Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Champion Beer of Britain

By William Brand
Tuesday, August 1st, 2006 at 11:21 pm in Uncategorized.

If you love English beer as I do, the place to be this week is Earls Court in London for the Great British Beer Festival, held each year by the Campaign for Real Ale It began officially today and runs through Saturday.

Judges – a panel of brewers, beer writers and journalists – today chose Brewers Gold, brewed by Crouch Vale, of Essex, UK as the Champion Beer of Britain. It was an unprecedented decision. The same beer won last year. Find all the results here.

Of course, you’ve got to go to England to taste it. It’s in good company, beers like Fuller’s ESB and Blue Bird Bitter from Coniston Brewery in Cumbria, two that show up on our shores. Fuller’s is in wide supply; Blue Bird’s rare over here.

There’s a bit more hope in the bottle conditioned beer category. The winner, the famous White Shield, now being brewed – can you believe it – by Coors, won gold; Hen’s Tooth from Greene King won silver and Titanic Stout from Titanic Brewing, Titanic Brewery in Burslem in the Potteries, one of England’s oldest breweries.

Hen’s Tooth comes to the U.S. from time to time. White Shield has not. However, there may be hope this very delicious beer may be impported.

In 2000 in a complicated deal, Interbrew (now InBev) bought England’s Bass Brewing, among many other brewing properties. The English government ordered Interbrew to divest Bass, because the deal placed too large a percentage of British brewing in the hands of one company.

Coors (now Molson Coors) wound up with the Bass brewery – founded in 1777 in Burton on Trent. However, InBev still owns Bass Pale Ale, the beer. But Coors has many other English brands – and according to the Campaign for Real Ale – the company is behaving honorably.

Among other things, Molson Coors revived Worthington’s White Shield. It’s now being brewed in limited quantities in the former Bass Museum Brewery, renamed the White Shield Brewery. So talk to your Coors distributor today. Tell ’em about White Shield. Suggest the company import it. Write letters; send cards; email…

Oh yes, in other categories the silver award went to Harveys brewery in Sussex for their Sussex Best Bitter. The Bronze was awarded to Triple fff brewery in Hampshire for Moondance.

The Great British Beer Festival is now open to the Public. We are open on Tuesday 1st August to 10.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Noon-10.30pm and Saturday 11.00-7.00pm. Tickets are available on the door and for full details please visit the festival website at

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