B&R Beer Contest establishes itself as the largest beer award in Switzerland.
The Swiss craft beer scene has experienced an almost incomparable boom in recent years. But as not only quantity but also quality counts, quality control with constructive and expert feedback is needed. At the Brau- und Rauch Beer Contest, the Swiss Beer Award with the most entries, an expert jury judged the submitted beers independently and impartially using the „Double Blind“ method. This year, Torkelbräu lager from Niederlenz impressed the jury the most and was the overall winner.
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Whoever wants to keep track of all beer festivals, beer markets and beer hikes in Switzerland has had a strenuous life in the last few years: they are springing up like mushrooms. That may bother some. But it is merely a sign of the momentum and importance craft beer has gained in Switzerland over the past few years.
Maybe it’s this gained importance, maybe it’s the more than 1000 registered breweries in Switzerland, which led to a new record of 335 beers submitted to the fourth Brau & Rauch (B&R) Beer Contest this year. This makes the competition the largest beer contest in Switzerland.
One overall winner was chosen from all entries. Torkelbräu from Niederlenz was able to secure this prestigious award in 2019 with its lager beer. In addition to fame and honour, the winner will receive a personalised Lindr beer cooler worth almost 800 francs. Sven Heider of Torkelbräu was also invited participate at the next edition of the beer festival „Wordspiele“.
Only three winners per category
With the fourth edition, the B&R Beer Contest can be considered a veteran of the Swiss craft beer scene. There are other beer awards on the calendar, but the B&R Beer Contest differs from other awards in important areas, such as the Swiss Beer Award by the Swiss Brewery Association. „With our contest, we are specifically addressing craft breweries of the size Micro, Nano or Pico as well as home brewers who still brew beer as a craft and who do not have the financial means for internal quality control and expensive laboratory analyses,“ says organizer Silvia from Brau & Rauch.
In contrast to other awards, where almost all submitted beers walk away with a gold or silver award or contest where anyone can buy a place on the jury, this contest only awards first, second and third place in each category and one overall winner. Plus the jurors are invited to participate. „Anyone who wins can be certain that their beer meets a high standard,“ says Laurent Mousson, an independent beer expert and head of the judges at the B&R Beer Contest, „but even those who don’t finish at the top of the categories will get something from their submission.” He alludes to the fact that each beer is not only graded, but that the brewer also receives detailed feedback on the taste profile and, if there are brewing errors, a hint as to how to avoid them.
„In this way, the beer contest also actively contributes to improving beer quality in Switzerland,“ says Christian Jauslin from bierversuche.ch, Doemens Biersomelier and Judge at the B&R beer contest. He adds that if the numbers of breweries continues to grow, only breweries that can meet quality standards in addition to factors like “drink local”, will survive in the long term. „And quality requirements by drinkers will certainly increase in the future, when the experience and comparison possibilities of beer drinkers in Switzerland increases. That is why the jury is made up of professional brewers, experienced home brewers and beer sommeliers, people from the gastronomical trade as well as experienced beer entrepreneurs. They are all capable to evaluate beers according to international and current standards,” adds Christian.
It is difficult to comprehend that certain breweries have reservations about such contests with regard to the neutrality of the judges in their evaluation. The beers are judged using the so-called „Double Blind“ method; i.e. the judges, who evaluate different beer stems at different tables, while they can exchange their impression with each other, they have, first, absolutely no knowledge about which breweries and brewers have submitted beers and, secondly, which beers have just been served to them. This guarantees maximum impartiality and an undivided focus on the quality and taste profile of the beers evaluated.
