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World Beer Awards 2010

I keep forgetting to write about this. Earlier this year I was asked to help judge for the World Beer Awards, which are put on by the former UK beer magazine Beers of the World, which is now published only online at Tasting Beers. They separated the beers into regions and Stan Hieronymus chaired the America’s region, along with me and Eric Warner.

We were each sent four large boxes filled with bubble-wrapped bottles or cans with a number assigned to each and the labels and even crowns obscured by labels and stickers. They were then separated into five broad categories: pale ale, dark ale, lager, stout & porter, and wheat beer. Then within each of those five, they were further subdivided by style. I don’t know how the rest of the judges did it, but I invited friends with judging experience and/or beer knowledge over to help taste them and bounce descriptors off one another and also had a volunteer steward to help keep the beers as blind as possible, but each beer’s numbered score came strictly from me.

The other two regions were Europe (chaired by Jeff Evans) and Asia (chaired by Bryan Harrell) with Roger Protz overseeing the entire process. In stage 2, the chairmen re-tasted all the regional winners and then a final round was held to determine the overall winners. It was great fun and the results are certainly interesting with a lot of beers with great reputations — and personal favorites — doing quite well. Because participation was not universal (that is, not every brewery submitted beers for judging) there are, of course, many beers not represented which may or may not have done as well or even better than the winners and I certainly hope more breweries will enter their beers next year. But within the group of what was submitted, it’s a pretty damn good list.

Here are the big winners in each of the Five main categories:

  1. Pale Ale: Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
  2. Dark Ale: Unibroue 17
  3. Lager: Primator Premium
  4. Stout & Porter: Minoh Beer Imperial Stout
  5. Wheat Beer: Weihenstephaner Vitus

The rest of the winners within each style and also the regional winners can be found on the Tasting Beers website.

I didn’t know this going in, but they actually published a small book with all the winners, including a mash-up of all the tasting notes for the beers. It’s a nice small-size (3-3/4″ x 8-1/4″) paperback. In 162 full-color pages, there are features about the winning breweries and listings for all the winning beers, including at least a bottle shot for each. If you’re keen you can buy one online at Amazon UK or directly from the Tastings Beers website. Amazon US also has a listing for the book, but I believe it’s from a vendor selling copies from overseas.

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