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Spring beer winners

The much-loved, family-run, Bateman's Brewery, of Lincolnshire, England, added to its cupboard-full of trophies Thursday. Its latest prize-winner is a new, four-grain ale (made from rye, oats, wheat and Maris Otter barley, all malted). In addition to hops, the brew is spiced with grapefruit peel. Its alcohol content is 4.7 percent by volume. The brew was one of two winners in a competition run by the British supermarket chain Tesco to choose a spring beer for 2002. Only after the results were announced did Bateman's devise a name for the brew: Harvest Zest.

As one of the judges, working blindfold, I tasted it as "beer number 71". I loved its subtle bronze color; rocky head; lightly toffeeish smoothness; spicy fruitiness; and refreshingly spritzy finish.

Bateman's won a category in which regional brewers competed. A section for micros was by B&T (Banks and Taylor), of Shefford, Bedfordshire. Its entry was based on an existent beer, called Shefford Old Strong (though the alcohol content is a modest 5.0 abv). In the judging, I found this ale orangey in color, aroma and palate, with an extremely citric, herbal, dry, finish. American hops? Yes, it was hopped throughout with Cascades.

There were 77 entries. Tesco runs competitions for spring and winter beers, and this was the ninth such judging. Several past winners are now year-round beers, well-established in the British market. One example, Harviestoun Engine Oil, was chosen for members of the Real Beer Tour.

Published: JAN 31, 2002
In: Beer Hunter Online

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