This is the 11th time in 16 years that Maris Otter has been the barley of choice for the Champion Beer of Britain.
Binghams’ Vanilla Stout 5% abv from Berkshire, this year’s Champion Beer of Britain, is based on Maris Otter malt, with vanilla, dark malts and British hops added.
Chris Bingham, Owner/Brewer and MD of Binghams Brewery, comments:
“We are really keen on Maris Otter as it gives a sure foundation for our beers and the character of a base malt is important. Maris Otter has a balanced, pleasantly biscuity flavour, and is a real class act. I tell people that when blending spices for a curry, you can’t always tell which flavour comes from which ingredient, but you can certainly tell when one important flavour is absent!”
The revered barley variety was developed in the 1960s by a Dr Bell, in Maris Lane, Trumpington, Cambridgeshire. Maris Otter was developed for its taste and remains the only barley bred to provide consistency for the brewer and a wonderful spectrum of flavours which come through in the beer; and although it yields less than new barley varieties, what it does yield is extremely special. Maris Otter was saved from likely extinction in 1990 by Robin Appel of Hampshire and Banham’s of East Anglia, barley merchants with a passion for the job and with maltster customers who supply brewers across the globe.
Robin Appel comments: “The last couple of harvests in 2014 and 2015 were hugely successful for Maris Otter. They also marked a great milestone for it as, following the celebrations for its 50th anniversary back in 2015, more Maris Otter was grown in Britain last year than for the previous twenty years. Demand has been rising since from brewers not only in the UK, but also from Europe and America.
“However, the 2016 growing season has been a difficult one for many winter barley farmers. The lack of June sunshine this year has meant that yields are lower than in 2015 but quality has been far better than its more modern counterparts. The industry will have plenty of top quality Maris Otter malt from this harvest and demand remains good for planting this autumn, so when the leaves turn and an evening chill embraces us all farmers will be planting yet another season’s worth of the world’s finest malting barley. Maris Otter may be over 50 years old, but none can match the flavour or brewing characteristics of our old Champion.”
Binghams’ Vanilla Stout’s victory reinforces the flavour credentials of Maris Otter. Previous Maris Otter winners this century have been:
CHAMPION BEERS OF BRITAIN USING MARIS OTTER
Binghams’ Vanilla Stout in bottles is available at shop.binghams.co.uk.
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