November 30, 2018
June 30, 2019
July 21-22, 2019
At the first-ever USA Beer Ratings competition, which took place in San Francisco in late July, eight beers from all over the world – including four from the United States – were awarded the prestigious Gold medal. The top scoring beer, Meet Your Maker from Monkless Belgian Ales in Oregon, was named the “Beer of the Year.” In addition, Monkless Belgian Ales was named “Brewery of the Year” by the judges.
In addition to the 8 Gold medal winners, another 20 beers were awarded Silver medals and 10 beers were awarded Bronze medals. Beers were judged on the basis of three primary criteria – quality, value and package – and then scored on a 100-point scale. Beers that scored 90+ points were awarded Gold medals, beers that scored 80 to 89 points were awarded Silver medals, and beers that scored 70 to 79 points received Bronze medals.
The primary reason for using three criteria rather than just one was to focus on the overall drinkability of each beer. As a result, the judging panel ranked beers not just by how they taste, but also by their overall presentation and appearance in the bottle. In addition, judges assessed beers on their relative value in relation to their peers. While Monkless Belgian Ales was the overall winner with a score of 96 points, entrants from Germany (Weihenstephan Hefe-Weissbier), Belgium (Rodenbach) and Italy (AMA-Bionda) recorded the highest overall scores in the respective categories of quality, value and package.
Oregon-based Monkless Belgian Ales specializes in classic Belgian-style ales that are crafted to be accessible, refined and smooth. The brewmaster for Monkless Belgian Ales is Todd Clement.
The USA Beer Ratings was launched in late 2017 by Beverage Trade Network, which organizes beer industry events all over the world. The goal of this event was to judge beers the way consumers judge them. In contrast to other beer competitions, where brewing ability and technical expertise sometimes receive primary consideration at the expense of drinkability, the goal of the USA Beer Ratings was to award and celebrate the beers that beer drinkers actually want to buy, whether at a retail liquor store or ordering off the menu at a restaurant.
Chief executive of Beverage Trade Network Sid Patel said, “At all the major competitions, beers are judged solely on the quality of what’s in the bottle. We wanted to take a different approach, by asking our judges to look at beers the way beer drinkers do, adding appearance and value for money into the mix.”
“The best-tasting beers in the world won’t attract the attention of consumers unless the packaging design and price point appeal to beer drinkers,” says Patel. “People buy beers with their eyes first, and that puts a real premium on beers that are able to offer an attractive presentation, everything from the label to the brand perception.”
“Including all three factors into the judging process produces results that are closer to the reality of the way consumers purchase beers and gives brewmasters better feedback on how their beers are perceived by consumers,” Patel notes.
At the judging session in San Francisco, judges tasted and scored beers on a blind basis before seeing bottles and marking them for on-shelf appeal as well as value for money. This enabled them to come up with an overall score that reflects their overall drinkability.
Patel said, “Launching a new competition is exciting but also daunting, especially when it fundamentally changes the way beers are judged. We’re delighted with the first-ever USA Beer Ratings, which attracted entries from Italy, Germany, Belgium and the UK in addition to the United States.”
Based on the initial success of this year’s USA Beer Ratings, Beverage Trade Network plans to run the competition again in 2019 and will be opening up entries towards the end of 2018.
For more information on the USA Beer Ratings competition, please see: www.USABeerRatings.com
For more information on Beverage Trade Network, please see:
Beer of the Year
Meet Your Maker, Monkless Belgian Ales
Brewery of the Year
Best in Show by Country
Italy - AMA-Bionda, Birra Amarcord
The United States - Wreak Havoc, Bootstrap Brewing
Germany - Weihenstephan Hefe-Weissbier, Weihenstephan
United Kingdom - Hobgoblin, Eurobrew
Belgium - Saison Dupont Farmhouse Ale, Brasserie Dupont
Best Beer of the Year by Quality
Weihenstephan Hefe-Weissbier, Weihenstephan
Best Beer of the Year by Value
Rodenbach, Latis Imports
Best Beer of the Year by Package
AMA-Bionda, Birra Amarcord
For a full list of Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners, please see: www.USABeerRatings.com