CBA June Tasting: Pale Ale & IPA

Awards for the best Pale Ales and IPAs go to Astra St. Pauli Brewery, Crew Republic, Hoppebräu and the Kundmüller Brewery

With the Pale Ale and India Pale Ale (IPA) categories, the focus of the Meininger's International Craft Beer Award in June was on those beer styles with which the craft beer movement has experienced its upswing worldwide and which continue to be among the most popular and most frequently brewed. "The range of styles within these varieties is now immense," reports Benjamin Brouër, a member of the Craft Beer Award board. "However, the differences in quality were just as great," says the beer expert from Meininger Verlag. A total of more than 140 beers faced the critical vote of the expert jury, composed of beer sommeliers, brewers and other experts from research and education, in the blind tasting. At the end of the intensive tasting day, 34 beers were awarded a medal, three times the jury awarded the highest distinction, a platinum medal, 20 times gold and 11 times a silver medal.

The following beers received special awards as the highest-rated representatives of their style:

The title for "Pale Ale of the Year 2021" goes to Markus Hoppe's Hoppebräu in Waakirchen, Upper Bavaria. His Hoppebräu New England Pale Ale is characterized - typically for the New England style - by a juicy, cloudy appearance, pronounced tropical-fruity hop notes, a velvety drink and a mild, invigorating bitterness. This blend, with 5.6% alcohol by volume, elicited a platinum medal from the jury.

The "Session IPA of the Year 2021" is brewed in Hamburg in the middle of the Reeperbahn. The Astra St. Pauli Brewery was able to convince the jury with its Astra Inkasso IPA and earned a gold medal. With a relatively light 4.5% alcohol by volume, yet rich and fruity hop aromas, it is ideally suited as an entry into the world of IPAs.

The particularly prestigious "IPA of the Year 2021" award goes to Crew Republic Brewery from Unterschleißheim just outside Munich, a German craft beer pioneer that has been enriching the German market for ten years. A platinum medal was awarded to Crew Republic X New England IPA. The cloudy-orange beer (6.1% alcohol by volume) from the Experimental series impressed with a brilliant tropical fruit cocktail in the aroma as well as a juicy, fruity taste supported by restrained bitterness and slight sweetness. A prime example of the currently so popular New England style.

The Imperial IPA (or Double IPA) beer style is particularly powerful in terms of alcohol content and hop power. The best rated representative and thus the "Imperial IPA of the Year 2021" comes from the Kundmüller Brewery inn in the Upper Franconian town of Viereth-Trunstadt, district of Weiher. The Weiherer/Fat Head's Imperial IPA with 9% alcohol by volume is a strong character collaboration between the "Craft Brewery of the Year 2020" and Fat Head's Brewery from Cleveland/Ohio. Intense resinous and fruity notes meet a harmoniously embedded, powerful bitterness and a surprisingly lean drink, awarded a gold medal.

At the next themed tasting in mid-July, the current shooting star Munich-Style Helles and the Export beer style will be on the agenda.

An overview of all the medal winners from the June tasting can be found here:…


About Meininger's International Craft Beer Award:
Meininger's International Craft Beer Award was launched in 2014 by Meininger Verlag. Until 2020, the competition took place once a year, with up to 1,200 beer specialities from all over the world being tasted blind by almost 100 national and international beer experts.

With the reorientation to a monthly, theme-specific tasting format, the competition guarantees an even more detailed and now also seasonal beer specialities open tasting and assessment of the submitted beers by a proven expert jury.

Eight years after its premiere, Meininger's International Craft Beer Award is one of the most important beer competitions. With its tasting methodology, the competition sets new standards in the field of beer evaluation. Based on the international 100-point scheme, the beers are not evaluated comparatively, but individually according to appearance, smell and taste by a jury of experts without knowledge of the producer. In addition, the competition describes each beer tasted sensorially in terms of the aromas and attributes typical of the respective beer style. From this, an aroma diagram is created that is comprehensible and understandable for brewers and consumers and gives a first impression of the taste of the beer.

Meininger Verlag is the publisher of numerous beverage publications such as the magazine for beer culture "Meininger's Craft". The media company has demonstrated its tasting expertise for more than 20 years with numerous internationally recognised wine and spirits competitions.

Press contact:
Nicole Zeisset
Meininger Verlag GmbH
Maximilianstr. 7-15
67433 Neustadt/Germany
Phone: +49 6321 89 08 94
E-Mail: [email protected]


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Special Awards of the June Tasting 2021