Ripped From the Headlines!

Best of the brews: Penn Brewery’s Weizen is champ among tasters again

Editor’s Note: This is how we blog, by cutting and pasting the works of others. We did add loads of great links (almost 50) for your edification. We hope that you try them sometime. Every beer mentioned is linked to its description and rating at Beer Advocate. We have yet to try anything from Penn (even though our boy, Lew Bryson, is a big fan). We think we’d best try some soon. Perhaps you should as well.

(Our thanks to Bob Batz Jr., Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, our latest unwitting guest scribe. Thanks as well to our embedded reporter in the Syracuse office for directing us to this.)

Penn Brewery is proud that its Weizen, or Bavarian wheat beer, has been judged a grand champion for an unprecedented fifth straight time at the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship.

Lake Fong, Post-Gazette
The naming of Penn Brewery’s Weizen, or Bavarian wheat beer, as Grand Champion for five years running at the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship is “truly amazing,” said Jeff Glor, a co-founder of the event. The beer was also named by Men’s Journal magazine as one of the 25 Best Beers in America.

Penn Brewery to mark 20 years

Penn Brewery recently held its Restaurant 20th Anniversary Party featuring a German buffet, beer specials and entertainment. It’s a sort of warm-up for Oktoberfest, set for September 15-17 and 22-24. On those Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy the music, food and Penn Oktoberfest (as well as Weizen) in the outdoor fest tents. For more: Bojangles will hold our first annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 23. There will be lots of good stuff there, too. More soon…

It’s also just been named one of the “25 Best Beers in America” in the October issue of Men’s Journal magazine.

For the summer competition of the U.S. Beer Tasting Championship’s 12th annual competition, judges examined 358 beers from 129 breweries. In each of a dozen beer categories, the USBTC named both a grand champion and the best entry from each of six U.S. regions.

USBTC co-founder Jeff Glor said other beers have had great runs in the competition, but none as long as Penn Weizen’s, which he called “truly amazing.”

The story in the current issue of Men’s Journal, meanwhile, ranks Penn Weizen 13th of its 25 picks, lauding it as right up there with Germany’s Weihenstephaner Weisse, “with the hazy, bright gold color, banana-bread aromas (which come from esters produced by the yeast), lemon- and orange-rind flavors, and general chuggability that make traditional German wheat beers perennial warm-weather favorites.”

Penn’s Tom Pastorius said the hefeweizen (it translates as “yeast wheat”) is becoming the North Side brewery’s most acclaimed beer, having won silver, gold and bronze medals at the Great American Beer Festival (in 1997, 2000 and 2002) and the silver medal at the World Beer Cup (2002).

“We know a few things about the correct way to make it that I don’t think anyone else in the U.S. knows,” Mr. Pastorius said, adding, “There were some good breweries making some good beers in this competition, so this is a particularly gratifying award.”

Pennsylvania has three other USBTC grand champions:

In the maibock category, St. Boisterous from Victory Brewing Co. in Downington (one of 17 maibocks judged).
In the bitter/ESB category (19 beers), Purist Pale Ale from the Appalachian Brewing Co. in Harrisburg.
In Belgian/French Specialty (25 beers), Farmhouse Amber Saison from McKenzie Brew House in Chadds Ford.

The other grand champions:

India Pale Ale (64 beers): Big Sky IPA, Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula, Mont.
Pale Ale (37 beers): New River Pale Ale, New River Brewing Co., Atlanta, Ga.
Amber/Red Ale (21 beers): Ruby Red Ale, McNeill’s Brewery, Brattleboro, Vt.
Golden Ale/Kolsch (25 beers): Poleeko Gold Pale Ale, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Boonville, Calif.
Bock/Doppelbock (28 beers): Subliminator, Frederick Brewing Co., Frederick, Md.
Pilsner (35 beers): Tuppers’ Hop Pocket Pils, Old Dominion Brewing Co., Ashburn, Va.
Dortmunder/Helles (19 beers): Portsmouth Lager, Smuttynose Brewery, Portsmouth, N.H.
Fruit Beer (25 beers): Generation Porter, Sprecher Brewing Co., Glendale, Wis.

Pennsylvania brewers took 11 of 20 regional champion and runner-up spots in the Mid-Atlantic/Southeast region.

For the rest of the winners, methodology and other details, visit

Meanwhile, the more subjective “25 Best Beers in America” in the current Men’s Journal also include other Pennsylvania brews: Stoudt’s Pils (from Stoudt’s Brewing Co. in Adamstown), which ranked No. 3, and Victory’s St. Victorious Doppelbock at No. 22.

Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Co. gets two best spots, for Holy Moses White Ale (7) and Burning River Pale Ale (14).

Other best beers ranked and described in the article are:

1. Firestone Walker Pale Ale (Pasa Robles, Calif.)
2. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (Milton, Del.)
4. Russian River Temptation Ale (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
5. Avery Mephistopheles’ Stout (Boulder, Colo.)
6. Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale (Boonville, Calif.)
8. Full Sail Session Lager (Hood River, Ore.)
9. Rogue Brutal Bitter (Newport, Ore.)
10. Bell’s Expedition Stout (Comstock, Mich.)
11. Southampton Double White (Southampton, N.Y.)
12. Smuttynose Big A IPA (Portsmouth, N.H.)
15. Ommegang Hennepin (Cooperstown, N.Y.)
16. Samuel Adams Black Lager (Boston, Mass.)
17. Sprecher Hefe Weiss (Milwaukee, Wis.)
18. Alaskan Amber (Juneau, Alaska)
19. Deschutes Broken Top Bock (Bend, Ore.)
20. Lost Abbey Avant Garde (San Marcos, Calif.)
21. Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere (Dexter, Mich.)
23. Allagash Interlude (Portland, Maine)
24. Alesmith Speedway Stout (San Diego)
25. New Glarus Yokel (New Glarus, Wis.)

For the past two annual best beer rankings, visit

~ by bojangles on September 16, 2006.

One Response to “Ripped From the Headlines!”

  1. Jangles, I just joined Beer Advocate and I am so excited!

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