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There’s no such thing as the world’s best beer

With a unanimous decision over Evander Hollyfield, Canada’s Lennox Lewis – he did represent Canada at the Olympics, not the U.K. – became the first heavyweight since Mike Tyson in 1987 to hold all three pro boxing belts.

The rest of the time there were two or more belt holders and therefore no clear idea of who was the best. Boxers dodged one another to keep the belts, and even when the top contenders wanted to punch it out to see who’s best once and for all they were constrained by the three different boxing federations who had other ideas who they should fight.

With no definitive sports federation or belt, and matches scheduled six to eight months apart, you never knew at any given time who the real champion was. If you were a boxing fan, you always felt cheated.

The same situation applies to beer. There are literally dozens of beer contests out there, but no definitive championship.

While you can argue that it’s irrelevant, that beer consumers are all winners, serious beer drinkers have a right to know who the world champion really is.

The nearest there is to a definitive voice is the Association of Brewers’ World Beer Cup International Competition. Like the World Track and Field Championships this is held every two years, starting way back in 1996.

The Brewing Industry International Awards are also prestigious, being held every two years since 1886. They were the first and they believe they’re the best.

Other claimants to the throne include the Australian International Beer Awards, the Champion Beer of Britain Awards, the New Zealand International Beer Awards, The Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the North American Brewers Association Excellence in Brewing Awards, and the World Beer Championships in Chicago. There are also a large number of European and Asian beer awards, many of which specialize in specific types or styles of beer, or are regional in nature.

All of these competitions are attempting to position themselves as the number one judging body, which complicates matter even more.

With all of these international awards out there, you’re right to be suspicious of any beer company’s claim that a particular brand is "award-winning," or the "best in the world."

What’s a beer drinker who demands the best from themselves and their beer to do? Obviously the best beer would depend on the individual, but at the very least beer drinkers should be able to try the very best in the world and decide for themselves whether to stick with the usual.

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