Thomas Hardy Ale beat 300 packaged beers to win the top prize in this year's ­International Beer Challenge, organised by The Grocer's sister publication Off Licence News.

The ale, from Devon micro­brewery O'Hanlon's, is currently sold in Majestic, Booths, Harrods and specialist off-licences. It is packaged in 25cl bottles, because of its 11.7% abv strength. Beer expert Jeff Evans, who chaired the judging panel, said: "The 2005 vintage has a pronounced aroma of pineapple, bitter orange, malt and a hint of liquorice."

Brewery owner Liz O'Hanlon said the beer was complex to produce.