Bottle has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance of late and this was reflected in the diversity of styles and sheer quality of the beers we tasted.

The styles varied from very light summery beers to thick, rich coffee and chocolate scented porters. Two panels tasted the beers ‘blind’ and whittled them down to a shortlist of six which were re-tasted by the final panel and after much mulling and debate a winner was declared. The panel later found out that we’d plumped for Worthington White Shield as the Champion Real Ale in a Bottle for 2006.

This was a mixed blessing. It was good because it was a fantastic beer, strangely of all the diverse styles we tasted it was the most ‘bitter like’ beer, some of the others were a bit like novelty beers and it was satisfying that this was the most ‘pubbish’. Again it was good because it’s a traditional beer and it’s still made in Burton. However on the downside the beer is now owned by the brewing giant Coors and it somehow felt like we were endorsing the big breweries. Despite this its confirmation that an old brand is still worth keeping and is still as good today as ever.

Second prize went to Green King’s Hen’s Tooth and third to Titanic Stout. So get out there and get some in, White Shield is widely available at around the £2.50 mark.

Below is the write up by Roger Protz from the Guardian Weekend Magazine of 26th August 2006.
Some of the beers we sampled - note the range of colours
And the winner is...
Worthington White Shield
Me and a fellow judge - I think the photographer must have been a bit pissed!