Let’s talk about beer awards

Beer Award

Beer awards are kind of bullshit.

They don’t really denote an absolute degree of quality or a level of excellence above all others in the field or category.

What beer awards often actually denote is simply a willingness on the part of a brewery to meet the demands of individual award ceremonies’ rules and style guidelines. That is, maybe a winning beer best met a certain judge’s understanding of the BJCP definition of a certain style or the beer adheres to the individual awards’ strict and often archaic style guidelines, but does that make the beer the “best” example of its kind?

According to the judges who blind-taste-judged the Ontario Brewing Awards, for example, Triple Bogey Brewing Co. brewed the “best” North American Lager in the province last year. But what does that even mean? Taste is subjective, right? You, for example, may prefer the taste of Great Lakes Brewery’s Golden Horseshoe Premium Lager. Who can say how or why those two lagers are different and what makes one better? Continue reading “Let’s talk about beer awards”

Some perspective on the Ontario Brewing Awards

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It is not my intention to diminish the achievements of those who won awards at last night’s Ontario Brewing Awards; however, I feel I am about to do just that.

You see, while the awards are a great time and an important event for the province’s thriving beer brewing industry, I feel that is important to remember that these awards don’t really mean all that much.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the industry has this means of providing recognition, however, let’s take a look at what’s really going on here. Firstly, in order to be considered, a brewer pays $75 to enter their beer in a given category. There’s nothing wrong with entering your beer in a contest and nothing wrong with organizers of said contest asking for a little scratch to help cover administration costs (i.e. bottle openers, hulking gold statuettes)–but let’s consider that an award billing itself as “The Ontario Brewing Awards” isn’t actually necessarily representing the best beer in the province, it’s actually representing the best of a handful of beers which brewers have asked to be judged, please. Continue reading “Some perspective on the Ontario Brewing Awards”