Brewhouse & Kitchen (B&K) and the New World Trading Company edged out The Stable and Fuller’s Inns in a close-run semi final for The Tapsters, Imbibe’s competition to find the best beer and cider bar team in the land.
Following a packed day of intense training from beer sommelier Annabel Smith and the Ciderologist Gabe Cook at The Beer & Cider Academy, three tasks formed the basis of the semi finals. Smith and Cook were joined by expert judges Ed Hughes, beer sommelier, and Imbibe’s beer ambassador Mitch Adams to adjudicate.
First up was the beer jigsaw. Testing in-depth knowledge of the care and conditioning of cask ale from delivery to serve, the teams had less than three minutes to correctly order over a dozen specific jigsaw pieces. A task completed well, but starting as they clearly meant to go on B&K’s Crafty Zealots and the NEW World MoB just beat the other two to take joint lead.
Next the Q&A round, with each team fielding two beer and two cider questions. Crafty Zealots built up their lead, correctly answering all four questions, with New World MoB sliding into second place.
Finally, New World MoB nailed the cider role play scenarios, offering up Nightingale’s Russet cider for a Sauvignon Blanc lover.
The Stable Hands took second place in this round with an eloquent offer of a tangy cider for sour beer lovers, while Fuller’s Inns London’s Pride team put in a valiant effort with a West Country cider match for the tricky ‘green Thai curry’ cider match question. However, the lead built up by New World MoB and Crafty Zealots was unassailable, and they were declared the winners.
New World MoB’s Will Kavanagh declared it ‘quite a proud moment’, while Crafty Zealots’ Oli Kutylowski said, 'it’s great for us as a beer lovers’ venue, to have this chance to focus on cider.'
Hughes applauded the semi finalists, praising their effort, attention and passion for the craft of being front of house. ‘You demonstrated real pride,’ he said.
Smith agreed. ‘This year’s Tapster’s semi-finalists are a credit not only to the beer and cider industry, but to the hospitality trade as a whole,’ she said.
‘Their knowledge and passion for beer and cider was evident at the training day, but their enthusiasm, personalities, and team work shone through. These people are the beer and cider ambassadors of the future.’
The day comprised training on everything from different styles of beer through to the how to pour like an escanciador. So what will the teams be boning up on ahead of the final?
‘The cider pour!’ said New World MoB’s Stella Royale Evans without hesitation. Expect some theatre.
The final takes place at midday on 3 July, Centre-Stage at Imbibe Live, with the winners jetting off to Cork courtesy of Franciscan Well brewery.
The competition is run in partnership with UK Hospitality, The Beer & Cider Academy, and Franciscan Well Brewery.
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If you don't already know, Imbibe Live is the innovative and interactive annual exhibition for anyone who sources, buys or serves drinks in the licensed on-trade. From sommeliers to buyers and from managers to publicans and bartenders, this essential date in the drinks calendar will see the industry’s finest come together.
Register today: www.imbibe.com/live
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