Skip to main content
5th September 2018

Supreme Champion Beer of the International Beer Challenge 2018 is awarded to ABK Hell

The ABK team collect their Supreme Champion trophy

The International Beer Challenge has announced its 2018 trophy winners for the best in class beers and brewers from across the world.

For this year’s competition we received a record number of entries from 39 different countries, and awarded 68 gold medals to the very best of the bunch after a blind tasting in London.

On Monday 3rd September, we brought back 13 of our most experienced judges and tasked them with re-tasting each gold medal winner in order to decide upon trophy winners in eight categories.

The trophy winners were then tasted in a final heat to reveal a Supreme Champion, the world’s best beer of 2018.

When all was said and done, the overall Supreme Champion was ABK Hell, a 5% ABV Bavarian helles lager produced in Germany. It is a lightly golden beer, with a bubbly, medium white head, a soft and sweet aroma created by grain and floral hops. The taste is full bodied, with a light bitterness that persists through to the finish.

Judges described it as a fantastic lager with great depth and the ability to stand up against higher ABV rivals.

ABK Hell also won the trophy for the Best Lager up to 5% ABV, while Bohemia Doppelbock from Cervejaria Bohemia in Brazil was named Best Lager above 5% following the blind tasting.

A second trophy was awarded to Cervejaria Bohemia in the Best Ale above 5% category for its Bohemia Wee Heavy. Best Ale up to 5% was awarded to Changeling, brewed by Rising Sons in Cork, Ireland.

Lidskoe Pivo from Belarus won Best Wheat Beer, while Best Stout or Porter went to Crazy Brew’s Russian Imperial Stout. Italy’s Birra del Borgo brewery won Best Flavoured Beer for L’Equilibrista and the Netherlands’ Hertog Jan brewery won Best Speciality Beer for Hertog Jan Grand Prestige Vatgerijpt Goose Island.

IBC chairman Jeff Evans said: “It’s been another fantastic year for beer and another fantastic year for the competition, which is now 22 years old. We’ve received more entries than ever before and judged beers from no fewer than 39 countries. The full colour of world brewing was represented, with styles ranging from dark milds to doppelbocks, pilsners to porters and saisons to Scotch ales on show.

“The benchmark is set extremely high and there are, sadly, many beers that fail to win any medal at all, and that means that those that claim bronze, or even better, silver, really do have plenty to shout about.

“But the pinnacle is the gold, a medal that is very sparingly awarded, and it is by scrutinising the list of gold medallists – and tasting them tonight, because here we have them in the room – that we can see just how exciting the world of beer has become.

“But we also go a step further, in the pursuit of excellence. We then take all the gold medal winners and judge them again to find the best of the best, our trophy winners. Congratulations to all our trophy winners. It really is no mean achievement.”

The judging panel also included Christine Cryne, Steve Williams, Des de Moor, Susanna Forbes, Adrian Tierney-Jones, Jaega Wise, Glynn Davis, Peter Haydon, Martyn Cornell, Derek Prentice, Mitchel Adams, and Martin Green – a collection of brewers, retailers, authors and journalists.

Design & Packaging

Design and packaging is also an important part of a brewer’s arsenal and we gave out trophies to the brewers that best utilised this.

The design and packaging trophy for Repackaged Product trophy went to Brewery Bierbank for its Bierbank Russian Imperial Stout.

Harvey’s received the New Product trophy for its Tin Lizzie.

After much deliberation the judges decided that the design and packaging Supreme Champion award should be shared this year by two excellent and highly deserving winners: Harvey’s craft can range and Grog Beer’s FrogBeer fruit series.

Brewer Awards

We also awarded trophies to the best brewers in each continent based on a specific set of criteria. The award in each case went to the brewer that had the highest medal count, but relied on them entering at least three beers and winning at least one gold medal.

We took the medal results for the beers and, using a mathematical formula based on awarding points for each colour of medal presented, we honoured the most successful breweries in each continent.

The Netherlands’ brewery Hertog Jan won the gong for Europe, and capped a great night by taking home the overall Champion Brewer trophy, finishing ahead of other best in continent winners because it had the highest proportion of medal winners from the beers it submitted.

Brazilian brewer Cervejaria Bohemia won the best brewer in South America trophy, while in Oceania Hawkers Beer scooped the trophy, and Boston Beer Co was named the best brewer in North America.

Two Highly Commended awards were given to Branded Drinks Ltd for Distributor of the Year and Carlsberg Vietnam for Asian Brewer of the Year.

Because the IBC is powered by UK trade title Drinks Retailing News, we gave out a special award for best UK brewer, and it went to second time winner Harvey’s. Marks & Spencer won UK Retailer of the Year, and Fourpure from the UK won the Glenn Payne Rising Star Award – named in honour of the late IBC judge – for new breweries that have performed well.

Here are the results: Company Name Beer Name Category Trophy
Harvey & Son (Lewes) Ltd Tin Lizzie Design and Packaging Awards Design & Packaging New Trophy
Brewery Bierbank Bierbank Russian Imperial Stout Design and Packaging Awards Design & Packaging Repackaged Range Trophy
FrogBeer FrogBeer Fruit Series Design and Packaging Awards Supreme Champion Design & Packaging
Harvey & Son (Lewes) Ltd Craft Can Range Design and Packaging Awards Supreme Champion Design & Packaging
RisingSONS Cork Changeling Tasting Awards Best Ale up to 5%
Cervejaria Bohemia Bohemia Wee Heavy Tasting Awards Best Ale above 5%
Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren ABK Hell Tasting Awards Best Lager up to 5%
Cervejaria Bohemia Bohemia Doppelbock Tasting Awards Best Lager above 5%
Lidskoe Pivo Lidskae Wheat Tasting Awards Best Wheat Beer
Crazy Brew Russian Imperial Stout Tasting Awards Best Stout or Porter
Birra Del Borgo L’Equilibrista Tasting Awards Best Flavoured Beer
Hertog Jan Hertog Jan Grand Prestige Vatgerijpt Goose Island 2017 Tasting Awards Best Speciality Beer
Aktienbrauerei Kaufbeuren ABK Hell Tasting Awards Supreme Champion Beer
Marks and Spencer Regional Awards Retailer Of the Year
Branded Drinks Ltd Regional Awards – Highly Commended Distributor of the Year
Harvey & Son (Lewes) Ltd Regional Awards UK Brewer of the Year