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Hawkshead Windermere Pale. The Champion Beer of the Society of Independent Brewers Northen section and very well deserved it is too. I first alerted my readers about this beer way back in 2009. You can read about it here. For those that don't know it, Windermere Pale is a very pale, highly hopped beer of a mere 3.5%. When we read so much about hop monster triple IPAs or other such, weighing in at 9% plus, it is good to remember what we are, possibly uniquely, so great at brewing on these islands - very drinkable low gravity beer that you can just straightforwardly sup in volume.

I was able to congratulate both the brewer and owner after the result was announced at the Great Northern Beer Festival last week in Manchester. The beer is one of my favourites and though judging was blind, I was pretty sure that it was one of the beers I judged, but I'll never know for sure, as I'm not anal enough to write down the codes, thus enabling me to find out later. I know it is a cracking beer though, as does Matt the brewer and Alex the owner. For those that don't know it, Windermere Pale is hoppy and refreshing, pale gold in colour with a long bitter finish with hints of grapefruit. The fruity hop flavours come from a medley of traditional and modern hops in which Citra - no surprises - features.As Alex said " “Windermere Pale is a very popular beer, it has a lot of fans. It has become the best selling beer in The Beer Hall at the brewery. It is one of those beers that is winning converts to real ale. I’m so glad competition judges like it too.”

If you come across it, seek it out and insist it is both cool and sparkled.

You'll also wish to know that the festival was a great success too. More on that in due course.