Spitalfields appoints beer lover in historic position of ceremonial Ale Taster
THE battle for the title of London Ale Taster 2010 reached its climax in a blind tasting event at Spitalfields Market last week Judges say the competition was tough, but 48-year-old chartered accountant Steve Williams took the coveted crown in front of th
THE battle for the title of London Ale Taster 2010 reached its climax in a blind tasting event at Spitalfields Market last week
Judges say the competition was tough, but 48-year-old chartered accountant Steve Williams took the coveted crown in front of the crowd.
Each of the six short-listed contestants faced four rounds of 'blind' tastings in which they had to match four named beers to four samples.
Each of the rounds covered a beer style, starting with porters and stouts, premium bitters, pale ales and finally a mixed round that included locally-produced lagers and blonde beers.
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The new London Ale Taster stepped off the City treadmill in 2003 to enjoy life a bit more.
He now works as an accountant part time, is a Justice of the Peace and was CAMRA's (the Campaign for Real Ale) regional director for London from 2004 to 2009.
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He said: "I am delighted to be the winner of this coveted role. The judges decided that my passion for beer was the deciding factor and I will do my best to make sure I live up to the title of London Ale Taster."
The five other contestants were Christine Green, Nancy Rundhammer, Tom Harman, Daniel Durban and Jane Peyton, all from London.
The fifth and final round saw each contestant make a one minute presentation to a panel of judges which included beer writer and historian Pete Brown, mater brewer Steve Wellington, TV 'Beer Doctor George Philliskirk and Spitalfields Market boss Malcolm Ball.
Malcolm said: "I'd like to congratulate Steve on winning the 2010 London Ale Taster competition. I know that the blind tasting rounds were closely contested, but his presentation to our judging panel was outstanding.
"He managed to somehow shoe-horn all of his passion and enthusiasm for the subject of beer into a one minute presentation.
"Steve, or should I say, The London Ale Taster, will be given a weekly beer budget so that he can carry out the role of 'mystery drinker' in the capital's pubs.
"We'll shortly be setting him up with a blog so that he can report back to consumers on what he finds on his travels."
Spitalfields Market is planning beer tasting classes, food and beer matching sessions and the launch of a new beer called Old Spitalfields Bitter this year.
More information and Steve's blog can be found at www.londonaletaster.co.uk