Every year, the Craft Brewer’s Conference is the destination for every one involved in the beer industry, from brewers, to distributors, to writers that are more prestigious than we are (*sniff*). But every 2 years, craft brewers from around the world submit their best quaffs to hope for one of the coveted World Beer Cup medals. It is an award that is harder to obtain than the GABF medals, and one of true distinction. This year, Virginia had a solid showing from some of it’s older breweries, and always a few surprises as well. Here is a run down of the winners from World Beer Cup 2016.
Category 7– Field Beer – 57 Entries
Silver: Coconut Delight, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (Goochland, VA)
Lickinghole Creek is starting off 2016 the way 2015 went, with some hardware for an exceptional quad. What is even harder about coconut is the sheer amount you need to push through a rum-barrel quad ale, but stopping short of overpowering the beer, and LCCB hit this one right on the head.
Category 22– American-Belgo-Style Ale – 61 Entries
Bronze: Salad Days, Pale Fire Brewing Co. (Harrisonburg, VA)
If you didn’t take notice of Salad Days after their 2015 Bronze at the GABF, maybe now you will take another look. Pale Fire has a true classic in this beer with it’s very ‘green’ take on the classic Farmhouse/Saison. Well we have taken notice with our last review, and is an early favorite for some hardware next year from us as well.
Category 27– Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout – 152 Entries
Bronze: Ruse, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)
It seems that Virginia is becoming the place were Quads and Stouts truely flourish, and Ruse is just another amazing stout from Hardywood. The creative combination of an Imperial Milk Stout in Red Wine Barrels for 18 months is one that borders on insanity, but melded extremely well together. Hopefully this moves from ‘experimental’ series to ‘yearly release event’.
Category 40– German-Style Maerzen – 34 Entries
Silver: Rhinofest, Lost Rhino Brewing Co. (Ashburn, VA)
How do you know when you have made a good Maerzen? Go ahead and best some of the best from Germany. That is exactly what Lost Rhino did with Rhinofest. We has seen them evolve their German craft over the past two years, but to see this beer take a medal in this event will hopefully send Ze Germans back to the drawing board.
Category 42– German-Style Schwarzbier – 51 Entries
Gold: Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost (Lexington, VA)
Regardless of personal opinions, Devil’s Backbone Schwartz Bier is still a Virginia beer for now, and it is truly a remarkable beer. It has been winning awards since 2010 and this year just adds to that haul. It is one, if not the, best Schwarbier produced in the US, period.
Category 65– Other Belgian-Style Ale – 43 Entries
Gold: Supernatural, Crooked Run Brewing (Leesburg, VA)
This is how you announce your presence with authority. The Hibiscus Gose from the duo from Leesburg, which was one of those ‘must try’ in Northern Virginia, just moved to the top of the list in the US. Couldn’t have scripted a better story.
Category 82– Irish-Style Red Ale – 66 Entries
Gold: Reilly’s Red, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost (Lexington, VA)
Bronze: Red Molly, Pale Fire Brewing Co. (Harrisonburg, VA)
Nothing like 2 winners from the same state. The emergence of Pale Fire on the national stage is now serious and hopefully will open them up for a solid run later this year at GABF. But also the fact that now Virginia is producing some award winning Irish Reds that could be another flagship of the Commonwealth.
Category 83– Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 42 Entries
Bronze: O’Connor’s Dry Irish Stout, O’Connor Brewing Co., Norfolk, VA
The lone 757 beer to win an award comes from one of the nicest, pure Irish Stouts around. ODIS is a staple in this area when the weather turns and for good reason. While the experimentation is great, to win an award for a ‘classic’ style take precision, and O’Connor hit those notes in this beer.