But this isn't a normal year, is it? Almost all of the competitions were cancelled because the coronavirus keeps people apart. No tasting beer together, no award ceremonies, no shaking hands.
However, one competition, Isra-Brew, found a way to do everything according to the health guidelines, did the tasting and judging, and awarded 32 prizes to some of the country's best home-brewers.
Isra-Brew is organized by the Home-Brewers of Israel community. It is sanctioned by the world-wide Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), and all of the judges are BJCP members to ensure a comprehensive evaluation and proper feedback to all of the entrants.
"This year, all of the competing bottles were delivered just before the country went on lockdown," explains Omer Basha, a competition organizer and Israel's only BJCP Master Judge. "When things loosened up a bit, we sent the bottles to judging panels in different locations around the country. Within a week, all of the judging was completed, we collected all of the scoresheets, scanned them and declared the winners on a Facebook live broadcast.
"Everything was carried out within the framework of the coronavirus regulations."
[You can read about last year's contest, when judging and ceremonies were out in the open, here.]
So without further ado, here are the winners of the 2020 Isra-Brew home-brewers competition:
Best of Show
First: Danny Perets (Karmazina) -- American IPA
Second: Gilad Ne-Eman (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- Imperial Stout
Third: Nitai Leffler -- Spiced Beer
Champion Brewer (with all prizes taken into account)
First: Eviatar Azulay -- Ebi Cocoa Jumbo, Belgian Dubbel
Second: Oren Bunimovich -- Over Quarter Ton, Saison
Third: Uri Shwed -- Beeradical Rapinoe, Belgian Blond Ale
Porters and Stouts
First: Gilad Ne-Eman (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- Night Gate Keeper, Imperial Stout
Second: Jacob Avakov -- Jack Dusty English Porter
Third: Boaz Lanner -- Party Gyle Stout, American Stout
First: Danny Perets (Karmazina) -- Hugeness American Flag Cork, American IPA
Second: Naveh Vagenfeld -- American IPA
Third: Jacob Avakov -- Jack Dusty IPA, American IPA
First: Tom Arad -- Lightwheat, Weizenbock
Second: Raviv Soha -- Wheatwit, Witbier
Third: Assaf Murkes (Modi'in Brewers)-- Wizen, Weissbier
First: Ohad Gertel -- #55, Eisbock
Second: Nitai Leffler -- Marisa Bandera, Vienna Lager
Third: Oren Bunimovich -- Darko, Dunkel Bock
First: Ohad Gertel -- #47, Wood-aged Beer
Second: Assaf Murkes (Modi'in Brewers)-- Salted Oaked Stout, Wood-aged Beer
Third: Alex Fuks (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- These are Hard Times,
American Pale Ale
First: Jacob Avakov -- Jack Dusty APA
Second: Vitali Oneg -- K-la-Hop
Third: Danny Perets (Karmazina) -- Hugeness Green Cork
First: Nitai Leffler -- Dalorian
Second: Alex Fuks (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- Coffee & Cream
Third: Lior Eshbal -- Alamida
Other Pale Ales
First: Dvir Flom (Home-Brewers Guild of Beersheva) -- Mild, Dark Mild
First: Ohad Gertel -- #78, Meomel
Second: Ohad Gertel -- #82, Dry Mead
Third: Gilad Ne-Eman -- Mead Me, Dry Mead
Congratulations to all the winners! You know, in normal times we would take some photos of the winners receiving their awards at the ceremony. That will have to wait until next year -- we hope!