Three brewers have won the top prizes in the Society of Independent Brewers' (SIBA) Supreme Champion Awards.
Oakham Ales' Green Devil, a 6% abv IPA, won the Gold Award in the Premium Strong Beers category before going on to take the Supreme Champion title.
Bristol Beer Factory's Southville Hop, a 6.5% abv heavily hopped beer, took Gold in the Champion Strong Bottled Beer category.
And Hepworths 4.5% abv Conqueror Sussex Stout was judged the best in Champion Dark Ales, Stouts and Porters.
All three winners were announced at SIBA's annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday.
Judging took place last month at two finals - one for the cask ale and bottled beer categories and a separate event for the keg beers.
Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were today presented in seven cask and five bottled beer categories, the Craft Beer in Keg awards (apart from the Supreme Champions) having been announced last month.
The seven cask beer winners are now guaranteed a place on the SIBA Champions Bar at the Great British Beer Festival this summer.
SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock, said, "Those of us who have been involved in this round of SIBA beer competitions have once again been overwhelmed by the quality of the beers entered at every stage from regional heat to national finals.
"With standards rising every year, it becomes ever more challenging to select the best beers from a very strong field. Winning an award at a regional competition is an achievement to be proud of and to take one at the national competition an even greater one."
He added: "Such is the growing reputation of SIBA's beer competitions that winning an award today offers the successful brewers the promise of much-increased awareness among beer enthusiasts, and new listings in the growing number of beer-orientated pubs, bars and off-trade outlets."
Adrian Posnett, managing director of Oakham Ales, said, "We're delighted to have won this very prestigious award, especially for Green Devil, which we started to brew only 12 months ago. Awards like this help to cement our reputation and raise our profile with retailers and drinkers; they are a testament to the talent and hard work of our brewing team."
Bristol Beer Factory managing director Simon Bartlett said: "This is a reward for our hard work over the past eight years and further vindication of our decision to brew beers like Southville Hop, which is heavily hopped in the American IPA style, but balanced with a malt background. Winning the award means that when drinkers see our beer in the pub, they'll have heard of it already and will be more likely to order it."
For the first time this year, Punch Taverns is offering to showcase the overall Gold, Silver and Bronze cask competition winners through its Finest Cask guest ale scheme, which is made available to 1,000 of its pubs.
The listing will run during May and June, taking in the busy Euro 2012 and Diamond Jubilee trading periods.
By Neil Gerrard
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