All the more reason for the winners to be happy about their title, because neither the identity of the brewer nor any relationship with one of the 18 judges has any influence on the result. This year, the following beers ranked:
|Kategorie||1. place||2. place
|Amber||Pablo Guirado, Brauerei Kraftstoff (Sissach)||Alain Cathélaz, Artisan Brasseur Cathélaz (Yvorne)||Andre Stolpmann, Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei (Zufikon)|
|Brettanomyces / Lacto||Dr. Brauwolf GmbH (Zürich)||Lukas Thomann, einheitsbier.ch (Winterthur)||Tom Edwardson, Homebrewer|
|Bock/Doppelbock||Andre Stolpmann – Bock, Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei (Zufikon)||Pawel Leskiewicz – Doppelbock, Homebrewer||Lukas Thomann – Bock, einheitsbier.ch (Winterthur)|
||Sven Lange, Black Peak Brauerei (Davos)|
|Cider & Perry||Philipp Jäggi, Tucho Brew (Solothurn)||Ranka Feller, Ciderfairy (Thun)||Jan De Ruijter, El Caballero Brewing (Schöflisdorf)|
|Double IPA/Strong Ale||
||Richie Waldis, NordSud (Rheinfelden)|
|Fruit||Marc Robert, Homebrewer (Grolley)||Christoph Lüthi, Homebrewer||Alain Cathélaz, Artisan Brasseur Cathélaz (Yvorne)|
|Wood||GibbonBräu GmbH (Tecknau)||Philipp Jäggi, Tucho Brew (Solothurn||
|IPA||Flavio Foiada, Taket al Tauro! Homebrewing (Liebefeld)||Tim Sutton, Brauerei Sutton (Dallenwil)||Schlachthuus GmbH (Lufingen)|
|Imperial Stout||Dr. Brauwolf GmbH (Zürich)||Luca Siegrist, Homebrewer||Kevin Kuster, Brauerei Marmot Cervisiam (Jenins)|
|Juicy and Hazy||Tobias Löffel, Kwär (Zürich)||Marc Robert, Homebrewer (Grolley)||Richie Waldis, NordSud (Rheinfelden)|
|Kölsch||Michel Huebscher, Hektor Bier (Zofingen)||Kevin Kuster, Brauerei Marmot Cervisiam (Jenins)||Kurt Hintermann, Kudi Bräu (Buchser Bier) (Buchs, AG)|
|Lager||Sven Heider, Torkelbräu (Niederlenz)||Markus Friederich, Ahoi Bier (Schlieren)||Andre Stolpmann, Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei (Zufikon)|
|Märzen||Jungfraubräu AG (Schwanden bei Brienz)||Anthony Miller, Bella Vista Brewery||Anthony Miller, Bella Vista Brewery|
|Pale Ale||Markus Friederich, Ahoi Bier (Schlieren)||HellsKitchen Brewery (Rümlang)||Schlachthuus GmbH (Lufingen)|
|Pils||Pentabier.ch (Dübendorf)||Dr. Brauwolf GmbH (Zürich)||Rafael Eigenmann, Homebrewer|
|Porter||Philipp Jäggi, Tucho Brew (Solothurn)||Sven Lange, Black Peak Brauerei (Davos)||
|Smoke||Markus Friederich, Ahoi Bier (Schlieren)||Kaspar Scheidegger, Shrinkbrew||Beat Ruf, Storchenbräu (Brittnau)|
|Saison||Beat Ruf, Storchenbräu (Brittnau)||Julien Manetti, Chien Bleu Sarl (Genf)||Adrian Pasquinelli, Brauerei Stadtbach (Bern)|
|Stout||Kurt Hintermann, Kudi Bräu (Buchser Bier) (Buchs, AG)||Nils Krohn, Homebrewer||Beat Ruf, Storchenbräu (Brittnau|
|Schwarzbier||Jungfraubräu AG (Schwanden bei Brienz)||Urs Enz, Tannzapfenbräu (Guntershausen bei Aadorf||Brauerei Hirtler (March, DE)|
|Verrückt und Wunderbar||Patrick Vaucher, Homebrewer (Thun)||Kaspar Scheidegger, Shrinkbrew||Alain Cathélaz, Artisan Brasseur Cathélaz (Yvorne)|
|Weizen, Weizenbock||Christian Berner, Homebrewer (Niederlenz)||
|Wit||HellsKitchen Brewery (Rümlang)||Kaspar Scheidegger, Shrinkbrew||Mihajlo Zivkovic, Homebrewer|
This year’s overall winner in all categories was Sven Heider from Torkelbräu from Niederlenz.
We from bierversuche.ch congratulate all of these brewers for their place on the podium. „It is nice to see that over the years an increase in quality can be observed. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement,“ says Marcel Alber, Doemens Biersomelier, Judge and co-founder of bierversuche.ch.
Disclaimer: Bierversuche supported the B&R Beer Contest with the organization of the judges and provided two of them. We have no financial stake in the company or the contest. We would like to thank the B&R team for the great organization and their exceptional commitment. We would also like to thank all judges for their participation. We are already looking forward to next year’s contest.