10 Best Beers + 5 Best Breweries, 2008 World Beer Cup Winners

Gold, silver, and bronze medals were won in 91 categories of beer judged in the 2008 World Beer Cup competition held this past weekend in San Diego, CA. Additionally, the five best breweries in the world were named, including the first woman brewer ever to win this award! I'll share the list of best brewers and then a more-or-less randomly chosen top 10 of the 273 individual winners of the 2008 World Beer Cup.


The Brewers Association World Beer Cup 2008 Champion Breweries/Brewers

1. Large Brewing Company Category

Brewery: Blue Moon Brewing Company, U.S.
Brewer: Warren Quilliam

2. Mid-Size Brewing Company Category

Brewery: Privatbrauerei Hoepfner GmbH , Germany
Brewer: Peter Bucher

3. Small Brewing Company Category

Brewery: Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey, U.S.
Brewer: Tomme Arthur

4, Large Brewpub Category

Brewery: Pelican Pub & Brewery, U.S.
Brewer: Darron R. S. Welch

5. Small Brewpub Category

Brewery: Bend Brewing Company, U.S.
Brewer: Tonya Cornett (first woman to receive this award!)



10 Gold Medal World Beer Cup Winners (of 91)


Best Beer 1.
Best Classic English-Style Pale Ale:
MacTarnahan's Amber Ale, Pyramid Breweries Inc., Seattle, WA

Relatively new to MacTarnahan's repertoire of ales, its Amber Ale is made with fresh Cascade hops from the Northwest, making its flavor crisp and complex. Thus, it goes best with grilled or gamey meats and full-flavored fish. There were 35 entries in this category.



Best Beer 2.
Best German-Style Pilsener:
Trumer Pils, Trumer Brauerei Berkeley, Berkeley, CA


Trumer Pils has a 400 year history, dating from the original family-owned Trumer Brauerei in Salzburg, Austria. It has carried both the brewing tradition and the original crisp, slightly tart taste with it through the centuries. It is made from imported malt and hops from Germany and Austria and is fermented with a propriety yeast. There were 72 entries in this category.


Best Beer 3.
Best Belgian and French-Style Ale:
Brugse Zot Blond, Brouwerij De Halve Maan, Brugge, Belgium

Don't let the fool on the bottle fool you. This Belgian ale has been a winner of many beer competitions over the years. Practically the national beer of Belgian, you can find Brugse Zot Blond served in many crepe and sandwich bars in Brugge. It has a sweet fruity flavor and is bubbly and light, with only six percent alchohol content. There were 37 entries in this category.



Best Beer 4.
Best German-Style Dark Wheat Ale:
Schneider Weisse Original, Schneider Weisse, Kelheim, Germany

The Schneider Weisse Original is spicy with the smell or clove and nutmeg and, according to the brewer, it is fresh, clean, full, harmonious and balanced. In the end it leaves an impression of slight, fine bitterness. There were 29 entries in this category.




Best Beer 5.
Best American-Style Light Lager:
Old Milwaukee Light, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL


The beer that made Milwaukee famous has also been making the best light beer (light in calorie and carbs), according to beer raters. Milwaukee's Old Style Light is reported to have some taste of hops and malt; "refreshing" is the word reviewers most often used to describe it. Old Milwaukee Light has 113 calories and 7 grams of fat. There were 34 entries in this category.



Best Beer 6.
Best American-Style Lager:
Tooheys Extra Dry, Tooheys Pty Limited, Lidcombe, Australia


No, it's not Budweiser! Toohey's Extra Dry, known in Australia simply as Ted's, is a refreshing drink with not too much taste of hops, malt, or fruit, geared to young beer drinkers. Advertising is also geared toward the young and the ads are popular down under for some outlandishness, including its beer-addicted walking tongue. There were 48 entries in this category.



Best Beer 7.
Best Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout:
Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout, Third Street AleWorks, Santa Rosa , CA

What? Better than Guinness? The Blarney Sisters Dry Irish Stout has won several top awards in the Irish stout category. The chocolate and caramel flavor is strong, but not overwhelming; some say there are hints of licorice and coffee. A full-bodied beer, it's poured black from the tap. There were 20 entries in this category.



Best Beer 8.
Best Scottish-Style Ale:
McGarvey?s Scottish Ale, Oggi's / Left Coast Brewing Co., San Clemente, CA

This ruddy ale has plenty of flavor without being heavy. Molasses add a nice sweet aftertaste. Left Coast Brewing says there's a tad bit of hops in the ale to keep the bitterness out. Good beer to drink by itself or with a grilled chicken or fish. There were 24 entries in this category.


