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Castle Rock pub regulars across the East Midlands and Yorkshire have chosen Kelham Island Pale Rider as their favourite real ale for 2010. In Castle Rock’s beer of the year competition, voters overwhelmingly put the Sheffield brewed ale in top place. Last year’s winner, Summer Lightning from Hopback Brewery was second and joint third was Ossett Brewery’s Silver King and Batemans Victory ale.

Colin Wilde, Castle Rock’s commercial director, says, “It was an interesting vote this year with Pale Rider the clear favourite; but only a hairsbreadth separating the next three places. So close was the call that we had to give a joint third place for the first time in the 12 years of the competition.”

Voting in Castle Rock’s 20 pubs was conducted through the Autumn with regulars putting forward their favourites from many hundreds of real ales available through the year.

(l-r) Chris Holmes, chairman, Castle Rock Brewery toasts winners, Dave Wickett of Kelham Island, Liz Wright and Greig Futcher of Hop Back Brewery, Iain Kenny, and joint runners up Mike Inman, Ossett Brewery and Stuart Bateman of Batemans.

Kelham Island’s, Dave Wickett said: “To be voted the beer of the year by customers for a brewery which is the current Champion Brewery of Britain is an amazing honour. That the award reflects not industry, but customers’, votes is very satisfying and our brewers consider this to be one of the best awards we’ve ever won.”

Similar sentiments came from Mike Inham at Ossett Brewery: “Castle Rock and their wonderful managers are great supporters of us at Ossett Brewery. To win this award where it’s the customers who vote for you makes the award that bit more special.”

Castle Rock’s Chris Holmes and Charlie Blomeley with Mike and John Harman of HarmanBuild and Titanic Brewery’s Keith Bott.

Colin Wilde says, “As this remains the only regional poll of its kind in the UK, it’s refreshing that interest gathers pace each year. More customers take part, more hopeful brewers attend the awards ceremony and more real ales are enjoyed. I’m always have to make the point that all our Castle Rock beers are excluded from the competition to remove any hint of in-house bias.”

Castle Rock’s industry awards for the brewer of the year and the year’s best supplier are chosen by Castle Rock staff. The brewer’s award went to Titanic Brewery for ‘outstanding choice and consistent quality’ with HarmanBuild winning in the service industry category for ‘consistent quality and value’.

The award ceremony was held at the Canalhouse on the city’s Canal Street on Tuesday 9 November 2010.