How Alberta stacks up against the rest of Canada; Canadian beer awards 2020

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Canadian Brewing Awards; A quick review, How Alberta performed with a moderate dive into the numbers, & a shopping list of all medal-earning beer from Alberta.

The brewing world had their eyes glued to a digital stream late Saturday afternoon.

You can watch the complete replay here:

Let's just say, it's more fun to watch with a couple friends and some beer.

With no physical crowd in town to watch, an announcer made his way through 55 style categories and announced Bronze, Silver, & Gold medal winners in each. For the Gold medal winner, a short video clip was submitted by the winning brewery. Majority of the videos submitted were straight to the point, a generalized appreciation from the owners or brewing staff. A local video was a welcome break-up from the norm, Sea Change, who won a Gold for Light (Calorie-Reduced) Lager, gives an Oscar style acceptance

(Click the right side arrow to watch the 10second clip)

Overall, it’s great to see a wide variety of breweries winning in a variety of categories across a variety of Provinces. Let’s look at the numbers in a few different way.

Total medals awarded, British Columbia led the way with 43 total medals earned. On their heels was Alberta with 38, followed closely by Ontario with 35.

Total Medals Earned

Canadian Beer Awards 2020

BC 43

Alberta 38

Ontario 35

Quebec 25

Nova Scotia 7

New Brunswick 6

Saskatchewan 5

Prince Edward Island 5

Manitoba 1

Now the medals are weighted, with a Gold earning 5 points, a Silver earning 3 points, and a Bronze earning 1 point. This point system was used to determine the Brewery of the Year, which was Common Crown, in Calgary, with 15 points (3 Gold Medals.)

What’s interesting is that for the Canadian Beer Awards, you can submit up to 12 beer into the competition (only 1 brand per style.) Some breweries only entered a few products, obviously many breweries did not enter the competition at all. And some chose to enter the max of 12 beer. This comes at a price that may not be feasible for start ups or smaller operations. Each beer entry is $100 plus HST plus the respective shipping to either Langley, B.C., Halifax, or Toronto.

One more caveat; from what I believe as a way to level the playing field, you must only select only 4 of your submitted brands to qualify for Brewery of the Year. Common Crown submitted at least 3 beer, and selected those 3 beer to qualify for Brewery of the Year, and when you win 3 Gold Medals on your selected beer, well, you post 15 points and win Brewery of the Year!

That being said, a couple of breweries actually earned more points on medals than Common Crown, but obviously hadn't selected those beer to qualify for Brewery of the Year.

How did other breweries stack up?

I calculated the points score of each brewery, based on medal scoring system, and decided to ignore the 'only 4 selected beer count towards Brewery of the Year' system.

So here it is, a re-visit to points earned.

Top 26 Breweries in Canada

based on medalled points in the Canadian Brewing Awards 2020

Whitetooth 19

Medicine Hat 16

Common Crown 15

Strange Fellows 13

Big Rock 12

La Souche 11

Town Square 11

Snake Lake 10

Fahr 9

Tatamagouche 9

Moosehead 9

Old Flame 8

Ribstone Creek 8

Walkerville 8

Inner City 7

Wellington 7

Blindman 7

Bogside 6

Siboire 6

Little Beasts 6

Parallel 49 6

Longwood 6

Red Circle 6

Ferme Brasserie Schoune 6

Glutenberg 6

Ippon 6

Why top 26?

If you only had 1 medal (Gold, Silver, or Bronze) I cut if from the list.

And if you had multiple medals, but it did not tally more than 5 points, I cut it from the list. (Otherwise it's a very long list!)

Interesting notes;

Two other breweries tallied more points on medals than Common Crown did.

Whitetooth, in Golden, B.C., tallied a total of 19 points. They dominated the show with a myriad of awards in almost exclusively the Belgian style;

Gold in Belgian style Dubbel/Quad with Directissima Dubbel

Bronze in Belgian style Tripel with Trepanation Tripel

Silver in Belgian Style Abbey ale/pale ale with La Tenace belgian single

Gold in North American style pale ale with Sickbird Northwest pale ale

Gold in American Belgo-style ale with Icefields Belgian-inspired pale ale

Medicine Hat Brewing Company also performed exceptionally well under the lead of veteran brewer Mitch Dalrymple (former brewer at Bushwakker Brewpub in Regina) with 16 points, 1 ahead of Common Crown.

Gold in Porter with Brick & Mortar Porter

Gold in Oatmeal Stout with Gentlemen's stout

Silver in North American style lager with Twin City Lager

Silver in fruit/fruit wheat/field/pumpkin beer with Creamsicle Ale

This isn't to discredit Common Crown from their title in any way, shape, or form. It is simply to look at how breweries stacked up overall outside of the Brewery of the Year title. I looked into how close the battle was for brewery of the year from the Alberta Beer Awards and it shed light on many brands that were just outside the lime light.

An impressive feat is that Common Crown earned a Gold medal for Andy’s Wee Heavy in both 2019 & 2020 in the Scotch Ale category. Their Brewmaster Blonde earned a Bronze in 2019. So for 2020, they absolutely earned their Brewery of the Year title not only by triple gold medals but also by correctly selecting those beer as qualifiers for the Brewery of the Year title. Their accolades are as follow;

Gold in North American style wheat beer with Ploughman Wheat ale

Gold in Scotch Ale with Andy's Wee Heavy

Gold in the Brown Ale category with their Coppersmith Brown Ale

The deeper reason to pull a points total for the top breweries was to see how Alberta stacked up against the rest of Canada. And this is by far the most exciting news. Not only did we produce medals from 19 Alberta breweries look at the top 10; 6 of the top 10 (bolded, below) are from our fair Province.

Top 10 Breweries, Canadian Brewing Awards 2020, based on points

(5 for Gold, 3 for Silver, 1 for Bronze)

Whitetooth 19

Medicine Hat 16

Common Crown 15

Strange Fellows 13

Big Rock 12

La Souche 11

Town Square 11

Snake Lake 10

Fahr 9

Tatamagouche 9

By comparison, look how Alberta earned medals at this competition in 2019;

Total Medals awarded, Canadian Brewing Awards 2019

Ontario 60