The jury of ten beer sommeliers at this year’s BestBrewChallenge were faced with a hard task: to choose the best out of a total of 39 submitted beers. The drinks were judged on their color, taste, and the quality of the foam, among others. In the end, the coveted top places were awarded to three beers that could not have been more different.
“Rye IPA” brewed by Maxim Boldyrev from the Slovenian brewery Pivovarna Hopsbrew in Ljubljana won first place. The jury described the winning beer as having “a warm gold color with amber reflexes, ivory-colored foam and the aroma of citrus fruits, grapes and herbs. Pleasant and smooth mouth feel, transporting malty caramel aromas, floral and herbal impressions as well as a hint of spicy fruit to the palate. The dry finish rounds off the experience of this wonderful, delicious beer.”
Günther Hilger and his team of garage brewers at Seven Mountain Brewery from Königswinter came second with their “Neue Welt Weizen” wheat beer. According to the jury, “Neue Welt Weizen really opens the door to a whole new world of wheat beers. With a surprisingly fruity aroma, it has hints of exotic melon and citrus fruits. The discreet malt body creates the perfect foundation (…). The typical wheat beer aroma of cloves is revealed in the taste. (…) This delicious creation culminates in a wonderfully balanced and pleasant finish.”
Third place was awarded to “Karls Spezial”, a dark ale by Karl Gruhler, master brewer at NeckarSulmer Brauhaus in Neckarsulm, which convinced the BBC jury last year with its winning beer “Roter Flitzer”. The jury found this year’s beer “special in every sense (…) with an immediate appeal. It has a distinct maltiness on the nose. Grainy notes with hints of chocolate, caramel, a light roasted note and coffee harmonize wonderfully with the light hop aroma of herbs and fruits. The intensive malty body comes through in the taste, giving a distinctive impression of coffee, cocoa, dark fruits and caramel. Here again, the hops only play a minor role as a delicate note on the edge of the taste experience, but give the beverage an ideal finish.”
The BBC 2016 creativity award went to Bianca Hoppe, also from Seven Mountain Brewery, for “Oha!”, a dark ale refined with elderflower and orange peel. The jury was thrilled: “Oha! A fantastic beer for warm summer days – wonderfully refreshing! (…) A diversified beer with caramel, dark fruits, stone fruits and elderflower on the nose. The taste (…) is surprising with a malty, floral and spicy lightness. The elderflowers and orange zest also make the beer particularly fruity and refreshing.”
Following the resounding success of the first BestBrewChallenge in 2015, the brewing competition took place this year for the second time. It kicked off on 23 June, when 58 breweries and home brewers from all over the world started brewing simultaneously. They were given until the end of August to perfect their creations. The only requirement was that they use at least five percent of our craft malt BEST Special X®. Other than that, they were given free rein with regards to the selection of hops, yeast and fermentation procedures.
At the beginning of September, the 39 submitted beers were tasted blind and evaluated by an international jury of ten beer sommeliers. This was an excellent opportunity, especially for hobby brewers, to have their beer creations assessed by professionals. At the award ceremony at the end of October attended by some 70 guests from all over the world – one participant even came especially from Brazil – winner Maxim Boldyrev was presented with the main prize: a weekend for two in Heidelberg.
BBC 2017 is being planned and the BESTMALZ® team is looking forward to exceptionally malty and exciting beer creations! So malt it up @www.bestbrewchallenge.com