Forty medals for Belgian beers at Brussels Beer Challenge

Summary

Lindemans runs away with the most medals as local breweries pull down 40 distinctions in the annual international competition, going head-to-head with its biggest competition: America

Tradition vs experimentation

Belgian beers have won 40 medals at the Brussels Beer Challenge, including the top award, which went to Oude Geuze Cuvée René from Lindemans brewery. The United States, however, took the most medals, with 45.

The event was held earlier this month in the Beurs building in downtown Brussels, which will soon become the Belgian Beer Temple, but the results were kept quiet until yesterday when they were announced at the Horeca Expo in Ghent. This was the fifth edition of the competition.

Last year, American brewers pulled ahead of their Belgian counterparts for the first time. Belgian brewers tend to stick to tried and trusted formulas, like the triple, red and brown ales, geuze and abbey beers. US brewers, on the other hand, experiment with a wider range of styles and tend to do best in categories where the Belgians are not competing.

Flemish brewer Lindemans, based in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, just outside of Brussels, won the most medals of any Belgian brewery. Next to the prestigious Comac Award for its Oude Geuze, it also picked up three gold medals: for Oude Kriek Cuvée René, for its Cassis fruit beer and for its Spontanbasil, a lambic flavoured with basil, developed in partnership with the Danish brewery Mikkeler.

The duo-run Wilderen brewery and distillery in Sint-Truiden picked up two gold medals – for Wilderen Goud, a strong blond ale, and for Cuvée Clarisse, a strong dark ale. Other gold medal winners were Bruxellensis by Brasserie de la Senne, Bersalis Triple by Oud Beersel, Affligem Blond by Alken-Maes and Goudenband by Liefmans – a former winner of the Comac Award.

America’s gold medals went to four kinds of IPA and one beer in the bitter category, as well as a pumpkin ale, a porter, a Doppelbock, a coffee beer, an American-style pilsner and a German-style Märzen.

More than 80 beer experts from around the world took part in the judging of over 1,100 beers, including 250 from Belgium, 240 from the US and 230 from Italy.

Photo: Bart Van de Perre/Brussels Beer Challenge