A Foothills brewery recently took home gold at the 2024 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Brauerei Fahr’s Hefe won gold in the Wheat Beer - German Style (Weiss) category.

Owner and founder, Jochen Fahr, says it marks the 16th award for the Hefe since 2019, including World’s Best Bavarian Style Hefeweiss at the World Beer Awards in 2020.

“I’m fairly certain it’s the highest individually awarded beer in the country,” says Fahr. “I’m very proud. I mean, that’s the beer it all started with.”

He recalls the early days and his home brewing setup nearly 10 years ago.

Despite having garnered numerous national and international accolades since then, Fahr admits that these competitions can still feel nerve-wracking, especially because of the nature of brewing.

“As a business owner with a product that’s very biologically devised, most of the flavour and quality is actually really out of your hands. You give it to the yeast, and the yeast does its thing. If that’s happy and healthy, then you have a good chance that the beer turns out.”

The judging process involves samples being sent out to Toronto where they’re anonymized before being tasted by a panel of judges, all of whom adhere to the Beer Judge Certification Program standards.

Over 800 breweries competed in 61 categories this year.

Fahr sees it as the ultimate test of quality and consistency in his product.

“We use those competitions, generally, for feedback from people that are really schooled and educated on judging beers that are brewed according to a certain style. I use it almost as an external quality control for us. Are we still on track, are they picking up on what we want to do, what we want to highlight with the beer? So far, it’s been pretty good.”

As much of an honour as it is to take home gold from a national competition, Fahr always loves getting the seal of approval from everyday people.

“My biggest compliment is when I go somewhere and people don’t recognize me, they have a beer of mine, and they say, ‘Oh you’ve got to try this, it’s really good actually.’ That’s the biggest compliment anybody can give me, and they don’t even know it.”