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Troubled Monk Medals at World Beer Cup


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News drifted out this weekend that among the winners of the 2016 World Beer Cup, associated with the Brewers’ Association Craft Beer Conference, was Red Deer’s Troubled Monk. The upstart brewery scooped up a Silver medal in the American-Style Brown Ale category. Needless to say this is quite the coup for the Bredo brothers and their young operation.

Their Open Road American Brown Ale best all but one of the 81 entries in the popular category. For the record the winner was Granola Brown Ale by Black Hog Brewing in Connecticut. No other prairie-region breweries picked up a medal, although I do not know how many others entered the competition.

I cannot say I am surprised by this win. I can honestly say I have been raving about Open Road since I first tried it back in the fall. I find it a really interesting and well-balanced brown ale. It is definitely in the American-style, as it has a fresh citrusy hop character. What I like about it, though, is that it doesn’t lose its brown ale-ness. It has some light nuttiness and delicate fruit ester in the background. It is a soft-spoken beer, but maintains a nice complexity to it – which is how all brown ales should be. It is one of the more interesting browns I have tasted in a while.

Only five other Canadian breweries picked up medals – Le Trou du Diable (with 2), Brasseurs san Gluten (with 2, both in the gluten free category), 33 Acres and Powell Street in B.C. and Collective Arts in Hamilton. Again, I cannot say how many Canadian breweries entered, but you gotta hand it to the Bredos that is pretty nice company to be keeping.

I know many (including myself) have critiques of these sort of large commercial beer competitions. I personally find styles proliferation waters these events down by creating too many categories while others feel like they don’t represent a truly best-on-best type of competition. All true. But also beside the point, in a way. This year’s World Beer Cup has 6,600 entries (and 1900 breweries). Sure, they handed out 287 medals, which is a lot, but that is still a less than a 1 in 20 chance of medalling. Plus it is not as if it is judged by a bunch of guys picked up from the corner pub. It has some of the world’s most respected judges evaluating the beer.

So I think Troubled Monk deserves a huge pat on the back, not only for their personal success but for their achievement in highlighting that the prairie brewers know how to make good beer. And we can even scoop up a medal or two in American brewers’ backyard (both geographically and stylistically).

A nice way to start the week.


2 comments to Troubled Monk Medals at World Beer Cup

  • I fully agree, this truly is a honor for them and for Alberta 🙂 Being a newer brewery and walking away with a Silver award is something for sure!

    Congrats to them and to all the Canadian winners! Having just discovered Collective Arts… I can see why they won and award too!


  • I keep saying to people that Troubled Monk is definitely one of the best new breweries to open in Alberta in the past couple of years. I am thrilled to see them doing well, and I expect to keep seeing great things coming out of their taps. I think that between them and a few others, the new wave of craft brewing will push the whole thing ahead in Alberta. I feel like there is some risk-taking and boundary pushing going on among the new brewers and it can only make things more interesting.

    Taprooms, no minimums, the rise of growler bars in Alberta, Olds College grads coming into the scene like a tidal wave of talent, removal of the mark-up “Cliff”, limiting the small brewer markup to (relatively) local – exciting times.

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