The prestigious Champion Beer of Scotland award is named after one of CAMRA’s greatest Scottish activists who was lost to leukaemia in 1992, aged just 45. It was first presented in 1996 and the list of winners permits insight into the development of Scottish real ale over 24 years. Caledonian won with 80 shillings ale in 1996 and 1997, followed by Deuchar’s IPA in 1998. Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted won twice (1999 and 2002). Orkney succeeded with Dark Island in 2000 and 2003; and Raven Ale in 2009. Inveralmond won in 2001 with Ossian’s Ale. Cairngorm triumphed with Trade Winds (2004) and Black Gold (2005 and 2015). Kelburn won twice, with Cart Blanche (2006) and Dark Moor (2014). Isle of Skye’s Cuillin Beast was champion in 2011; followed by Fyne Ales Jarl (2013); Tryst Raj IPA (2016); and Loch Lomond Silkie Stout (2017).
Excellent brewers should be remembered: Russell Sharp (Caledonian); Ken Brooker (Harviestoun); Roger White and Andrew Fulton (Orkney); Fergus Clark (Inveralmond); Sean Tomlinson (Cairngorm); Derek Moore (Kelburn); Pam and Angus McRuary (Isle of Skye); Wil Wood (Fyne Ales); John McGarva (Tryst); Fiona and Euan Maceachern (Loch Lomond).
Rob Hill has brewed an amazing five different Scottish Champion beers: four with Highland Brewing – Dark Munro (2007), Scapa Special (2008), Orkney Blast (2010) and Orkney Best (2012); and one with Swannay – Orkney IPA (2018).
Now it is time to salute Windswept Brewing Company (Al Read, Nigel Tiddy and Stuart Evans) who produce such a marvellous range of quality real ales and bottle-conditioned beers. They are worthy winners of this year’s Campaign for Real Ale Champion Beer of Scotland.
Considering that Orkney, Highland Brewing, and Windswept all feature in Aberdeen and the Northern Isles, our branch has won the title nine times!
CAMRA members can complete Tasting Cards to comment upon the quality of the beer they drink through the year. These are submitted to a central coordinator. Accumulate enough good reviews via the Tasting Cards, and beers can be added to the shortlist of beers of each style. Scottish CAMRA beer festivals often host qualifying beer-style competitions, which help beers gain entry to the national Champion Beer of Scotland competition.
Former winners of Champion Beer of Scotland are: