The race is on for global breweries–and the Brussels Beer Challenge perfectly captures the collaborative yet competitive climate for craft brewing. Organized by BECOMEV, a division of European beverage consulting company VinoPres, the Brussels Beer Challenge held its first competition in 2012, with entries for this year’s Challenge due by Oct. 15, 2013.
Brussels became the hoppy and malty epicenter of the world’s most passionate brewers last November, when the city hosted the inaugural edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge. I participated in the two days of tastings as one of two women judges representing the U.S.
There were 40 judges, who evaluated more than 500 beers in 46 categories from 16 different countries. Out of 138 possible awards, just 112 were given, with 18 honorable mentions.
The Challenge finally brought to Belgium a prominent international beer competition. Although there are already several acclaimed competitions, it was only fitting that Belgium should offer brewers across the globe a representative, yet independent trade venue to compete against one another.
While just over a third of the entries in 2012’s Challenge were from U.S. breweries, Luc de Raedemaeker, one of the chief organizers, hopes that even more brewers will participate this year. The competition promoted the beer industry in a market that is not only a benchmark for beer but also home to many connoisseurs.
The Brussels Beer Challenge brought greater recognition of the variety and excellence in American brewing, especially in winning brews such as Caldera IPA and Green Flash Le Freak.
If you’re considering entering, these are the key dates for this year’s Challenge:
Oct. 15, 2013: Closing date for entries
From 20 Aug. to 15 Oct., 2013: Reception of samples
From Fri. Nov. 1 to Sun. Nov. 3, 2013: Brussels Beer Challenge
Sun. Nov. 3, 2013: Announcement of winners/Master Class Beer open to the trade and the public
You can also find more information at BrusselsBeerChallenge.com. If you think your brew is among the best in the world, enter the Challenge and find out. It may be your year to celebrate.