Black Country brewery's beer named CAMRA’s Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2024

This West Midlands brewery has won a prestigious CAMRA award
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A brewery in Dudley has been crowned CAMRA’s Champion Winter Beer of Britain for 2024.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has awarded Sarah Hughes Brewery’s Snowflake beer the title of Champion Winter Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival Winter. 

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The Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition marks the first day of CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival Winter 2024, which is running from February 15 to 17 at Burton Town Hall, Burton-upon-Trent. The annual beer festival provides an opportunity to showcase the best traditional winter brews in the country, with categories such as barley wines, strong old ales and stouts.   

The brewery is located at The Beacon Hotel and Brewery in Sedgley, which was built about 1850. The Traditional Black Country Victorian tower brewery and pub was bought at auction in 1921 by Sarah Hughes, and beers have been brewed on the premises for over 150 years.

How was the winner chosen?

After over a year of local blind-tasting panels and vigorous regional heats, Snowflake (8% ABV) an amber barley wine from Sedgley, West Midlands based brewers Sarah Hughes Brewery was named overall champion in the prestigious competition. 

Accredited European Beer Consumers Union beer judge and chair of the CWBOB judging panel Christine Cryne described Sarah Hughes’s ale as: “A beautiful amber barley wine. The fruity, slightly spiced nose invited the drinker to indulge. The rich, smooth, sweet palate had orange spicy notes balanced by a growing bitterness, leading to a spicy dry bitterness. Remarkably moreish.”  

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Christine added: “The judges were impressed with the quality of the beers in the final and thought they all had something to say.” 

The Beacon Hotel and Brewery, SedgleyThe Beacon Hotel and Brewery, Sedgley
The Beacon Hotel and Brewery, Sedgley

What has the brewery said?

Simon Massey, Director of Sarah Hughes Brewery and the Beacon Hotel said: “This is fantastic news! Quality is what we strive for, and it is all down to the brilliant team who work in the brewery and the pub. This batch of Snowflake was brewed in September and sold out in two weeks over the Christmas period. We always put it out at the start of the Dudley Winter Ales Festival, where it sold out there too.  

“I am very proud for my Head Brewer Ricky Follos. This is a massive achievement, and he should be very chuffed. The hard work really has paid off! 

“The brewery closed in the mid 50s, but my uncle, John Hughes, reinstated the brewery in 1987. He had a vision of what it could be, and I hope this award makes Sarah Hughes Brewery and the Beacons Hotel pub a must-visit destination in the Back Country.” 

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