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Friday, 11 September 2009

Britain's Best Beer: All is Revealed

Me, my worthy adversary Sabine von Reth, and presenter Matt Tebbutt

Thanks for the record number of comments when I asked you about the best British beer. Consensus is somewhere around Landlord, White Shield and London Pride, which I find hard to argue with.

But now I can reveal what it's all about.

Market Kitchen, the food magazine programme on UKTV Food, is running a Beer World Cup to find out which country makes the best beer in the world - and has the best beer culture. Each week two countries face off in rounds then go through to semis in October, then the final. It's all just a bit of fun of course.

I was honoured to be asked to represent the UK in the first game in the first round, and I drew Germany. We filmed it yesterday evening.

Now this was a tough gig. I was expecting Germany to bring a very good lager along - and I was right. And the thing is, the decision is made by a studio audience vote on a combined blind tasting of the beer with a heated studio debate. The audience is not sophisticated in its beer appreciation - it's an audience of people who go along to the filming of a daytime cookery programme. Lots of men who drink lager, and lots of women who think they don't like beer. A really good German lager - to this audience - would surely be more acceptable than a complex, intriguing, flavourful ale. I had to think clever on this one.

So thanks for all the suggestions, but thanks to Mike from Utobeer for the inspired tactical suggestion of Schiehallion - a British lager, cask conditioned, that last year won 'best pilsner' at the World Beer Awards. Not the beer that represents everything great about British brewing, but a beer that shows what Britain can do, a British take on a European style.

So how did we get on? Was this particular meeting a return to the glory of 1966 or a rerun of the agonising defeat on penalties in 1990? You'll have to wait till 24th September and tune in to UKTV to find out...


Andrew said...

You've done it now - representing Britain with a lager on daytime TV and speaking up for lager in the Brewers Guardian. You've burnt all your bridges now - well done!

Now I'll have to blog this...

Fatman said...

Shame on you Pete - another nail in the coffin of the English hop industry.

Can't fault your tactics though, I hope you won.

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

What was the lager? Jever? Waldhaus Diplom Pils? Lowen-brau (the Bamberg one)?
Was going to be representing Italy but that’s not happening now, which is just as well as the best Italian beer I could find available in the UK was Peroni Gran Reserva, Bit like using something like Michelob for the US.

Pete said...

Sabine brought along Paulaner. A tough one to argue against.

Barm said...

Hmm, I think Schiehallion is way better than anything Paulaner brew.