Winner: North Brewing Co head brewer, Seb Brink
The Imbibe competition, with IPA as its 2017 theme, was designed to share with the entire Imbibe Live audience what goes into crafting the best British beers.
The prize — a coveted seasonal slot with M&B’s flagship roster of top beer pubs — will enable drinkers in more than 100 establishments to enjoy what the Imbibe Live audience voted the best British IPA of 2017.
North Brewing Co beat off strong challenges from the likes of Roosters and Wimbledon Brewery to claim the coveted prize, with the brewery’s Christian Townsley being “absolutely over the moon” about the outcome.
He added: “The M&B seasonal listing is a fantastic benefit to the award. We’re delighted we’ll be reaching such an audience.”
Mitchells & Butlers’ beer and cider procurement manager, Ben Lockwood, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the stunning Transmission IPA to our craft beer loving guests this month.
“Since winning the competition, the brewery has deservedly gone from strength to strength, so we know this will be a firm favourite heading into the Easter weekend as part of our next Seasonal Craft Rotation.”
Balance and flavour
Head brewer at North Brewing Co, Seb Brink, known for his creativity, said: “Transmission was one of North Brewing Co’s earlier creations. It has evolved a bit since its first appearance, but the core balance and flavour has stayed the same.
“We are trying to find the sweet spot between danky and piney ‘C’ hops, and the newer, fruitier varieties.”
As the 2017 winners reach the bar, the 2018 Imbibe Live competition, in association with SIBA, and with lager as its theme, kicks off this month, with Mitchells & Butlers again providing the seasonal listing as the incentive.
Ben added: “We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Imbibe Live for a third consecutive year. Craft lager is a growing category which we’re certain will create a hotbed of quality entries for the judges to navigate through, and put forward some deserving finalists. It’s another great way of keeping our pubs and our guests in touch with the best the UK has to offer.”
Round one of the 2018 Lager Challenge took place on March 13 as a prelude to SIBA’s Beer X, at Liverpool Exhibition Centre. More than 70 lagers, illustrating all styles, were put to the test, with The Anchor at Walberswick’s Mark Dorber as chair, and an expert panel including Seb Brink, drawing up the shortlist.
The five finalists will slug it out on July 2 at London’s Olympia when an overall winner will be chosen.