Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB)

This year’s voting window for the Champion Beer of Britain Competition (CBOB) is now open, and will close at midnight on 1st November.

The voting site can be accessed at: www.cbobvoting.org.uk

How the Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) and Champion Winter Beer of Britain (CWBOB) competitions work

 All cask conditioned beers available for 3 months, during a calendar year, can be entered into the selection process that starts during September and October, when members can vote for their favourite beers in each of CAMRA’s style categories. Voting is by region, so all the nominated beers listed for members of this Branch will be from breweries located in the West Midlands CAMRA region (principally Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, West Midlands, Staffordshire & Warwickshire). These nominations are then ranked and the top selections go forward to the Area competitions, where Area category winners are selected and forwarded into the final CBOB and CWBOB competitions. This ensures that there is an even spread of beer styles from all regions of the UK.

 Our overwhelming preference is that these beers which go forward should be judged at regional beer festivals. This adds some objectivity and integrity to the process as the majority of the judges will be CAMRA trained, and the tastings are blind. All coordinators are urged to get as many beers judged at festivals as possible – preferably all of them, including the bottled beer category. This takes place over the year following the votes, (so for the current voting round it will be done from about March 2018 to February 2019). The winners go forward to the 3 national competitions – NWAF for the winter beers (CWBOB), GBBF for the rest of the beers and the BBC Good Food Show Winter, in November, for the bottled beers. So, at NWAF in Norwich next February, the beers being judged will be the regional winners from the voting from September/October 2016. This long timescale is frustrating, and can lead to issues with beer availability/continuity, but if we are to judge at festivals then there is no way round it for now.

 At the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), the final CBOB category judging of the Area winners takes place, with 1 winning beer from the Golden Ale, Speciality Beer, Mild and Strong Bitter categories, coupled with 2 each from the Bitter and Best Bitter categories proceeding into the final round in order to judge the Supreme Champion, which is crowned the best beer in Britain. The reason for 2 beers each from the Bitter and Best Bitter categories is to accommodate for the proportionate share of the commercial beer market these beer styles command.

 Four beers that are fast tracked to the final round are the winners of each category of the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition, held at the National Winter Ales Festival in January/February each year. As these beers were judged to be the Champion Beers of their style earlier in the year, they are entered automatically into the final round of CBOB. The CWBOB competition is similar in its structure to CBOB, as the final round of judging is made up of beers having reached this stage via the process of CAMRA local branch and tasting panel nominations, followed by Area competition success. The categories in this competition are Old Ale/Strong Mild, Porter, Stout and Barley Wine/Strong Old Ale. (The 2017 Shrewsbury Beer Festival hosted the judging of the West Midlands Stout of the Year category, the winner will be announced at the annual CAMRA WM awards event in December.)

 Please note there is a separate competition for the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain (Real Ale in Bottle). Like CBOB and CWBOB, the structure of the competition relies upon CAMRA local branch and tasting panel nominations, followed by the Area competitions, with the final held at the BBC Good Food Show in November.

What can breweries do to get their beer submitted for consideration?

 Aside from ensuring their beers are of a consistently excellent standard throughout the year, brewers can consult their respective CAMRA Brewery Liaison Officer (BLO) to gain clarification on whether their beer fits the criteria defined by the categories in CAMRA’s Beer Styles Guidelines. When a list of eligible beers has been established, it is the role of the BLO to supply this list for reference to the respective CAMRA Area Competition Organiser. If brewers have any questions whatsoever regarding their beer’s eligibility, they are asked to consult their BLO for clarification; if they are unable to help then brewers should contact their Area Competition Organiser, details of whom are available from CAMRA HQ.

 To help breweries ensure they have the maximum opportunity to progress in the competition there are several other things they need to know. Firstly beers are categorised according to their ABV, as it now is considered this is more reflective of style, and easier for most beer drinkers to understand. To be eligible for CBOB, a cask conditioned Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter or Golden Ale must be available for 7 or more months of the year, and a cask conditioned Mild or Speciality Beer must be available for 3 or more months of the year, or else the cask conditioned beer must be one of the beer styles associated with the Winter season (Old Ales, Strong Milds, Barley Wine, Strong Old Ale, Porter or Stout). The BIS has five categories for availability: 12 months of the year; 7-11 months; 3-6 months; 1-2 months; and On Demand.

