A sweet, roasty beer with notes of dark chocolate and forest fruits has not only been crowned the champion beer of Britain, it also shatters a longstanding myth that dark beers are best drunk in the winter.

Mighty Oak brewery's Oscar Wilde was declared the best beer in Britain at this year's Great British Beer Festival in London this week, the biggest of its kind in the UK, drawing draws about 65,000 punters to Earls Court every year.

A panel of judges led by Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide, agreed that the Maldon-brewed real ale was the "stand-out winner" among more than 3,000 contenders for its complexity, dark malts and dark fruits.

It beat out the best in seven categories that included bitters, best bitters, strong bitters, golden ales, milds, winter beers and a specialty class.

"The judges were wowed by the quality of the beer," Protz said.

Furthermore, crowning a dark beer as the best in Britain at the height of summer proves it's not just for winter anymore, he added.

"It's a remarkable victory because here we are, on a blisteringly hot day, and this beer was the clear winner over golden ales and ever paler bitters proving that a dark beer, can not only hold its own these days, but is also incredibly refreshing even though the weather is very hot."

Might Oak beers, including their Oscar Wilde, can be sampled at pubs, restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs throughout Essex where they're located, and in London, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

The silver award went to Marble brewery's Chocolate, while Salopian brewery's Shropshire Gold was awarded the bronze medal.

The beer festival comes at a time when 25 pubs close every week due to the undercutting of supermarkets and beer tax hikes have tightened the belt around sales, claims the Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMRA, which stages the annual event.

The consumer group also says that Britons pay eight times more beer tax than the French and 11 times more than Germans.

For a complete list of winners, visit http://gbbf.camra.org.uk/cbob.