The 12th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge took place from October 29 to 31 in Turnhout, in the heart of the Antwerp Campine. The results were revealed this Monday, November 20, at the Horeca Expo in Ghent.

This year, 1811 beers from 37 different countries participated in the Brussels Beer Challenge. 

With 400 beers, Belgium has the largest number of entries, ahead of Italy (224), France (158), the United States (143), China (133), Brazil (128), and Germany (103). Notable this year were the exceptional entries from Ghana, Ecuador, South Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali.

A Brussels brewery named best Belgian beer of the competition 

The Brasserie Surréaliste located in the heart of Brussels won a Gold medal in the “Session IPA” category and the title of the Best Belgian beer in the competition with Dance Rave Dance (Prik & Tik Trophy) packed in a can. A surprise for this brewery created just 3 years ago in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The Brussels Beer Project, another emblem of the Brussels brewing revival, won 2 bronze medals with 2 of its flagship beers: Delta IPA and Babylone.

Italy asserts itself as a major beer country 

Traditionally known for its wine, Italy has seen a significant increase in the number of craft breweries and the quality of its beer production. Many microbreweries have flourished throughout the country, offering a wide variety of craft, experimental, and high-quality beers. Italy rises for the first time to the 2nd place on the podium with 37 awarded beers, behind Belgium, which once again leads with 80 awarded beers. The Birrificio Mezzopasso brewery located in Abruzzo won the prestigious COMAC Trophy for the best beer of the competition with its amber beer Millican Extra.

Gluten-free beers sharply increasing 

Brewers seem to follow trends and adapt to consumer demands, as evidenced by the record number of beers entered in this category. Gluten intolerant individuals can now enjoy high-quality gluten-free beers. Among the 30 gluten-free entries, the Swedish Nun Gluten Blonde brewed in the former abbey of Östergötland County (south of Stockholm) Vreta Kloster Bryggeri won the gold ex-aequo with the Bavaria Pilsener Glutenfree brewed in Belgium.

The Triple, flagship category of the Brussels Beer Challenge 

The Triple beer is a Belgian-style beer, fruity, spicy, rather sweet, with a high alcohol content. It generally has a rich and complex taste, relatively strong carbonation, and an alcohol content ranging between 8% and 10%. Over a hundred Tripels were entered in this highly competitive category, with a majority of Belgian beers (51), but other countries were also represented, including France, the Netherlands, the United States, Italy, China, Turkey, and Brazil. In terms of results, Belgium maintains its dominance in this flagship category with Scheldebrouwerij (Gold medal for Zeezuiper), Wilderen and Omer (Silver medals for Tripel Kanunnik and Tripel Lefort), and St Bernardus and Caulier (Bronze medal for St.Bernardus Tripel and Paix Dieu).

The Brussels Beer Challenge, an international competition 

The Brussels Beer Challenge was created in 2012 by BeComev (Beer Communications & Events), under the direction of Luc De Raedemaeker and Thomas Costenoble, in response to the growing interest in beer culture. For three days, a panel of 90 renowned international judges evaluates the participating beers. These beers are grouped into coherent series based on their origin, typicality, and style. They are evaluated according to strict and objective criteria. Only the top 3 (or 4) beers in each category receive a gold, silver, or bronze medal. 

The Brussels Beer Challenge offers brewers from around the world a unique opportunity to compete with the best Belgian beers.