Best beer prize is no stitch-up for the boys from Cubbington

BREWERS in Cubbington are raising their glasses high after winning the award for the county’s best beer.

The Warwickshire Beer Company’s Ball Stitcher IPA won the Campaign for Real Ale’s (Camra’s) Champion Beer of Warwickshire at the Merchant’s Inn in Rugby.

Over three weeks, drinkers voted for their favourites from a row of pumps labelled only with numbers.

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Sales director Ben Lewitt, himself a former professional rugby player, said the prize was a first for the firm’s 23-year-old head brewer Ben Smith and all the sweeter because it was a blind test.

He said: “It makes it even better because it has nothing to do with the reputation or the branding. It was just down to what people thought of the beer.”

The brewery was founded in 1998 by Mr Lewitt’s father Jerry and also won the 2009 prize for its Darling Buds ale.

Ball Stitcher was launched two years ago to be sold at the Gilbert museum in Rugby. A traditional India Pale Ale, it is based on the strong, heavily hopped beers brewed to withstand shipping to India in the 19th century. The 5%ABV ale is made with Progress, Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops and Maris Otter and torrified wheat malts.

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Steve Heighton, of Rugby’s Camra branch, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Warwickshire Beer Company as they had to compete against nine of the other best breweries in Warwickshire. More importantly this is a public vote and so the award is not just from Camra members.

“With the Rugby World Cup approaching, the beer brewed by Ben Smith and former Northampton Saint Ben Lewitt in Cubbington is a superb example of the strong bitter style and will now go forward to regional stage and the Great British Beer Festival next year.”

Ball Stitcher is available at the Stag at Offchurch, the Moorings pub in Myton Road, the Newbold Comyn Arms and Wetherspoon’s pubs in Leamington.

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