The British brewing industry’s top accolade was revealed by the festival’s organisers, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), at London Olympia at the opening of the five-day event.
Elland 1872 Porter took the top award after winning in a series of local CAMRA tasting panels, regional beer judging competitions and, finally, the national judging at the GBBF today. The judges described the 6.5% ABV beer as a “rich and strongly flavoured porter with flavours of coffee and dark chocolate”.
The silver award went to Twitchell golden ale from Buntingford Brewery in Royston, Hertfordshire, which also took top prize in the bitters category.
The bronze was won by the hoppy blond Jarl from Fyne Ales in Argyll which also came top in the golden ale category.
The Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) Supreme Champion was chosen from finalists in seven 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.
Colin Valentine, chair of the competition and CAMRA chairman, said: “It was a really tough decision but Elland 1872 Porter is a fantastic beer and a well deserved winner.”
Elland was one of 13 winning breweries that are all members of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock said: “It is a mark of the brewing skill and innovation demonstrated by SIBA brewers that they continue to win this respected title.
“Without their influence over the past three decades, the UK brewing industry would look very different today and, as we celebrate the hundreds of beers being enjoyed by thousands of drinkers at the GBBF, we must acknowledge the vision and dedication of those pioneering microbrewers who took a stand against the homogenisation of British beer.
He added: “Winning the CBOB title has been a ‘game-changing’ event for many SIBA brewers in the past. We are confident that Elland will now secure new listings for its excellent beers in the growing number of craft beer-friendly pubs which, thanks to the historic cut in beer duty, now face a more certain future than they have for some years.”
Full list of winners
Champion Beer of Britain
Gold: 1872 Porter, Elland Brewery, West Yorkshire
Silver: Twitchell, Buntingford Brewery, Hertfordshire
Bronze: Jarl, Fyne Ales, Argyll
Gold: Welsh Black, Great Orme, Conwy
Silver: Old Sodbury Mild, Cotswold Spring, Gloucestershire
Bronze: Malt Shovel Mild, Fernandes, West Yorkshire
Gold: Twitchell, Buntingford Brewery, Hertfordshire
Silver, Revival, Moor, Somerset
Bronze: Ranmore Ale, Surrey Hills, Surrey, and Butcombe Bitter, Somerset
Gold: Workie Ticket, Mordue, North Shields
Silver: Shere Drop, Surrey Hills, Surrey
Bronze: Glaslyn, Purple Moose, Gwynedd, and Nelson’s Revenge, Woodfordes, Norfolk
Gold: Jarl, Fyne Ales, Argyll
Silver: Polar Star, Buntingford, Hertfordshire
Bronze: Proper Job, St Austell Brewery, Cornwall
Gold: On the Huh, Beeston, Norfolk
Silver: Dobber, Marble, Greater Manchester
Bronze: Screech Owl, Castle Rock, Nottingham
Gold: Umbel Magna, Growler Brewery, Nethergate, Suffolk
Silver: Triple Chocolate, Saltaire, West Yorkshire
Bronze: Honey Fayre, Conwy Brewery, Conwy
Champion Bottled Beer of Britain
Gold: Worthington White Shield, Molson Coors, Burton on Trent
Silver: Proper Job, St Austell Brewery, Cornwall
Bronze: Imperial Extra Double Stout, Harvey’s, East Sussex
Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2013)
1872 Porter, Elland, West Yorkshire
Comrade Bill Bartram’s EAIS Stout, Bartram’s, Suffolk
Dark Moor, Kelburn, Glasgow
A Over T, Hog’s Back, Surrey