At GBBF 2000 it was decided that we now had a sufficient number of Cask Ales from America on the Bières Sans Frontières bar to run an informal competition. That first year the award went to Shipfitters Bitter from the Quincy Ships Brewery in Boston, that Brewery no longer exists but the Brewer is certainly one of the most respected in America, Tod Mott.
Over the years the number of beers that have been brought over has steadily increased and the competition has become eagerly anticipated, not just by those judging but by the Breweries that have sent their beer over.
Following Michael Jacksons death it was decided that the Award should be named in his honour, little did I know that that would take two years of negotiation with his Literary Agent and Executor to gain official permission. But permission was eventually granted and the Award took on an extra cachet for the American Brewers who held him in such high esteem.
This year the honour went to Marble Brewery of Albuquerque New Mexico for their stunning Double IPA, runners up were Smuttynose with Finest Kind IPA and Lowell Beer Works with Sour Red.
Earlier this year Marble Brewery Albuqurque and Marble Brewery Manchester participated in a bottle swap via BSF staff at The Bruges Beer Festival. Let's hope that winning this award will encourage them to visit GBBF next year and maybe make a trip to Manchester! I'm sure James will be only too happy to do a collaboration brew.
Smuttynose are no strangers to the competition having won on three separate occasions, a testament to the quality of their beers.
The Sour Red from Lowell Beer Works was an exceptional example of the Flemish Sour style that managed to fool more than a few into believing that they were drinking a Belgian Beer.
Congratulations to them all, let's hope we see many more Cask Ales from America next year on the Bières Sans Frontières Bar.