If you are looking for some of the best beer in the world, you need to look west. The Western United States, to be exact. That message resonated loudly from the stage in downtown Nashville at the 2023 World Beer Cup awards ceremony. Known as the “Olympics of Beer,” the event is organized by the Brewers Association. The same group organizes the Great American Beer Festival. This marks the first year the event is being held annually; previously, it was a bi-annual event.
Designed to celebrate the art and science of the global brewing community, the event attracted 10,213 entries from 2,376 breweries competing in 103 categories. Fifty-one countries were represented, and there were 522 first-time brewery entries. While the event does shine a spotlight on the planet’s brewers, the United States dominated the field, accounting for almost 80% of the beers sipped by the judges.
Long known as the hotbed of brewing, California led the way taking home fifty medals. Some notable wins for the Golden State were gold in the American Style Pale Ale Category. That was won by MadeWest Brewing for their MadeWest Pale. In the Imperial India Pale Ale category, California secured gold and silver for Hoptomic by Morgan Territory Brewing and Double Cone by Alvarado Street Brewery, respectively. In two other hotly contested styles, they took home silver. Topa Topa Brewing’s KQ Express was recognized in International Lager and Boomtown Brewery’s Party Pils in American-Style Pilsner.
Colorado was the next most recognized state securing twenty-four medals. Some notable wins for the Mile High State were Jessup Farm Barrel House winning gold in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer category for their Ginette. A host of the sates beers took home silver medals, including Cannonball Creek Brewing Company in the Session India Pale Ale category for their Trump Hands and Westbound & Down Brewing’s Spirit of the West in the International India Pale Ale category.
Hot on their heels, Oregon heard their name called twenty-two times. Bend’s 10 Barrel’s four medals led the way, tying them with Ohio’s Fat Head Brewery and California’s Green Cheek Beer Company for the most at the event. Other notable victors from the Beaver State were Chetco Brewing Co’s Block & Tackle Imperial Stout and Baerlic Brewing’s Night Howler Imperial Stout taking gold and silver, respectively, in the American-Style Imperial Stout category. Von Elbert Brewing grabbed gold in the German-Style Pilsner category for their Pils.
Not far behind the big three, Texas made some serious noise by grabbing eighteen medals, further cementing its status as a state to watch for beer. Some notable wins for the Lone Star state were White House Alehouse & Brewery taking home silver in the Golden or Blonde Ale category for their Big Thicket and Infamous Brewing’s Bugsy’s Fire Brush securing silver in the American Style Amber/Red Ale category.
The rest of the top ten states were North Carolina and Washington with 13 medals, Virginia with 10, and the trifecta of Florida, Illinois, and Ohio with 8 each. While the United States took 267 total medals, the remaining medals were split between 13 other countries. Canada heard their name called 14 times, followed by Germany and Japan, each with 5.
If you are wondering why Europe wasn’t represented better at the event, don’t worry. Their time is coming. On June 22nd, the European World Beer Cup Awards will be announced in Berlin, Germany, offering some of the continent’s best the chance to showcase their wares. But for now, if you’re looking for a fresh pint, listen to Los Angeles legends The Doors from their 1967 song The End. “The West is the best; get out here, and we’ll do the rest.” Seems they knew something. The full list of winners can be seen on the Brewers Association’s website here.