Best Beer 9.
Traditional German-Style Bock:

Bock Lager, Elk Grove Brewery and Restaurant, Elk Grove, CA

Interesting history about this German lager. The beer was firt made by Trappist monks to drink while fasting during lent. Just picture that!

The Elk Grove Brewery has an health assortment of brews, with its Bock Lager being one of its seasonal beers. The Elk Grove Bock Lager is described as a full-bodied, strong beer, with German style malts, having "a smooth, rich complexity not found in many beers. On tap in late January: limit is 3 pints. There were 21 competitors in this category.

Best Beer 10.
Wood- and Barrel-aged Strong Beer:
Paradox Grain, BrewDog, Fraserburgh, UK

This beer is a marriage of Scotland's greatest productions of whisky and stout. BrewDog partners with Duncan Taylor Ltd of Huntly, aging its Paradox Grain in the casks of some of the greatest whiskeys ever made. "The distinct flavours of these whiskies is beautifully infused into the beer giving a unique and unrivalled experience for both beer and whisky lovers." There were 14 entrees in this category.


The World Beer Cup is an international competition held every two years, and this year 2,864 individual bottles of beer were entries, representing 58 countries. Although beers from 21 countries won medals, the USA (158 awards), Germany (25), Belgium (11), Japan (10), Australia (6) were the top five winners. There were 128 judges from all over the world, even countries without competitors in the contests. For more information on the winners, visit this page .

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Apr 21, 2008
by Anonymous

Funny how they are all

Funny how they are all American beers in the top 5 except 1. What about all the great Belgian, German, Dutch and Japanese lager/beers? They piss all over the US beers!

Apr 22, 2008
by Anonymous

I couldn't agree more with

I couldn't agree more with the comment above !

Apr 22, 2008
by LoveInventions
LoveInventions's picture

I’m thirsty

I don’t know half of those beers but I’m more than willing to test them!! Maybe it’s not such a good idea at 1:30PM though

Apr 22, 2008
by Anonymous

This is why we hate you!

I agree with comments 1 & 2.
This is why the World hates the USA - you are blinkered and self-obsessed.

p.s. the word is mathS, and not math.

Apr 23, 2008
by eljefe512

I think I'm going to cry because the world hates us

1) The world hates the US for many more important reasons than beer, but that is one I can be proud of.
2) If a competition is in the US, naturally most of the entries will be from the US, and probably most of the winners (due to sheer volume).
3) If you look at the full list, there were several categories in which a US brewer did not even place (including low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer :).
4) I doubt #1 has tasted many, if any, of the winners and while I agree that for many years there were few American beers that could hold a candle to European ones, times are (obviously) changing.
5) In the US, it is math, not maths.

Apr 23, 2008
by Anonymous


Most Americans think of Alaska as being a foreign country (well at least Homer does). Are there any world maps in American schools? How can you even have a best light beer catagory? Having a beer contest in the US is as pointless as having wine contest in Iran. I think that most american beer is like having sex in a canoe, i.e. f*ng close to water.

Apr 24, 2008
by Anonymous

Canoe? Clever.

Try a Dogfish Head 120 Minute and get back to us. Hell, try any of the hundreds of micros available. Or not. Leaves more for people who know what they're talking about.

Apr 27, 2008
by Anonymous

i like the canoe, i think im

i like the canoe, i think im gonna steal that line. just another reason to hate us americans

Apr 30, 2008
by Anonymous

American and Beer in the same sentence?

Having had a drink or two in more than 30 countries, I tend to agree with the generalisation of the canoe quote above about north american beers, however I have tasted one or two passable brews from micro-breweries in the states.
My preference is for REAL beer (British dark beers), hence I am a member of CAMRA (CAmpaign for Real Ale www.camra.org.uk), although having lived in Germany for a few years I can appreciate a good pure lager.
There are FAR more good beers outside the US than within its borders. It is typical of your mentality to call a domestic contest a 'world' or 'universe' event when most people outside the states wouldn't even know of its existence.

Aug 19, 2008
by Anonymous

Get Over It

The majority of the judges are non-American, and all the tastings are blind. Winners are announced on merit, not your old-world sense of caste and class. These beers earned their medals- they didn't win them out of some misplaced sense of nepotism (something that exists on a fetishistic level in the beer fan's world).

Americans make beer just as good (and better, in some cases, it appears) than all your hallowed stomping grounds.

Get over it.

Aug 24, 2008
by Anonymous

bunch of beer IDIOTS on this board!

"There are FAR more good beers outside the US than within its borders."

Obviously you haven't tried many US beers. Way to make an argument from authority fallacy!

GET OVER IT's comment is one of the few rational ones I've seen here.

