Brewer of the Year Results – It’s a TIE!

Your vote is needed to help decide the One Beer To Rule Them All. Currently Simon R and Greg W are locked on 23 points each for the SABC Brewer of the Year award. After 5 competitions, the SABC committee cannot split these fantastic brewers.

To determine the One Beer To Rule Them All and the SABC Brewer of the Year, a brew off will be held. Each brewer will brew a (Not-So) Ordinary Bitter in accordance with the BJCP guidelines for presentation to the SABC members. Judging will be Subjective. That is, you will sample both beers and cast a single vote for the one beer you like the most. The beer with the most votes will earn its brewer the title of SABC Brewer of the Year.

Tasting, judging and celebrating the SABC Brewer of the Year will happen at 6:30pm, November 29 at the Barossa Valley Brewing Beer Degustation event (see Below).

For the hop heads out there, the following are the BJCP Guidelines for an Ordinary Bitter. The style leaves nowhere to hide, nowhere to run and will help to determine the One Beer to Rule Them All.

8A. Standard/Ordinary Bitter
Aroma:
 The best examples have some malt aroma, often (but not always) with a caramel quality. Mild to moderate fruitiness is common. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none (UK varieties typically, although US varieties may be used). Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Light yellow to light copper. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to high bitterness. Most have moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor (earthy, resiny, and/or floral UK varieties typically, although US varieties may be used). Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. Caramel flavors are common but not required. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Carbonation low, although bottled and canned examples can have moderate carbonation.

Overall Impression: Low gravity, low alcohol levels and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking beer. Some examples can be more malt balanced, but this should not override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style; emphasis is still on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.

Comments: The lightest of the bitters. Also known as just “bitter.” Some modern variants are brewed exclusively with pale malt and are known as golden or summer bitters. Most bottled or kegged versions of UK-produced bitters are higher-alcohol versions of their cask (draught) products produced specifically for export. The IBU levels are often not adjusted, so the versions available in the US often do not directly correspond to their style subcategories in Britain. This style guideline reflects the “real ale” version of the style, not the export formulations of commercial products.

History: Originally a draught ale served very fresh under no pressure (gravity or hand pump only) at cellar temperatures (i.e., “real ale”). Bitter was created as a draught alternative (i.e., running beer) to country-brewed pale ale around the start of the 20th century and became widespread once brewers understood how to “Burtonize” their water to successfully brew pale beers and to use crystal malts to add a fullness and roundness of palate.

Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, and/or crystal malts, may use a touch of black malt for color adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English hops most typical, although American and European varieties are becoming more common (particularly in the paler examples). Characterful English yeast. Often medium sulfate water is used.

Vital Statistics: OG: 1.032 – 1.040
IBUs: 25 – 35 FG: 1.007 – 1.011
SRM: 4 – 14 ABV: 3.2 – 3.8%

Commercial Examples: Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Adnams Bitter, Young’s Bitter, Greene King IPA, Oakham Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB), Brains Bitter, Tetley’s Original Bitter, Brakspear Bitter, Boddington’s Pub Draught

Good luck, Simon and Greg!