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Round-up: Lacons scoops top beer prize; Bateman's spices up its awards; Acorn is cock of the walk with Barnsley Bitter

Added: Tuesday, October 7th 2014

Lacons award

 

Lacons, the Great Yarmouth brewery that restored a famous name in Norfolk brewing when it re-opened in 2013, has been awarded the title of Champion Beer of East Anglia in the annual competition staged by SIBA -- the Society of Independent Brewers.

Fighting off heavy competition, Lacons -- closed by Whitbread in 1968 but relaunched last year as the Falcon Brewery -- topped the bill at this year’s event. The brewery won not only a Gold Award for its Encore Ale but also the top accolade of Overall Champion Beer of East Anglia.

This invitation-only event pitches some of the best beers in the region against one another to win a range of brewing awards from the panel of 69 judges. SIBA is recognised as one of the most authoritative and respected bodies in the industry alongside CAMRA. 

Over 150 cask ales from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Lincolnshire, Peterborough and Suffolk were entered into this year’s competition, which was held at Elgoods Brewery in Wisbech.

Encore is a 3.8% hand-crafted ale by Lacons and has a glowing pale amber hue with delicate fruit aromas, which are balanced by dry pine and citrus flavours.

Mick Carver, managing director of Lacons Brewery (pictured left with William Lacon of the brewing dynasty) said: “To gain SIBA recognition of Best in Category is quite something on its own, but to achieve the title of SIBA Champion Beer of East Anglia is absolutely amazing.”

Lacons Encore will now go through to the SIBA National Beer Competition taking place at BeerX in March.

To view this year's complete winners list and for information on SIBA visit:

http://www.lacons.co.uk/news

Batemans Black Pepper

Batemans, the family brewer based in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, won a Gold for its Black Pepper Ale at the 2014 World Beer Awards. It was also recognised as one of the Best Herb & Spice beers in the flavoured beer category.
 
The World Beer Awards are a global event which aims to select the best internationally recognised beer styles. Winners are chosen through blind judging with regional style heats held in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
 
Black Pepper Ale from Batemans was praised by judges for its "subtle and interesting" flavour, "gentle, tea-like bitterness", "well-balanced finish" and the spicy sensation it creates on the palate. This latest accolade comes after Black Pepper Ale also received awards at the International Beer Challenge 2014 and the Beer Bottlers Institute competition.
 
The ale was created by Batemans after one of its team members suggested incorporating black pepper into a beer. It’s proved popular with customers and the trade since its launch, both because of its spicy and fruity flavour, and the sense of theatre created when serving the beer; it comes with a small sachet of ground black peppercorns attached to the neck of the bottle within an instruction sleeve, which are swirled into the beer and sprinkled on top.
 
Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of Batemans Brewery, commented: “I’m absolutely thrilled that our Black Pepper Ale has received Gold at the World Beer Awards – we were previously awarded Silver for our Mocha beer and it’s been a target of mine to strike Gold.
 
“Black Pepper Ale is possibly the best speciality beer we’ve ever produced and I’ve been blown away by its success. It clearly demonstrates the value of listening to your staff and encouraging them to make suggestions about your product. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the beer is the drinking experience itself – it’s all in the ‘pepperation’!”
 

Acorn award

Barnsley’s namesake cask-conditioned bitter from the award-winning Acorn Brewery has been hailed the top standard strength ale in Yorkshire and the North East. Acorn is toasting the success of its Barnsley Bitter (3.8%a) after scooping Gold in its class at the SIBA annual regional contest in York, which judged 176 cask ales from 66 breweries. The  traditional ale has kept the town in the forefront of Britain’ss brewing revival since Acorn was launched in 2003. It will now be judged on the national stage by SIBA at Beer X in Sheffield next March.

Barnsley Bitter was Acorn’s first beer and recreated the style of bitteronce widely popular among the industrial communities of South Yorkshire. Acorn uses the same yeast strain as the original Barnsley Brewery of the 19th century, along with the traditional Maris Otter malt and English hops to produce the chestnut-coloured ale.

Acorn founder, head brewer and managing director Dave Hughes said: “This SIBA award is wonderful news for all the team and another exciting boost for our continuing growth. And, as the first ale brewed when we took our early faltering steps in 2003, it is particularly gratifying to have this tremendous tribute from our brewing peers in the North. It’s real recognition that it remains an outstanding brew.”

Barnsley Bitter also triumphed with Silver in class at the Champion Beer of Britain awards announced at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival 2006. In recent years Acorn has enjoyed spiralling sales at some 30 per cent a year and expanded to a production capacity to some 150 brewer’s barrels a week (43,200 pints) to become one of Yorkshire’s fastest growing breweries. Acorn also enjoyed further success at the SIBA contest with Gorlovka Imperial Stout (6%) also claiming silver in the bottled stouts and porters category.

The SIBA success made it a double victory for Barnsley brewers at the prestigious event. Stairfoot’s three year old Geeves Brewery also took gold in the best bitter class for its Clear Cut (4.4%) brew.

Dave Hughes added: “Maybe it is something in the Barnsley water that is helping us to make the town famous for excellent beers. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.”

Acorn now directly delivers to more than 400 free trade outlets across Yorkshire, Midlands and the North West and regularly to prestigious London outlets. National wholesalers and pub chains are also supplied. Acorn’s growth reflects the burgeoning market for cask conditioned ale as reported in recent years in the brewing industry’s annual Cask Report.

*Pictured above is Acorn’s Assistant Head Brewer Steve Woodcock (right) receiving the award from SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard