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Winter Ales Festival: Alfie wins

Neil Sowerby hits the Sheridan Suite Festival of boozy fun

Written by . Published on January 20th 2012.

Winter Ales Festival: Alfie wins
ALFIE’S Revenge has been crowned Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2012 by a panel of judges at the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester. 
This 6.5 per cent Strong Ale is named after a cult stuffed squirrel (with his own Facebook page), who resides on the bar of a 17th century Cornish pub.
Brewers Driftwood are based in the picturesque Driftwood Spars at Trevanaunce Cove – a far remove from the Sheridan Suite up Oldham Road, again hosting CAMRA’s big winter event, which is on until Saturday, January 21.
Also in the Overall awards, Silver went to Cairngorm brewery's Black Gold, while Coniston brewery's No 9 Barley Wine scooped Silver. All finalists will now compete at Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London, in August. 

As a previous Winter Ales judge, I know that no smoke (or even the tang of boiling wort) issues out of the experts’ papal-style conclave. It’s all a bit low key. To keep the true faith, the punters have 300 beers, ciders and perries to get through, so there’s no time for glory hunting.
Clutching my commemorative pint glass and a greasy samosa I even struggled to find Alfie’s Revenge, but eventually one of the massed bar staff (the one with the beard and the bulging t-shirt) pointed out a discreet firkin of the stuff and dispensed a modicum of Revenge for me. It was balanced, fruity with a lingering malty finish.
For a full list of winners, shortlisted brews and breakdown of beer types click here

National Winter Ales Festival Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Noon to 10.30pm, Sheridan Suite, Oldham Rd, from £2 on the door. Full details at nwaf.org.uk

PS There's been a CAMRA morale booster for the historic Bull’s Head pub on London Road, which was badly damaged when a double decker bus crashed into it - click here. Now pulling pints of Marstons again, while vital structural repairs get underway, it has been named CAMRA’s pub of the year for South Manchester and North Cheshire. 

Something in the name - sell out wondersSomething in the name - sell out wonders

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