Also excluded are beers with misleadingly promoted geographical origin or brands with non- cask versions misleadingly promoted using CAMRA awards

Good years for Shropshire breweries:

2017 Golden Ale
Gold Blue Monkey Infinity Nottingham
Silver Fyne Ales Jarl Argyll
Bronze Oakham Citra Peterborough
  Ludlow Gold Shropshire
2017 Strong Bitter
Gold Greytrees Afghan Pale Ale Wales
Silver Barngates Red Bull Terrier Cumbria
Bronze Salopian Automaton Shrewsbury
2016 Bitter Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker
Silver – Tiny Rebel, Hank
Joint Bronze – Hawkshead, Bitter & Salopian, Shropshire Gold
2016 Best Bitter Gold – Surrey Hills, Shere Drop
Silver – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Joint Bronze – Colchester, Colchester No.1 & Tiny Rebel, Cwtch
2015 Best Bitter Gold – Tiny Rebel, Cwtch
Silver – Highland, Scapa Special
Joint Bronze – Barngates, Tag Lag & Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
2015 Strong Bitter/Ale Gold – Dark Star, Revelation
Silver – Salopian, Golden Thread
Bronze – Grain, India Pale Ale
2014 Supreme Champion Gold – Timothy Taylors, Boltmaker
Silver – Oakham, Citra
Bronze – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
2014 Best Bitter Gold – Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Silver – Red Willow, Directionless
Joint Bronze – Purity, Mad Goose & Langton, Inclined Plain Bitter
2014 Golden Ale Gold – Oakham, Citra
Silver – Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop
Bronze – Salopian, Hop Twister
2012 Bitter Gold- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (from Porthmadog, Gwynedd)
Silver- Tintagel, Castle Gold (from Tintagel, Cornwall)
Joint Bronze- Flowerpots, Bitter (from Cheriton, Hampshire)
Joint Bronze- Fuller’s, Gale’s Seafarers Ale (from London, W4)
Joint Bronze- Salopian, Shropshire Gold (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
2012 Best Bitter Gold- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Silver, Salopian, Hop Twister (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Joint Bronze- Oakwell, Senior Bitter (from Barnsley, South Yorkshire)
Joint Bronze- Milton, Pegasus (from Milton, Cambridgeshire)
2012 Golden Ale Gold- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)
Silver- Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Langdale (from Hawkshead, Cumbria)
Bronze- Hobsons, Town Crier (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)
2012 Mild Gold- Rudgate, Ruby Mild (from York, North Yorkshire)
Silver- Hobsons, Hobsons Mild (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)
Bronze- Son of Sid, Muckcart Mild (from Little Gransden, Bedfordshire)
2011 Supreme Champion Mighty Oak, Oscar Wilde (Gold)
Marble, Chocolate (Silver)
Salopian, Shropshire Gold (Bronze)
2011 Bitter Salopian, Shropshire Gold (Gold)
Teignworthy, Reel Ale (Silver)
Triple fff, Altons Pride & Potton, Shannon IPA (Joint Bronze)
2007 Supreme Champion Hobsons Mild (Gold)
Mighty Oak Maldon Gold (Silver)
Green Jack Ripper (Bronze)
2007 Mild Hobsons Mild (Gold)
Nottingham Rock Mild (Silver)
Brain’s Dark (Bronze)
2005 Strong Bitter/Ale Hanby Nutcracker (Gold)
Bullmastiff Son of a Bitch (Silver)
Fullers ESB (Bronze)
1999 Bottle-conditioned Beers Young’s Special London Ale (Gold)
Salopian entire Butt (Silver)
Hampshire Pride of Romsey (Bronze)
1999 Stout and Porter (CWBOB) Salopian Ironbridge Stout (Gold)
1997 Supreme Champion Mordue Workie Ticket (Gold)
Bateman’s Dark Mild (Silver)
Hobson’s Best Bitter (Bronze)
1997 Bitter Hobsons Best Bitter (Gold)
Ruddles Best Bitter (Silver)
Goddards Special & Hydes Bitter (Bronze)

 

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