Scottish Beer Awards
Brewers pass the taste test as best beers honoured
Sonja Mitchell: prize for best non-alcoholic beer
A lochside brewery, fruit-flavoured ales and the country’s first non-alcoholic producer all featured among the winners in this year’s Scottish Beer Awards.
The 5th annual Scottish Beer Awards drew entries from 35 breweries and 314 brands which were blind-tasted by a judging panel of more than 30 expert tasters.
The results reveal 19 of the highest-rated beers in Scotland, judged purely on appearance, flavour and taste.
Loch Lomond Brewery was named Scottish Brewery of the Year after it trebled production, managed a detailed rebranding and built relationship with UK and online suppliers.
It also won the Excellence in Branding Competition, Best Pilsner Gold Medal for Electric Cafe and Silver in Amplified for Lost Monster.
Ferry Brewery, a small family-owned business in South Queensferry won Beer of the Year for Ferry Black, its liquorice porter.
Non and low alcohol beers featured for the first time, and the gold medal was awarded to Scotland’s first alcohol-free brewing company Jump Ship Brewing for its Yardarm lager.
Sonja Mitchell brewed the beer from her own recipe. It is gluten-free, vegan and lower in calories than standard beers.
A keen sailor, beer-lover and mother of three, she decided to ‘jump ship’ from her marketing job to launch the business last year. A crowdfunding campaign, supported by RBS BackHerBusiness, reached its target in only six days, raising £15,000.
Innis & Gunn’s cheeky advertising encouraging drinkers to choose local brands
The Gold medal for Best Lager was won for the first time by Innis & Gunn Lager Beer, now one of the biggest selling lagers in Scotland.
BrewDog, one of Scotland’s biggest brewers and a past winner, did not enter this year’s competition.
Hilary Jones, chair of the judging panel, commented: “Like most businesses, especially those involved with the hospitality sector, it has been a deeply difficult year for breweries.
“The great news is that despite multiple obstacles thrown their way in 2020, many Scottish breweries, more than just survived – they adapted and innovated. They have shown resilience, looked after their staff, and continued to produce high quality product despite a rapidly changing business market.
“The Scottish Beer Awards has shown us once again the strength, skills and great people at the heart of our brewing sector and we are delighted to reward the best of them with deserved recognition and medals in advance of the all-important Christmas sales period.”
Graham Nicolson, group buying director, of Awards sponsor ALDI Scotland, commented: “The quality and diversity of Scottish beer continues to be applauded. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to continuing our hard work together in 2021.”
Over 200 people tuned in live to watch the digital broadcast of the awards winners in a special show broadcast from Glasgow, presented by comedian Des Clarke.
THE 2020 WINNERS IN FULL
2020 Scottish Brewery of the Year
Loch Lomond Brewery
Brewer of the Year
Craig Scotland, Stewart Brewing
Beer Destination of the Year
West Brewery Glasgow
Best Beer Bar
Portobello Tap, Portobello. Cross Borders Brewing
Excellence in Branding
Loch Lomond Brewery
Product Development Team of the Year
Sales Team of the Year
BEER OF THE YEAR
Ferry Black Liquorice Porter 8% ABV, The Ferry Brewery
BEST AMBER OR DARK ALE
GOLD: Ferry Alt; The Ferry Brewery
SILVER: Pavlov’s Dog; Williams Bros Brewing Co
BRONZE: The J’Ale; Brew Toon
BEST AMPLIFIED BEER
GOLD Black; The Ferry Brewery
SILVER Lost Monster; Loch Lomond Brewery
BRONZE Very Big Moose, Fierce Beer.
BEST BARREL-AGED BEER
GOLD Barrel-Aged Imperial Cafe Racer; Fierce Beer
SILVER Bourbon Barrel-Aged Very Big Moose; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Nightmare of Cake; Drygate Brewing Co
BEST BRITISH-STYLE ALE
GOLD Fraoch; Williams Bros Brewing Co
SILVER Wolf; Windswept Brewing Co
BRONZE Belhaven Scottish Ale; Belhaven Brewery
BEST FRUITED SOUR BEER
GOLD Sour to the People; Brew Toon
SILVER Trinitone (Raspberry) Blast; Drygate Brewing Co
BRONZE Origins Brewing – Acres; Fyne Ales
BEST FRUIT-FORWARD BEER
GOLD Raspberry Carronade; Brew Toon
SILVER Cranachan Killer; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Mango Unchained; Brew Toon
BEST IMPERIAL OR DOUBLE IPA
GOLD Fancy Juice; Fierce Beer
SILVER Big Yin; Overtone Brewing
BRONZE Sapien; Williams Bros Brewing Co
BEST IPA SPONSORED BY BREWERS SELECT
GOLD Split Shift; Fierce Beer
SILVER India Pale Ale; Cross Borders Brewing Company
BRONZE Hop Pinata; WooHa Brewing Company
BEST JUICY OR HAZY BEER
GOLD Southern Hemisphere; Overtone Brewing
SILVER Late Shift; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Northern Hemisphere; Overtone Brewing
GOLD Lager Beer; The Innis and Gunn Brewing Company
SILVER Craft Lager; Williams Bros Brewing Co
BRONZE Tennents Gluten Free Beer; Tennent Caledonian Breweries
BEST LOW OR NO ALCOHOL BEER
GOLD Yardarm Lager; Jump Ship Brewing
SILVER NIX; WEST Brewery
BRONZE Low; Barney’s Beer
BEST PALE ALE SPONSORED BY KEGSTAR
GOLD Kai Pai; Stewart Brewing
SILVER Winter Sunshine; Spey Valley Brewery
BRONZE Masterplan; Stewart Brewing
GOLD Electric Café; Loch Lomond Brewery
SILVER Bohemian Pilsner; Bellfield Brewery
BRONZE Fierce Pilsner; Fierce Beer
GOLD Cafe Racer; Fierce Beer
SILVER Dirty Sanchez; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Leith Porter; Campervan Brewery
BEST SESSION BEER
GOLD Wanderlust; six°north
SILVER Heffen Heff; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Heidi-Weisse; WEST Brewery
BEST SOUR BEER
GOLD BA Hopocrisy; six°north
SILVER Fierce by Nature: Brett IPA; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Blood of Nidhoggr; Fierce Beer
BEST SPECIALITY BEER
GOLD Bounty Like It; Reids Gold Brewing Company
SILVER Maple Pancake; Fierce Beer
BRONZE Transient 2 White IPA; Campervan Brewery
GOLD Orinoco; Drygate Brewing Co
SILVER Chokka Blokka; Williams Bros Brewing Co
BRONZE Stout Keith; Keith Brewery