The prestigious “International Beer Challenge” competition in London saw the first Czech ever to sit in the jury

21. 9. 2009 | České Budějovice

The 13th “International Beer Challenge” competition took place on the 7th and 8th September in London. Being the biggest international bottled beers competition worldwide, the event is organised by the Agile Media Company - the publisher of the leading expert magazine “Drinks International”. For the first time in its history, this year’s Super Jury included a Czech brewing representative - Budweiser Budvar’s former long-term brewmaster Josef Tolar. His being invited to be a part of the jury is a result of vast experience, long-term practice and his excellent reputation in Great Britain, where he is considered one of the top Czech maltsters. The Super Jury was presided over by Jeff Evans (the author of many books on beer as well as the British “Beer Writer of the Year”), with one of the jury member being Roger Protz (the bearer of many expert awards in the field of beer writing and the author of many books and expert papers).

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to have been able to take part in this competition as the expert juror. As well as being a really interesting experience, it was also a enjoyable one,” says Josef Tolar, who has been recently working for Budweiser Budvar as a consultant in the area of production technology and investments. He has already represented the Czech Republic as a juror before - last year he was a part of the jury at a similar competition, the Great British Beer Festival. "The “International Beer Challenge” proceeded in a very similar way as last year’s competition. The juror’s demand factor was very high, since nearly 50 samples of miscellaneous beers had to be evaluated within one day,” adds Josef Tolar.

This year’s competition saw more than 300 beer brands from 15 countries take part. A total of 60 beer types divided into 12 competition categories participated. Selecting the best bottled beer took place in two rounds. In the first round, 36 jurors evaluated the registered beers in the following 12 categories:

- ales (English pale beers) evaluated in 3 categories (by their alcohol content)
- lagers - evaluated in 3 categories (by their alcohol content)
- beers with the alcohol content over 7%
- fruit beers
- wheat beers
- stouts and porters
- dark lagers
- alcohol-free beers and low-alcohol beers
The first round results can be found at
The beers with the highest amount of accomplished points were subsequently assessed by an 8-member elite expert jury (Super Jury), with Josef Tolar being one of the jurors. This jury awarded medals in the individual categories, deciding also for the final winner. The Super Jury’s results will be made public at a special ceremony, which takes place on 14th October 2009 in London.

This year’s “International Beer Challenge” competition occurred in the “White Horse Pub“ in Parson Green in London. The “White Horse Pub“ is one of the renowned pubs where the Brits can also savour Budweiser Budvar Premium Lagers’ flavour.  Approximately 1,600 pints of drawn Premium Lager is sold here every week. Budweiser Budvar has long been one of the most popular imported trademarks in Great Britain. As the only Czech trademark, in 2006 the “Budweiser Budvar” trademark was actually selected into the prestigious British list “Coolbrands”, which includes all trademarks presently “in” within the United Kingdom.

More information on the “International Beer Challenge” competition can be found at

About Josef Tolar
A consultant for Budweiser Budvar in the area of production technology and investments, Budweiser Budvar’s long-term brewmaster. Josef Tolar graduated from the Faculty of Food Technology at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague in 1965. His professional career began immediately after that when he became head of the laboratory in the Budweiser Budvar brewery, to which all his life seems to be linked from then on. In the 1970’s, Mr Tolar became a member of the team developing Pito – the first alcoholic-free beer in the then Czechoslovakia. After acquiring experience and practical training experience in various positions in the brewery production subdivision, Mr Tolar became brewmaster in 1985 of Budweiser Budvar. In this position, he was in charge of the reconstruction and extension of the brewery’s production capacity, namely from 450,000 hectolitres to 1.35 million hectolitres a year. Josef Tolar worked in the position of a brewmaster for 24 years. Since 1st January 2009, he has been working as Budweiser Budvar’s consultant. Mr Tolar has been a member of the Board of the Research Institute of Brewing and Malting in Prague since 1998. In December 2002, the British Guild of Beer Writers awarded Mr Tolar with a Silver Tankard, a prize for his unique contribution to the European brewery industry. In 2008, Josef Tolar was a member of the expert panel voting the “Champion Beer of Britain” for 2008 on the occasion of the 31st Great British Beer Festival, being the first Czech having ever achieved that throughout the history. In the same year, Josef Tolar was awarded the “Maltster of 2008” title by the Beer Friends Association’s members. 

About Jeff Evans
Jeff Evans bears many awards for his books and expert papers on beer and at the same time, he is considered one of the leading experts in the area of English ale maturing in bottles. He is also the author and editor of the bestsellers ”CAMRA Good Beer Guide“ and “CAMRA Good Bottled Beer Guide“, with his other books being “The Book of Beer Knowledge“ and “A Beer A Day“. Jeff Evans has been regularly writing articles for both magazines and newspapers. He was awarded the “Beer Writer of the Year” title for his work.

About Roger Protz
Roger Protz has been one of the leading world beer experts. He has written 16 books on beer and his book “300 Beers to Try Before You Die” has become one of the most popular books ever written about beer. Furthermore, he has edited the 15th “Good Beer Guide“, which includes the list of best pubs and beers in Great Britain on a yearly basis. Roger Protz regularly lectures about beer on British radio and participates in beer seminars on the BBC Food Show in Birmingham. He has twice received the prestigious ”Glenfiddich Drink Writer of the Year” prize. Moreover, he has received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award” as well as two golden and one silver Tankards from the “British Guild of Beer Writers“. He has also been awarded by the “American Guild of Beer Writers” 11times. In 2004, he was declared the “Beer Drinker of 2004” by the British Parliament.

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