Japanese-brewed Kölsch beers, a coconut beer from Hawaii, and Belgian-inspired beers called Matilda and from Matilda Bay Brewing in Austrialia represent the diversity of beers winning awards in the 2006 World Beer Cup.
Brewers from 19 countries captured medals when they were handed out by the Brewers Association at the conclusion of its Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle.
“The World Beer Cup has become the global stage by which brewers world-wide showcase the quality craftsmanship, flavor and diversity of their beers and in so doing highlight their own achievements and the enduring culture of beer, said Charlie Papazian, president of the Brewers Association. “The explosion in competition entries only demonstrates the excitement and passion for beer among brewers and the values appreciated by beer drinkers.”
Entries grew 42% from 2004 (the competition is held every other year), with 2,221 entries from 540 breweries in 56 countries. Half the 109 judges traveled from outside the United States to evaluate an average of 53 beers apiece on each of the two days of the competition. American brewers constituted 64% of the entries and won 64% of the medals.
Three of the breweries repeated as champions of their respective categories. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. of Paso Robles, Calif., won Mid-Size Brewing Co. for the second time, Miller Brewing Co. captured Large Brewing Co. again, and Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, Calif., repeated as Large Brewpub champion. The award for Small Brewpub went to Piece Brewing Co. of Chicago, the one for Small Brewing Company to Brauerei Michael Plank of Laaber, Germany.
A press release from the Brewers Association pointed out that American brewers medalled in 73 of the 85 style categories. “No country in the world makes award-winning beers in so many styles as America’s craft brewers,” Papazian said.
“While these results are great news for American brewers, they also tell us something about American beer drinkers,” said Ray Daniels, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the BA. “In order for breweries to make a beer, they must have consumers to drink it. So the breadth of beer styles made in the US indicates the diversity of beer styles and flavors consumed in the US compared to other countries around the world.”