European Beer Star

Experts are the Stars

Development of the number of tasters

Where did the tasters come from in 2023?

The European Beer Star is proud of its top-class panel of tasters. The jury consists of brewmasters, beer sommeliers, trade journalists - male and female - and many people who work in the beer industry. They come from all over the world and bring their country-specific view of beer styles to the judging of the beers. The European Beer Star looks at the beers from the consumer's point of view according to the quality criteria of enjoyment and sensory evaluation. Beers from all over the world therefore need judges from all over the world.

Some tasters have been loyal to the competition for many years. The annual European Beer Star marks a fixed point in their calendar. They also use the days to exchange ideas among themselves. Over the years, the European Beer Star has become a kind of "family reunion".

The number of tasters has increased significantly and constantly since the competition began - with the exception of the COVID year 2020.

Whether young or old, regardless of gender and origin - the Global Family is also happy to welcome new tasters. You can apply to participate under the heading Become a judge.

With the registration of the beers the number of experts increases - and the internationality!

As different as the beers are at the European Beer Star, so are the tasters. In 2022, the stars of the competition came from 32 countries around the world. As international as never before and a wonderful sign that the international brewing community - the Global Family - stands together even in difficult times. The organizers of the competition are particularly keen to have the viewpoints and perspectives on different beer styles from around the world represented in the competition. Only in this way can the beers be judged at the highest level of quality and with the greatest objectivity. This gives the breweries first-class feedback on their beers. And it is not only the breweries that benefit from this, the European Beer Star is also constantly developing with the international know-how. A real win-win-win situation.

That's how Stars taste. Our experts


Robert Widmann | Italy

Widmann was born in Bolzano in 1965, studied sports science in Verona and has been an entrepreneur in the hospitality and beer sectors since 1989. In 1996 he founded Hopfen&Co, the first South Tyrolean Brewpub, and in 2012 he opened Batzen Bräu in Bolzano. Soon after completing his training as a beer sommelier, Widmann became Italy's champion beer sommelier.

The South Tyrolean Beer Academy and the Beer Craft international beer festival are Widmann's creations, as are the KuBo Awards, which are presented during the festival. He is the initiator of the project for regional brewing grain cultivation in South Tyrol and of the South Tyrolean Beer quality mark; he was accepted into the "Hall of Members" of the Institute of Masters of Beer.

Since 2016, "Bobo" has been a member of the jury, proving a valuable asset as a table captain. "For me as a taster, the European Beer Star is above all a great celebration of tasting and feeling - paired with the highest degree of concentration".


Sylvia Kopp | Germany

Born in 1967, she studied at the Sorbonne and at the universities of Indiana and Hamburg. She earned Master's degrees in political science, American studies, French. She has been self-employed as a beer author, teacher of beer stylistics and sensory analysis since 2007. Her "Craft Beer Book" - published in 2014 - was translated into Italian and English. Then she worked as an ambassador for the Brewers Association in Europe until 2018.

Since 2019, Kopp has been a co-trainer at the BarthHaas Hops Academy and a freelance writer for a variety of media, including Brauwelt. Sylvia's Saloon, founded in 2017, was an early online beer tasting format and will soon reopen for tastings and beer classes, both virtual and on site. In 2011, Kopp was accepted into the fraternity "Les Sosson D'Orvaulx".

"The European Beer Star is a home game for me. It is an inner desire for me to serve this renowned beer competition. Moreover, for me the European Beer Star is the event to connect with the German beer and brewing scene every year."


Hans-Peter Drexler | Germany

He is a world star. There are few brewmasters who made such a lasting mark in the beer world as he. Until 1993, Schneider only produced Weisse and Aventinus. Today, the brewery is one of the few which have perfectly mastered the balancing act of tradition and innovation. In 2000, when the term "craft beer" was at the most known to a handful of beer nerds in Germany, he hopped his Wiesen Edel-Weisse with US Cascade. In 2007, Drexler brewed the "Schneider & Brooklyn Hopfen Weisse" in collaboration with Garrett Oliver. Drexler also pioneered the maturation of fine beers in small, noble wooden barrels. In 2010 he built a barrique cellar, adding a vintage cellar in 2012. For the TAP X series, he used Belgian yeasts as well as hops from Australia. 

Drexler will remain in the beer world after his retirement: As a jury member of the European Beer Star and as a speaker with European Beer Star partner Doemens.


