HOMEGROWN beer-based businesses are the toast of the town following Stratford’s recent food festival.
Stratford Alehouse and the Stratford Upon Avon Brewery came out tops in the popular Ale Trail at the festival.
The Ale Trail was one of the highlights of the Stratforward-organised festival – which took place last month – attracting more than 80,000 people.
Over the two-day event 250 real ale fans took part in the Trail, which allowed them to sample beers from 13 pubs, bars and restaurants across the town. They were then asked to vote for their favourite sample ale across the weekend.
They backed two local businesses by declaring Stratford Upon Avon Brewery’s Louis’s Pale Ale – served up at The Stratford Alehouse in Greenhill Street – as their Ale of the Trail. It is the second year running that The Alehouse has won the accolade.
Alehouse owner Bill O’Brien said: “We’re really thrilled to win the Ale of the Trail for the second year running.
“We’d also like to pay tribute to all those discerning beer drinkers who voted for us, and Stratford upon Avon Brewery for supplying the champion brew.”
Stratford’s resident beer experts from Shakespeare CAMRA were also on hand at the festival to choose the winner of the Experts Choice Award.
After sampling a total of 20 beers over the two days, they declared Stratford Upon Avon Brewery’s Stratford Gold, served at The Bear Freehouse on Swans Nest Lane, the top beer of the weekend.
In equal second place were: the public’s choice of Stratford upon Avon Brewery’s Louis’s Pale Ale from the Stratford Alehouse; Greene King’s Mighty Moose and Greene King’s Frankenstein, both launched at the Dirty Duck on Waterside specially for the festival; and Theakston’s Infallible from the Keys and Kitchen in Ely Street.
Shakespeare CAMRA spokesman Phil Mills said Stratford Brewery’s victory in the People’s Choice award was “great news” for the brewery after just two years in business.
He said: “There were a few ales available on the trail last weekend which are generally not regular offerings in the local pubs, such as the Greene King speciality ales at the Dirty Duck, which gave some variety to the offerings.
“That said, it is great to know that the Experts Choice and the People’s Choice are both ales which are available regularly in pubs in and around Stratford, so we can get to enjoy them again all year round.”