On April 14, the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association announced the winners of the prestigious 2006 Brewers Association World Beer Cup, a global showcase for the world’s best beer brewers. Judges for this year’s competition, held in Seattle, selected winning beers from 540 breweries in 56 countries'some 2,221 entries altogether.
It was a banner years for the brewers, with a 42 percent increase in entries over last year’s numbers, and master brewers from El Salvador to Russia were represented. Brewers from every corner of the United States were in attendance as well.
There were some predictable winners, like the Russian River Brewing Company from Santa Rosa, Calif., winning for best large brewpub for the second time in three years. And no one was surprised to see Miller Brewing Co. sweep the large brewing company category. But here is a surprise: Pound for pound (or ounce for ounce), Utah brewers fared better than the rest of the world!
How could that happen? Well, it wasn’t that Utah beer won the most awards. That honor went to California breweries, winning a total of 25 medals, or 10 percent of all the bronze, silver and gold given out. Other top wining states were Wisconsin, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Oh yes, and Utah. You see, a whopping 33 percent of Utah beers entered in competition at the 2006 World Beer Cup won medals. Of 21 Beehive State beers entered in the World Beer Cup, seven of them won medals: one gold, four silver and two bronze. That, my beer-loving friends, is a hell of an achievement.
The breakdown of Utah’s winning breweries at the 2006 World Beer Cup looked like this. Squatters/Utah Brewers Cooperative won gold for Squatters IPA (in the English-style India Pale Ale category) and silver medals for both Evolution Amber Ale and Emigration Amber Ale (in the Irish-style Red Ale and American-style Amber/Red Ale divisions, respectively). The Squatters/Utah Brewers Cooperative team also was presented with a bronze medal for its Victory Altbier, a DÃ¼sseldorf-style Altbier.
Salt Lake’s Redrock Brewing Co. was awarded a pair of silver medals in the American-style Brown Ale and Rye Beer categories for Redrock’s Nut Brown Ale and Roggen Rock beers. Finally, Uinta Brewing Co. added to its award collection in the Ordinary Bitter group, garnering a bronze medal for Uinta’s Cutthroat Pale Ale.
Some of the more creatively named winners at this year’s World Beer Cup were Butthead Bock from Tommyknocker Brewery; Stewarts Brewing Co.’s Stumblin Monk Belgian-Style Ale; Red Hydrant Ale from Nevada’s Big Dog’s Brewery; and Nit Wit, an aptly named Wit beer brewed by BJ’s Brewery in Huntington Beach, Calif. But maybe the biggest surprise was Japan. Japanese brewers walked away with 10 medals, including awards for a number of German-style beers, beating out England, Canada, the Czech Republic and a number of other countries.
Congratulations to all of the 2006 World Beer Cup winners. You can sample Utah’s award-winning beers at your local pub.
Sips: On Friday, April 28, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar will host The American vs. European wine dinner: A taste of two continents. The $60 dinner ($25 for Ã la carte wine selections) is in recognition of the biannual U.S. vs. E.U. golf matches being held this year in Ireland. Fleming’s wine director Marian Jansen op de Haar will team up with executive chef Russell Skall to create a menu and wine pairings featuring wines from France, California, Italy, Spain and Portugal. For reservations, phone Fleming’s at 355-3704.