Rodolfo Heitor Vargas Rebelo | Brazil

Rebelo was born in Blumenau, an old German colony in southern Brazil, in 1985. He studied Chemical Engineering there and enjoyed his training as a brewmaster and beer sommelier at Doemens.

He has been involved in five brewery start-ups as a consultant and has supported another 15 in process optimisation. He is now a professor of beer technology, malt production and brewery layout. In 2015, he founded the Malteria Blumenau, the first micro-malting plant in Brazil; he still manages its business today.

Rebelo has been a member of the international expert jury of the European Beer Star since 2016 and its ambassador in Brazil since 2022. "It's just always wonderful to come to Bavaria. I enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. And it's an honour to be part of the European Beer Star jury. Every year I make new friends and I still learn a lot".


Frank S. Müller | Germany

Müller has been first brewmaster and technical manager at Brauhaus Riegele in Augsburg since 2004. Master brewer was always his dream job; he was already brewing at the age of twelve. "Even back then, I experimented with different organisms, to the point of spontaneous uncontrolled fermentation." Today, Müller is considered the "yeast pope," cultivating more than 200 (!) different yeast strains in his laboratory. The range of beers he is responsible for at Riegele and brews to outstanding quality is as diverse as his yeast collection. His beers have already won 37 awards at the European Beer Star: 13 gold, 15 silver and 9 bronze.


Giovanni Campari | Italy

Speaking at a seminar on innovative beer creations, Giovanni Campari once said, "What else is tradition if not successful innovation?" In 2006, he founded Birrificio del Ducato, developed innovative production methods and used them to brew some pretty experimental beers. His brewery (he passed it into new hands in 2021) holds an unbeaten record at the European Beer Star: 7 awards in one year (2011) for Birrificio del Ducato. Campari is also a pioneer of the autochthonous Italian beer style Italian Grape Ale, to which a separate category has been dedicated since the European Beer Star 2022.


Georg L. Bucher | Germany

Since 2010, Georg Bucher has been managing the Günzburger Radbrauerei, whose roots go back to 1600. Bucher learned the brewing and malting trade at the Distelhäuser brewery, studied in Weihenstephan, and is a graduate master brewer, beverage business economist and beer sommelier. In 2009, he was a member of the jury at the European Beer Star for the first time. "Beer connects people. That's one of the reasons I like being at the European Beer Star. You meet like-minded people in an informal atmosphere and can expand your wealth of experience and network." Bucher is a member of the executive committee of the Private Brauereien Bayern.


Dr. Andreas Urban | Austria

The real Viennese is Brewery Manager at Schwechat Brewery, President of the Association of Austrian Brewmasters and Brewery Technicians, and a lecturer in brewing technology and brewing quality control at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. Urban is open to new things and at the same time appreciates traditions. His credo: "No compromises in beer quality; no compromises in raw materials and brewing processes." In addition, he is convinced: "There is no food to which a special beer does not go excellently!"

Monica Mandrutiu | Romania


Monica Mandrutiu was born in Baia-Mare, Romania, and lives in Cluj- Napoca. She studied in Galati, London and Edinburgh. In 1990, she joined Ursus, Cluj, as a brewing technologist. Over time, she held several positions in the Ursus breweries: microbiologist, quality control manager, head brewer, quality and brewery director.

In 2021, she was appointed Group Head of Quality for Asahi Europe & International (AEI). In this role, she drives the "Excellence in Quality" culture and leads the implementation of the Asahi Group's quality strategy. She sets priorities and defines quality objectives and targets within the end-to-end supply chain. Monica is a member of the Executive Team of EBC Brewing Science Group, ASBC and MBAA.

Over the past 20 years, she has been a member of the tasting panels of many important international beer competitions in Europe, the USA, Japan, Australia. What she likes most about the European Beer Star – where she has been on the jury since 2006 - is "the rigorous, thorough approach to evaluating the sensory characteristics of the beers so as to select the highest quality beers."

The European Beer Star is also a "great opportunity for her to learn about developments in the world of beer styles and the innovative use of ingredients, to discover surprising flavour combination"“. She also appreciates "being inspired by some of the most experienced and passionate beer tasters in this competition".


