The United States has been by far the most significant driver of the current bloom of new breweries in the 21st century--and also on the types of beer they brew. Because of that, the US has taken a lead role in defining not only the taxonomy of flavors (with the always-metastasizing style guidelines), but what counts as "good." It's time that other countries weigh in on these questions. The Brussels Beer Challenge has too many styles (51), but they are nevertheless far more constrained than the World Beer Cup (94). They are slightly different, and slightly more focused on continental beer. Excellent!
I also love the third of three points in the competition's mission statement. In an industry that sometimes tends to garland itself in the exalted language of a nonprofit, this is refreshingly honest:
To offer beer producers a promotion and marketing tool. The international scope of the Brussels Beer Challenge opens up significant opportunities in new markets. Award-winning producers will be given broad-ranging exposure and be able to use this first-rate accolade to support their business and marketing development.What I want to know is: does the competition fly in judges and, if so, how do I get to be one?