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Great British Beer Festival 2006

Added: Tuesday, August 1st 2006

Essex boys storm to victory for the second year in a row Crouch Valley Brewery near Chelmsford, Essex, scored a notable first in the 2006 Champion Beer of Britain competition the only brewery to win the championship with the same beer two years in a row. The result was announced on the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale at Earls Court, London.

Brewers Gold (4% ABV) is one of the new breed of golden ales, developed by smaller independent brewers in an attempt to win younger drinkers from over-hyped global lager brands to cask ales. Crouch Vale is a long-running micro brewery that has grown by not only selling its own cask beers, but also by factoring beers from other micros. This has enabled Crouch Vale to develop national sales for its own brands and it underscored their popularity by adding Brewers Gold a few years ago. Shown above left to right: Nigel Evans MP, of the All-Parliamentary Beer Group, Colin Bocking of Crouch Vale Brewery, and Roger Protz celebrating Crouch Vale winning the Champion Beer of Britain competition with Brewers Gold

Brewers Gold takes it name from the variety of German hop used in the brew. Only pale malt is used and the result is a tempting pale straw-coloured beer that looks like a lager but with great depth of aroma and flavour. It has a superb aroma of biscuity malt, tart citrus fruit and hop resins. Juicy malt, grapefruit and floral hops fill the mouth while the long finish is dry and bitter but is balanced by juicy malt and tangy fruit. It is a wonderfully refreshing beer.

Colin Bocking from Crouch Vale said he was stunned and delighted by the victory. It was amazing to win last year but to win two years in a row is unbelievable. This is the big competition as far as Im concerned its chosen by the people who drink the beer.

In several hours of frantic activity, teams of judges made up of CAMRA members, brewers and journalists, tasted beer in the following categories: Mild, Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter, Golden Ale and Speciality Beer. The last-named category is for beers that use unusual ingredients such as herbs and spices alongside malt and hops. The winner from each category goes forward to a final tasting. The results were:

Mild Ale 1 Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild 2 Elgoods Black Dog 3 Grainstore Rutland Panther

Bitter 1 Elgoods Cambridge Bitter 2 Acorn Barnsley Bitter 3 Sharps Doom Bar/Woodfordes Wherry (joint award) Best Bitter 1 Harveys Sussex Best Bitter 2 Triple fff Moondance 3 Kelburn Red Smiddy/Surrey Hills Shere Drop (joint award)

Golden Ale 1 Crouch Vale Brewers Gold 2 Hop Back Summer Lightning 3 Holdens Golden Glow

Strong Bitter 1 York Centurion Ghosts Ale 2 Thornbridge Jaipur IPA 3 Weetwood Oasthouse Gold

Speciality Beer 1 Cairngorm Trade Winds 2 Wolf Straw Dog 3 William Bros Fraoch Heather Ale

Champion Beer of Britain 1 Crouch Vale Brewers Gold 2 Harveys Sussex Best Bitter 3 Triple fff Moondance

Real Ale in a Bottle In a separate competition for bottle-fermented beer Real Ale in a Bottle sponsored by the Guardian newspaper, the winners were:

1 Worthingtons White Shield 2 Greene King Hens Tooth 3 Titanic Stout

*The Great British Beer Festival runs until Saturday.