Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack, writes about Philadelphia-area winners in the World Beer Cup, properly pointing out that if beer drinkers weren’t supporting the beers outside the norm that brewers couldn’t continue to experiment.
He lets Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant brewer Gordon Grubb – whose Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse now has won three major medals – make the point. Grubb now brews so much of the sour wheat beer that he believes tiny Nodding Head is “far and away” the largest producer of Berliner weisse on this side of the Atlantic.
“It’s definitely one of those beers that’s not for everyone,” Grubb said. “It’s a love or hate situation. But once they get to know it, they often love it.
“What I’ve learned here is that if you do anything outside the norm, here in Philadelphia people are willing to try different kinds of things. Whether it’s beer or different restaurants, people want to experience different things with an open mind.”
The Brewers Association, which conducts the World Beer Cup, echoed the thought in a press release. “While these results are great news for American brewers, they also tell us something about American beer drinkers,” said Ray Daniels, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the BA. “In order for breweries to make a beer, they must have consumers to drink it. So the breadth of beer styles made in the US indicates the diversity of beer styles and flavors consumed in the US compared to other countries around the world.”
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect a little regional chest thumping. Another BA press release pointed out that California brewers won 10% of all medals, and that story has been repeated often by West Coast media.
So back to Joe Sixpack:
The result, Grubb continued, is that Philadelphia “brews a really great range of beers. It’s not like, say, California, which puts out some very hoppy beers and maybe a few Belgian styles. We run the whole gamut here.”
We figure the West Coast guys can defend themselves.