European Beer Star
European Beer Star

Experts are the Stars

Development of the number of tasters

Where did the tasters come from in 2021?

The European Beer Star is proud of its top-class panel of tasters. The jury consists of brewmasters, beer sommeliers, trade journalists - male and female - and many people who work in the beer industry. They come from all over the world and bring their country-specific view of beer styles to the judging of the beers. The European Beer Star looks at the beers from the consumer's point of view according to the quality criteria of enjoyment and sensory evaluation. Beers from all over the world therefore need judges from all over the world.

Some tasters have been loyal to the competition for many years. The annual European Beer Star marks a fixed point in their calendar. They also use the days to exchange ideas among themselves. Over the years, the European Beer Star has become a kind of "family reunion".

The number of tasters has increased significantly and constantly since the competition began - with the exception of the Corona year 2020.

Whether young or old, regardless of gender and origin - the Global Family is also happy to welcome new tasters. You can apply to participate under the heading Become a judge.

With the registration of the beers the number of experts increases - and the internationality!

As different as the beers are at the European Beer Star, so are the tasters. In 2021, the stars of the competition came from 26 countries around the world. Despite the worldwide pandemic, this is a wonderful sign that the international brewing community - the Global Family - stands by each other even in difficult times. The organizers of the competition are particularly keen to have the viewpoints and perspectives on different beer styles from around the world represented in the competition. Only in this way can the beers be judged at the highest level of quality and with the greatest objectivity. This gives the breweries first-class feedback on their beers. And it is not only the breweries that benefit from this, the European Beer Star is also constantly developing with the international know-how. A real win-win-win situation.

That's how Stars taste - Our experts

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Frank S. Müller | Germany

Müller has been first brewmaster and technical manager at Brauhaus Riegele in Augsburg since 2004. Master brewer was always his dream job; he was already brewing at the age of twelve. "Even back then, I experimented with different organisms, to the point of spontaneous uncontrolled fermentation." Today, Müller is considered the "yeast pope," cultivating more than 200 (!) different yeast strains in his laboratory. The range of beers he is responsible for at Riegele and brews to outstanding quality is as diverse as his yeast collection. His beers have already won 37 awards at the European Beer Star: 13 gold, 15 silver and 9 bronze.

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Giovanni Campari | Italy

Speaking at a seminar on innovative beer creations, Giovanni Campari once said, "What else is tradition if not successful innovation?" In 2006, he founded Birrificio del Ducato, developed innovative production methods and used them to brew some pretty experimental beers. His brewery holds an unbeaten record at the European Beer Star: 7 awards in one year (2011) for Birrificio del Ducato. Campari is also a pioneer of the autochthonous Italian beer style Italian Grape Ale, to which a separate category has been dedicated since the European Beer Star 2022.

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Georg L. Bucher | Germany

Since 2010, Georg Bucher has been managing the Günzburger Radbrauerei, whose roots go back to 1600. Bucher learned the brewing and malting trade at the Distelhäuser brewery, studied in Weihenstephan, and is a graduate master brewer, beverage business economist and beer sommelier. In 2009, he was a member of the jury at the European Beer Star for the first time. "Beer connects people. That's one of the reasons I like being at the European Beer Star. You meet like-minded people in an informal atmosphere and can expand your wealth of experience and network." Bucher is a member of the executive committee of the Private Brauereien Bayern.

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Dr. Andreas Urban | Austria

The real Viennese is Brewery Manager at Schwechat Brewery, President of the Association of Austrian Brewmasters and Brewery Technicians, and a lecturer in brewing technology and brewing quality control at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. Urban is open to new things and at the same time appreciates traditions. His credo: "No compromises in beer quality; no compromises in raw materials and brewing processes." In addition, he is convinced: "There is no food to which a special beer does not go excellently!"

Table Captains

At the European Beer Star, tasting takes place in groups. It is always a blind tasting in which the tasters do not know from which breweries the samples he has in front of him come.

Each group consists of 8 to 10 judges, one of them is the Table Captain. He is the conductor. He distributes the evaluation sheets, checks the numbers of the beer samples and compiles the results. Especially in the final rounds, when the gold, silver and bronze awards are presented, it is his job to moderate any discussions that arise. The results of all tasting rounds are documented in writing by the table captain and sent in sealed envelopes to the competition organizers for evaluation. Table Captains have a high level of responsibility. They are longstanding members of the jury and have no less years of experience in tasting and evaluating beers.

