Three hobby brewers, including two from Germany, won the top prizes at this year’s BestBrewChallenge, the international brewing competition held by malt producer BESTMALZ AG. First place and the main prize – a weekend in Heidelberg for two – went to Hunter Brew from Schwarzenbek near Hamburg with their brown ale “Öckel”. Second place was awarded to the American amber lager “Manobier” brewed by the eponymous Brazilian craft brewery, which has taken several prizes this year in its home country. “Amber Ale” by Kelleher, an Irish homebrewer based near Darmstadt for the last three years, came third.
The awards were presented at a ceremony at drinktec, the world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry, on 11 September 2017. It was chaired by “beer padre” Christian Köhler. BestBrewChallenge 2017 brought together 124 participants from 19 countries on 5 continents, who brewed beer simultaneously in May. Of these, 49 submitted their beers by mid-July, and professional tasters, sommeliers and master brewers chose the winning beer in a blind tasting at the end of July.
Contest with specifications
BestBrewChallenge was held for the third time this year. Each year, the organizer BESTMALZ defines clear constraints within which participating breweries and hobby brewers can unleash their creativity. This year they had to comply with the purity guidelines of the German Reinheitsgebot and use at least 49 % of pale BEST Heidelberger malt. With a wealth of ideas and a joy of experimentation, the participating breweries, brewpubs and homebrewers showed the variety of beers this can produce.
The contest is an ideal opportunity for brewers, especially hobby brewers, to have their beer creations judged by professionals. The jury evaluates their quality based on various parameters, such as color, aroma, taste, foam quality, etc. The overall rating is the result of a computer-aided analysis of these factors combined with an individual evaluation of the beer by sommeliers. For example, the winning beer was characterized by “intensive malty aroma, (…) perfectly balanced between lightly sweet malt character and reserved hops. Excellent mouthfeel (…)”.
At the awards ceremony, BESTMALZ-CEO Dr. Axel Goehler said: “Our third BestBrewChallenge was again a great success and produced some fascinating beers. Despite the stricter criteria this time, the diversity of the beers was remarkable, demonstrating that the German Reinheitsgebot leaves plenty of scope for creativity. And the growing number of participants also shows that our event has hit a nerve in the scene. We will think up another tricky assignment for next year’s BBC in 2018!”
More detailed information on the brewing competition can be found at: www.bestbrewchallenge.com