And the winner is…
The amazing selection of beers!
Belgium enjoys a first-class reputation within the global beer industry. It therefore stands to reason that it should host one of the most influential international beer competitions in the world.
The Brussels Beer Challenge celebrated its 5th anniversary this year by returning to the heart of Europe’s capital city.
At the beginning of November, a panel of 80 international experts convened in the prestigious setting of the Brussels stock exchange to judge 1,250 beers from around the world. Competing beers were flighted by style, typicity and origin.
The best entries in each category were awarded gold, silver and bronze medals.
The results announcement is due to take place
Monday November 21 at 10am, Gand Horeca Expo.
1. IPAs, Tripels and White beers are the most popular
There is a growing trend for IPA or Indian Pale Ale. Originating in England, the style initially sparked renewed interest in the United States but entries in the Brussels Beer Challenge reveal that it has now gone global. No fewer than 100 IPAs from 14 countries competed this year. Accolades went to entries from the Netherlands (Mooie Nel Jopen IPA), Italy, Ireland and of course, the United States.
Another category that stepped into the limelight at the competition was the Belgian Tripel style with 61 entries. Belgium itself calls the shots within the category and walked away with three medals (Bersalis, Affligem Triple and Rangsken).
Belgium was also awarded an impressive gold medal for its Blanche de Namur by the Bocq brewery in the white beer category, which saw 42 entries.
2. Chinese beers make an impressive breakthrough
Napoleon Bonaparte once warned: “China is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” The arrival of Chinese beers at this year’s competition took everyone by surprise. China certainly seems to be awakening to the world of beer, both from a consumption and production perspective. A cursory glance at the results suggests that it may not be long before it rivals traditional producer countries.
3. Global production is becoming more international in style
The world has become a global village. If you’re wondering whether beer is following the same trend, the answer is quite clearly, yes! The first Brussels Beer Challenge welcomed entries from around 15 countries compared with 36 this year.
20% of entries came from Belgium, slightly ahead of the United States and Italy. In descending order came the Netherlands, Brazil and France. Other, more exotic destinations arrived on the scene for the first time this year, including Japan, Cambodia, Hungary, Thailand and Ukraine.
The results reveal remarkable international diversity, which proves that quality beer production is developing across the globe.
4. Belgium leads the way for traditional ‘Belgian’ styles
Belgium is probably not, or no longer, THE beer country. Around the world, the number of beer types is increasing and new styles regularly make their debut. The United States boasts over 4,200 craft breweries. Traditional wine producing countries such as Italy, France and Spain have well in excess of 750 breweries. Beer is particularly popular in Scandinavian countries and Dutch breweries are also growing in number.
Concurrently with this, traditional beer countries such as Great Britain and Germany have undergone a sea change. Conversely, although the number of breweries has risen slightly in Belgium, it is only slightly over 200.
Nevertheless, Belgium is still a benchmark for the styles that have shaped its tradition of beer making: abbey beers, Tripels, strong lagers, Saison, Oud Bruin and Flanders red ale, white beer and Gueuze are all styles that Belgian brewers, irrespective of size, continue to be successful with.