Scots brewer wins UK home brew competition run by Waitrose

A Scots brewer has won a national competition run by supermarket giant Waitrose and Thornbridge Brewery to find Britain’s best home brew.

Published 27th Oct 2016
Updated 27 th Oct 2016

Phil Sisson's ‘Raindrops on Roses’ was chosen as the winner of the Home Brew Challenge 2016, with bottles set to appear in selected Waitrose shops from mid-November.

The Belgian-style wheat beer, which was created in Phil’s shed in Glasgow, is the first rose petal infused beer the supermarket has ever sold.

The unusually floral flavour profile and musical name were both inspired by Phil’s daughter Martha, 8, who is a big fan of The Sound of Music.

Currently studying an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot Watt in Edinburgh, Phil, 40, began home brewing five years ago while working as a recording studio manager in east London and recently moved to Glasgow with his family,  he says: ‘This is a huge, and completely unexpected honour for me.

"I'm absolutely flabbergasted. I've been a big admirer of Thornbridge's beers for years and it's just fantastic to have been able to impress the judges with my own creation.

"I originally brewed the beer as a present for my wife’s birthday and my daughter chose the musicial-themed name, so it’s a truly family affair. I’m really looking forward to seeing it on the shelves at Waitrose."

Phil's brew came out on top, beating out more than 200 entries from all over the UK to be chosen by an expert panel of judges including Sarah Hammond, Waitrose Beer Buyer and Alex Buchanan from Thornbridge as the final winner.

Sarah Hammond, Waitrose Beer Buyer, said: ‘“We loved the fact that we could distinguish the traditional style of beer that it's based on, and that it came with a really modern and well-judged twist.

"The palate was refreshing and full of flavour, and all the elements were really well-balanced - distinct yet not overpowering.

"A great combination of delicacy, interest and full of flavour, this is an excellent homebrew that we hope our customers will enjoy as much as we did.”

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Thornbridge’s head brewer, Rob Lovatt, said: “Phil’s beer was undoubtedly well made with the roses working in a beautiful harmony with the camomile and coriander.

"It is a worthy winner from a great selection of beers that were submitted to the competition, which goes from strength to strength each year. I enjoyed tasting Raindrops on Roses and working with Phil to recreate his beer on a larger scale and I am sure it will be very popular”.

This is the third year Waitrose is supporting the Home Brew Challenge competition. The popularity of craft beer has risen significantly in recent years, with sales increasing by 35 per cent in the last twelve months.

• Raindrops on Roses, 330ml £1.99 will be available in 70 Waitrose branches from the 14th of November.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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