Swiss Craft Beer Champions 2022
This year the Brau- & Rauchshop Craft Beer Contest, or B&R Contest, took place for the seventh time in a row. In the end, there is one winner and many category winners, but before, in between and after there is a lot to do. Silvia, owner of the B&R Shop, gave a behind-the-scenes look to us at Bierversuche.ch and revealed the role her 84-year-old mother plays in the contest.
The B&R Contest was born when the shop moved from Bünzen to Densbüren in 2016. The idea to combine the open day with a professional beer competition came from Tom Strickler, brewer and owner of S&A Brewing. It was also his contacts to Head Judge Laurent Mousson and Philippe “Bov” Corbat that were decisive for a professional implementation.
Around 450 beers in this year’s edition
In the first year, around 270 beers were judged by 17 professional judges. “It was full of emotion,” Silvia remembers, “and the day’s winners Dominic, Sandro and Francesco from Endo Bier with their Saison were probably the most surprised about the success”. This year, there are now around 450 beers that were judged by 22 Judges over two days. Meanwhile, the judges are organised by Bierversuche.ch.
At least 3 feedbacks per submitted beer
In the first round, the judges taste the beers in groups of 3, evaluate them and write down feedback for the brewers. In the second round on Saturday, the category winners will be chosen from the highest-scoring beers, and from these the 6 with the highest score will go through to the final. Each brewer will receive at least 3 feedbacks per beer. Those who make it to the second round will have 6 or more feedbacks.
What sounds simple is a logistical challenge. “Just sorting the beers after their arrival, checking the categorisation and recording the data would take one person a week of work,” reveals Silvia.
5400 stickers for the drip stops
Each beer is also given a number. This number must be stuck on the drip stop for the glasses. The numbers make the beer identifiable for the organisers, but not for the judges. They test in a double-blind procedure. In other words, they know neither who enters the beer nor which beer they are being served. They only receive the category, the number and a short description of the beer written by the brewer. This gives them maximum impartiality in their assessment.
But back to the drip stops. It needs 12 pieces per beer, or an equal of 5400 stickers this year. They are stuck on patiently by Silvia’s mother – she is 84 years old. During the contest, a whole armada of staff is needed to serve the beers, clear away, wash up and record the judges’ feedback and ratings. Understandably, the shop is closed on this Saturday. Everyone is busy with the contest or the festival.
Education and networking on Saturday
There is also the task of organising the prizes for the category winners, second and third place winners and, of course, the main prize. The festival on Saturday also offered the participants and visitors networking opportunities and further education through lectures. Those who were there this year were able to learn more about the Braumeister products, Swiss malt from Aargau and the correct cleaning, or taste their way through the 24 beers on tap, which of course also have to be organised.
With all the work, however, Silvia remains true to the motto of the Brau- und Rauchshop “from hobby to professional”. “With 15 Swiss francs per submitted beer, the contest is affordable for everyone and the feedback from the professional judges or the distinction of being the category winner is certainly a win for everyone,” says Silvia. So the contest is and will remain open to everyone, whether home brewer, microbrewery or pro-brewery.
Judges who know their job
Speaking of judges. This year there were 22 judges, 13 of whom were brewers themselves, mostly from well-known Swiss breweries such as Blackwell, Brauhaus 531, White Frontier, Brausydnikat, Thunbier, BFM, Dr. Brauwolf, Virage Beer and even Five Points Brewing from England. The others are sommeliers or internationally recognised judges or have other professional connections with the beer market. In short: they know their job and know what a good beer tastes like.
Main and category winners
The best beers this year are as follows. The main winner this year was the Kwär Bier brewery, which took first and second place. Congratulations to the main and category winners.
|Belgisch Starkbier||Strong Ale|
|1 Foxton David||1 Hoptopus|
|2 Chesi-Brauer||2 Hoptopus|
|3 Brauonkel Brewery||3 Hebestreit Leonhard|
|Amber / Märzen||Bock / Doppelbock|
|1 Brauart dals Bofs||1 Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei|
|Märzen||2 Braurei Sufers AG|
|2 Bögli Bräu||3 Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei|
|3 Stollo’s Best Festbierbrauerei|
|1 Edwardson Tom||1 Hebestreit Leonhard|
|2 Krell Pascal||2 Hunziker Lukas|
|3 ahoi hill||3 Hart David|
|1 HellsKitchen Brewery||1 Krell Pascal|
|2 Brauonkel Brewery||2 Krell Pascal|
|3 Hoptopus||3 Bachweg Brewing AG|
|1 Hoptopus||1 Lubos Sevcek Brauerei|
|2 Brauerei Brauhofer||2 NewCornerBeer NCB|
|3 Lubos Sevcek Brauerei||3 Brauart dals Bofs|
|1 Hebestreit Leonhard||1 Brauonkel Brewery|
|2 Stollo’s Festbierbrauerei||2 Marmot Cervisiam GmbH|
|3 Oppliger Anton||3 Biermanufaktur Bahnhof Aarau|
|1 Hebestreit Leonhard||1 Kwär|
|2 Foxton David||2 Ritter Andreas|
|3 Braufabrik Baden AG||3 Locras Bräu|
|1 Hebestreit Leonhard||1 Brauonkel Brewery|
|2 NewCornerBeer NCB||2 Marmot Cervisiam GmbH|
|3 Braurei Chäller Bröi||3 ahoi hill|
|1 Hoptopus||1 Kwär|
|2 Hebestreit Leonhard||2 Oberhöfler s’Bier usem Neubrünnlertal|
|3 Bachweg Brewing AG||3 Stahler Bier GmbH|
|Juicy & Hazy||Saison|
|1 Foiada Flavio||1 Krell Pascal|
|2 Matt & Elly||2 Shrinkbrew|
|3 Drunkbeard||3 Hebestreit Leonhard|
|1 Shrinkbrew||1 Brutam-Bräu|
|2 Hebestreit Leonhard||2 Lubos Sevcek Brauerei|
|3 Miller Anthony||3 Alberth Stephan|
|Weird & Wonderful||Cider|
|1 Ritter Andreas||1 Fridolin Cider|
|2 Bierwerkstatt Nordsud||2 INCIDER|
|3 Thomann Lukas||3 INCIDER|
Disclaimer: Bierversuche.ch has supported the B&R Beer Contest with the organization of the judges and has provided two of them, but has no financial participation in the company or the contest. We would like to thank the B&R team for the great organization and their extraordinary commitment. We would also like to thank all judges for their participation. We are already looking forward to next year, hopefully in spring and with a public spring beer festival.