Going For Gold! American Craft Beer Excels In European Beer Competitions

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American craft brewers performed strongly across two prestigious international European beer competitions this fall—Brussels Beer Challenge and European Beer Star—securing 58 medals in total.

Brussels Beer Challenge

The 12th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge took place in Turnhout, Belgium over three days at the end of October 2023 and attracted 1,811 beers from 37 countries, judged by 92 independent beer experts. Participating beers were subdivided into categories based on origin, typology, and style, and then tasted.

Brewers Association (BA) Export Development Program (EDP) members were awarded 33 medals in total, eight more than last year. These included nine gold, 11 silver, and 13 bronze, including Breakside Brewery’s “Are You Afraid of the Dark” Imperial Stout aged in Apple Brandy Bourbon and Rye Whisky Barrels, which was voted “Best American Beer of the Competition.”

Brussels Beer Challenge Judges in actions

Breakside Brewery’s brewmaster Ben Edmunds says, “We were thrilled to learn that ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ had been named Best American Beer in the Competition in addition to snagging a gold medal in its category. This win is a wonderful reward. We have been able to send beers to Brussels and the other international competitions before thanks to the support of the EDP. I know that these are extremely competitive events where the judge panels have different sensibilities than our peers and customers in the U.S. The diversity of entries is inspiring, and it is exciting to know that our beers are being evaluated side-by-side with many of the most iconic beers from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. It is a great opportunity for us to get feedback from an expert audience with a distinctive perspective on world beers.”

Brewery Name of the beer Category Award
pFriem Family Brewers West Coast IPA Pale and Amber Ale: Pacific IPA Gold
River North Brewery Nightmare Fuel Flavored beer: Coffee Gold
River North Brewery Midnight Hike Flavored beer: Chocolate Gold
Belching Beaver Brewery Hazers Gonna Haze Hazy IPA Pale and Amber Ale: New England IPA Gold
Fremont Brewing Company Golden Lager: German-Style Pilsner Gold
Coronado Brewing Company Weekend Vibes IPA Pale and Amber Ale: American IPA (Higher than 6.5 ABV) Gold
Revision Brewing Company Coconut Pie Face Flavored beer: Field beer Gold
Breakside Brewery & Taproom Are You Afraid of the Dark? Flavored beer: Imperial Stout Barrel- or Wood-Aged Gold / Best Beer
New Glarus Brewing Company Enigma 23 Dark Ale: Oud Bruin (Flanders Brown Ale) Gold
Port City Brewing Company Port City Porter Stout or Porter: Porter Silver
Templin Family Brewing Templin Family Rauch Bier Flavored beer: Smoked Beer Silver
Quarter Celtic Brewpub Vienna Festbier Lager: Vienna Lager Silver
Stormcloud Brewing Company Rainmaker Ale Pale and Amber Ale: Belgian-Style – Spéciale Belge Silver
pFriem Family Brewers Druif Rouge Specialty Beer: Grape Ale Silver
pFriem Family Brewers Rum Barrel Aged Coconut Porter Flavored beer: Imperial Stout Barrel- or Wood-Aged Silver
Anderson Valley Brewing Co Black Rice Ale Specialty Beer: Low carb Silver
River North Brewery Father Time Specialty Beer: Barley Wine Silver
Boston Beer Company Samuel Adams Gold Rush Pale and Amber Ale: IPA Alcohol-Free/Low Silver
Fremont Brewing Company Rusty Nail 2022 Flavored beer: Wood- or Barrel-Aged Silver
Destihl Brewery Destihl DeadHead Tourbus Hazy IPA Pale and Amber Ale: New England IPA Silver
Templin Family Brewing Templin Family Fouder Brett Bier Specialty Beer: Brett Beer Bronze
No-Li Brewhouse Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout Stout or Porter: Russian Imperial Stout Bronze
Reuben’s Brews Robust Porter Stout or Porter: Porter Bronze
Wallenpaupack Brewing Company Hawley Hefeweizen Wheat: Weizen Bronze
The Virginia Beer Company Elbow Patches Stout or Porter: Export Stout Bronze
Quarter Celtic Brewpub Capri-Derhosen Specialty Beer: Specialty beer (Less than 7 ABV) Bronze
Maui Brewing Co. Big Swell IPA Pale and Amber Ale: Pacific IPA Bronze
Three Weavers Brewing Co Seafarer Pale and Amber Ale: Kölsch Bronze
Belching Beaver Brewery Peanut Butter Milk Stout Flavored beer: Field beer Bronze
Fremont Brewing Company Lush Pale and Amber Ale: American IPA (Higher than 6.5 ABV) Bronze
Boston Beer Company Samuel Adams OctoberFest Lager: German-Style Märzen Bronze
Mother Earth Brew Co Cruiser Pale Ale Pale and Amber Ale: American Pale Ale Bronze
New Glarus Brewing Company 30th Anniversary Dark Ale: Strong Dark Ale Bronze

