2023 World Beer Cup Midwestern Winners

In Beer News by Karl

Image of the 2023 World Beer Cup logo.

Maybe it’s because I have never attended the Craft Brewers Conference, but I tend to pay less attention to the World Beer Cup winners — even though they’re judged and awarded by the same organization that does the same thing for GABF medals. Weird, but I do. It’s not fair but I assure you it’s not an anti-international-beer bias; in fact it’s fascinating to see what breweries from places like Japan, Argentina, Thailand and New Zealand are sending here for judging and in many cases, winning.

But unsurprisingly, it’s a mostly US-based field of winners. So let’s address my previous non-attention with a look at this year’s victors from around the Midwest and Great Lakes States!

A regular takeaway from GABF is that Ohio breweries are really, really good at winning medals in general. This year at WBC, it was Fat Head’s that was really, really good at winning medals in specific. The busiest category this year was the IPA category (regular IPA — not hazy/juicy) and they took the gold, so if you’re cruising through the Buckeye state and need to pick up some Head Hunter go ahead and grab me some too, would you?

Can someone tell me why beers from Founders were accepted for judging, though? Let alone being celebrated with a win on this international stage considering they’ve still got a lot to answer for on the racial discrimination front? Obviously there are no restrictions on non-craft beers entering the competition, but I fail to understand how these recent accusations in a court of law don’t trigger something in the BA’s Code of Conduct:

The Brewers Association is an organization committed to providing an
environment free of discrimination and from abusive, offensive, or harassing

Therefore, all Brewers Association members must:
a. Treat all individuals and groups respectfully, recognizing their human dignity,
regardless of their diverse human characteristics: race, color, sex, sexual
orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental disability, size or
appearance, genetic pre-disposition, religion, ancestry, national origin, or veteran
b. Contribute to a positive environment that is free of hostile and offensive
behaviors; i.e., free from harassment. Harassment means any unwelcome and
inappropriate verbal or physical conduct, or coercive behavior, where the
behavior is known or reasonably ought to be recognized as unwanted or

BA Code of Conduct

Founders is an Associate Member per the BA’s Directory, which means that any other brewery can file a complaint about them winning a medal despite not being in alignment with the code of conduct after August 6, 2020. Who wants to file that and see what happens?

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As for Illinois breweries, we didn’t do badly this year either, and I find it interesting that 4 of the 7 medals went to lager-style beers this year — okay, 3.5 if you consider altbier as straddling the line between ale/lager as Kolsch does. Either way, at least that’s kinda cool.

Illinois: 7 Medals

  • Gold: “Little Wing” International Pilsner, Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Co.; “Bruski” American-Style Amber Lager, Noon Whistle Brewing
  • Silver: “Nose Over Tail” German-Style Bock/Maibock, Pollyanna Brewing Co.; “Easy Hour” Altbier, Roaring Table Brewing Co.; “Bufflehead Brown Ale” American-Style Brown Ale, Kishwaukee Brewing Co.
  • Bronze: “Beer for the Soul” American Belgo-Style Ale, Sketchbook Brewing Co.; “Bear’s Choice” Strong Red Ale, Tighthead Brewing Co.
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Indiana: 3 Medals

  • Silver: “Kill the Lights” British-Style Imperial Stout, The Tap Brewery
  • Bronze: “Soul Shakedown Party” Experimental Wood-Aged Beer, Sun King Brewery; “Golden Girls” Fruited Wood/Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, Sun King Brewery

Michigan: 3 Medals

  • Gold: “Nectar Of The Gods” Belgian-Style Tripel, Redwood Brewing Co.,
  • Silver: “Dirty Bastard” Old Ale/Strong Ale, Founders Brewing Co.
  • Bronze: “Imperial Peanuts & Crackerjack” Field Beer, The Mitten Brewing Co.,

Minnesota: 3 Medals

  • Gold: “Equanimity” Irish-Style Red, Ursa Minor Brewing
  • Silver: “Helles,” Utepils Brewing,
  • Bronze: “Deck Jockey” American-Style Sour, Bauhaus Brew Labs

Missouri: 1 Medal

  • Bronze: “Bobber Lager” Dortmunder/Export or Oktoberfest, Logboat Brewing Co.
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Ohio: 10 Medals

  • Gold: “Daybreak” Coffee Beer, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing – Production Operations; “Cheetah” American-Style Cream Ale, Rhinegeist Brewery; “Voss” German-Style Kolsch, Sonder Brewing; “AlpenGlow” South German Style Weizenbock, Fat Head’s Brewery; “Bone Head” Strong Red Ale, Fat Head’s Brewery; “Head Hunter” American-Style IPA, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon
  • Silver: “Smashing Honey Blonde” Honey Beer, Hoppin’ Frog Brewery; “Black Cats” English-Style Brown, Streetside Brewery
  • Bronze: “Hop Stalker” Experimental Beer, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon; “Higher Purpose” Sweet Stout/Cream Stout, Third Eye Brewing Co.

Wisconsin: 3 Medals

  • Gold: “Pumpernickel Porter” Herb and Spice Beer, Vintage Brewing Co.; “Vintage 2022” Belgian-Style Sour, New Glarus Brewing Co.
  • Bronze: “Ripped Jeans and Wolf Shirts” Gluten-Free Beer, ALT Brew

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers. If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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