British Guild of Beer writers chairman Tim Hampson and PMA contributor Roger Protz were presented with a prestigious award while they were in Belgium to judge at the Brussels Beer Challenge in Antwerp.
The Belgian Brewers’ Guild made the pair Knights of the Brewers’ Mash Staff at its most recent induction ceremony.
The Belgian Brewers’ Guild is the modern incarnation of the centuries old Guild of Brewers and today perpetuates the traditions and nobility of the brewer’s craft.
Faithful to their traditions, Belgian brewers organise a series of festivities every year to pay tribute to the man regarded as the king of beer, Gambrinus.
During these events the new knights are inducted by brewers in ceremonial black-and-red robes.
New knights are not tapped on the shoulders with a sword but with a mash staff - a 2m (6ft) long wooden paddle used by brewers to stir barley malt as it is mixed hot water prior to the beer being fermented.
Hampson said: “I never expected to be given this award, it is a great honour.
“I was in Belgium as a judge for the Brussels Beer Awards, which is a fantastic competition for more than 1,000 beers from all over the world.
“If I was wanting to advise one of this country’s new craft beer bars on drinks to stock, I’d certainly look to the winners of this competition for inspiration.
“My only disappointment is that so few British brewers take up the challenge and pit their beers against some of the world’s best.”