‘Olympics of beer’ coming to Hotel Jerome | AspenTimes.com

‘Olympics of beer’ coming to Hotel Jerome

World Cup competition is returning to Aspen in June, but this time it’s for beer snobs rather than alpine ski racers.

An international competition called World Beer Cup 2002 will be held at the Hotel Jerome June 12. The event – billed as “the Olympics of beer competitions” – will honor top beers from around the world in 70 categories.

Unfortunately the event doesn’t feature any public tasting where people can come in off the street and guzzle beer. Instead it honors the tastiest concoctions of professional brewers.

These are folks who take their brews seriously. Categories range from chocolate/cocoa to herb and spice. There are 12 categories for lagers and one for extra special strong bitter in the style of British origin.

The finalists were chosen last month during the Craft Brewers Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The results have been kept under lock and keg, make that lock and key, for unveiling in Aspen in June.

So breweries that entered know if they won, but they don’t know what place or what category if they have multiple entries.

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There were 1,173 beers judged with entries from 379 breweries in 38 countries. About 32 percent of the entries came from outside the U.S. and 31 percent of the winners came from outside the country, according to Cindy Jones, spokeswoman for the Boulder, Colo.-based Association of Brewers, host of the event.

Jones noted that the World Beer Cup is held every other year for professional brewers only. The association has a different competition for home brewers.

The winning breweries range from mammoth Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis to the Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. of Akron, Ohio, and Simonds Farsons Cisk Pic of Malta.

The Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. of Glenwood Springs also earned a prize.

In many cases a gold, silver and bronze medal were awarded in each style. In some cases, judges may have felt a silver and bronze were warranted but they didn’t grant a gold, according to Jones.

While the association and the competition participants might object to the label “beer snob,” they are definitely connoisseurs. The event was scheduled in Aspen right before the annual Food and Wine Classic to draw some of the media that mega-event attracts.

Events at the World Beer Cup include tastings that match beers with particular foods. And the mission of the Brewers Association obviously isn’t aimed at what President Bill Clinton called “Joe Six-Pack.” Its goal is “to encourage beer enthusiasts to savor the flavor of beer responsibly.”

Not that the Association of Brewers doesn’t want beer lovers to have fun. The organization also hosts the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, which lures thousands to a public tasting.

Representatives of the winning breweries and other brewing industry officials will gather in Aspen for the World Beer Cup awards ceremony, a tasting of the winners along with appropriate appetizers and a beer dinner featuring a four-course meal.

More information about the World Beer Cup 2002 is available at http://www.beertown.org/WBC/wbc.htm.