Unique - The briefing of the table captains

What else makes the European Beer Star unique? Certainly the special position of the table captains. In order to prepare them optimally for this responsible task, Dr. Michael Zepf from the Doemens Academy informs the table captains before the tasting about the special features of the beer styles, as well as changes in the categories.

In a joint training session for the table captains, any questions and discussions at the tasting table are answered even before the actual expert tasting. In a joint discussion, a uniform guideline is then established during the tasting days. This ensures an objective tasting of the beers.

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Simonmattia Riva | Italy

Riva already enjoyed drinking beer while studying philosophy. In 2015, he won the World Beer Sommelier Championship in Saõ Paulo. He currently runs the "Craft Beer Garage" pub in his hometown of Bergamo. Riva works part-time as a beer writer and teacher, mainly in Italy. He has already taken part in various local and national competitions as a judge, but says: "The European Beer Star always has a very special place in my heart".

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Elisa Raus | Germany

The 2019 World Beer Sommelier Champion hails from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where she still works today. After studying European Media Studies, she was hired by Störtebeker Braumanufaktur in Stralsund and entrusted with the duties of a press spokesperson. Twice Raus has been able to qualify for the World Beer Sommelier Championship, and in 2019 she finally won in Rimini - the first woman to do so. Since 2020, Elisa Raus has been strengthening the jury of the European Beer Star with her expertise.

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Deborah Wood | Canada

As a young woman, Deborah Wood studied art in the USA, Mexico and England. In the land of the Three Lions, she also learned about "the sensual beauty" of beer and became an award-winning home brewer. Wood worked for many years at BSG CraftBrewing, a specialist in raw materials, and since 2017 she has been considered "BSG's Brewing Ingredient Specialist." Today, she is involved in developing new products for microbreweries. Inspired by Bamberger Rauchbier, she developed "Claire Obscure," a dark smoked beer, with Fred Moreau of Archibald Brewery in Quebec. It won gold at the European Beer Star 2019.

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Pavel Borowiec | Czech Republic

Beer was a hobby for Pavel Borowiec for the longest time. In the service of the entertainment industry, he traveled through Europe and enjoyed being able to taste many interesting beers. Borowiec realized, "Beer is unique. You can't duplicate it." In 2011, he founded the magazine "Pivo, Beer & Ale." He later established the Czech and Moravian Brewing Academy and the annual PBA Forum. From 2014 to 2020, Borowiec was a judge at European Beer Star. "Every year was different. Being a member of the tasting team supports my commitment to beer more and more each year," he said during his last visit. Pavel Borowiec passed away in the fall of 2021.

When judges win European Beer Star awards

The European Beer Star jury is made up of experienced beer experts from all over the world.Many of them are master brewers. They send their beers to the competition - and sometimes they win.

Never judge your own beer. That is the rule at the European Beer Star. The organizers guarantee that none of those experts who submit their own entries will not judge their own beer. The neutrality of the tasters is paramount. This presents the organizers great challenges, but they have learned to master them.

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Andrea Kalrait | Germany

The business economist has worked for Nürnberg Messe since 1992 and in the BrauBeviale organization team since 1994. "You develop a fair amount of heart and soul there." From 2013 she has been responsible for the strategic and conceptual development of BrauBeviale and since 2016 for the development of the global strategy of the Beviale Family. The European Beer Star fueled her enthusiasm for beer. "It was a driver for me to explore the existing beer diversity, to learn to understand brewers and their passion around the product."

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Walter Hufnagel | Germany

In the German trade fair business, it is still true today: You leave quickly - or stay forever. Hufnagel stayed. He only retired in 2010. 36 years earlier, the economist had recognized his unique opportunity: in founding NürnbergMesse. Hufnagel helped to set more than twenty trade fairs on track. In 1978, the one that is now called "BrauBeviale". Wine interested him more than beer - until the European Beer Star. Hufnagel has been a taster since 2007, sitting next to beer sommelier world champion Karl Schiffner on his first day. Pure training!