European Beer Star

One of the most recognized beer competitions in the world, the European Beer Star Awards, is committed to the traditional European art of brewing. It recognizes high-quality, authentic beers that are genuine and distinctive and is limited to beer categories that originate in Europe.

This year’s competition took place for the 20th occasion in September 2023 in Nuremberg, Germany, and attracted 2,355 entries in 74 categories which were judged by 149 beer experts from 31 countries. Of these entries, 64.5% were international and 35.5% domestic. EDP members won 24 medals in total, including nine gold, eight silver, and eight bronze. View the full list of winners here.

Brewery Beer Category Award
Port City Brewing Company Downright Pilsner Bohemian-Style Pale Lager Gold
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Dad Bod Quad Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale Gold
Taxman Brewing Company Qualified Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale Silver
Taxman Brewing Company Deduction Belgian-Style Dubbel Gold
Allagash Brewing Co Allagash Tripel Belgian-Style Tripel Silver
Flying Dog Brewery Royal Crush Juicy IPA Fruit Beer Silver
Bruz Beers Oak Marionette with Peaches Wood And Barrel Aged Sour Beer Gold
Firestone Walker Brewing Company Frieky Bones Belgian-Style Geuze And Lambic Gold
New Glarus Brewing Company Vintage 2023 Belgian-Style Geuze And Lambic Bronze
No-Li Brewhouse Big Juicy New-Style Pale Ale Bronze
Wormtown Brewery Be Hoppy Traditional-Style India Pale Ale Bronze
Wren House Brewing Co Spellbinder Hazy India Pale Ale Gold
Hinterland Brewery Hinterland Rest In Paradise Imperial India Pale Ale Silber
No-Li Brewhouse Corner Coast English-Style Golden Ale Silver
Alaskan Brewing Company Alaskan Amber Red Ale Silver
Port City Brewing Company Port City Porter English-Style Porter Silver
River North Brewery Nightmare Fuel Flavoured Or Pastry Stout Silver
Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Imperial Stout Gold
49th State Brewing Smо̄k Franconian-Style Smoke Beer Bronze
River North Brewery Pumpkin Spice J. Marie Herb And Spice Beer Gold
The Virginia Beer Company Cool Inside Beer With Alternative Cereals Bronze
pFriem Family Brewers Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Wood And Barrel Aged Strong Beer Gold
Olde Hickory Brewery Forest Hills Wood And Barrel Aged Strong Beer Bronze
Olde Hickory Brewery Hillcrest Ultra Strong Beer Silver
Athletic Brewing Company Cerveza Atletica New-Style Non-Alcoholic Lager Bronze

The EDP views international competitions as a key mechanism by which to generate publicity for the U.S. craft beer industry and assist EDP members with gaining attention and distribution for their brands in select target markets. Therefore, the EDP helps facilitate U.S. brewery participation and performance in select competitions by covering entry fees and consolidated airfreight shipment to judging sites.

panel of judges and beer taster glasses

Lotte Peplow, the BA’s American craft beer ambassador for Europe, adds, “The success of American craft beer at prestigious global beer competitions is a testimony to the skill, creativity, and all around excellence of America’s small and independent craft breweries, who continue to lead the field in quality, consistency, innovation, and style-diversity. Garnering 93 medals in total across three highly competitive international competitions is no easy feat and I’m incredibly proud of each and every one of them.”

Congratulations to all the award-winning breweries.

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