I’ve never had much luck at betting except for a very lucky winning streak at a very wet Haydock Park in February 1996. My performance at this year’s Cheltenham Festival was all too predictably abysmal. My mate who is an accomplished sports broadcaster has tried to convince me that you can read enough into the previous form to spot a winner, but he certainly is no millionaire, so I take what he says with a pinch of salt.
I suppose it might be a little easier judging winners at the biggest beer festivals and SIBA X held in Sheffield this week saw a few familiar runners and riders metaphorically unsaddling in the Winner’s Enclosure. Two of my own personal favourite breweries are Salopian from Shrewsbury and Peterborough’s Oakham Ales, they both won Gold Awards for their Oracle and Citra in the Champion Bottled Beer Category.
I drink their beers for a number of reasons, one of which is that you cannot fault their consistency; I guess this is a key attribute that has ensured a steady stream of industry recognition for a number of years. It’s no coincidence that Best of British Beer sells beers from both these breweries, as I like to stock my beer cellar with nice things too.
I’m pretty sure I would be at best, a very average brewer, so I cannot help but marvel at the skill and passion these microbrewers exhibit on a daily basis. The job can be pretty unglamorous involving a large amount of manual work, long hours and crucial attention to detail, so it’s nice that the best exponents of their arts are recognised at the equivalent of The Beer Oscars.
Another one of our partners, Stonehouse Brewery also claimed Gold, this time in the Champion Standard Bitter category for their classic English ale – Station Bitter. It sums up the commitment of this brewery that on the day they received the award, they were making a 120 mile round trip to drop off a pallet of their great beers at our warehouse. I’m proud to feature all their beers on our website and I plan to use them heavily in our April beer subscription schemes.