It has been over two weeks since I returned from Denver and I am still beaming from winning a Silver medal for Wild Swan at the World Beer Cup. For me this is THE competition at which to win an award, owing to the level of organisation, the professionalism, the calibre of the judges and the breweries you are up against! What I really love about it is the beers are judged like-for-like, i.e. if you enter a Summer Ale it will be judged against other Summer Ales. I was invited to judge again (this being my fourth WBC) and this time I selected categories that I might enter beers into next time around, giving me a feel for what we’ll need to produce to get an award.
It was also great to see a number of other UK breweries pick up awards as well. Camden and Meantime, which I have worked at before, and also Magic Rock and Sharps. I haven’t done the maths yet, but I think that’s a pretty good damn hit rate for the size of the UK. It was also great to catch up with Caolan Vaughan, our former Production Manager and I was stoked to see him pick up an award as well.
I am always blown away with the US craft beer scene every time I visit. The enthusiasm they have for beer, the market share they command and the fact they seem to have so much fun making the beer at the same time is an ethos I like to foster at Thornbridge and it’s good to see it on the other side of the world.
I had a chance to visit our friends at Odells and Lefthand it was great to catch up with Doug and Eric. I really cannot believe the level of investment that the likes of Odells and New Belgium have put into their breweries, something that would be tremendous to see in the UK at some point in the future. This was the first time I have been to Colorado and it was great to see breweries making fantastic, innovative beers of quality comparable with the very best of California. Trips like these are good for the brewing soul to help reinvigorate the creative spirit. All in all it was a very informative trip and it was great to catch up with some old brewing friends and make some new friends too.