Charles Wells of Bedford recently joined forces with Youngs of London to form the Wells and Youngs Brewing Company. This followed the closure of the historic Youngs brewery, the beers now being brewed (very well) at Bedford. Wells and Youngs have now announced the purchase of the Courage ale brands from Scottish and Newcastle. This means that Courage Best and Directors, brewed at Tadcaster since closure of their Bristol home, will be produced at Bedford henceforth. Given S&N's lack of interest in real ale this is very good news and will give a shot in the arm to these well-known brands (and beer quality should improve as well).

Congratulations to the Green Jack brewery from Lowestoft, Suffolk who have carried off the 2007 Champion Winter Beer of Britain award with their Ripper barley wine. The 8.5% beer is brewed very much in the Belgian style, with distinctly sweet notes amongst the strong hoppiness. Second place went to Fullers London Porter and third to the fearsome Skullsplitter from Orkney Brewery. Another local brewery, B & T from Bedfordshire got gold in the Old Ales and Strong Mild category with Black Dragon Mild.