Quantock Brewery and Cheddar Ales have taken the top two awards in the SIBA South West Independent Beer Awards, in Newton Abbot.

SIBA South West awards
Cheddar Ales brewing apprentice, Joel Hancock (left), and Quantock brewer, James Higgins (right) accept their awards from SIBA competitions chair, Buster Grant

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat, a 6.3% ABV New England IPA, took the top prize for Quantock. Champion cask beer of the competition was Piney Sleight, a 4% ABV session IPA from Cheddar.

“The South West competition is the oldest of all SIBA competitions nationally,” said SIBA competition chair, Buster Grant. “So it seems apt that this is where we launch our new and improved SIBA Independent Beer Awards 2022, featuring a brand new set of keg categories, an international-standard scoring system, and hugely experienced ‘lead judges’ on each table.

“I would like to say a huge congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and in particular Quantock and Cheddar Ales, who really were the best of the best, not only being named best-in-class in their category, but then going on to become overall champions. Very well done, and good luck in the national finals in Liverpool next year!”

The awards, which were presented at MaltingsFest, at the old Tucker’s Maltings site, are judged by beer sommeliers, master brewers, and other expert beer judges from across the industry.

Quantock brewer, James Higgins, said: “The name for this beer, ‘We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat, comes from the fact we really needed a bigger brewery to keep up with demand, and it’s beers like this that are the reason for that!

“We can’t make them quick enough right now, and to win the biggest regional beer award going and have the chance to go through to the nationals is just amazing.”

Cheddar Ales brewing apprentice, Joel Hancock, said: “It’s just amazing to win against so many fantastic breweries, and the quality of the beers and judging at this event was the best I have ever seen, so I know how hard it is to walk away with the overall gold.

“It’s a beer that just resonates so well with our customers, too. Loads of hop flavour and aromatic, but also really drinkable and a good session strength. Very proud and happy to accept the award on behalf of our whole team.” 

Members of the public will get a chance to taste the best beers in the South West at the MaltingsFest beer festival which continues today and this weekend.

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