Simonmattia Riva | Italy

Riva already enjoyed drinking beer while studying philosophy. In 2015, he won the World Beer Sommelier Championship in Saõ Paulo. He currently runs the "Craft Beer Garage" pub in his hometown of Bergamo. Riva works part-time as a beer writer and teacher, mainly in Italy. He has already taken part in various local and national competitions as a judge, but says: "The European Beer Star always has a very special place in my heart".


Elisa Raus | Germany

The 2019 World Beer Sommelier Champion hails from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where she still works today. After studying European Media Studies, she was hired by Störtebeker Braumanufaktur in Stralsund and entrusted with the duties of a press spokesperson. Twice Raus has been able to qualify for the World Beer Sommelier Championship, and in 2019 she finally won in Rimini - the first woman to do so. Since 2020, Elisa Raus has been strengthening the jury of the European Beer Star with her expertise.


Deborah Wood | Canada

As a young woman, Deborah Wood studied art in the USA, Mexico and England. In the land of the Three Lions, she also learned about "the sensual beauty" of beer and became an award-winning home brewer. Wood worked for many years at BSG CraftBrewing, a specialist in raw materials, and since 2017 she has been considered "BSG's Brewing Ingredient Specialist." Today, she is involved in developing new products for microbreweries. Inspired by Bamberger Rauchbier, she developed "Claire Obscure," a dark smoked beer, with Fred Moreau of Archibald Brewery in Quebec. It won gold at the European Beer Star 2019.


Alex Barlow | United Kingdom

He studied medicine and pharmacology in Liverpool, but chose brewing. Starting out with Bass Brewers, he qualified as an IBD brewmaster in 1991. He particularly remembers his time with Staropramen in Prague, where he managed the Branik brewery. Barlow has hosted many events on the radio, on television and in live settings; he authored the international award-winning All Beer Guide and worked as a consultant for breweries. Since 2016 he has been running his own brewery in Sheffield, Triple Point Brewery & Bar, an open brewhouse, where he brews modern versions of classic lagers and hoppy ales - unfiltered, unpasteurised, gluten- free, vegan.
Barlow has been a European Beer Star judge since 2011. “In my experience, EBS is one of the best organised beer competitions in the world. It is an honour to be part of it on a regular basis. Excellent organisation, experienced, professional and dedicated judges. And I wouldn't come if it wasn't a lot of fun too!“


Andrea Kalrait | Germany

The business economist has worked for Nürnberg Messe since 1992 and in the BrauBeviale organization team since 1994. "You develop a fair amount of heart and soul there." From 2013 she has been responsible for the strategic and conceptual development of BrauBeviale and since 2016 for the development of the global strategy of the Beviale Family. The European Beer Star fueled her enthusiasm for beer. "It was a driver for me to explore the existing beer diversity, to learn to understand brewers and their passion around the product."


Jessica Martínez | Mexico

First, Martinez brewed at home, then she attended seminars and congresses. She found the travelling instructive. So she travelled a lot, met brewers in other countries, visited breweries, got to know local beer traditions. History has always been important to her. And respect - for classic beers, too.
She started her own beer project in 2014, won her first medals in 2015, and in 2017, her beers won their first international award - in Japan.
“I don’t mind the long journey to EBS at all because it's a really professional competition. I can learn a lot from it. There are so many experienced people there, it is always a wonderful experience to be part of a competition with such great tradition.“ Martinez finds it particularly nice to belong to a family whose members have “such a deep love and respect for beer.“


Dr. Christina Schönberger | Germany

Having grown up in a brewery, studied at the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan, her father shut down the brewery, Schönberger was relieved, completed her studies and earned her doctorate on the topic of "Sensory and Analytical Characterization of Non-Volatile Flavors in Beer". Ideal for a start at BarthHaas in 2005, Schönberger established the Technical Services department there. It includes the Research and Development department and the Hops Academy. She has enjoyed being on the jury off and on since 2006. "The friendships and relationships formed at EBS are invaluable to the global beer industry."


David Castro | Spanien

In 2011, Castro and four friends founded La Cibeles, a Madrid-based craft beer brand. As a technology freak, he designed the first brewing system himself. Today, La Cibeles in Leganés produces 6,000 hectoliters per year by around 20 people, and the range includes 15 products. Recently, Brewpub and experimental brewery Mad Brewing were created. Castro is testing a new yeast there, the result of a four-year research study with a Madrid Institute of Food Economics to preserve biodiversity. This will result in an autochthonous Madrilenian beer. Castro has served as a judge for the European Beer Star for many years.


