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The Global Beer Competition: Meet the judges

the drinks business is pleased to announce the third edition of its Global Beer Competition, which follows the same formula as our successful Global Masters series, blind tasting drinks according to price and style, but without prejudice about their country of origin.

Formerly known as the Beer Masters, The Global Beer Competition is a blind tasting competition which judges beers in a wide range of categories without prejudice about their country of origin.

This year the categories will be: Ale – Hop Forward (Bitter, Golden Ale, Pale Ale, IPA); Ale – Malt Forward (Porter, Stout); Ale – Other (Wheat, Saison, Lager, Dark Lager, Light Lager, International Lager); Mixed and Speciality (Flanders Red/Ouid Bruin, Lambic/Gueuze, Kettle Sour, Barrel Aged, Flavoured and Fruit Beer, Gluten Free, Low/No Alcohol Beer).

As with the Global Masters series, the competition will be judged by a panel of industry experts including beer Sommeliers, Cicerones, beer educators and Master Brewers.

Also taking part in the day’s proceedings will be db‘s editor-in-chief, Patrick Schmitt MW, news and web editor, Phoebe French, and staff writer and social media manager, Edith Hancock.

Entries for the competition cost £135 plus VAT for a single beer, but for £295 breweries can submit an entire portfolio of beers. The online entry form is available here, or in the Awards section of thedrinksbusiness.com.

Entrants to this year’s competition will also have the chance to show off their beers as part of The Global Beer Tour at The Wine & Spirits Show, hosted by the drinks business and sister tittle The Spirits Business, taking place at The Royal Horseguards Hotel in the heart of London from 12 – 13 October 2018.

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Over the two-day event, more than 2,000 London-based consumers, as well as 400 trade buyers, will sample hundreds of wines, beers and spirits, with a trade session set to take place on Friday, 12 October, between 1pm and 5pm.

All those that enter The Global Beer Competition, set to be judged by the drinks business’ expert panel in August, will have their beer showcased at the show, with the aim of rewarding and highlighting the finest beer brands on the world stage.

Finally, some dates for your diary:

The Global Beer Competition Entry Deadline: 15 August 2018

The Global Beer Competition Sample Deadline: 22 August 2018

The Wine & Spirits Show Sample Deadline: 5 October 2018. 

For more information, please click here, or contact Rhiannon Morris on rhiannon.morris@unionpress.co.uk or +44 (0) 20 7803 2430.

Scroll through to read more about the expert panel of judges…

Shane McNamara, Longflint Drinks (Head Judge)

McNamara is product and innovation manager at Tottenham-based Longflint Drinks, which produces a range of tonics, seltzers and sodas premixed with gin, rum, vodka or mezcal from craft producers. Before that, McNamara was senior technical officer at the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) and has also worked as a brewer at Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick. He holds a Master’s degree in Brewing Science from the University of Nottingham and a Post Graduate certificate in Brewing Science from Federation University Australia.

McNamara also headed up proceedings at last year’s competition, the Beer Masters, and among his comments from the day, he noted: “The movement towards more balanced beers was present across the styles tasted and the beers that excelled were those balancing aroma, bitterness and flavour with brilliant skill and innovation to produce something that was both bold and moreish.

“The beers that achieved exceedingly well were those that reined in the bitterness to match the fullness of the flavour in the beer yet provide a bounty of hops in the aroma,

”The reverence of quality and logistical care taken by brewers, in particular craft brewers, for their beers to arrive in faultless condition was clear in the tasting. Beer for the large part is a quickly deteriorating beverage best enjoyed fresh and doesn’t take kindly to temperature shifts or even sunlight – keeping it tasting fresh is no mean feat”.

Follow on social media: 

Twitter: @mac_on_beer 

Lotte Peplow, Brewers Association

Peplow is an accredited beer sommelier and the UK and Europe representative for the Brewers Association, a not-for profit body representing small and independent American craft brewers.

Based in London, Peplow has worked for the BA since 2006 in a role which includes beer judging, tastings, writing articles, PR and media activities, event management and liaising with importers.

A keen advocate of beer and food pairing, she is also a member of the CAMRA London tasting panel.

What would you be as a beer? 

A Helles lager: clean, crisp and clinical!

What is your favourite hop variety and why? 

Cascade, the darling of the American craft brewing world.  Love a fruity West Coast IPA.

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry? 

Best: The people and camaraderie. Worst: We still have a long way to go to improve diversity and make the beer industry more inclusive

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

Passing my Beer Sommelier accreditation

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing? 

Carrot cake and IPA, an inspiration from Chef Adam Dulye. Sounds unlikely, but it so works!

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

Wishing I was!

Follow on social media:

Twitter:  @LottePeplow and @BrewersAssoc

Instagram: @Lotte_Peplow

Facebook: @BrewersAssoc

Alex Stevenson, The Drink School 

Stevenson is founder of The Drink School, an independent, accredited London based company which offers WSET wine and spirit courses, as well as those on beer and food pairings.

