I've mentioned on here a few times that I am a fan of the Castle Rock chain of pubs, which were previously called Tynemill. They have an excellent commitment to real ale and are comfortable drinking pubs.
I was somewhat surprised therefore to read that its customers had voted Batemans XXXB as this year's beer of the year.
XXXB isn't a bad beer but it's hardly Earth shattering. The chain sells much better beers on a regular basis, notwithstanding its own beers such as Harvest Pale and Black Gold which are both very good. Thornbridge beers are regularly seen through the pumps; Jaipur would have been a much worthier winner in my opinion.
Perhaps Castle Rock's customers aren't as discerning as I imagined, or perhaps it's me.