Ludlow Spring Festival

Barrels of Fun, Feasting, Live Music and Motors

Know your beers...

SIBA Cask Categories 2022 -
a guide

The categories for SIBA beer competitions have changed in 2022 to reflect the changes taking place in the brewing industry - long gone are days of Mild and Bitter being the only styles available on a bar!

Innovation, both home-grown and inspired by brewers in different countries, means that there are now a bewildering number of styles available to UK drinkers, and at SIBA, we’ve condensed all of these into 10 recognisable groups, which you’ll find around the Festival Pub. Each category is judged, and award winners from each category. The very best from each category have then been judged against each other to find the Regional Champion, and winner of the Peter Amor Trophy - spot the brewer behind the bar with a bigger than usual grin!

SESSION DARK BEERS - darker styles of beer, including Milds, Old Ales, Stouts, Porters and dark bitters, up to 4.4% abv. [A great place to start your beer odyssey]

BRITISH DARK BEERS -  as per Session Dark beers, but with a bit more poke! Strengths of between 4.5% and 6.4% abv

BRITISH BITTERS - the more traditional side of British brewing, including Bitters, Blonde Ales, Golden Ales and Light Milds, up to 4.4% abv [Another great place to start!]

BRITISH BEST BITTERS - Best Bitters, Pale Ales, Golden Ales, Premium Bitters and ESBs, amongst others, between 4.5% and 6.4% abv

SESSSION PALE ALES - if you like your beers more aromatic than bitter, then this is place for you - hop forward styles of Blonde, Golden and Pale Ales, including Session IPAs, American Pale Ales, NEIPAs and so on, and maybe an occasional oxymoronic Black IPA! All under 4.4% abv, so lots of flavour and also a great place to start.

PALE ALES - again, think more hop forward beers, showcasing not just UK varieties but also some of the vivid flavours and aromas from New World hops. Think APAs, New World IPAs, DDHs (Double Dry Hopped beers, for those not yet in the know!), and remember, these can also be any colour. 4.5 - 5.4% abv

IPAs - India Pale Ales - originally a British Speciality of strong, hop dominant ales, these styles now include American, NZ, New England (usually hazy), Double, Triple and Imperial varieties. These beers will exhibit plenty of hop character, a strong hop aroma, and plenty of flavour from the 5.5%abv and above - these beers could be any colour.

SPECIALITY LIGHT BEERS & SPECIALITY AMBER TO DARK BEERS - these are classes where a brewer’s imagination comes to the fore. These can be beers of any strength, and any colour (but we split this to make it easier for the judges!), and will include one or more speciality ingredients, be they fruits, spices, honey, chocolate, coffee and so on, or have a special process involved which imparts flavours, such smoking or wood aging. Prepare for the unexpected!

IMPERIAL & STRONG ALES - this category covers all beers over 6.5% abv which are not IPAs or Speciality beers, so includes Barley Wines, Baltic Porters, Imperial Stouts, Strong Old Ales and Stock Ales. There are no limits on colour, but expect powerful flavours and a need to savour these!

We also have a small selection of keg beers from across the Region - these could be any style or strength, including beers which wouldn’t normally fit into the cask categories above. Keg beers are served under pressure, via a cooler, so these beers will be colder and fizzier than their naturally carbonated cask brethren, and have different flavour profiles because of this. Expect anything from lagers and pilsners to hazy IPAs and maybe a nitro-Stout!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask the bar staff - these are the brewers who have created these beers, so hopefully we can find the answers you seek!



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