BLACK SHEEP BITTER IS THE PEOPLE'S CHOICE AS THE NORTH EAST'S FAVOURITE CASK ALE

Black Sheep Bitter has been chosen as the top tipple in the North East region- following a 'beer election', held in local pubs across the area.

Cask Marque, which organised the awards in association with national newspaper the Daily Telegraph, accredits pubs serving the perfect pint of cask ale. The awards have the backing of organisations including the Campaign for Real Ale and the All-Part Parliamentary Beer Group.

Cask Marque Director Paul Nunny explains: 'Cask ale has regional variations on flavours due to the differing characteristics of the key ingredients of mal, hops, yeast and water. Burton beers frequently have a sulphur nose, those in East Anglia have a higher degree of bitterness, and West Country beers have malty tones. Consumers have their preferences and this competition was designed to find the most popular ales by region.'

To determine the winner, drinkers from across the region voted for their favourite cask ale at 'polling stations' inside their local Cask Marque accredited pubs, using special voting forms printed on beer mats provided ready for posting into bar-top ballot boxes.

All of the winning brewers will be invited to an awards lunch in London in May, to celebrate their success.

Paul Nunny concludes: 'This is the first year of the Best of British Beer Awards and over 2,000 pubs acted as polling stations. Six million £1-off vouchers were printed in the Daily Telegraph to encourage drinkers to visit their 'local' and cast their vote. We look forward to building on our success next year and congratulate Black Sheep Bitter as the worthy winner of the accolade of the North East's favourite cask ale.'

Black Sheep is no stranger to awards success. This year the brewery was named The Good Pub Guide's Brewery of the Year for the second year running and was the first brewery in the North of England to receive the industry quality hallmark the Cask Marque Distribution Charter Award for achieving the highest standards for storing, transporting and delivering cask beer, enabling pubs to serve the perfect pint.

Cask Marque currently has 3,800 licensees holding the Cask Marque award. These pubs are inspected at least twice a year with assessors checking the cask ales on sale for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste.

For further information about Cask Marque or Black Sheep Bitter, please visit the following sites; www.cask-marque.co.uk, www.blacksheep.co.uk

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