Snowflake is winter champion

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Snowflake is winter champion

Sarah Hughes brewery’s Snowflake has been crowned Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2024 at the Great British Beer Festival Winter. 

The Champion Winter Beer of Britain (CWBOB) competition marks the first day of the festival, which is running until 17 February at Burton Town Hall, Burton-upon-Trent. 

After more than a year of local blind-tasting panels and regional heats, Snowflake (8 per cent ABV) an amber barley wine from Sedgley, West Midlands-based brewer Sarah Hughes, was named overall champion. 

Chair of the CWBOB judging panel Christine Cryne described the beer as: “A beautiful amber barley wine. The fruity, slightly spiced nose invited the drinker to indulge. The rich, smooth, sweet palate had orange spicy notes balanced by a growing bitterness, leading to a spicy dry bitterness. Remarkably moreish.”  

“The judges were impressed with the quality of the beers in the final and thought they all had something to say.” 

Sarah Hughes director Simon Massey said: “This is fantastic news! Quality is what we strive for, and it is all down to the brilliant team which works in the brewery and the pub. This batch of Snowflake was brewed in September and sold out in two weeks over the Christmas period. We always put it out at the start of the Dudley Winter Ales Festival, where it sold out there too.  

“I am very proud for my head brewer Ricky Follos. This is a massive achievement, and he should be very chuffed. The hard work really has paid off! 

“The brewery closed in the mid-1950s, but my uncle, John Hughes, reinstated it in 1987. He had a vision of what it could be, and I hope this award makes Sarah Hughes brewery and the Beacons Hotel pub a must-visit destination in the Black Country.” 

The joint runners up were Elland brewery’s 1872 Porter (6.5 per cent) and Muirhouse brewery’s Magnum Mild (4.5 per cent).  

CAMRA’s awards director Laura Emson said: “Congratulations to Sarah Hughes brewery on its well-deserved win, Snowflake is an incredible example of a barley wine. Each year, judging this competition gets harder and harder as the quality beer produced by UK brewers continues to astound us.  

“This year’s runner up and last year’s CWBOB winner, Elland brewery’s 1872 Porter, went on to clinch the celebrated Champion Beer of Britain 2023 award as well. It was deeply upsetting to hear that this multi-award-winning brewery is now facing liquidation, just six months after claiming CAMRA’s top prize. The pub, brewing and cider making industries are in turmoil and unless government offers meaningful support to the sector in the upcoming Spring Budget, the UK risks losing many more of its talented brewers. 

“I want to thank the hardworking volunteers and judges who have made the festival and the Champion Winter Beer of Britain possible. Congratulations once again to Sarah Hughes brewery and all our fantastic category winners. I wish them all the best of luck in the overall Champion Beer of Britain 2024 competition.” 

This year’s Gold and Joint Silver award winners will be available at the Great British Beer Festival Winter this week while stocks last. 

The category winners from the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition will be entered into the overall Champion Beer of Britain competition later this year. 

Who won what:





Overall Winners 

Sarah Hughes - Snowflake 

Joint Silver 

Elland – 1872 Porter 

Muirhouse – Magnum Mild 



Brown Ales, Red Ales, Old Ales and Strong Milds 

Muirhouse – Magnum Mild 

Windswept Brewing Co - Wolf 

Tiny Rebel Brewing - Cwtch 

Session Stouts and Porters 

Lancaster – Lancaster Black 

Church End – Stout Coffin 

Cullercoats – Polly Donkin Oatmeal Stout 

Strong Stouts and Porters 

Joint Gold 

Elland – 1872 Porter 

Green Jack – Baltic Porter 


Longdog – Lamplight Porter 

Barley Wines and Strong Ales 

Sarah Hughes - Snowflake 

Moor Beer Co – Old Freddy Walker 

Green Jack - Ripper 

Speciality, Differently Produced 

Chapter Brewing – Dead Man’s Fist 

Cromarty Brewing – Red Rocker 

Treen’s - Smoulder 

Speciality, Differently Flavoured 

Purple Moose - Elderflower Ale (Cwrw Ysagwen) 

Cerne Abbas - Gurt Coconuts Rum Stout 

Enville - Ginger 

 Pictured from left: Laura Emson, Simon Massey and national chairman Nik Antona.


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