Wanted: Beer champions

Deutscher Meister der Biersommeliers Frank Lucas
Frank Lucas - German Master of Biersommeliers

In the run-up to drinktec, around 50 beer experts will come together at the trade fair center in Munich to compete for the title of best beer sommelier in the world.

These experts put together the beer menus for top restaurants and destination bars, advise food experts and top chefs on their menu choices, and surprise customers with truly unusual flavors during tastings. Thanks to the boom in the global craft beer industry, beer sommeliers are well established in many areas of the food and drink industry. Now the best of their kind from around the world will once again compete for the title of world champion. The competition has been organized by the Doemens Academy since 2009 and again this year Messe München will be playing host.

Last year’s winner, Simonmattia Riva from Italy, is enjoying his last few days as reigning world champion. He fought off stiff competition to win the prize in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2015 and is back to defend his title this year. To make it to the final 50 in Munich in September, the beer sommeliers have already had to make it through the qualifying rounds and be selected as one of the very best sommeliers from the competing nations. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Brazil have already selected their competitors, and the qualifying rounds in Korea will be taking place in May. Coming out on top against the other finalists is certainly no easy task: “The preliminaries themselves were really tough,” remembers Oliver Wesseloh, the 2013 champion from Germany. In the final round competitors first have to identify flavors and off flavors, and then complete a multiple choice test about beer styles and technical factors. Finally they have to identify 10 different beer types in a blind taste test. Only the six best sommeliers will make it through to compete in front of an international panel on September 10 at drinktec. The winner will be the competitor that most impresses the panel with their beer knowledge and presentation skills.

Visitors at drinktec will be able to check out the talent and expertise of the sommeliers for themselves. Regular presentations and expert tasting sessions will be held in the place2beer area in hall B1, and attendees can also explore the exciting topics of “beer and cheese” and “beer and chocolate”. Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to rub shoulders with the newly crowned world champion while tasting some of the specialty beers on offer at the stands of the innovative exhibiting brewers.

Mareike Hasenbeck

Mareike Hasenbeck is a freelance journalist with her own craft beer blog (Feiner Hopfen), she is also a beer sommelier and an international expert for beer sensory certified by the DLG (German Agricultural Society).