The winners of the 15thEuropean Beer Star competition have been announced. With 2,344 beers (a 9% increase on 2017) from 51 countries, more beers than ever had to be judged by the 144-member jury. About 39% of the registered beers were brewed in Germany, almost 11% in the U.S., just under 9% in Italy and as many as 34 beers in the People's Republic of China. For the first time, medals have been awarded in 65 categories, including Fruit Beer, Session Beer and New Style Lager. "In this way, we are responding to the breweries' desire for even stronger accentuation in the individual beer styles," explains Oliver Dawid, the Managing Director of Private Brauereien Bayern, the association that initiated and organized the competition from its beginning.
Bierbrouwerij de Konigshoeven from the small Dutch town of Berkel-Enschot (North Brabant) was named Brewery of the Year at the European Beer Star this year, winning four gold medals. The Dutch brewers won in precisely the categories for which their neighbor Belgium tends to be most popular: the strong beer varieties Quadruple, Triple, Dubbel and Blonde Ale.
The most successful German brewery, meanwhile, is based in Viereth-Trunstadt in Franconia: Brauereigasthof Kundmüller is a small, owner-managed operation that produces the best Mild Lager and the best Strong Smoked Beer, in addition to which its Red Beer was awarded a silver medal. Also two gold medals and one silver medal were awarded to the International Braumanufakturen (Radeberger Gruppe) in Frankfurt.
Nevertheless, it is apparent that in the fifteenth year of the European Beer Star, the age of “medal-collecting” seems to be over. “This year’s results show that it is becoming ever more difficult to win multiple awards, because there are more and more great beers to choose from across all the categories”, says Dawid. “The European Beer Star is undoubtedly one of the most hardfought competitions in the brewing world.” Even more so since this prize provides for only gold, silver and bronze medals to be awarded in each category and for the international team of experts to rate the beers based exclusively on the points that a consumer would also take into consideration, i.e. look, foam, smell, taste and characteristics typical of the variety.
The 2018Consumers’ Favourite gold medal, which was awarded by visitors to the BrauBeviale fair in Nuremberg carrying out a blind-tasting of all the gold medal winners in the European Beer Star 2018, went this year to Birrificio Porta Bruciata (Italy) for the New Style Pale Ale „La Pallata“.
A list with all the winners of the 15th European Beer Star can be found here.