Champion Winter Beer of Britain

Lacon’s Audit Ale has been crowned Champion Winter Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival Winter in Norwich.

After over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats leading up to the finals, CAMRA has announced that Lacons Audit Ale is the winner of the Best Winter Beer of Britain at The Halls, Norwich on Tuesday 19 February 2019.

The 8% barley wine was crowned Champion at the winter festival, organised by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) in association with the Norwich & Norfolk Branch.  The Festival continues to run until Saturday 23 February where ales from the competition finalists are available to sample, together with many other beers of every season, shade and style including golden beers, ciders and world beers.

Festival Organiser, Martin Ward, commented

“The CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain is one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world. It is the ultimate honour for UK brewers and has helped put many into the national spotlight.  Lacons’ Audit Ale is a very worthy winner of one of CAMRA’s highest accolades.

The barley wine was crowned the Winter Champion over a host of other finalists in four different beer categories (barley wine & strong old ales, old ales & strong milds, porters and stouts), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.

This year’s overall runner up went to Calverley’s Porter, while Old Engine Oil by Harviestoun took home the Bronze award.

The beers have already won many local and regional heats in order to be presented for the national award, so judges are able to ensure a consistent standard of quality in all of the beers in the competition.

Nick Boley, CAMRA’s National Director responsible for the competition, commented on the winning ale, Lacons Audit Ale,

“We were very impressed with the standard and quality this year.  The champion Audit Ale is a very worthy winner and was described by judges as incredibly well-rounded, with not a harsh bone in its body and the perfect balance of flavour.’

Following over a year of local tasting panels and regional heats, Audit Ale impressed judges for its enticing aroma of marmalade and peach. It was described as “packed with berry fruits and spices”.

Only available on limited release, Audit Ale was named after a number of Cambridge and Oxford University colleges celebrated the end of their annual audits with the special brew. By popular demand, it was exported to the USA in champagne-style bottles from 1937.

Ian Stamp, Chairman of Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA added

‘This is a big year for us, being the third and final year of hosting the awards and the winter festival, with over 7,500 in our first year and over 10,000 attendees last year and more expected to attend this year – with the CAMRA festival moving to Birmingham, West Midlands Region – New Bingley Hall – in 2020.’

Ian added, “We can all raise a glass to the fantastic team of volunteers, brewers and judges here in Norwich, as well as the Fringe Festival host publicans, for launching the 2019 Great British Beer Festival Winter in style.”

Ian also wishes to remind winter-beer lovers that they may taste the award-winning beers in Blackfriars’ Hall this week, until the festival closes on Saturday 23 February at 10.30pm, stocks permitting.  Entrance is by advance-ticket or payment on the door.

Martin, Festival Organiser, has added that the beers available in St Andrew’s Hall are a selection of shades and styles, from gold summer beers to the darker winter ales, so there is something to please everyone.  Should you wish to make your selection from the online beer listing, it can be found here – – it shows beers coming soon, currently available and those which have sadly sold out, so do hurry along.

The CAMRA Great British Beer Festival Winter runs from starts on Tuesday 19 February with the competition following by the CAMRA preview evening, then runs from 20-23 February 2019 at The Halls (St Andrew’s and Blackfriars’ medieval friary halls) in Norwich – the home of the popular Norwich CAMRA Beer Festival which takes please each October.  The winter festival has run in Norwich for three consecutive years, 2019 being the third and final year.  There is a range of hot and cold food offered daily with live entertainment at The Halls from Thursday evening with more live bands on Friday and Saturday lunchtimes and evenings.  See the website for more information.

Here are the CAMRA Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2019 winners

Champion Winter Beer of Britain winners

Overall Winners

Gold – Lacons’ Brewery Audit Ale

Silver – Calverley’s Porter

Bronze – Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil


Barley Wine Strong Old Ales

Gold – Lacons’ Audit Ale

Silver – Tring Death or Glory

Bronze – Robinson’s Old Tom


Old Age Strong Milds

Gold – Tintagel Excalibur

Silver – Harvey’s Old Ale

Bronze – Brampton Mild



Gold – Calverley’s Porter

Silver – Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

Bronze – Dancing Duck Indian Porter



Gold – Plain Ales Inncognito

Silver – Dark Star Imperial Stout

Bronze – Cairngorn, Black Gold

The Champion Winter Beer of Britain (known affectionately as CW Bob) is a national CAMRA competition, held each year at the Winter Festival, and moves around the country to different CAMRA locations along with the festival.

The winners of each category were announced on the first day of the festival (19 February 2019), as the judging takes place in the Festival Halls in the early afternoon of the first day. The overall winners are then chosen and the overall winner is crowned and the results are announced at the start of the Trade Session just after 3pm.  The beers remain available throughout the week, until they are all drunk!  The last cask of the overall winning beer – Lacons Audit Ale, was opened by Head Brewer Wil Wood on Saturday 22 February in Blackfriars Hall.

Nick Boley is the CAMRA National Director Responsible for the competition.

Judging commenced over a year ago in regional and county rounds until the final shortlist of winners became announced and these winning finalists were the contenders for each category of the competition and contenders for the overall winner of the competition.

For more information about the competition, please click here.

For details of previous year’s winners, please select here.


Newsletter Sign Up
By providing your personal data you are agreeing for CAMRA to use it as detailed in our Privacy Policy at You will be contacted about matters related to CAMRA and festivals. Your data will not be passed to any third parties. If at any time you wish to stop receiving communications please use the link in the email entitled - unsubscribe

Headline Sponsors

Media Partner