A small brewery in an old brickworks near Horsham has won a national award with a beer style started 10,000 years ago.
The Indie Beer Can Festival is a national competition that celebrates craft beer in cans. Brewers can enter their beers, despite not yet having canned them, and the finalists win the chance to have their brews canned for the final.
Fireweisse by Firebird Brewing, based at the old brickworks at Lynwick Street, Rudgwick, was chosen as a category winner for Best Other category, also known as speciality beer, from 131 entries, from which 13 were chosen as finalists.
A spokesman for Firebird Brewing said: “We entered the Indie Beer Can Festival because we thought it was a challenge, and we love that, and also because, as far as we know, no craft brewer has ever canned Weissbier and we thought that was cool! We’re excited about cans because they are a phenomenon in craft beer, and we want to be part of it”
Weissbier, or white beer, is popular in Germany but is believed to have been first brewed by Stone Age people about 10,000 years ago in what is now Iraq.
The event saw UK and Eire’s leading indie brewers gather together to champion the hottest trend in the independent beer market: cans. The market has grown from four brands in can two years ago to more than 100 and based on the success of the event, this growth is set to continue.
An expert taste-judging panel included industry experts Adrian Tierney-Jones and Annabel Smith, Ben Hume, then beer buyer for Lidl, now head of wine for Lidl Intl, as well as Martin Constable, chairman of the Can Makers.
Mr Constable said: “Two years ago there were only a handful of UK craft beers available in can. We couldn’t be prouder that this festival has supported such incredible and positive market growth. We’d like to congratulate all the entrants and finalists who have done an amazing job showcasing indie beers in cans.”