In September 2011 Thornbridge Brewery, Nicholson's Pubs and BrewUK launched a quest to find the best home-brewed beer in the UK.
Over 120 entries were submitted for the competition and after judging by some of the UK's leading beer experts, Paul Carruthers' "Frank As Apollo" 4.6% premium bitter was judged a worthy winner.
A delighted Paul says he was "well aware of the high standard of home-brewed beer and so was completely overwhelmed at winning". He started brewing just over three years ago. Before that he says he only drank premium lager and thought he would try to brew some beer like that at home.
"My first kit brew was foul," says Paul "But it gave me the incentive to find out more, so I joined an online forum and discovered 'all grain' brewing, which fascinated me. The combination of art and science involved pushes all of my buttons, and when the result is beer, there is no downside. It's alchemy!
"I built a brewery from an old copper water tank that we had removed from the bathroom. I sawed it in half to make a boiler and mash tun, and I was off. Since then I've had a bash at a lot of beer styles, but there's still an enormous amount left to learn."
Carruthers' beer will now be brewed commercially at Thornbridge Brewery, taking his beer from the home to an award-winning brewery, itself located in the grounds of a former home - Thornbridge Hall. From there it will be available nationally through Nicholson's pubs.
Thornbridge's Simon Webster says: "Craft brewing has had a resurgence across the world during the past few years and is having a fantastic influence on the brewing industry in the UK. Many of the beers brewed in today's new wave of breweries are brewed by professionally qualified brewers, others brewed by those that have developed skills through brewing at home.
"A considerable number of home brewers develop great quality beers that can never be appreciated by a larger drinking public. The challenge provided them with an opportunity to match their beers against those of other enthusiasts, and have them tasted by a panel of expert beer judges."
Paul's beer Frank As Apollo will be available across the UK in all 80 Nicholson's pubs from 3 March.
A full list of all Great British Home Brew Challenge 2011 category winners:
- Milds: Alan Bates, Stoke
- Standard Bitters: Paul Carruthers, Nottingham
- Best Bitters: Tom Wright, Woking
- Porters, Stouts and Old Ales: Ken Winter, London
- Premium Bitters: Paul Carruthers, Nottingham
- Strong Bitter: Matthew Lovatt, Leeds
- Speciality Beer: Steven Crump, Leeds
Always enjoy alcohol in moderation - visit the Drink Aware website for the facts
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