And the winner is … beer in all its diversity!
Within the brewing industry, Belgium boasts a prime international reputation, so what could be more legitimate than for it to host one of the world’s most influential international beer competitions? The Brussels Beer Challenge, which this year is celebrating its 11th anniversary, has just released its results at an awards ceremony which took place on Monday 21 November at the Horeco Expo exhibition in Gand.
At the beginning of November, a panel of 85 international experts gathered in Eupen to judge 1,800 beers from across the globe. The competing beers were divided into 80 categories and grouped by style, typicity and origin. The best entrants in each category were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.
In the light of the results, we can reveal the following trends:Tripel-style beers are still hugely popular, with over 100 beers entered in this category. Despite competition from 10 other countries, Belgium came away with all the medals in this category with the beers Brugge Tripel (Gold Medal) 888 Tripel Eight, Gouden Carolus Tripel (Silver Medals), Nachtraaf Tripel – Blond and De Poes (Bronze Medals). Belgian white beer is also a very popular category with 65 beers, including two Belgian winners (Hoegaarden and Blanche de Namur), an American medal recipient (Allagash White) and an Italian medal-winner (Magnolia de Birrificio Rethia).
The beer industry is no exception in the trend towards globalisation. At the first Brussels Beer Challenge in 2012, all participating beers came from 16 countries. This year, no fewer than 41 countries were represented, some of them for the first time, like Cape Verde, Turkey, India, Ecuador, Mexico and Malaysia. In terms of results, Belgium holds onto its leadership position with 82 medals (out of a total 270), followed by the Netherlands (35) and Italy (34) then the United States (25), China (16), France (15), Germany (11) and Brazil (9). Other noteworthy results included some amazing medals won by Norway, Japan, India and … Ukraine!
Two medals for Ukraine!
Despite the war and incredibly challenging living conditions, Ukrainian brewers continue to produce quality beers. The Pravda brewery came away with two awards, a gold medal in the fruit beer category with What The Fruit and a bronze medal for its smoky beer Chornobaivka.
The Gouden Carolus Whisky Infused beer won the Comac Trophy for the Best Competing Beer. The old-style Oude Gueuze Tilquin was awarded the Prik & Tik Trophy for the Best Competing Belgian Beer. Fun House by VandeStreek Bier won the NABLAB Trophy for the best alcohol-free beer. The Brewpark award for the Best French Beer was awarded to Marius Beer by the Brasserie Bisaiguë in Alsace. The Cronache di Birra award for the Best Italian Beer was awarded to the Eva beer by the Brùton brewery in Tuscany.