He holds the WSET Diploma graduate and is certified educator as well as a Beer Academy Sommelier. Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, he has help to establish numerous bars and restaurants with a particular focus on their wine, beer, spirits and cocktail offerings.

Most recently, he was head of beer for the Draft House pub group.

When did you first get into beer?

Shouldn’t really answer that as may get me in trouble.

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

Black Sheep Riggwelter – lovely brew, full flavoured, beautifully balanced and from Yorkshire no less.

What would you be as a beer?

A Sour – a bit different and not appreciated by all.

Where are you happiest?

With my wife, enjoying a beer or glass of wine

What is your greatest vice?

Reading. It doesn’t sound like a vice but I tend to get overly immersed in what interests me.

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

Becoming a IBD beer sommelier

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

Wild Beer Tom Yum Gose with parkin and Wensleydale cheese (Hawes). Sweet ginger and molasses cake with crumbly sharp cheese is a perfect foil to the chilli and salt from the beer, and the aromatics create a glorious harmony.

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

Drinking it and wishing I was.

Follow on social media:

Twitter: @thedrinkschool

Instagram: @thedrinkschool

Facebook: @TheDrinkSchool

Joe Bevan, Institute of Brewing & Distilling

Bevan is an Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) qualified Diploma Brewer. He has previously worked as lead brewer and is currently a technical officer at the IBD. He has a passion for beer recipe development and sustainable brewing practices. In 2009, Bevan was awarded a BAFTA for a short film written and directed by him. 

When did you first get into beer?

Pulling pints at the Peoples Park Tavern (Laines Brewing Company). I asked the brewer Henry (Now at Fullers) whether I could shadow him when brewing – we mashed in and the warm malty smell streaming from the mash changed my life.

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

When working as an assistant brewer at London Fields Brewery – the product development manager – Tom Palmer (now co-founder & head brewer at Mondo Brewing Company) would produce experimental beers on a home-brew pilot kit. The diverse beers coming from the homebrew set-up expanded my horizons in terms of what beer could be (this was early on during the craft boom in London).

What would you be as a beer?

Something that ticks over all day long – a lawnmower beer.  A Patersbier or Kolsch.

What is your favourite hop variety and why?

Saaz – protected by the EU and defines a style (Czech Pilsner) – no other hop does I’d argue.

Who is your inspiration in the beer world?

Benedict Orchard at Adnams.

Where are you happiest?

In Pilzens Urquell’s cellar drinking unpasteurised and unfiltered pilsner conditioned in wooden barrels.

What is your greatest vice?

Mahrs Braus’ zwickelbier on draft

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry?

Best: Passionate and skilled people dedicated to growing the industry.

Worst: Bad mouthing another brewers beer to promote your own. An argument Professor Charlie Bamforth reiterates whenever possible.

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

Teaching the drinking public something new about the beer category.

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

Marzen (stein of) and schweinshaxe (pork knuckle).

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

Writing films.

Follow on social media:

Twitter: @IBDHQ 

Rebecca Pate, Mason & Company

Rebecca Pate is a beer loving Canadian based in east London who, by day, works as the marketing and events coordinator at Mason & Company, a craft beer bar in Hackney Wick. By night, she blogs over on www.brewingeast.com and is currently studying to become a Beer Sommelier.

When did you first get into beer? 

When I moved to east London in 2013 – I just couldn’t escape it!

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

I always credit Magic Rock’s Salty Kiss for sparking my interest in craft beer.

What would you be as a beer?

Probably something easy-going but slightly tart. Maybe a Berliner weisse.

What is your favourite hop variety and why?

I don’t have a whimsical enough answer for this. I personally lean towards lovely antipodean hops, so something new and fruity (likely an experimental hop). Nothing too grassy, please.

Who is your inspiration in the beer world?

There are so many knowledgable women in the beer industry who always inspire me to speak up and be heard, from Melissa Cole to the women who have inspired me to pursue my sommelier training (hi Francesca Slattery and Natalya Fern!). I also work with a very passionate and clever group of women at Mason & Company too.

Where are you happiest?

Drinking around Hackney Wick, where we have the choice between Beer Merchants Tap, Mason & Company and Howling Hops.

What is your greatest vice?

I suffer from FOMO, meaning that I often feel guilty for sitting an event out. But we all need some nights off.

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry?

The best thing is the passionate people in the industry. The worst is beer festival season, where you can find yourself drinking for two weeks straight (always responsibly, of course).

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

It will (hopefully) be when I pass my sommelier exam in October. Wish me luck.

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

I love experimenting, but there is nothing better than pairing cheese and beer.

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

I career changed from a job in the City into beer, so I’m already living the dream of what I’d be doing – this!

Follow on social media:

Twitter: @rpate 

Instagram: @rpate 

Dr Jacopo Mazzeo, freelance consultant and writer

Dr Mazzeo is a freelance beverage consultant, judge and writer who also holds a PhD in Musicology. He writes for various magazines and blogs, conducts tutored tastings, organises drinks events and hosts tasting classes. He specialises in Italian wine and beer.

