The Scottish Real Ale Festival began at midday today here in Edinburgh – doors opening slightly earlier than normal in anticipation of the crowds predicted. We’ll be attending over the course of the festival – stay tuned for our updates and follow us @thebeercast for live updates. However, we were also asked to attend the first event of the festival – judging for the Champion Beer of Scotland. So it was I found myself in a quiet side room at 1pm sampling the nine winners in the style categories for this year’s CBoS.
After two hours of deliberations, and a couple of re-samples, the panel selected the winner. Highland Brewery Orkney Blast (6.0%) came top of the order – in the opinion of the panel it balanced the stronger %abv with a long-lasting hop finish and a malt backbone. Congratulations to Rob Hill and the team at Highland – with Dark Munro (4.0%) having won in 2007 and Scapa Special (4.2%) in 2008 – three times in four years, and with different beers – a great achievement. With Sinclair’s Raven Ale winning last year – the Champion Beer of Scotland for the last four years has come from Orkney. Something in the water?
Thanks to Bob, Lyndsay and Iain at CAMRA – and stay tuned for more updates as the week progresses.