Kansas City-based Boulevard’s The Sixth Glass took gold in the Belgian-style dark ale category and its Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale (which recently made Men’s Journal’s list of the “101 best beers in America”) won silver in the American-Belgo-style ale category.
Tallgrass, made in Manhattan, Kan., nabbed bronze for its Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat in the herb and spice category.
“The World Beer Cup is a really big deal. They only hold it every two years, and it’s the biggest international competition in the world,” says Jeremy Danner, spokesperson for Boulevard. “It’s a huge honor to win one award ... to win two is phenomenal.”
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Danner says Boulevard is particularly proud that their two winners are Belgian-style beers in a competition where 75 percent of the judges are from foreign countries — and a lot are from Belgium, because of the strong brewing tradition there. “To have them taste American-brewed beers in the Belgian style and declare them among the best in the world is almost overwhelming.”
The Sixth Glass was launched in 2007 and Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale in 2009.
Tallgrass owner Jeff Gill says Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat, an oatmeal cream stout brewed with vanilla beans, had a rocky start.
“It was our first try at a cask beer, naturally fermented beers that we now do every day. But the first time, we didn’t know what we were doing. We put some sugar in two casks of Buffalo Sweat and two vanilla beans in each and let them sit,” Gill says.
Two weeks later, one of the casks exploded, blowing a hole in the ceiling of Gill’s office.
“But it smelled really, really good,” Gill said.
Carefully they moved the remaining cask to a cooler to stop the fermentation and reduce pressure. They later tapped it at a bar in Wichita, and Gill says with the first taste he knew immediately he needed to get it in cans and into the lineup.
Introduced three years ago, Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat has been a perennial bestseller.
“It’s our first prize at the World Beer Cup and I couldn’t be more elated,” he says.
Boulevard’s sister brewery, Brewery Ommegang, also won big: It was named a World Beer Cup Champion Brewery in the midsize brewing company category.
The 2016 World Beer Cup was one of the largest commercial beer competitions to date. According to the Brewers Association, 1,097 breweries from 55 countries submitted nearly 6,600 entries. Winners were announced last week at the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America in Philadelphia. For a complete list of winners, go to worldbeercup.org.
In other beer news: Here are Kansas City-area beer festivals on tap for 2016.