The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB) announced today that its Mecktoberfest won a gold medal in the German-style Märzen category at the European Beer Star International Competition on Oct. 9.
This was the first year the brewery has entered the competition, which this year received 1,957 entries from 45 different countries. This is not the first time they’ve received an award for Mecktoberfest, however. The brewery took silver at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012. But for a brewery that prides itself on brewing German styles of beer, this one was even better.
“This is our GABF,” said Ryan Self, director of sales for The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. “It’s the equivalent of like an American brewer winning for a double IPA or an imperial stout as for us to go to Germany and win for an Oktoberfest. There’s just no greater honor for us.”
The German-style Märzen category in this competition, which has been held in Germany since 2003, has typically been dominated by German brewers. Last year, German breweries nabbed the gold, silver and bronze in those categories. The same was true in 2013. And 2012. To find a non-German medal-winning brewery, you have to go back to 2011, when Shiner Oktoberfest took silver (that beer also took gold the year before that).
“They pretty much had complete dominance in this category,” said Self.
It’s not a matter of American breweries just not entering the competition, as last year big name breweries like Stone Brewing, Firestone Walker, Sierra Nevada, Ballast Point, Rogue, Oskar Blues and Dogfish Head took home medals. But for the most part, these were in categories like India pale ale and imperial stout. So while Mecktoberfest winning isn’t quite on the level of the Judgment of Paris — wherein French judges deemed California wines superior in a blind tasting — it’s very much in the same vein.
The news comes as OMB is transitioning away from Mecktoberfest and into its Dunkel and Bauern Bock. The brewery is down to only six kegs of Mecktoberfest in the taproom, where they’ll be pouring half-pint samples of the beer starting at noon this Friday, Nov. 13.
The beer will also be available in OMB’s new Harvest Packs, which include two bottles of Mecktoberfest, two bottles of Copper and two bottles of Bauern Bock (that pack is the only way to acquire bottles of Bauern Bock this year).