Michel Roux voted 'Beer Drinker of the Year 2007'

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Michel Roux voted 'Beer Drinker of the Year 2007'
Super-chef Michel Roux this year's 'Beer Drinker of the Year' and Steve Wellington, of Worthington's voted 'Brewer of the Year' - by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Super-chef Michel Roux, chef-patron of the two Michelin star Le Gavroche restaurant in London, has been named as this year's 'Beer Drinker of the Year'.

Steve Wellington, head brewer of Worthington's White Shield Brewery in Burton upon Trent, has been voted 'Brewer of the Year' - by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Steve's award for Brewer of the Year was given by the Group's Chairman, John Grogan MP, in recognition of his skill in brewing one of Britain's oldest bottle-conditioned ales, Worthington's White Shield, which in 2006 achieved the title 'Champion Bottle-Conditioned Beer of Britain.'

White Shield was first brewed in the 1820s and by 1971 it was one of only 5 bottled-conditioned beers that were still available in the UK (there are now over 800).

It has led the resurgence of interest in these live, un-pasteurised beers and it has consistently been voted as being one of the world's truly great beers.

Defiant survivor of the 1820's India Pale Ale tradition, when only the most flavoursome and highly hopped of beers endured the arduous voyage round the Cape of Good Hope to India, White Shield is bottled live and matures with age.

Like fine cask beer, bottled-conditioned White Shield boasts a small amount of William Worthington's feisty dual yeast, and will mature for at least 3 years after shipping from the nation's oldest micro-brewery in Burton on Trent.

Super-Chef Michel Roux in his acceptance speech thanked Coors Brewers for the help they had given him in establishing the first beer list ever in the history of Le Gavroche restaurant, set up by his father Albert and his uncle Michel in 1967.

Michel Roux said: "My interest in different styles of beer and in their suitability to special dishes came out of research I carried out for my book 'Matching food & wine - classic and not so classic combinations', and I became very excited by some of the rather surprising beer and food matches I discovered.

"Since then, we have held several dinners at Le Gavroche with Coors Brewers and others to seek out new pairings and many of them have been gastronomically ravishing.

"So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. This encouraged me to introduce a beer list in April 2006, which showcases unusual beers of many different styles."

John Grogan, MP for Selby and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group commented: "Not offering interesting beers in restaurants or at official and diplomatic functions reflects a snobbery which has no place in a modern Britain. Not only is beer lower in alcohol than wine, it also has over a thousand different styles from which to choose. It is time that our national drink, served lightly chilled and in attractive glassware, should gain the same sort of practical and emotional support that France gives its wines."

Steve Wellington of the Worthington White Shield brewery said:

"These inspired new beer lists show that both gastronomically and commercially it is important for Britain's restaurants to understand the potential of beer. There are beer styles now available in Britain to complement even the most demanding food, including dishes like artichokes, chocolate or sushi, which are the historic enemies of wine. The age of beer lists on every good menu is fast approaching."

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