There are very few things that I hate with a passion. Nationalism is one, jazz is another. But the one thing that irks me beyond measure is ignorance, especially the willful kind of ignorance that refuses to listen to reason and will deny anything that flies in the face of a world view regardless of facts. Oh and I also think it is stupid to declare something the "world" whatever when the entrants are overwhelmingly from a single country.
I picked up the latest edition of All About Beer magazine at the weekend, along with the latest edition of Culture (a magazine about cheese), Bernard Cornwell's "The Archer's Tale" (it was called Harlequin in the UK), and the Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle, as I needed some poolside reading for Monday as it was a public holiday here. I have ranted before about the errors that crop up in the magazine, usually in the guide to various styles of beer (in this edition I felt like raging about them getting the British flag wrong on one of the pages, but I am not sure how many people would actually notice that the Cross of St Patrick isn't correct). As usual with All About Beer, the articles were interesting and well written, so what got my goat this time? Nothing about the magazine per se, apart from the complete list of winners from the World Beer Cup.
Before I get into it though, yes I understand that the awards can only be given to those brewers who take the time to actually enter the competition, but I think a concerted effort needs to be made to get more breweries to enter the competition, and while we are at it, I would love to see the complete lists of entrants for each style. Let's take the Bohemian Pilsner category. The winner? Golden Pilsner by the Morgan Street Brewery, a beer I haven't yet tried, but will have to make a effort to do so. The silver award went to Gambrinus Excelent, with bronze to Velkopopovický Kozel Premium, both of SABMiller, though listed under the Czech subsidiary name Plzeňský Prazdroj. Really? The second best Bohemian Pilsner in the world is Gambrinus Excelent, and the third is Kozel Premium?
Ok, sure, Gambrinus Excelent isn't entirely awful, as I posted about before, but the second best Pilsner from 43 entrants? I can only assume then that the 40 beers that didn't win anything in this category were rank beyond words, hence I would love to see the list of entrants so that I can avoid wasting my money on anything that can be beaten by a SABMiller product. Given that the standard Gambrinus came second in the International Style Lager category, I can only assume that an "international" lager is one that is watered down after fermentation and pretty much devoid of taste.
Perhaps what is required is for regional competitions to produce local winners, who are then forwarded to the global competition? Thus you would have the best Pilsner, as an example, from Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania going head to head against each other for the award at the World Beer Cup - think of it like the World Cup about to take place in South Africa, a genuinely global award.