Guide links UK Travel Travel Europe Europe Maps

British Brewers Raise The Bar At Beer Olympics

A quartet of British beers came back from the World Beer Cup, Seattle at the weekend bearing gold medals, making the 2006 event the best outing for British brewers.

A quartet of British beers came back from the World Beer Cup, Seattle at the weekend bearing gold medals, making the 2006 event the best outing for British brewers.

Tallest on the podium were Chiswick brewers Fuller, Smith & Turner whose ESB won the Extra Special Bitter class, but then this was the beer that inspired the style. They also came home with a gold for their Vintage Ale in the Old Ale category.

Across town, fellow London brewers, Meantime Brewing of Greenwich - the only British medal winners in the 2004 competition – took gold with a Coffee Beer, made with Fairtrade Rwandan coffee, typical of the company’s flair for innovation and reputation for complex flavoursome beers.

Fittingly the winner of the remaining gold was Sean Franklin of Roosters Brewery in Knaresborough, whose Yorkshire Pale Ale beat off second and third places challenges from the US and Australia in the English-Style Summer Ale class. Sean has one of the longest serving attendance record of any British brewer at US brewing competitions and has judged at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) on many occasions. This he shares with Meantime brewmaster Alastair Hook, who cites Sean as one of his brewing heroes and mentors. Indeed every year prior to judging at the GABF the two friends and rivals go fishing together in the Rocky Mountains.
The significance of the British medal haul is considerable, as the World Beer Cup is without doubt the Olympic Games of the brewing world, attracting over two thousand entries from pretty much every brewing nation on the planet.

Speaking for Meantime Alastair Hook said, “It cannot be a coincidence that gold medals were won by the three breweries with probably the broadest international outlook in UK brewing. There has been a parochial streak for many years now in the British industry that has blinded people to the fact that the US brewing scene is currently the world’s most dynamic. To win here you have to be the best. You can have all the brewing history and heritage you like, but that cuts no ice with the judges here. There really is nowhere to hide.”

John Keeling, Fuller’s head brewer, continued, “I think Fuller’s, Meantime and Roosters have done a great job to further raise the profile of British beers in the US. You only need to take a look at some of the online communities to see how much interest there now is in exciting, complex beers.

“I was deeply honoured to be at the awards and incredibly proud to collect the two golds. The brewing team at Fuller’s works very hard to ensure the quality and consistency of all our ales, so to come top in two categories, with an average of 26 entries in each, is a fantastic testament to their efforts.”


« Bonfire Night’s A Bonanza, But What About St. George? · ‘Madchester’ night in Reykjavik, Iceland »