International Beer Challenge 2014 trophy winners and champion announced

Australian brewery Redoak has claimed the Supreme Champion award at the International Beer Challenge for the second year running after thrilling judges with its Chateau Sour.

Last year brewer David Hollyoak seized the most coveted honour in the beer world for his Special Reserve, and followed it up in 2014 as his sour beer beat more than 500 from across the globe to the top prize.

His sister Kelly Hollyoak, one of the founders of the Sydney brewery, told OLN: “What’s really exciting about this win is that it’s an unusual style. It’s an emerging style and David has done a lot of work in this area. He is very passionate about it.

“He does 40 styles a year so he has a real breadth of styles and it is great to see this one recognised.”

Entries to the competition increased 10% this year, but the demanding judges – made up of brewers, retailers, publicans, flavour analysts and journalists from across the globe – awarded just 30 gold medals out of more than 500 beers.

These were divided into six categories – ales up to 5% abv, ales above 5% abv, stout or porter, lager, wheat beer and speciality beer.

The most experienced judges met in London yesterday to taste all the gold medallists again and they awarded a trophy winner for the best beer in each category.

Redoak Chateau Sour won Best Speciality Beer before going on to claim the top prize, but it had to fend off fierce competition.

Bath Ales Gem was named Best Ale Up To 5%, while Bierland Blonde Ale scooped the trophy for Best Ale Above 5%.

Deschutes Obsidian Stout won Best Stout or Porter, Eisenbahn Dunkel won Best Lager and Du Bocq Blanche de Namur won Best Wheat Beer.

All the trophy winners were commended by judges for dazzling them with a phenomenal blend of taste, appearance, aroma and finish, but ultimately Redoak was deemed the best of the best of the best.

Chairman of the judges Jeff Evans, former editor of The Good Beer Guide, said entries increased by 10% this year and that judges “sampled some amazing beers” from 35 countries, “underscoring what a fantastic buzz there is around beer around the world”.

“The final judging round is always a great occasion because we have on the table in front of us the very best beers in the competition,” he added. “It means that choosing a winner can be tough but it's tough for all the right reasons. It was also exciting to hold the final taste off on the day of the presentation itself. It definitely added a buzz to the event, knowing that just two hours before the winners were announced the awards had not been decided.”

He added: “There are other beer competitions but unlike other competitions we don’t judge beers by how close they are to accepted style definitions, such as how technically correct a porter or a barley wine might be. We just focus on what consumers want to know: how good is the beer. We think our competition is more pertinent to the general public than others.”

For the first time this year, trophies were awarded to the top retailer, the top importer and the leading brewers in each continent. The only stipulation was that they had to have entered at least three beers and won one gold medal, and then their scores were aggregated, with various points awarded for golds, silvers and bronzes and the total score divided by the number of entries the company had made.

With a superb haul of five bronze medals, 10 silvers and a gold, Marks & Spencer was named the best retailer for its range of own-label beers.

Evans said it “showed remarkable quality across the entries it submitted”, while the retailer’s product developer Jenny Rea added that she was delighted with the win.

Pierhead Purchasing was named Importer of the Year.

UK Brewer of the Year was Fyne Ales, with three bronzes, two silver medals and a gold. The brewer tweeted that it was chuffed with the win and has been flooded with praise and congratulatory messages on social media. The best in Europe was Baltika of St Petersburg in Russia, while Australia’s Hawthorn Brewing Co scooped the Oceania award.

Brasil Kirin won in South America, while Samuel Adams producer Boston Beer Company won the North America award after scooping a fantastic haul of 14 bronzes, 15 silvers and seven gold medals. There were no trophies for Africa or Asia, as brewers in those continents failed to secure a gold medal, although Evans said that might change next year as the quality of their brews continues to improve.

The overall world’s best brewer title went to Hawthorn.

Another team of judges led by Paul Foulkes-Arellano of design consultancy Seymour Powell decided on trophies for the best design and packaging.

Icelandic brewer Einstok won two trophies, while the overall winner was Adnams from Southwold in Suffolk.

Foulkes-Arellano said of its Mosaic Pale Ale: “We loved the use of colour. It is well thought through and blends of tradition and modernity together brilliantly. It takes design to a new level.”

He added: “Last year when we commented on the quality of the entrants I was pleased with the quality of thought and execution. In 2014 there was another big leap. We noticed confidence and originality and creative excellence and brand thinking new to the category, stretching the beer category in its own right, not just borrowing from other categories as in previous years. I am looking forward immensely to the next leap in 2015.”

Here are the results in full: 

Design and Packaging Awards

Company Name

Category Name

Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale

Supreme Champion Design & Packaging

Einstok Icelandic Craft Beer Range

Best Established Design & Packaging Range

Anspach & Hobday Range

Best New Design & Packaging Range

Einstok Doppelbock

Best Established Design & Packaging Individual Product

Adnams Mosaic Pale Ale

Best New Design & Packaging Individual Product

Tasting Awards


Company Name

Category Name

Redoak Chateau Sour

Supreme Champion

Bierland Belgian Blond Ale

Best Ale above 5%

Bath Ales Gem

Best Ale up to 5%

Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Best Stout or Porter

Eisenbahn Dunkel

Best Lager

Redoak Chateau Sour

Best Speciality Beer

Du Bocq Blanche de Namur

Best Wheat Beer

Regional Awards

Company Name

Category Name

Hawthorn Brewing Company

Supreme Champion Brewer

Fyne Ales

Brewer of the Year - UK

Baltika Breweries

Brewer of the Year - Europe

Hawthorn Brewing Company

Brewer of the Year - Oceania

Brasil Kirin

Brewer of the Year - South America

Boston Beer Company

Brewer of the Year - North America 

Marks & Spencer

Retailer of the Year

Pierhead Purchasing

Importer of the Year

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