In July and August 2017 I was very pleased to be selected as a Taste Judge for the prestigious World Beer Awards. I spent three days in Norwich, living alongside my fellow judges – a mix of national and international brewers and beer experts including Adrian Tierney-Jones, Jess Mason, Josh Rubin, Katrien Bruyland, Tim Hampson, and Will Hawkes.
The World Beer Awards began 5 years ago with around 300 entries. This year there were more than 2000 entries from all across the globe. As World Chair of Judges, Adrian Tierney-Jones, says, “it holds a mirror up to the growth of beer culture today.” And, at the final judging session – held at the Hilton Olympia in central London – it was apparent that global beer scene is a thriving, challenging and exciting environment.
There were some very worthy winners from breweries of all sizes, some very familiar to me, others somewhat less familiar. The full list of winners can be found on the results page of the World Beer Awards website, but here are some of the highlights:
World’s Best Dark Beer: Novo Brazil Brewing (USA) – Cookie Monster (12%)
World’s Best Flavoured Beer: Olgerdin Egill Skallagrimsson (Iceland) – Surtur 8.2 (14.5%)
World’s Best Lager: Familienbrauerei Bauhöfer (Germany) – Bauhöfer Ulmer Pilsener (5%)
World’s Best Pale Beer: Cameron’s Brewing Company (Canada) – Cameron’s Where the Buffalo Roam Barleywine (11.2%)
World’s Best Sour Beer: Rügener Insel-Brauerei GmbH (Germany) – Rügener Insel-Brauerei Seepferd (5.6%)
World’s Best Speciality Beer: Hook Norton Brewery (UK) – Hook Norton Red Rye (4.7%)
World’s Best Stout & Porter: Hideji-Beer Brewery (Japan) – Kurikuro (9%)
World’s Best Wheat Beer: Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Glauner GmbH & Co. KG (Germany) – Alpirsbacher Weizen Hefe Hell (5.5%)
Although my body might quietly complain when being presented with yet another flight of strong beers half-way through the third day of judging, being able to taste this quality of beer is a real privilege, one overshadowed only by the honour of meeting some of the wonderful people who created it. And you can hear me talking to some of those people (Johnny Clayton from the UK’s Big Drop Brewery; Crystalla Huang from Singapore’s Red Dot Brewery; Salo Maldonado from Brazil’s O Motim Brewery; and Monty & Tyler from Canada’s White Sails Brewery) on the August 2017 edition of Fermentation Beer & Brewing Radio. Catch up here on Podomatic or via iTunes.