Showing posts with label world beer cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world beer cup. Show all posts

Monday, May 7, 2012

And the winner is...

It seems like only yesterday I was having a little moan about the awards handed out as part of the World Beer Cup, especially the Bohemian Pilsner category. As it is, that particular moan was from June 2010, when Gambrinus Excelent somehow contrived to come second in the aforementioned category. It was then with a modicum of interest that I read my way through the winners list for this year's edition.

Good news for this part of Virginia in the form of Devils Backbone taking gold for their Vienna Lager. As I mentioned recently, the Charlottesville area breweries do well with lager and now boast both the current World Beer Cup gold for the Vienna lager category and the current Great American Beer Festival gold, in the form of Starr Hill's Jomo Lager. There was also a silver in the grammatically incorrect "American-Belgo-Style Ale" category, for Blue Mountain's Blue Reserve. Correct grammar would have be "Americo-Belgian Style Ale".

I was also very pleased to see Jeff at Lovibonds picking up some shiny yellow bling for his Sour Grapes in the "Wood or Barrel Aged Sour Ale" category, and I say this more in hope than expectation - could someone please start importing Lovibonds beer in the US?

However, there were a few bits and pieces that I found either startling or down right ridiculous, let's start with my favourite hobby horse, Bohemian Pilsners. Of the 62 entrants, the top three were Starobrno Le?ák, Kru?ovice Imperial and Gambrinus Premium, or to put it another way Heineken, Heineken and SABMiller. I have read that Kru?ovice has improved of late, and given that Starobrno is owned by the same company perhaps they have likewise got better, but Gambrinus Premium is the third best pilsner in the world? While it is true that I haven't had Gambrinus in a few years, I keep in touch with my mates back in Prague and they consistently tell me that it is getting worse than it was, and that many of them have given up on Gambrinus entirely in favour of Pilsner Urquell. Once again I would love to see who the other 59 entrants were, because if this crop of swill is the best available then there are real problems with the Pilsner brewing community (which I actually believe there are, but mainly because too many people don't have enough experience of proper pilsner within it's "sitz im leben" to brew it properly).

Then there are some of the categories themselves, but in particular "German-Style K?lsch/K?ln-Style K?lsch" category. How gracious to allow for a "K?ln-Style K?lsch", though the fact that K?lsch can only ever come from Cologne in order to be true to the Convention governing the style makes the category something of a tautology. Would it not be better to use a name like K?lsch-style Ale, which basically says everything necessary, a blonde ale made in the style of a K?lsch but not actually from Cologne. Now, I know nomenclature is not really wildly important to a lot of people, but I think these cack-handed categories simply breed confusion and are unnecessary when definitions such as the K?lsch Convention already exist.

I realise that competitions really need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but I wonder sometimes if all the meddling makes the pinch more of a hefty slug?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Watered Down Awards?

There are very few things that I hate with a passion. Nationalism is one, jazz is another. But the one thing that irks me beyond measure is ignorance, especially the willful kind of ignorance that refuses to listen to reason and will deny anything that flies in the face of a world view regardless of facts. Oh and I also think it is stupid to declare something the "world" whatever when the entrants are overwhelmingly from a single country.

I picked up the latest edition of All About Beer magazine at the weekend, along with the latest edition of Culture (a magazine about cheese), Bernard Cornwell's "The Archer's Tale" (it was called Harlequin in the UK), and the Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle, as I needed some poolside reading for Monday as it was a public holiday here. I have ranted before about the errors that crop up in the magazine, usually in the guide to various styles of beer (in this edition I felt like raging about them getting the British flag wrong on one of the pages, but I am not sure how many people would actually notice that the Cross of St Patrick isn't correct). As usual with All About Beer, the articles were interesting and well written, so what got my goat this time? Nothing about the magazine per se, apart from the complete list of winners from the World Beer Cup.

Before I get into it though, yes I understand that the awards can only be given to those brewers who take the time to actually enter the competition, but I think a concerted effort needs to be made to get more breweries to enter the competition, and while we are at it, I would love to see the complete lists of entrants for each style. Let's take the Bohemian Pilsner category. The winner? Golden Pilsner by the Morgan Street Brewery, a beer I haven't yet tried, but will have to make a effort to do so. The silver award went to Gambrinus Excelent, with bronze to Velkopopovicky Kozel Premium, both of SABMiller, though listed under the Czech subsidiary name Plzeňsky Prazdroj. Really? The second best Bohemian Pilsner in the world is Gambrinus Excelent, and the third is Kozel Premium?

Ok, sure, Gambrinus Excelent isn't entirely awful, as I posted about before, but the second best Pilsner from 43 entrants? I can only assume then that the 40 beers that didn't win anything in this category were rank beyond words, hence I would love to see the list of entrants so that I can avoid wasting my money on anything that can be beaten by a SABMiller product. Given that the standard Gambrinus came second in the International Style Lager category, I can only assume that an "international" lager is one that is watered down after fermentation and pretty much devoid of taste.

Perhaps what is required is for regional competitions to produce local winners, who are then forwarded to the global competition? Thus you would have the best Pilsner, as an example, from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania going head to head against each other for the award at the World Beer Cup - think of it like the World Cup about to take place in South Africa, a genuinely global award.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...