Well, we don’t know yet, but we’ll find out the World Beer Cup winners soon enough. Brewers from around the world are assembling in Chicago this week for the Craft Brewers Conference & BeerExpo America, sponsored by the Boulder-based Brewers Association (the same folks behind DC’s SAVOR event and the Great American Beer Festival). The highlight will come Saturday night, when a who’s who of the beer world sit down to a fancy dinner and heap praise upon one another.

The competition has been gathering steam of late, keeping pace with the craft beer explosion in the United States. There are 92 individual categories, listed here, but special attention will be focused on the winners of the “Champion Brewery” title in five categories, ranked by brewery size. Last year’s winners were: Blue Moon (Large Brewery); Privatbrauerei Hoepfner (Mid-Size Brewery); Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey (Small Brewery); Pelican Pub & Brewery (Large Brewpub); Bend Brewing Company (Small Brewpub).

We met some  contestants during our trip to Quebec last week. Everywhere we went, it seemed brewers were either in Chicago or gearing up to go. And it’s not surprising, for as we learned, Quebec is home to a fantastic craft beer scene. Relative few of the beers we encountered are available in the States. Even fewer American brews are for sale north of the border, because Canadian import taxes are designed to discourage American penetration of Canada’s beer market… or so we were told. Anyhow, we have our fingers crossed for the folks at Dieu du ciel in Montreal and Le Trou du Diable in Shawinigan, both makers of world-class beers that deserve special recognition. More on them later…

Photo courtesy of the Craft Brewers Conference & Beer Expo America