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The 2016 Brussels Beer Challenge Announces Winners - pFriem Super Saison Wins Trophy

Brussels Beer Challenge 2016 | Photo by Bart Van der Perre

The winners of the international 2016 Brussels Beer Challenge competition have been officially announced and out of all the beers submitted by American Breweries, Oregon’s pFriem Family Brewers took home the American Revelation - Fermentis Trophy for their Super Saison. “As brewers, we have a deep love and affinity for the beers of Belgium, they inspire us and challenge us. It is an incredible honor to be awarded this American Revelation award for our Super Saison in the Brussels Beer Challenge. For pFriem to be awarded best of show for American entries with a Belgian inspired beer is a humbling achievement”, says Josh Pfriem, Co-founder/Brewmaster of pFriem Family Brewers.

And the winner is… The amazing selection of beers!

Belgium enjoys a first-class reputation within the global beer industry. It therefore stands to reason that it should host one of the most influential international beer competitions in the world.

This year marked the 5th anniversary of the Brussels Beer Challenge. This exceptionally reputable competition brought in 80 international experts to judge over 1,250 entries from all over the world. The beers were reviewed based on their style, typicity, and origin. American craft breweries left with 47 total awards including 14 gold, 10 silver, and 15 bronze.

The results were announced Monday, November 21 at the Gand Horeca Expo.

The results revealed the following trends:

  • IPAs, Tripels and White beers are the most popular

There is a growing trend for IPA or Indian Pale Ale. Originating in England, the style initially sparked renewed interest in the United States but entries in the Brussels Beer Challenge reveal that it has now gone global. No fewer than 100 IPAs from 14 countries competed this year. Accolades went to entries from the Netherlands (Mooie Nel Jopen IPA), Italy, Ireland and of course, the United States.

Another category that stepped into the limelight at the competition was the Belgian Tripel style with 61 entries. Belgium itself calls the shots within the category and walked away with three medals (Bersalis, Affligem Triple and Rangsken).

Belgium was also awarded an impressive gold medal for its Blanche de Namur by the Bocq brewery in the white beer category, which saw 42 entries.

  • Chinese beers make an impressive breakthrough

Napoleon Bonaparte once warned: “China is a sleeping lion. Let her sleep for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” The arrival of Chinese beers at this year’s competition took everyone by surprise. China certainly seems to be awakening to the world of beer, both from a consumption and production perspective. A cursory glance at the results suggests that it may not be long before it rivals traditional producer countries.

  • Global production is becoming more international in style

The world has become a global village. If you’re wondering whether beer is following the same trend, the answer is quite clearly, yes! The first Brussels Beer Challenge welcomed entries from around 15 countries compared with 36 this year.

20% of entries came from Belgium, slightly ahead of the United States and Italy. In descending order came the Netherlands, Brazil and France. Other, more exotic destinations arrived on the scene for the first time this year, including Japan, Cambodia, Hungary, Thailand and Ukraine.

The results reveal remarkable international diversity, which proves that quality beer production is developing across the globe.


  • Belgium leads the way for traditional ‘Belgian’ styles

Belgium is probably not, or no longer, THE beer country. Around the world, the number of beer types is increasing and new styles regularly make their debut. The United States boasts over 4,200 craft breweries. Traditional wine producing countries such as Italy, France and Spain have well in excess of 750 breweries. Beer is particularly popular in Scandinavian countries and Dutch breweries are also growing in number.

Concurrently with this, traditional beer countries such as Great Britain and Germany have undergone a sea change. Conversely, although the number of breweries has risen slightly in Belgium, it is only slightly over 200.

Nevertheless, Belgium is still a benchmark for the styles that have shaped its tradition of beer making: abbey beers, Tripels, strong lagers, Saison, Oud Bruin and Flanders red ale, white beer and Gueuze are all styles that Belgian brewers, irrespective of size, continue to be successful with.


International Revelation – Comac Trophy

Lindemans Oude Gueuze Cuvée

 René Special Blend 2010



European Revelation – Micromatic Trophy

Jopen Mooie Nel IPA - North Sea IPA



American Revelation – Fermentis Trophy

pFriem Super Saison