"Most Americans think of Alaska as being a foreign country (well at least Homer does)."
So... you get your information from a cartoon?! No wonder you're so poorly informed of quality beers. (hint: Duff beer isn't real either!) You somehow equate ONE cartoon's opinion with the word "most"?!

"I think that most american beer is like having sex in a canoe, i.e. f*ng close to water."
Cute. Use a Monty Python joke from the SEVENTIES and apply it to today. This might have been applicable back 30 years ago, but it has LONNNNNNNNGGGGGG been a misnomer, and an ignorant lie for quite some time.

WHICH part of " There were 128 judges from all over the world, even countries without competitors in the contests." did you fail to understand!?

MOST of the judges are from OUTSIDE the U.S.! Of the five judges on each of the categories, a MAXIMUM of ONE judge is allowed from any one country. As GET OVER IT pointed out, ALL the tastings are done blind!

Simple FACT: America makes many hundreds of FINE, world-class beers. Period.

Aug 30, 2008
by Anonymous

0bunch of idiots on this board

Ibelive you are right. some of Americias beer tast ok but lak the alchol that forigen countrys have BIG D

Sep 5, 2008
by Anonymous

american beers alrite but

american beers alrite but canadian beer kicks ass...... booya!

Sep 5, 2008
by Anonymous


As an American I will agree with the comment that most foreign beers are better than most US beers, but does this whole discussion board have to turn into a nationalistic fight? There are good beers where ever you go, and some American beers have even won competitions in foreign countries, just watch a Sam Adams commercial...

Oct 12, 2008
by Anonymous


lol were the judges female?

As if America makes quality beer.


Nov 8, 2008
by Anonymous

American in Europe

I have been living in Europe for over five years, and I have a wonderful Belgian pub that I go to with some truly incredible beers. I have had many amazing beers here, but it never fails to incite a near riot when I tell people here that there are far better beers available in the States. Everyone seems to think that we all drink Budweiser and Coors in the States. Oh well, less for them. Problem is these are small batch breweries, and small companies that don't have the marketing or ability to export.

Jan 6, 2009
by Anonymous

Bit of a joke, really.

I've only had a very small handful of the winners of each category and I wouldn't pick any of them as the best in their category. Heck, I wouldn't even vote Unibroue's 'La Fin Du Mond' as the best Belgian Pale Strong.....and Hoegaarden as the best Belgian White? Seriously? How drunk were these people?

Jan 19, 2009
by Anonymous

German beer was and is the best!

The germans have the best beer in the world!
It just might taste to strong for the americans, cause their beer taste like water!
german beer rules!

Jan 21, 2009
by Anonymous

american beer is for boys

american beer is for boys and women!
german beer is made for men! PROST

Feb 12, 2009
by Anonymous

Laurentina Preta

This competition did not include the best beer in the world "Laurentina Preta" from Mozambique.so that is not a world contest because there are still missing brands like Laurentina Preta,Laurentina Premium e 2M.Soo if this brands are not in your contest you dont know the nectar of gods and have not tried the best.cheers

Feb 12, 2009
by Anonymous

Laurentina Premium

Mozambique has launched in the end of december 2008 a new brand of beer "Laurentina Premium" which is already a success in the mozambican market.this brand would change the concept that lots of people have that the germans beer is the best in the world.we are producing the best beer in the world in Mozambique.once again.cheers

Feb 16, 2009
by Anonymous

Brugse Zot

"Practically the national beer of Belgian, you can find Brugse Zot Blond served in many crepe and sandwich bars in Brugge."
I've visited the brewery (at least the old one in Brugge city centre) and I like the beer, but I've never ever seen this beer in the shops, anywhere in Belgium or elsewhere. Yes, you can probably get it in Brugge. But their total yearly production of 14,000 hectoliters is less than one thousandth of the yearly beer consumption in Belgium - so calling it "practically the national beer" is just silly.

Mar 4, 2009
by Anonymous

foreign brewers

Apparently not. Let me guess you are one of those trendy euro beer fans. You probably think Heineken and Guiness are the greatest beers ever created, try picking up some Lagunitas, Stone, or Dogfish sometime; just to name a few. American beer is more than just Budweiser and Sam Adams, and yes I am aware European beer is more than Heineken and Guinness, I was talking down to you or were you not aware of that as well? I'm sorry but I'm tired of hearing about how great European beers supposedly are........ one word..... overrated.

Mar 4, 2009
by Anonymous

American beer strength

As for the strength of American beers as stated in the previous entry, Dogfish, Stone, and Lagunitas have ABV of roughly 5-20%. Most European beers barely hit the teens on a good day..... maybe that's why there are countries in Europe where men wear skirts and others where men wear wigs....... here in the US we call them what you would call a cigarrette over there....