Chapel Down makes gold medal-winning beer

20 July, 2012

The International Beer Challenge has named a lager made by an English winemaker among the world’s best beers.

Curious Brew, by Chapel Down winery, took gold at the Off Licence News-organised event, which saw over 400 beers judged.

The 4.7% abv brew, produced at the Frazer Thompson-headed Kent winery, was one of only two lager brands to win gold, the other being Samuel Adams for its Dark Night in Munich and Double Bock.

The Challenge awarded 30 gold medals in total, including beers from countries that included Belgium, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the US.

According to Chapel Down, Curious Brew has seen “wine-making thinking” brought to beer brewing and is made from East Anglian malt, saaz and cascade hops.

Champagne yeast, also used in Chapel Down sparkling wines, is used to re-ferment the lager and a “dosage of rare and fragrant Sauvin hops” are added at the end, before cold filtering the unpasteurised beer into bottles.

Thompson, a former employee of Heineken and Whitbread, said: "I'm sick to death of being force-fed fizzy flatulent froth, which has all the taste of corporate cardboard and the dull stench of market research, answering to the name of 'lager beer'.

“Its so awful, I've had to brew one myself. Because, at its best, lager is a peerless drink to refresh and satisfy. And this is lager at its best."

Beer writer Pete Brown said: “Brewing with champagne yeast is something you'd expect the Belgians to do and so is brewing a lager for that matter. 

“The result is a lovely beer which has a sparkling zing that makes it refreshing, satisfying and a lovely halfway house between beer and a sparkling wine.

“The flavour is a fuller, more assertive beer that’s fruity and rounded, but still reined in at the end by a crisp dryness.”

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.