We give a lot of attention to the Great American Beer Festival every fall, and rightly so as the three-day annual festival is the most prestigious beer competition in the United States. But every two years brings us the World Beer Cup, which is easily the most prestigious international beer competition. Dubbed “the Olympics of Beer,” the World Beer Cup is a chance to see how the international beer scene is evolving and how our American breweries stack up to the best from the rest of the world. This year, breweries from more than 66 different countries entered the contest.
You would think that in an international beer competition that judges a variety of worldly categories (German-Style Maerzen, English Brown Ale…) everyone would be really good at staying in their own lane. In other words, American breweries should slay the American-Style fill in the blank categories and Belgian breweries should slay the Belgian-Style Fill in the blank categories. It’s like when you watch the Olympics and just know Norway is gonna walk away with some Nordic medals, right? Not really. American breweries did indeed slay the American styles, but we did pretty damn good at some of the international styles too, particularly in the lager categories (Americans won Gold in German Style Pils and Bohemian-Style Pils, German-Style Kolsch, Vienna Style Lager, German-Style Maerzen…).
Sure, America sent way more breweries than any other country to the Cup, but still, it was the largest competition to date. 66 countries! So winning at the World Beer Cup is legit. In other words, it’s a great time for lager fans in the U.S.
Here are a handful of the big winners from the competition. If you want to see a full list, head over to The Brewers Association.
American Style IPA
Revision IPA, Revision Brewing Co.
This was by far the biggest category in the competition, with 377 entries. Revision also pulled a silver for their Imperial IPA.
American Style Pale Ale
C-Hops, Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
American Style Stout
Black Cliffs, Boise Brewing
Chchchch-Cherry Bomb, Melvin Brewing
Herb and Spice Beer
Spruce IPA, Alaskan Brewing Co.
Trump Hands, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.
Ha! Trump Hands. This one also won the session IPA gold at GABF in 2016.
American Style Sour
Raspberry, Upland Brewing Co.
Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Beer
Gin Barrel O-Gii, Milwaukee Brewing Company, 2nd Street Brewery
The second largest category, with 196 entries (same number as Imperial IPA, below). I’ve never had this beer. Apparently, it’s a wheat beer infused with tea that comes in at 9.2% ABV. That’s a hell of a wheat beer.
American Style Lager
Old Style Lager, PBR
Yep. That Old Style. The one in your local Stab-n-Grab. The one that has a piss poor rating on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer. Best American-Style Lager. Out of 122 entries.
Nobility, Noble Ale Works