2023 World Beer Cup awards claimed by Asheville breweries

ASHEVILLE – International craft beer professionals have determined that several local beers are among the best in the world.

Three Western North Carolina-based breweries have claimed victory in the prestigious competition, World Beer Cup, bringing home the gold, silver and bronze medals.

World Beer Cup stats

On May 10, the World Beer Cup Awards Ceremony was hosted in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America.

The 27th annual competition garnered 10,213 total entries with 2,376 breweries competing representing 51 countries.

Brews were considered in 103 beer styles with winners receiving gold, silver and bronze awards for first, second and third-place beers.

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Beers were evaluated for excellence determined by 272 peers in the brewing industry representing 26 countries with factors such as the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance considered. Tasting reviews are done without the judges knowing the brand so the beer is judged solely on its merit.

Two Asheville-based breweries claimed awards at this year’s competition, Hi-Wire Brewing and New Belgium Co.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery, which has taprooms in Boone and Mills River, carried away two medals for their brews.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Appalachian Mountain Brewery won the gold medal for its Boone Creek Blonde Ale in the Golden or Blonde Ale category.

It has a 4.7% ABV (alcohol by volume) and is described as a “refreshing blonde ale with a zest of orange and hint of wildflower honey” to create a Southern twist.

It also won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2018. The Boone Creek Blonde is available in AMB’s taprooms and at local retailers.

AMB’s Down South received a silver medal in the American-Style Lager category.

The Down South is considered a “crisp and crushable porch drinking craft lager” that has a dry, clean finish and subtle notes of noble hops. It’s available for purchase in AMB’s taprooms.

For more, visit amb.beer/boone-creek-blonde.

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Hi-Wire Brewing

Hi-Wire won the silver medal for its Japanese Dry Rice Lager in the Experimental Beer category.

The lager was brewed in collaboration with Ben’s American Sake, the brewery at Ben’s Tune-Up in Asheville.

The beer was brewed with 49% rice and fermented at an extremely low temp with Ben’s house koji and Hi-Wire’s flagship lager yeast.

The Japanese-style rice “adds crispness and a subtle sweetness to round out the beer,” according to Hi-Wire’s blog.

It’s 5% ABV and described as light-bodied and light in color and said to have a dry finish and aromas of steamed rice and flavors of young coconut.

The Japanese Dry Rice Lager is available only at Hi-Wire taprooms, sold in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans and occasionally on draft, while supplies last.

“We are just floored by the recognition this unique and delicious beer has received,” Shanda Williams, marketing and PR specialist, said in an email. “We couldn’t have done it without our friends and neighbors at Ben’s American Sake or the support of Hi-Wire fans everywhere that allows us to continue experimenting with flavors and ingredients over at our Specialty Brewery. Thank you!”

Read more about the brewing process at hiwirebrewing.com.

New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium won the bronze medal for its VooDoo Ranger Juice Force IPA in the Experimental India Pale Ale category.

The Hazy Imperial IPA is a fruit-forward beer with a 9.5% ABV.

The flavors include tropical fruit aromas of passional fruit, mango and orange to create a light fruity aroma with a slightly sweet finish.

It’s available at retailers nationwide and at the Asheville brewery in River Arts District. For more about the brew, visit newbelgium.com/beer/voodoo-ranger-juice-force/.

“Juice Force was the #1 craft launch of all time in 2022 thanks to our incredible fans, and we have seen simultaneous and rapid growth of Juice Force volume since its launch, resulting in the production of this beer at all of our breweries over that time span,” Christian Holbrook, brewmaster at New Belgium Brewing said in an email.

“Hundreds of New Belgium co-workers have contributed countless hours to brew and package Juice Force in ever increasing volumes. Winning this award is a testament to the incredible work made by everyone here at New Belgium as well as to our fanbase for making it the number #1 craft launch last year. This award is for all of us!”

View the full list of World Beer Cup winners at worldbeercup.org.

Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at tkennell@citizentimes.com or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

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