Lacons’ Audit Ale has been named champion winter beer if Britain at the Great British Beer Festival Winter, being held this week in Norwich.

Festival organiser, Martin Ward, said: “The CAMRA champion beer of Britain is one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world. It is the ultimate honour for UK brewers, and has helped put many into the national spotlight. Lacons’ Audit Ale is a very worthy winner of one of CAMRA’s highest accolades.”

The barley wine was crowned winter champion over finalists in three other beer categories (barley wine and strong old ales, old ales and strong milds, porters, and stouts). The runner-up was Calverley’s Porter, while Old Engine Oil, from Harviestoun Brewery, took the bronze award.

Nick Boley, CAMRA’s national director responsible for the competition, said: “We were very impressed with the standard and quality this year. The champion, Audit Ale, is a very worthy winner and was described by judges as incredibly well rounded, with not a harsh bone in its body, and the perfect balance of flavour.

Following over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats, Audit Ale impressed judges with its enticing aroma of marmalade and peach. It was described as “packed with berry fruits and spices”. Only available on limited release, the beer was named after the way in which a number of Cambridge and Oxford university colleges celebrated the end of their annual audits with a special brew. By popular demand, it was exported to the USA in Champagne-style bottles from 1937.

Lacons Brewery operations manager, Chris Everett, said: “To receive this level of recognition — especially on home turf — is amazing. We’re incredibly honoured and excited to see what opportunities this opens up for us. It’s an exciting time for Lacons!”

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