A Turner Valley craft brewery is continuing to rake in the recognition Fahr and wide, with two wins at the 2019 World Beer Awards.
Bringing home best in Canada for their Hefe (wheat ale) and silver in Canada for their Pilsner, Brauerei Fahr—with Jochen Fahr, founder, and Nathan Ingram-Cotton, head brewer, at the helm—is entering the big leagues.
“That was really our first, very international award that we got, and it’s a big deal,” Fahr said. “I’m super stoked, I still can’t believe we got two out of two. With two entries we scored two medals, which is amazing.
“One-hundred per cent success rate in my mind.”
As a relatively new brewery—having started brewing in 2016, and opening the brewery in Turner Valley the next year—the recognition on an international stage is a significant achievement.
“Just for simplistic beers—not simple, but simplistic—like the Hefe and the Pilsner, it’s pretty cool to get that kind of validation, I’m pretty proud of it,” said Fahr. “I’m very proud of it.”
Having sent the two beers to Toronto in June for the first round of judging—done in each country to find the best of each category, in addition to gold, silver, and bronze—the Hefe was the best wheat ale in Canada.
It then went on to London, England, to go up against the best of the other countries in its style.
While the Hefe didn’t bring home a medal from England, you won’t find Fahr complaining.
“Usually in the Hefe category, those are the 500, 700 year old German breweries that exclusively do those beers,” he said. “Losing to them, I’m not very mad about it. Eventually I’ll get them, though.”
He said it was an especially exciting win at the World Beer Awards, as just in May of this year the Hefe won bronze in the 2019 Canadian Brewery Awards.
To take home not a gold medal but the step above in the country only a few months later was Fahrbulous, he said.
Fahr was pleased with the Pilsner’s showing as well, saying that taking home silver in Canada in such a large category was an accomplishment in its own right.
While the distinction as some of the best beers in Canada make for bragging rights of its own, the region isn’t typically well-represented in the competitions—the majority of award-winning breweries are on the East coast, he said.
“When I was looking at the different country styles, from Alberta it was only us and Legend 7 that scored a medal, certificate, or an award,” he said. “There’s a lot from Québec, some of them I don’t even know because there’s so many.
“But from Alberta there was only Legend 7 and us, which was kind of cool.”
Having moved to Calgary over ten years ago from Germany, Fahr sticks to his German roots through strict adherence to the German Purity Law, which focuses on the brewing process rather than the ingredients.
The Purity Law was established in 1516 as a provision to protect the consumer through regulating the production of beer to the use of hops, water, and barley, with yeast as an allowable ingredient added in 1993.
Calling it “Germany’s first food safety law,” Fahr has made creating simplistic, technically perfect, traditional German beers his mandate.
The wins at the World Beer Awards come with marketing materials and exposure in magazines, as well as a decent amount of bragging rights, but it’s not going too Fahr to his ego, he said.
“It’s huge in terms of exposure, but bragging rights…I always take competitions like that with a grain of salt, because it’s very subjective taste, even though you’re looking only at, or should be looking only at, technical aspects of the beer,” said Fahr.
“For the most part I use them to get criticism, actually, like what can I improve on the beer. We get to see the judges’ feedback.”
While the feedback from the Canadian Brewing Awards in May was all positive—a “textbook” wheat ale—Fahr said he would love to receive unbiased feedback from the judges he could use to improve his product.
Brauerei Fahr is only just getting started, too—currently working on a few new seasonal brews in addition to the anticipated return of their Radler this weekend, plus new growlers, howlers, and one-liter steins.
In addition to their growing product base, Fahr intends to add to his medal collection with more competitions on the way, such as the World Beer Cup at the end of October.