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Six thoughts about the World Beer Cup awards

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By now, you’ve seen the list of World Beer Cup winners. Here are six points that resonated with me on the plane ride back from San Diego:

* The gluten-free trend was well represented with 15 entries, but Montreal’s Brasseurs Sans Gluten swept the awards, winning bronze, silver and gold for its Glutenbuerg Blonde, Pale Ale and Rousse, respectively. While there are a number of talented up-and-coming U.S. breweries specializing in alternative grains, this showing pretty much makes Montreal the new capital for gluten-free beer.

* Haiti’s Prestige took gold in the American-style cream ale or lager category, and even though it’s just a beer award, it’s awesome to see the country’s national brand receive global recognition in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake and cholera outbreak, which still plagues the country. Beer isn’t a cure, but supporting a company that employs Haitians and has the power to help improve the country’s infrastructure makes picking up a sixer more than worth it.

* The session beer category allows for submissions with an ABV of up to 5.1%—quite a bit higher than the 4% or 4.5% ABV cap most hardliners follow. The gold medal went to Squatter’s Vienna Lager, a 4%-ABV brew that both camps can agree on. Silver went to Sierra Nevada Kellerweis (4.8% ABV) and bronze to The Public House Revelations Stout (5% ABV).

* If the results of the experimental category are any indicator of where craft beer is headed, then I’m excited: The gold medal went to Telegraph Brewing’s Petit Obscura, a wild “small beer” (a sessionable 4.4% ABV) brewed from the sour mash second runnings of Rhinoceros Rye Wine.

* The top two medals in the wood or barrel-aged strong beer category went to heavy hitters in the beer industry: Boston Beer’s Utopias 2011 took gold, while Goose Island’s King Henry took silver. Juxtaposing that is Seattle’s small, family-owned Fremont Brewing which took bronze for its Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale. Here’s a bit more on the brewery:

* The beer I suggested you drink on Cinco de Mayo ended up winning bronze in the American-style dark lager category—which is fantastic considering the “black Kölsch” is as interesting in concept as it is tasty. Luckily for you, Saint Arnold Santo’s available year-round, so definitely check it out.

There’s plenty more thought-provoking information in the results. What stands out the most to you?

[Image courtesy of Jason E. Kaplan]

 

Author
Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.

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One Comment

  • J. Wilson says:

    While Americans are solid in a wide range of categories, I couldn’t help but notice that the Germans did pretty well in the German-style categories.

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