When did you first get into beer?

Pretty much as soon as I had my first sip (I can’t really say the age…). But the real passion developed when I was about 19.

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

I think it was a Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium). It made me understand how beautifully complex, and elegant at the same time, a beer can be.

What would you be as a beer?

Tough question. Perhaps a Pils, complex enough yet enjoyable, straight to the point, doesn’t like too much heat…

What is your favourite hop variety and why?

I’m not really a hop geek, but if I have to choose it would probably be Cascade. It was really the first one Italian brewers employed to create American-style beers with a marked hop character. The first time I tried it, ten years ago back in Italy, I had an epiphany.

Who is your inspiration in the beer world?

Any brewer who aims to make enjoyable beers, meant to last. Not as common as one might think, though.

Where are you happiest?

Wherever I go travelling

What is your greatest vice?

Too many to list all of them, honestly.

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry?

Best: Dynamic and young which is certainly a pro. Worst: An increasing amount of amateurs pretending to be experienced professionals is unfortunately the other side of the coin

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

The next one.

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

Roasted bird game and Flemish Red Ale.

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

I would be crying.

Follow on social media:

Twitter: @jacopo_mazzeo

Instagram: @jacopo.mazzeo

Facebook: @beerwithoutfrontiers

Dan Sandy, Kill The Cat

After falling out of love with a long term ‘grown up’ career, Sandy found himself working at various breweries and bottleshops in Sydney, Australia. Since returning to his native London this year, between propagating wild yeast, judging beer competitions and becoming a certified Cicerone, Dan heads up Kill the Cat, a craft beer company based on Brick Lane, London.

When did you first get into beer?

I’d always liked a good beer, but got into it seriously, if that’s the right word from 2012 while living in Sydney .

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

That was what actually got me thinking about a second career in beer while living in Oz. I was recommended a a local DIPA (Riverside Brewing’s 777) and I just thought to myself – “what is this and how can I get as much of it into my face as possible”. I’d never had anything like it.

What would you be as a beer?

Brett Saison

What is your favourite hop variety and why?

I’m more of a yeast guy really! But I love a bit of Vic Secret.

Who is your inspiration in the beer world?

Michael Jackson, the musician not the beer writer. No just kidding. When I got into beer I watched everything he’d ever done. It was so humbling because there I was thinking I had all these new and different ideas, only to discover he’d lived, discovered or done them all by the early 90s! And Sam Calagione from DogFish Head. I got to have a brew day with him when working for Nomad Brewing in Sydney and he had such a presence. His ‘left of centre’ take on life and brewing, fascination with ancient brews and doing things differently with a laugh and a smile, but always maintaining very high standards was very inspiring. And finally my Dad for stocking pilsner Urquell in the fridge from when I was around 17!

Where are you happiest?

It’s never one place – but walking into a country pub I haven’t been too before with good mates to find they have a good selection of cask is hard to beat!

What is your greatest vice?

Err…Miami??

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry?

Best: Apart from the product itself and the endless fascination it holds, it has to be the people! I used to work in advertising which is a horrible industry. The people I worked with were some of the most resilient, hard working and fun loving people but the way the industry works is really nasty. Beer people are always interesting, open hearted and fair minded, well the ones I’ve met anyway!

Worst: On the job hangovers!

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

Becoming a certified Cicerone

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

Mikkeller 1000 Barrel-Aged Chardonnay with peking duck pancakes. It was completely unintentional and still one of the best meals I’ve ever had!

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

As I say, I used to work in advertising, and that almost killed me, and before that a music journalist, so I’d probably go back to being a journo if beer and everything around it suddenly disappeared. Then I could just listen to lots of depressing music all day to reflect my post beer mood!

Follow on social media:

Twitter: @killthecatbeer

Instagram: @killthecatbeer

Facebook: @killthecatbeer

James Kellow, Crate Brewery

Kellow is brand development and ambassador for Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick. Heading up Crate’s brewery tours, he also organises tastings, beer training and other in- and out-house beer events and festivals.

An accredited beer Sommelier from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, Kellow is also a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He is also owner and director of Craft Bar Services (Crafty Bar Stars), a newly formed craft beer events company.

Follow on social media: 

Twitter: @CraftyBarStars

Ian Swanson, Ian Swanson Technical Brewing Services

As well as heading up his eponymous brewing services company, Swanson is a certified Cask Marque assessor, Beer Academy tutor and trade quality brewer. He has previously held roles with Diageo, Young’s and Romford Brewery.

He has a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Brewing Science from the University of Birmingham.

Another returner from last year’s Beer Masters, speaking about his experience, Swanson noted: “I liked some of the beers using New World hops, but there were just too many of them. It confirmed my view that there is an over-reliance on New World hops – it is harder to hide brewing faults and lose fermentation flavours (good and bad) using mainly English hops. It is getting harder to find a classic ‘English Ale’.”

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