This year’s Tapsters competition final at Imbibe Live has identified the best beer and cider team in the land, from Brewhouse & Kitchen.
As competition host BeerBelle Annabel Smith BS told the crowd gathered at the show’s Centre Stage, the number of entries this year were unprecedented, with top teams from around the country whittled down to the two in yesterday’s final. These finalists battled it out in a series of challenges, not only for bragging rights as the UK’s top beer and cider team, but also for a trip to Austria to visit the Stiegl brewery. Comp adjudicators were Gabe Cook and Mitch Adams, with the judging panel consisting of beer and cider author Pete Brown, Beer Writer of the Year Emma Inch, and Martyn Railton, founder of prize sponsor Euroboozer.
Teams from Brewhouse & Kitchen and New World Trading Co tackled various challenges on the day, starting with the identification of faults in beers and ciders – everything from lightstrike to diacetyl. The crowd could play along too, with samples of these faulty drinks for them too.
Next was a food matching round, with teams tasked with finding the perfect pairing for a vegetable samosa and a goat’s cheese tart. The Brewhouse team imagined a hopped cider as the pairing for the samosa, while New World Trading Co’s team thought a heffeweisen the right choice for the tart.
Teams were blindfolded for the next round – a true blind tasting, with an array of beer and cider styles presented to them, from fruited sours to eastern counties cider. All that was left was some cider throwing and some quick-fire questions before the winning team could be announced.
‘I’d be happy to be served beer or cider by anyone on this stage,’ said judge Brown. ‘It was very difficult just getting to the final. They’ve all done excellent work.’
‘I think this competition brings out that joy that comes with beer and cider,’ added judge Inch. ‘It’s not just about what’s in the glass, but about who’s serving you, and how. It’s about that passion and enthusiasm.’
The winning Brewhouse & Kitchen team consists of David Quinn, Gil Barton, Mike Mason and Caitlin McErlean.