The popularity of beer today is astronomical. Virtually every country on the planet produces some. It’s estimated there are over 15,000 breweries worldwide. Created in everything from large, commercial operations to small micro-breweries, there are so many different styles produced that the beer enthusiast would have a hard time exhausting the selection. That’s why beer lovers the world over delight in this satisfying, food-friendly, versatile beverage.
Well, if you like beer, then you’ll be interested in the World Beer Awards, an annual international competition choosing the best brews in individual categories and styles from around the globe. We’re talking the best of the best here. This is the Oscars of beer competitions. Judging is done by an international panel including brewmasters, journalists and other beer experts. All judging is done blind with regional style sub-competitions in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, usually in June. Each region has its own judges and together they select the winners in their particular regional style. Then in July style winners from all regions tee off against each other for the World’s Best by category. Winners are announced at the end of September.
Beers are judged on appearance/condition, aroma, complexity, flavour, balance, character, mouth feel, finish, and overall quality. This is not unlike judging wine.
Needless to say, an award in this competition among the world’s best is a highly regarded salute to brewing and a great marketing tool for producers. The results of the 2014 World Beer Awards are out and, as might be expected, Canada is no slouch in its wins.
In the dark beer category the best Belgian style dubbel went to Belgh Brasse Mons Dubbel; d’Abbaye and best vintage was taken by Unibroue 17 Grande Reserve.
The flavoured beer category garnered Canada two awards: best experimental flavoured to Moosehead Moose Light Radler and best wood aged to À La Fût Tripe À Trois Brett.
Canada took three awards in the lager category. Les Trois Mousquetaires Série Signature Maibock won for best seasonal lager, Great Western Light took home best light carb lager and Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Doppelbock garnered best doppelbock.
There were numerous winners for Canada in the pale beer category. Best Belgian style strong was taken by Brasseurs Du Monde Assoiffé 12, best barley wine by Brasseurs Du Monde Ale De Hardy, best Belgian style blonde by Unibroue Blonde De Chambly, best Belgian style tripel by Unibroue La Fin Du Monde, best biere de garde/saison by Le Trou Du Diable La Saison Du Tracteur, best pale ale by Le Trou Du Diable Mactavish In Memoriam, and best IPA by Le Trou Du Diable La Morsure.
We also did well in the Sour Beer category garnering four awards. We took Best German Style with two: À La Fût Cowsûre 4.0 and Les Trois Mousquetaires Hors Série Gose and Best Kriek with two: À La Fût Co-Hop V and Le Trou Du Diable Le Coq – Brassin Special.
In the specialty beer category we won two in the best experimental sub-category for Blanche Du Mur and Brasseurs Du Monde Vielle Brune.
We cleaned up in the Stout and Porter category with four awards. Best porter went to Brasseurs Du Monde Big Ben Porter, best strong porter to Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique, best stout to Le Trou Du Diable Le Sang D’encre and best sweet/milk stout to Brasseurs Du Monde Exploité.
Finally, in the wheat beer category, we won best Belgian style witbier for Belgh Brasse Mons Witte d’Abbaye.
Not a bad haul when you consider that these brews were up against the best in their categories from around the world! Now the key is to get out and try them. Full results are at worldbeerawards.com.