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Wisconsin scores a trio of medals at World Beer Cup

Several awards plaques with a gold symbol and lettering on a wooden background lay flat on a table.
World Beer Cup / Facebook

The World Beer Cup handed out its awards in Nashville on Wednesday, with three breweries bringing back medals to the birthplace of the American beer industry: Wisconsin.

Since 1996, the Brewer’s Association has hosted the annual event — Often referred to as “The Olympics of Beer” — to celebrate the art and science of brewing. It’s recognized by industry experts as the most prestigious beer competition worldwide, acknowledging excellence in 103 categories, all determined by judges selected from internationally renowned brewers.

The judges have achieved a fair bit of excellence themselves by building expertise in beer sensory training, knowledge of beer styles and recognition from their peers in the industry. They conduct all evaluations blindly to ensure they’re completely unaware of the brands in front of them and that the liquid is judged solely on its merit, with the very best receiving one of three awards:

  • Bronze medals recognizing fine examples of the style that may have slight variations in parameters or minor defects in taste, aroma or appearance. 
  • Silver medals awarded to beers that may slightly deviate from style parameters while still maintaining close adherence to the style and exhibiting excellent taste, aroma and appearance. 
  • Gold medals given to world-class beers that accurately exemplify the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.

All that is to say it’s an immense honor to achieve any sort of placement in the competition. This year, Wisconsin walked away with two golds and a bronze while representing a variety of styles.

In all likelihood, the winner most familiar to Badger State beer drinkers is New Glarus Brewing Company, which secured a gold medal in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category for its Vintage 2022, a limited release first introduced this past January. As New Glarus noted in its reveal on social media, “Each year, Brewmaster Dan Carey releases his annual iteration of spontaneously fermented Belgian-style Gueuze. This traditionally Belgian Lambic specialty is a blending of young and old blonde sour beers that then go through a second fermentation in the bottle.”

Also carting home a gold medal on its return trip from Nashville was Vintage Brewing Company out of Sauk City, which cooked up a Pumpernickel Porter that earned the highest honor in the Herb and Spice category. Vintage calls it a “‘liquid bread’ experimental brew” where “hearty dark malts meet spicy rye and caraway, plus a subtle sourdough twang.”

Rounding out the winners was Madison nanobrewery ALT Brew, which won the bronze medal in the Gluten-Free category for Ripped Jeans and Wolf Shirts, a double dry-hopped hazy IPA fashioned from rice, millet, buckwheat and corn-derived product.

Beer is one of those things you can take pride in as a Wisconsinite, even if you don’t partake. With these medal-winning efforts, the three brewers demonstrated their own commitment to excellence and innovation, and helped maintain the state’s status as a leader in the industry.

If you want to get your hands on any of the victorious varieties, the sure-fire way is to head to Madison, as all three are within a 45-minute drive of our capital city. Alternatively, ALT Beer lists several Milwaukee-area retail partners on its website that might have what you’re looking for.

Underwriting Executive | Radio Milwaukee