Yorkshire will take on London and the South West in the finals of the IPA Challenge next month, run in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), M&B, There’s A Beer For That and Fuller’s.
Five finalists emerged from a tough first round held at Fuller’s Centre of Excellence, with Roosters and North Brewing Co representing the north, Butcombe the South West, and Wimbledon Brewing and Crate Brewery from opposite sides of London.
As well as the finalists’ beer being shown at Imbibe Live, SIBA will host all member entrants on its bar in The Pub at Imbibe Live.
SIBA’s PR and marketing manager, Neil Walker, said: “As well as partnering with Imbibe Live again this year for the beer competition, we will, for the first time, also be hosting our own SIBA beer bar within The Pub area of the event, where we will be serving all of the competition entrants from SIBA members.
“The quality was amazingly high this year and we think it will be a great opportunity for people to taste this exciting range of IPAs.”
Chair of judges, Mark Dorber, of The Anchor at Walberswick, said: “The IPA sector is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate. As drinkers react against what is bland, this is a family of beers capturing a lot of interest with their potential to combine incredible drinkability alongside the relentless hopping that we love.”
Neil Walker said sessions IPAs entered for the competition really shone. This was reflected in the finalists’ line-up, with the below 5% category scooping two out of five places.
While there was ambition and vision among the above 5% New World-style entrants, the balance and depth of the stronger English-style IPAs ultimately proved more successful, securing them two spots in the final, compared with one for their New World brethren.
So, who will win? The audience will decide in the Beer and Cider Hub on July 3, having heard the finalists’ pitches and tasted their creations. The Craft Beer Channel’s Jonny Garrett will act as MC, with the winner securing a seasonal listing at a selection of M&B’s leading pubs.