Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American craft beer ambassador for Europe, offers a compelling reason for choosing a beer …

Lotte Peplow with beer
Lotte Peplow

With hundreds of different beer styles and literally thousands of different beers now available, making a choice can be overwhelming. One tried and tested approach is to seek out beers that win top honours at notable international beer competitions, like the World Beer Cup, European Beer Star, and Brussels Beer Challenge.

Judging beer is a serious business that takes years of practice and refinement of skill. Imagine being the referee for the football World Cup — it’s a bit like that! From the appearance of a beer in the glass, to the enticing aroma on the nose and flavour on the palate, beer judging is the pinnacle of a beer lover’s sensory acumen and a true test of knowledge and skill in which all the senses are deployed.

Beers submitted to international beer competitions are judged blindly against other entries based on their ability to meet criteria outlined in style guidelines, like those produced by the Brewers Association or those they define themselves. Based on historical significance, authenticity, and profile in the current commercial beer market, each style guideline will dictate the appropriate aroma, appearance, taste, and mouthfeel of a beer style.

Judges will often also include an element of their overall impression and enjoyment of the beer. In larger competitions, like the World Beer Cup, beers will be judged against potentially hundreds of other entries in a category. Those making it to the final rounds and ultimately selected for a medal have been deemed the most exemplary and outstanding in their class.

As someone associated with American craft beer, it’s great to see the number of American craft beer entrants winning top honours at beer competitions around the world. The World Beer Cup, in America, International Beer Cup, in Japan, European Beer Star, in Germany, Brussels Beer Challenge, in Belgium, Australian International Beer Awards and many more have all seen American craft beer winning medals and gaining accolades from the best judging palates in the business.

Lotte Peplow judging

American craft beer is able to deliver unparalleled flavour due to a number of reasons: the use of high-quality raw materials, technical brewing expertise, and an unswerving commitment to quality, from production throughout the supply chain, to ensure it reaches the beer drinker exactly as the brewer intended.

In America itself, the most recent World Beer Cup — a biannual competition presented by the Brewers Association in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Conference — attracted more than 8,000 beers from more than 2,500 breweries representing 66 countries. This October, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition will attract more than 9,000 American craft beer entries to be assessed by more than 100 professional judges. The GABF gold, silver and bronze medals are recognised around the world as symbols of brewing excellence.

Award-winning American craft beer can be found throughout the UK in pubs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets, bottle shops, on-line retailers, and subscription services, and is renowned for its full flavour, use of top-quality ingredients, and world-class taste.

• Lotte Peplow is the American craft beer ambassador in Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in London. She is a certified cicerone, BDI accredited beer sommelier, and experienced beer judge, who enjoys nothing more than sampling beer and pairing it with food.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.

The BA represents 4,000-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.

The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.

The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.

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