Monthly Archives: May 2018

Brewers Association announces 2018 World Beer Cup winners

8,234 entries from 66 countries compete at the “Olympics of Beer”

By Alan J. Wax

More than 300 beers out of more than 8,000 entries were winners in the 2018 Brewers Association (BA) bi-annual World Beer Cup competition.

In all 303 awards were presented May 3 in Nashville, where the bi-annual competition was conducted just prior to the annual Craft Brewers Conference.

The Boulder, Colo.-based BA, the trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers, calls the World Beer Cup one of the world’s largest global commercial beer competitions. This year’s competition drew 8,234 beers from over 2,515 breweries located in 66 countries – the largest number of entrants in the history of the competition since it was established in 1996.

Beers were judged during six sessions over a period of three days by an elite panel of 295 judges from 33 countries—72 percent of whom were from outside the United States.

The judges awarded 302 out of 303 total possible awards, reflecting the chance for one gold, one silver and one bronze in beer style category.

The most-entered categories in 2018:
377 entries in American-Style India Pale Ale
196 entries in Imperial India Pale Ale
196 entries in Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
190 entries in Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout

The complete World Beer Cup  is available at the BA web site.

Beers were judged during six sessions over a period of three days by an elite panel of 295 judges from 33 countries—72 percent of whom were from outside the United States. Judges evaluated 8,234 beers—a 25 percent increase in the number of entries from the 2016 World Beer Cup. Of the 2,515 participating breweries, 807 were from outside the United States.

“Beer brings people together,” said Charlie Papazian, founder and past president, Brewers Association. “The World Beer Cup showcases the breadth of the global brewing community and winning an award symbolizes one of the greatest brewing achievements. Congratulations to all the winners on this remarkable accomplishment.”

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A Tuscan wine producer shows his wines in a French bistro in Brooklyn

Caprone Rose

2016 Prunideo Sangiovese/Cabernet blend

Betti Chianti Montalbano

Creto de Betti Bianco




















It was an unusual dining experience the other evening at Le Fond, the Michelin Guide-listed French bistro in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to say the least. How odd is it to sip Italian wine in a French restaurant, in Greenpoint?

Le Fond a tiny place with oak tables and simply decor and except for our party of 15 it was largely empty on a Wednesday evening. I was there as a guest of Fattoria Betti, a Tuscan wine producer seeking an importer and looking to impress the media. (The guests were bloggers, mostly interested in culture, not wine).  The eatery was selected by the winery’s Italian PR firm and our menu had been scripted almost three months in advance.  To be sure, the wines, except  for a Sangiovese-based rose served with dessert, paired nicely with our food, though I was not  exactly enamored by my host’s dining choices.

Our host was Guido Betti, owner of Fattoria Betti, a 500,000-bottle-a year winery in the Montalbano region of Tuscany, Italy, Betti has 26 hectares of red clay  vineyard and sells half of its production to private label customers and outsiders. Last year’s production was impacted by lousy spring weather. Fattoria Betti’s wines are fermented in steel and concrete vats, the IGT wines aged a year  in 900-liter tonneau.  Fattoria Betti exports 60 percent of its production throughout Europe and China, but not the U.S> Betti is hoping to find a U.S. importer. “it;s the most important market in the world,” he told me.

Guido Betti, owner of Fattoria Betti

The restaurant is known for its French comfort food and that, indeed, is what we had, prepared expertly by chef owner Jake Eberle, a Cordon Bleu alum. We started with 2017 Creto de Betti, an easy sipping, fruity, white blend of Chardonnay and Trebbiano, which was paired with Spring Vegetable Capriccio with mustard vinaigarette and egg. Pretty as a picture, the dish consisted of razor thin shavings of tomato, beets and zucchini showered with milled hardboiled egg. There was, sadly, not much to taste beyond the dressing, although the crusty dark bread and sweet, creamy butter helped fill things out.

Our second course, cavatelli with prosciutto, scallions, green lentils in a spinach emulsion (foam), was a delight. The pasta perfectly al dente and the sauce stood up to the winery’s high alcohol (14%), fruity, but earthy 2016 Chianti Montalbano, which had just the right acidity to offset the rich dish.

Our main, was braised lamb shoulder with artichoke barigoule (the vegetable was stewed in wine), all topped by a minted salsa verde. The lamb was tender, but lacked verve, despite the minty salsa. The wine with this course, 2016 Prunideo, was a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was inky, more elegant and  more powerful than the Chianti, but still easy to drink and it out-showed the food on my plate.

The chef, however, shined with dessert, Chocolate Cremeux (custard) with poached strawberries and a dab of vanilla custard. It resembled a long finger of chocolate truffle, but was soft and creamy and it melted instantly inside my mouth. Alas, the winery’s 2017 Caprone rose, a pretty deep pink, was disappointingly blah.

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