Saturday, 4 February 2012

Award Winning Beer Too Strong

I don't blog very often, but when I do it's because something has really motivated me or made me very angry as in this case.

Hardknott Queboid was Awarded Bronze last night at the Siba Keg Competition at The Barrels in Hereford. Unfortunately at 8% it was deemed to be too strong to be sold to the general public.

The judges who are used to drinking all types of beer were allowed to try it during the competition. However, other brewers had to fight to be given even just a third of what is apparently an extremely strong beer. As soon as the doors were opened to the public it was removed from sale along with Stringers brewery's Mutiny which was unable to cause a Mutiny being locked away for being even stronger at 9.3%.

Good job it wasn't a strong beer or barley wine competition or even worse a wine festival or there wouldn't have been anything to drink at all.

In a way I am sorry that I was unable to attend otherwise I would have had to uplift my KeyKeg and head and sat in the back of the van drinking it from the keg.

People who know me know that I rarely drink beers of less than 7%. I do NOT drink quantity of anything. I would much prefer to sip away at a third of a strong beer than drink 3 pints of session beer. My favourite beer at the moment is Vitesse Noir which is 11% and I can drink a whole bottle of that or 2/3 if I'm in a good pub such as Port Street Beer house or The Free Trade Inn who have both had it on draught.

I also enjoy Brewdog's Tokyo* which is as much as 18% and have been known to drink the End of History in small quantities. Even at GBBF 2011 I spent the day drinking 15% beer without any I'll effects and at the National Winter Ales Festival 2012 I drank Coniston's Barley Wine no. 9. I did not get drunk.

I am angry that Siba has been responsible for the financial loss to us of sending an award winning beer to a festival and then not allowing it to be sold.

First there is the cost of the beer. Which is a hoppy 8% beer. Therefore it costs a lot of money to make in malt and hops. Secondly there is the cost of beer duty, this is also very expensive even more so due to the increase in high strength beer duty. Then is the cost of the KeyKeg. These are not cheap, about £12-£15 each. Then is the cost of transporting the beer to Hereford. After the beer had been despatched we were then asked to send a dispensing head to the Barrels so it could be served. The head cost £30-£40 and the postage cost another £10 on top of that.

As you can see it was not cheap to send this FREE beer to Hereford and it also cost a lot of man hours too. Once you start to dispense from a KeyKeg it should not be moved. Therefore in banning the serving of it Siba have wasted a lot of our time and money, which is completely unacceptable.

We have asked a friend to collect the KeyKeg of Queboid on our behalf in the hope that it may be able to be recovered and dispensed to customers who will appreciate it and who may have been refused it last night.

To those of you who tweeted that you were unable to purchase the Award winning Queboid last night in Hereford you have my apologies. I have it on good authority that there was nothing wrong with the beer. In fact it was Award winning. It was only that Siba deemed you too irresponsible to be allowed to drink it due to it's excessive strength. We will let you know where it can be tried via twitter.


  1. Has there been any update on this Ann? Did SIBA back it up with company policy or have they since apologised for their ill considered 'protection' of their customers?

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  3. Sounds good, I shall try to get hold of some Queboid. Sorry to hear that the punters could not sample it on this occasion.