A speciality beer has won CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain for the first time – Vanilla Stout from Binghams Brewery.
It was named best beer of 2016 in the Champion Beer of Britain awards as well as best speciality beer alongside other winners in categories ranging from best bitter, mild and golden ale.
They followed almost a year of local tasting panels and regional heats ahead of the final competition held as part of CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in London this week.
Binghams’ Vanilla Stout is a 5% ABV dark stout infused with vanilla and dark malts to create a smooth and dark beer. The idea for it came during a skiing trip in Colorado where the brewer tried some great American vanilla porters and was inspired to do a vanilla version of the brewery’s popular Doodle Stout.
Nik Antona, CAMRA’s national director responsible for the Champion Beer of Britain competition, said: “This year all the judges commented on how high quality all the beers were in the final stages of the competition and what a wide range of styles and beers they had to try and choose between.
“Binghams’ Vanilla Stout is packed full of comforting flavours and I’m sure it will be a popular Champion Beer Choice. It’s great to see a speciality beer win the award for the first time in the history of the competition and our congratulations go to the brewery.”
Binghams is a supporter of SIBA’s Assured Independent Craft Brewers initiative which was launched at the Great British Beer Festival yesterday, creating a new stamp of approval so that consumers can be sure that the beer they are buying is truly from an independent craft brewer.
Speaking about winning the award, Binghams’ owner Chris Bingham said: “This is absolutely massive for us, a huge leap and a big profile builder for us as a little brewer – this win could take us to the next level.
“Our Vanilla Stout appeals to so many different drinkers as it’s just that bit different. It’s a beer that has the power to convert non-beer drinkers and even a Chardonnay-drinking friend of ours. Our motto is beer for everyone and everyone for a beer.”
Kent-based Old Dairy Brewery’s Snow Top claimed the silver award in the competition. The 6% ABV old ale has already taken a gold award at CAMRA’s National Winter Ales Festival and is described by the brewery as the “perfect winter warmer” with fruit cake and marmalade flavours.
Placing third in the competition was Tring Brewery’s Death or Glory, a 7.2% ABV barley wine, brewed since 1994 by appointment to the Queen’s Royal Lancers. The beer is described by the Hertfordshire brewery as being a rich and sweet barley wine with a complex nature.
The Great British Beer Festival will see more than 50,000 people visiting Olympia to sample a choice of more than 900 beers, cider and perries available, including the winning beers.
Gold: Binghams, Vanilla Stout
Silver: Old Dairy, Snow Top
Bronze: Tring Brewery, Death or Glory
Gold: Williams Bros, Williams Black
Silver: Mighty Oak, Oscar Wilde
Bronze: Acorn, Darkness
Gold: Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker
Silver: Tiny Rebel, Hank
Bronze: Hawkshead, Bitter
Bronze: Salopian, Shropshire Gold
Winning best bitters
Gold: Surrey Hills, Shere Drop
Silver: Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Bronze: Colchester, Colchester No 1
Bronze: Tiny Rebel, Cwtch
Winning strong bitters
Gold: Heavy Industry, 77
Silver: Hawkshead, NZPA
Bronze: Adnams, Ghost Ship
Winning golden ales
Gold: Golden Triangle, Mosaic City
Silver: Grey Trees Independent Craft Brewery, Diggers Gold
Gold: Marble, Lagonda IPA
Winning speciality beers
Gold: Binghams: Vanilla Stout
Silver: Titanic, Plum Porter
Bronze: Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic