With the Great British Beer Festival having just been wrapped up a few days ago in Earls Court, London, only one beer could stand above the rest as GBBF’s Champion Beer of Britain. This year, it was Mighty Oak’s Oscar Wilde of Maldon, Essex. Oscar Wilde, which has an ABV of 3.7%, is described in CAMRA’s (Campaign for Real Ale) Good Beer Guide 2011 as a “roasty dark mild with suggestions of forest fruits and dark chocolate. A sweet taste yields to a more bitter finish.”
The Maldon brewed real ale was crowned the Supreme Champion over a host of other finalists in 7 different beer categories (Bitters, Best Bitters, Strong Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Winter Beers, and the Speciality class), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.
The Final judging panel’s Roger Protz was pleased with the results of the competition, saying “Oscar Wilde was a stand out winner, universally praised by the judges for its overall quality. Once again a dark beer has triumphed over paler beers!” He continued, “it’s a beer with great depth of character, and for the style has a lot of hop bitterness as well. It proves that a dark beer can be refreshing even in very hot weather.”
In the overall category, second place went to Marble brewery’s Chocolate, and the Bronze award went to Salopian brewery’s Shropshire Gold.
The Americans, not to be outdone, competed in the GBBF’s Michael Jackson American Cask Ale competition. This year, the prestigious award went to Green Flash Brewery’s Palate Wrecker Double IPA from San Diego, California. Second place was awarded to Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA and third place to Brewers Union 180 Wotcha (a la Chinook) Best Bitter.
Ian Garrett from CAMRA, organizer of the competition said of the American entries, “the judging process has been particularly difficult this year due to the huge range of beer on offer. The USA Cask Ale bar had over 100 different beers and the standard was very high.”
Dave Sanders the manager of the bar and the head brewer at Kirkstall Brewery in Leeds, UK commented on the winning beer. “Palate Wrecker can truly be described as an awesome beer. A huge depth of flavour and bursting with fresh hops. The technique used to brew this particular beer appears to be quite revolutionary.”
Good showing, America!