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Dr. Christina Schönberger | Germany

Having grown up in a brewery, studied at the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan, her father shut down the brewery, Schönberger was relieved, completed her studies and earned her doctorate on the topic of "Sensory and Analytical Characterization of Non-Volatile Flavors in Beer". Ideal for a start at BarthHaas in 2005, Schönberger established the Technical Services department there. It includes the Research and Development department and the Hops Academy. She has enjoyed being on the jury off and on since 2006. "The friendships and relationships formed at EBS are invaluable to the global beer industry."

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David Castro | Spanien

In 2011, Castro and four friends founded La Cibeles, a Madrid-based craft beer brand. As a technology freak, he designed the first brewing system himself. Today, La Cibeles in Leganés produces 6,000 hectoliters per year by around 20 people, and the range includes 15 products. Recently, Brewpub and experimental brewery Mad Brewing were created. Castro is testing a new yeast there, the result of a four-year research study with a Madrid Institute of Food Economics to preserve biodiversity. This will result in an autochthonous Madrilenian beer. Castro has served as a judge for the European Beer Star for many years.

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Norbert Schmidl | Germany

The editor at the Donaukurier in Ingolstadt is a beer sommelier and one of the first three Certified Members of the Institute of Masters of Beer. Schmidl has been part of the jury since the start of the European Beer Star in 2004 and has been Table Captain for many years. He also tastes for the World Beer Cup and the Brazilian Beer Contest. As a geography graduate, having studied economic geography and regional planning at the University of Bayreuth, he knows how to correctly locate the world's beer styles and is therefore a valuable guide to beer culture.

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Victoria Schubert-Rapp | Germany

The brewer and maltster, beverage business economist and beer sommelier has been running the Karg Brewery in Murnau am Staffelsee, in the very south of Bavaria, together with her father for 14 years. Before deciding on beer, she studied Sports and English in Augsburg. Internships at Auerbräu and Meantime followed. The many styles of beer brewed in London gave her an idea of how diverse the world of beer is. Schubert-Rapp is a member of the board of the Private Brauereien Bayern, has been on the jury of the European Beer Star since 2008, and is there almost every time.

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Horst Dornbusch | USA

The "pioneer of the new brewing" founded his microbrewery long before Jimmy Carter legalized the hobby in 1978. The author of hundreds of beer articles, he wrote nine beer books and co-edited "The Oxford Companion to Beer." In the early 1990s, Dornbusch founded a boutique for commercial breweries specializing in German-style beers, and in 2000 the doyen of international beer journalism launched Cerevisia Communications. Dornbusch's cumulative expertise is indispensable at the European Beer Star.

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Stefan Grauvogl | Italien

In 1994, as a young brewmaster, Grauvogl founded the Arte Bier company. He began with the start-up of breweries. Soon he became a consultant in many areas, assisting microbreweries with their start-up. His heart beats for Italy, he is a sales partner there for Kaspar Schulz and Doemens, supervises the beer sommelier course on the Italian market. Grauvogl has been on the team of tasters since 2012, and has been table captain since 2015: "Nowhere else do you get to know current trends as closely as at the European Beer Star. This is where concentrated brewing knowledge from all over the world meets."

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Raimer Schramm | Switzerland

Schramm was born in Bremen in 1971 and has been working for some time as a Swiss judge at European Beer Star. His beer-related work stations were Jever, the Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei in Bremen and the Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, California. He currently works for Heineken, plus his involvement with Bündner Bierbrand, beer brandy chocolates and food pairing events. His profession is product development. In addition, he works as a vocational school teacher - on the subject of beer, of course.

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Rex Tao Sha | China

"My English name," says Sha Tao in perfect English, "is Rex." He has only been working with beer professionally for 5 years. But he does so intensively, as if he had to make up for a lifetime of beer. Rex worked his way up as a self-taught beer maker to become the first BJCP judge in China in a very short time. In 2017, he was appointed "CTO", i.e. Chief Tasting Officer of Steppeo Brewery (Hohhot, Inner Mongolia). The European Beer Star is the most important international beer competition for him because he can learn a lot about German tradition, German beer and the competition there, after all, he is one of the organizers of the Chinese beer competition "Master Cup China".

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