The 2012 Craft Brewers Conference came to a close this past Saturday, May 5th and with it the announcements of the winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup competition. Breweries from all over the globe entered beers in the international competition sponsored by the Brewers Association. The competition has been running every two years since 1996 and sees entries in every style category imaginable.
This year saw the most entries in each category, with approximately 3,921 beers entered in 95 style categories. According to the Brewers Association, this was a 17.7 percent increase over 2010.
World Beer Cup boasts the most judges of any competition (211 brewers from 27 countries, with around 67% outside the U.S.) in the world and handed out a total of 284 awards this year. It is an honor indeed to get an award from the World Beer Cup, when you consider it is an international competition and those judging were professional brewers and industry professionals, bringing a wealth of experience and professionalism to the event. Many brewers proudly display their World Beer Cup award(s) at their brewery.
The Brewers Association saw an increase in the number of entries per category, stating this year “the average number of beers entered per category was 41. The category with the most entries was American-Style India Pale Ale, with 150 entries. The second most-entered category was Imperial India Pale Ale, with 93 entries. The German-Style Sour Ale category had the fewest number of entries at 11.” They go on to say that “The 2012 World Beer Cup saw substantial growth of entries in the American-Style India Pale Ale category. Category entries grew 41.5 percent over 2010 to make it the largest category of the 2012 competition.”
In addition to style awards, the Brewers Association hands out five Champion Brewery/Brewmaster awards. This years winners were:
Small Brewing Company Category
Brauerei Michael Plank, Michael Plank
Mid-Size Brewing Company Category
Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Matthew Brynildson
Large Brewing Company Category
AB InBev, Claudio Ferro
Small Brewpub Category
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant-Media, Iron Hill Brewery Team
Large Brewpub Category
Pelican Pub & Brewery, Darron R S Welch
Not about to go unnoticed, Texas came in big with Houston’s Saint Arnold’s Brewing Co taking home a silver for their Pumpkinator in the Pumkin Beer category, as well as a bronze for Santo in the American Style-Dark Lager category and a silver for Endeavor in the Imperial IPA category. Austin newcomer Hops and Grain took home a gold medal in the German Style Brown Ale category the for their ‘Alt-Eration and proving they still have what it takes, Austin’s Live Oak Brewing took home a silver in the South German-Style Weizenbock category. Shiner based Spoetzel Brewery Brought home a silver for their flagship beer ‘Shiner Bock’ in the American Style-Dark Lager category
With all of the competition in the World Beer Cup, the odds were stacked against the breweries of Texas, a state long known for being the second largest in overall beer consumption and only 48th in craft beer. Clearly the rest of the world is seeing what we in Texas already know: Texas is on the rise, the rest of the world beware. It was incredible to witness my first World Beer Cup. To hear the judges talk of all the great beers submitted and to see the increased participation was phenomenal.
Alas, there’s one result that that caught my eye. Seasonal favorite Bigfoot, from Sierra Nevada Brewing, took home a silver in the Imperial Red Ale category. Bigfoot has long been known as a Barelywine both by Sierra Nevada and the rest of us. Past medals for Bigfoot in the California State Fair, Great American Beer Festival and Great Alaska Beer & Barleywine Festival, were all in the Barleywine category. But the judging at the World Beer Cup works a little different “…Judging is blind, with no brand knowledge of any kind provided to judges. Beer entries are judged solely on their merits.” said the Brewers Association. Barleywine’s can have some similarities to an imperial version of an Irish Red, showing that being smart about what category your beer is entered in can make a difference.
For a complete listing of winners, visit the World Beer Cup page.
A great World Beer Cup it was this year. See you in two years in Denver!