William Pozniak and Jeff Lewis win Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer Competition

Pilsner Urquell, the world’s first golden beer, announced today the winners of its 2012 Master Homebrewer Competition at events held in New York City and Chicago. The homebrewers were tasked with re-creating the iconic Czech-style pilsner made famous by Josef Grollin 1842. Out of 88 competitors, only two were able to claim the title of Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer.

The winning homebrewers were:  William Pozniak of Cinnaminson, New Jersey and Jeff Lewis of Hilliard, Ohio. Each winner will travel to Plzen, Czech Republic later this year to tour the historic brewery and brew a batch of beer with Pilsner Urquell’s Brew Master Vaclav Berka.

“It was great to see the homebrewers come back again this year with the same, if not more, enthusiasm for this competition as last year,” said Vaclav Berka, one of Pilsner Urquell’s few brew masters in the brand’s 170-year history. Along with a panel of experienced beer judges, Berka judged the homebrews at each event. “This is not an easy style to recreate. These homebrewers really put in the extra effort this year, and it’s very exciting to see how much homebrewing is growing throughout the United States.”

The Master Homebrewer judging panel selected the top three at each event. Here are the final results:

New York, July 23rd Chicago, July 26th 
Radegast Hall & Biergarten Sully’s House
1st Place— William Pozniak: Cinnaminson, NJ 1st Place—Jeff Lewis:  Hilliard, OH
2nd Place— Philip Jensen: State College, PA 2nd Place—Jeff Gladish: Tampa, FL
3rd Place—Alastair Hewitt: Wakefield, MA 3rd Place—Mike Sutor: Onalaska, WI

The judges sampled each beer and selected the winners based on the following criteria:

  • 75% — Accuracy to BJCP style (Czech-style pilsner)
  • 25% — Cleanliness (absence of off flavors)

“The opportunity to evaluate these great homebrewed pilsners with Brewmaster Vaclav Berka and the team from 10th and Blake was an amazing experience,” said Chicago event judge Joe Formanek, BJCP judge and 6-time Midwest Homebrewer of the Year. “You gain great insight into Pilsner Urquell and the process that delivers the outstanding qualities of the original pilsner beer.”

The Pilsner Urquell Master Homebrewer competitors were equally excited about the competition.

“To me, this was like winning the MASTERS of homebrewing. After taking the bronze in this event last year, I knew I had a legitimate shot at winning the competition. But when I heard Phil Jensen’s name called out in second place, I was on pins and needles,” said William Pozniak, New York Master Homebrewer. “I thought to myself, this guy can brew the lights out. Three days after the event I was still asking people to pinch me.”

Chicago winner Jeff Lewis shared similar sentiments about his victory.

“Pilsner Urquell has been inspiring my brewing for more than ten years, and the competition was an exciting conclusion to a yearlong effort to improve my pilsner,” Lewis said. “The passion displayed by all of the homebrewers I met was equally inspiring, and having tasted some of their amazing beers, I know the judges had a difficult task. I was truly honored to have my beer selected by Brew Master Vaclav Berka and the other judges.”

Photos from the events and additional details are available at Facebook.com/PilsnerUrquellUSA.

About Pilsner Urquell

Created in Plzen, Czech Republic in 1842, Pilsner Urquell revolutionized the brewing industry as the world’s first golden beer, creating a new style of beer that became known as pilsner, named after its city of origin.  For more than a century and a half, Pilsner Urquell has been offering discerning beer drinkers a balanced and refreshing beer that has become the standard against which all others are compared.  Nearly 90 percent of the world’s beer is a variation of the original golden beer, making pilsner the most popular beer style in the world and further establishing Pilsner Urquell as a true original.  For more