Wales and the west take on London at Imbibe Live in The Lager Challenge

Wales and the South West will take on London in the finals of The Lager Challenge on 2 July 2018, the first day of Imbibe Live at Olympia London.

The five finalists – Geipel from North Wales and the Bristol outpost of Zero Degrees, plus Fourpure, Redchurch and Coalition from London – will pitch for the audience’s vote in the Beer & Cider Hub.

The final sees New Wave British lagers face up against more traditional European styles, all chasing the prize of a seasonal listing in a selection of M&B’s leading pubs.

The competition is run by Imbibe in association with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Round 1 was held at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre, as a prelude to SIBA’s annual Beer X conference, and attracted a record entry.

“The huge number of entries we received this year from independent craft brewers shows quality lager is here to stay, and I’d like to personally offer huge congratulations to the skilled brewers named as finalists.” said SIBA’s Neil Walker.

More tricky to brew than popular perception would have you believe, not all the entrants nailed the style. “Some beers lacked yeast character and a sense of true lagering, that is, ageing,” said chair of judges, Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick.

The idea behind the competition is not only to celebrate excellence, but also to share with the Imbibe Live audience the ideas behind and the challenges associated with brewing quality beer. “I think everyone can benefit from attending a final like this,” said Nathan Price of M&B’s The Shipping Forecast in Liverpool. “Finding out the winner will be interesting in such a tight final. I will definitely be attending.”

Imbibe Live Beer Ambassador Mitch Adams, of Borough Wines & Beers, will MC the final. “The first round was tough with some great beers narrowly missing out,” he said. “We have emerged with a vibrant raft of beers showing the diversity of British brewing and clearly highlighting the demand for flavoursome lagers.”

So, who will win? Will it be the fledgling Coalition Brewing, just two years old, with its take on a classic pilsner? Or Fourpure’s Indy Lager, in the style of a traditional Germany Helles? Redchurch entered its Brick Lane Lager, one of its original creations, while Geipel won through with its toffee and caramel-infused Bock. Finally, the veteran of the finalists, the Zerodegrees group, called on Bristol for its entry, the easy-drinking, well-balanced Bohemian.

“This is an excellent shortlist of quality British lagers,” said Bundobust’s Marco Husak.

All finalists’ beers will be available for the duration of Imbibe Live at the show’s popular Hop & Apple Bar
For more on the five finalists, check out the Summer issue of Imbibe, due out in June.

Further information:

1. Imbibe Live, the leading exhibition for on-trade drinks professionals in pubs and bars, restaurants and hotels, takes place at Olympia London on 2-3 July and covers the entire spectrum of drinks categories.
Visitor registration will open shortly at
2. With over 850 members, SIBA represents the independent UK brewing sector.
3. The Hop & Apple Bar, where all entrants’ beers can be tasted, is where boutique producers showcase their beers and ciders alongside the Beer & Cider Hub, with its roster of tasting masterclasses.
4. The winner of The Lager Challenge will secure a seasonal listing with a selection of M&B’s leading pubs.
5. Launched in March 2007, Imbibe magazine has rapidly become the UK’s leading magazine for on-trade drinks professionals working in premium UK establishments. Imbibe is a quarterly magazine, with more than 20,000 drinks buyers and servers in the UK receiving a copy. Members of the UK on-trade can subscribe at  Copies are available upon request.
6. Further information and images available from Amy Seabrook, marketing manager,, 020 8910 7857.

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