SIBA Williams Bros

SIBA chairman, Buster Grant, presents Scott Williams, of Williams Bros with gold in the cask category at the National Independent Beer Awards


Burning Sky, in East Sussex, has stopped a potential Scottish hat-trick in the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) National Independent Beer Awards, taking gold in the Keg competition.

With 400 beers in the keg competition, it was Burning Sky’s Easy Answers IPA that wowed judges and won them the top spot after Williams Brothers, from Scotland, took home the supreme cask gold award, for its traditional dark mild, Black. Another Scottish brewer, Fyne Ales, won the bottle and can competition with Mills & Hills, a hefty imperial stout of almost 10% ABV.

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SIBA managing director, Mike Benner, said: “It is fantastic to see such high quality beers across a range of formats in this year’s biggest ever beer competition. With hundreds of entries across cask, keg, bottle and can, this really was the cream of the crop in terms of independent craft beers from the UK, and each of the three supreme champion gold winners should be extremely proud of their achievement.

“It’s also clear, fantastic tasting beer is being produced by our members across the length of Britain, but that Scotland brewers have proved to be a particular hit with judges in 2017, with both Fyne Ales and Williams Brothers taking home top spots.”

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It is the second year running that a Scottish brewer has won the best cask beer in the country award, after Loch Lomond took home the silverware in 2016 for its citrussy Southern Summit pale ale.

Scott Williams, co-founder of Williams Bros, said: “This a fantastic win and hugely exciting for us as this was one of our very first beers we ever brewed, so for it to still be winning awards is amazing.

“Mild has an image as an older, more old-fashioned style, but it’s a great beer. Maybe Mild is the new IPA!”

SIBA says the awards have also highlighted the diversity of independent craft beer that is now being brewed in the UK, with three very different beers taking home the top spots.

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Mark Tranter, head brewer at Burning Sky, said: “It’s amazing to win this award as it’s judged by our peers, by other brewers in the industry as well as the hop and malt merchants that are so important to what we do. It’s a massive result for our whole team and we are so proud to accept this award from SIBA.”

SIBA’s smallpack competition can be entered by both canned and bottled beers, but it was the 330ml bottled stout from Fyne Ales, brewed in collaboration with De Molen in the Netherlands, that came out on top this time around.

Fyne Ales owner, Jamie Delap, said: “A lot of fantastic beers were up for this award, so even to be amongst them is amazing for us. This was the fifth brew we ever did and is special as it was a collaboration with De Molen, in the Netherlands, where we just decided to have a play on our brand new kit, to really push to see what it could do. Three years later and people still love it!”