GLASSES are being raised in celebration this week at the Green Jack Brewery in Lowestoft after one of its beers won a coveted national accolade – and came close to being voted the top ale in Britain.

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Green Jack’s beer Trawlerboys secured a gold award after winning the Best Bitter category at the Great British Beer Festival in London, the country’s biggest annual get-together of brewers and real ale enthusiasts.

The beer then went forward for the overall prize – with the Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) title at stake.

After final tasting tests, Trawlerboys was voted the runner-up and took the silver medal – pipped to the first prestigious prize by No.9 Barley Wine from the Coniston Brewery in Cumbria.

Despite missing out on the overall title, Green Jack’s owner Tim Dunford said he was delighted that Trawlerboys – a full-bodied, copper coloured premium bitter with an ABV of 4.6pc – had won such high acclaim.

The bitter impressed local tasting panels and won its way through regional heats before coming up against leading brews from across the country in the finals, held at the festival in Olympia on Tuesday. There it was sampled by a panel of experts assembled by the Campaign for Real Ale which organises the annual event.

Mr Dunford paid tribute to the work of head brewer Daron Fowle and his team in making such a great-tasting ale.

“It is always great to get this kind of recognition for our beers,” he said. “Our barley wine Ripper took the overall bronze medal five years ago, so we’re getting closer to the gold. Perhaps next time...”

Mr Dunford said Trawlerboys, which is available on cask and in bottles, was one of Green Jack’s most popular beers. It was one of the first new ales made after it moved to its new base in Love Road three years ago – right next to Crown Meadow, the home of Lowestoft Town FC, whose nickname is, of course, the Trawlerboys.

The beer’s pump-clip features Lowestoft-built stern trawler the Boston Sea Stallion.

East Anglia completed a full set of medals at the festival, with Nethergate, based at Pentlow, near Sudbury, winning bronze in the Speciality category with its Umbel Magna dark coriander beer, and the Milton Brewery, from Milton, near Cambridge, sharing a joint bronze in the Best Bitter category with Pegasus.

The festival continues until Saturday.

● For more information on Green Jack and its beers, visit: www.green-jack.com

For more information on the Campaign for Real Ale, visit: www.camra.org.uk

The full results from the festival were:

Overall winners-

Gold- Coniston, No.9 Barley Wine (from Coniston, Cumbria)

Silver- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)

Bronze- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)

Mild category-

Gold- Rudgate, Ruby Mild (from York, North Yorkshire)

Silver- Hobsons, Hobsons Mild (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)

Bronze- Son of Sid, Muckcart Mild (from Little Gransden, Bedfordshire)

Bitters-

Gold- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (from Porthmadog, Gwynedd)

Silver- Tintagel, Castle Gold (from Tintagel, Cornwall)

Joint Bronze- Flowerpots, Bitter (from Cheriton, Hampshire)

Joint Bronze- Fuller’s, Gale’s Seafarers Ale (from London, W4)

Joint Bronze- Salopian, Shropshire Gold (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

Best Bitters-

Gold- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)

Silver, Salopian, Hop Twister (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

Joint Bronze- Oakwell, Senior Bitter (from Barnsley, South Yorkshire)

Joint Bronze- Milton, Pegasus (from Milton, Cambridgeshire)

Golden Ales-

Gold- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)

Silver- Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Langdale (from Hawkshead, Cumbria)

Bronze- Hobsons, Town Crier (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)

Strong Bitters-

Gold- Dark Star, Festival (from Horsham, West Sussex)

Silver- O’Hanlon’s, Stormstay (from Whimple, Devon)

Bronze- Highland, Orkney IPA (from Swannay, Orkney)

Speciality Beers-

Gold- Dunham Massey, Chocolate Cherry Mild (from Dunham Massey, Gtr Manchester)

Silver- Little Valley, Hebden’s Wheat (from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire)

Bronze- Nethergate, Umbel Magna (from Pentlow, Essex)

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2012)-

Coniston, No.9 Barley Wine (from Coniston, Cumbria)

Hammerpot, Bottle Wreck Porter (from Poling, West Sussex)

Cairngorm, Black Gold (from Aviemore, Highlands)

Driftwood, Alfie’s Revenge (from St Agnes, Cornwall)

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners-

Gold- Stewart, Embra (from Loanhead, Midlothian)

Silver- Great Gable, Yewbarrow (from Egremont, Cumbria)

Bronze- Molson Coors, Worthington’s White Shield (from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire)

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