From can to cask, zesty orange to lime and verbena leaves, wheat beer really showed its diversity in Round 1 of the Wheat Beer Challenge.
Following fierce debate, five finalists emerged, including two from Wales: Swansea's Boss Brewing with its herb and orange-infused witbier, Boss Bix, and North Wales' Heavy Industry Brewing with Pigeon Toed Orange Peel, a cloudy hefeweissen featuring the novel hop Mandarina Bavaria.
England scored two winners in the shape of West Berkshire Brewing's Wheaty McWheatface, a moreish, sessionable British Wheat Beer, and The Little Beer Corporation, with its zestily refreshing Running of the Bulls.
North of the border, Harviestoun completes the pack with Wheat Beastie, where leaves of lemon verbena, lime and coriander leaves made for a complex beer – ‘Yummy,’ said judge Jenn Merrick of Beavertown.
'We've had an outstanding range of beers today,' said chair of judges Mark Dorber. 'They demonstrated an imaginative range of herbs, fruits and spices, as well as a discernible wheat character, showing that this style is a worthy addition to the summer must-stock beer list.'
'What the finalists had in common was sheer drinkability,' said Mitchells & Butlers' Richard Yarnell. 'This style can have a huge range of flavours,' added SIBA's Neil Walker, 'The entries show the dexterity of British brewers.'
'This competition is great for consumers too, since it is a chance to introduce them to styles they might be less familiar with,' concluded the There's A Beer For That campaign's David Cunningham.
The final takes place during Brewers' Den on Centre Stage on the first day of Imbibe Live, where the audience will have the final say. The victor wins a pair of tickets to visit Pilsner Urquell brewery in the Czech Republic, as well as a seasonal listing at a selection of M&B's leading pubs.