New Sunderland beer triumphs at prestigious awards ceremony

From left head brewer, Glen Whale and owner Mark Anderson toast Raspberry Porter's success.
From left head brewer, Glen Whale and owner Mark Anderson toast Raspberry Porter's success.

A new beer is the toast of its brewery after earning its first award at a prestigious ceremony.

Raspberry Porter, produced by Sunderland's Maxim Brewery, was voted the best cask speciality mid to dark beer at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) North East Independent Beer Awards.

The five per cent creation beat off challengers from breweries in an area stretching from Northumberland down to Yorkshire and Humberside.

It now qualifies for the national SIBA finals in Liverpool in March next year.

Speaking after the awards ceremony in York, Maxim Brewery managing director Mark Anderson said: "It's a tribute to our brewing team and, in particular, head brewer Glen Whale."

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Glen created Raspberry Porter late last year and it has already proved popular when served as a cask beer in the region's pubs.

Mr Anderson, who founded the brewery following the demise of Sunderland's landmark Vaux Breweries in 1999, said: "It is something we are still drip feeding out every now and then to test the market with.

"The last time we produced it flew out and sold out within a fortnight.

"If it carries on as well then we will look at making it in bottles."

After failing in a managerial buyout, Vaux finance director Mr Anderson and brewery colleagues began buying up its stronger brands and launched what was initially called the Double Maxim Brewery Company.

It moved from Sunderland Enterprise Park to its current home at Rainton Bridge, near Houghton, in 2007.

The brewery is hoping Raspberry Porter, chosen after "blind" taste testing from SIBA judges, will go one step further than two of its mainstay beers.

At this year's national finals, Maxim Brewery favourite Samson was runner-up in the standard mild and pale ales contest.

Maximus, the younger but stronger big brother of the brewery's most famous brew, Double Maxim, also clinched silver in the best strong beers in the bottle section.