Brussels Beer Challenge 2019

For three days, a panel of 90 internationally renowned beer connoisseurs tasted 1,650 beers from all over the world. The participating beers are divided into categories based on typicity and style and finaly the pros and cons are weighted. At the end of the three tasting days, the best beers in each category were awarded a gold, silver or bronze award and the announcement was made on Monday November 18 during Horeca Expo 2019.

We noted some trends:

1. IPA and Tripels are still the most popular styles

Nobody has missed that IPAs have been very hot in recent years. You will find these beers more and more in the supermarket and in the pub. Although originally an English beer, IPA has mainly been a “US affair” in recent decades. However, during the BBC, we were allowed to welcome IPAs from all over the world. A true explosion! The winners are therefore from China, the Netherlands and of course the US, with Breakside from Portland Oregon as scrap head. The classic Belgian Tripel beers also remain immensely popular with 88 entries. Belgium snatches all triple medals. Congratulations to St. Bernard, Huyghe, Het Anker and Brother Jacob.

2. There come the Chinese

Napoleon Bonaparte already mentioned it: “Quand la Chine s’éveilera, le monde tremblera”. China’s rise is one of the major trends of our time. The idea that the 21st century is the century of Asia, with China as its center and driving force, is increasingly becoming a reality. This applies primarily in the economic field, but does this also apply in the field of beer? In a sense, China wins 18 medals!

3. Alcohol free/poor beer

Until recently, it was not easy in Belgium to avoid alcohol and still drink beer. Ordering alone… Until recently, tasteful and “alcohol-free” were two words that did not belong in the same sentence when it came to beer. Most consumers think beer without alcohol is a joke. A Belgian brewer dares to go a step further: “Beer without alcohol is like a bra on the washing thread, the best is out”. I admit, it is a jerk and it is very flat, but we cannot blame the man completely. “Could”; if we’re honest, because non-alcoholic beers are on the rise. The current range of beer makes it clear that it is more than a hype. The evolution towards more and better alcohol-free beers is the result of “a perfect storm”. People are increasingly being alerted to the effects of alcohol today, such as “Tournée Minérale”. There is an increased focus on a more conscious and healthier life. We consume alcohol “more consciously”. There has also been an increase in a population that does not drink alcohol for religious reasons and the justifiable ban of “drink driving” to the corner of “not done” that contributes to the success of these beers.

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