Norbert Schmidl | Germany

The editor at the Donaukurier in Ingolstadt is a beer sommelier and one of the first three Certified Members of the Institute of Masters of Beer. Schmidl has been part of the jury since the start of the European Beer Star in 2004 and has been Table Captain for many years. He also tastes for the World Beer Cup and the Brazilian Beer Contest. As a geography graduate, having studied economic geography and regional planning at the University of Bayreuth, he knows how to correctly locate the world's beer styles and is therefore a valuable guide to beer culture.


Victoria Schubert-Rapp | Germany

The brewer and maltster, beverage business economist and beer sommelier has been running the Karg Brewery in Murnau am Staffelsee, in the very south of Bavaria, together with her father for 14 years. Before deciding on beer, she studied Sports and English in Augsburg. Internships at Auerbräu and Meantime followed. The many styles of beer brewed in London gave her an idea of how diverse the world of beer is. Schubert-Rapp is a member of the board of the Private Brauereien Bayern, has been on the jury of the European Beer Star since 2008, and is there almost every time.


Marek Kaminski | Poland

* 1973, Poznan. He studied management and finance at the University of Economics in Poznan and brewing technology at the Agricultural University of Krakow. Marek has been working in the brewing industry since 2014. He is a co-founder and president of the Polish Craft Brewers Association, an organisation founded in 2018 to support and promote independent Polish breweries and craft beer. He has been working as an international beer judge since 2014, and has by now contributed his expertise to almost a hundred competitions in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Spain, Great Britain, Japan and Brazil.
Marek Kaminski has been a judge for the European Beer Star on two occasions. “I like being part of this jury because it is one of the biggest and most important beer competitions in the world. The European Beer Star is very well established. At the same time, it is a great opportunity to develop my skills as a judge and to meet the best colleagues from all over the world – it’s one of the most important competitions in my annual calendar.“


Thomas Hutschenreuther | Germany

* 1964, Passau, was responsible for “quality ex ramp“ with Beck & Co in Bremen for ten years after graduating from Weihenstephan as a master brewer in 1989. He trained the sales force as well as restaurateurs and their staff in matters of beer care and designed large-scale taproom projects. Since 2001, he has been part of the Micro Matic sales team, a job which has so far taken him to 47 countries.
This include quite a number of glamorous occasions, such as a draught beer class for Joe Cocker or an interview on the purity law which Hutschenreuther gave to Playboy America in New York. “Fighting for draught beer quality is a Herculean task but unfortunately there is no alternative. Anyone who believes that marketing is more important than quality is destroying commitment, enjoyment and culture.“ Hutschenreuther has been a European Beer Star judge on and off since 2014. “It's simply a great experience to taste the best among very special beers together in a final round.“


Horst Dornbusch | USA

The "pioneer of the new brewing" founded his microbrewery long before Jimmy Carter legalized the hobby in 1978. The author of hundreds of beer articles, he wrote nine beer books and co-edited "The Oxford Companion to Beer." In the early 1990s, Dornbusch founded a boutique for commercial breweries specializing in German-style beers, and in 2000 the doyen of international beer journalism launched Cerevisia Communications. Dornbusch's cumulative expertise is indispensable at the European Beer Star.


Stefan Grauvogl | Italien

In 1994, as a young brewmaster, Grauvogl founded the Arte Bier company. He began with the start-up of breweries. Soon he became a consultant in many areas, assisting microbreweries with their start-up. His heart beats for Italy, he is a sales partner there for Kaspar Schulz and Doemens, supervises the beer sommelier course on the Italian market. Grauvogl has been on the team of tasters since 2012, and has been table captain since 2015: "Nowhere else do you get to know current trends as closely as at the European Beer Star. This is where concentrated brewing knowledge from all over the world meets."


Raimer Schramm | Switzerland

Schramm was born in Bremen in 1971 and has been working for some time as a Swiss judge at European Beer Star. His beer-related work stations were Jever, the Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei in Bremen and the Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, California. He currently works for Heineken, plus his involvement with Bündner Bierbrand, beer brandy chocolates and food pairing events. His profession is product development. In addition, he works as a vocational school teacher - on the subject of beer, of course.


Rex Tao Sha | China

"My English name," says Sha Tao in perfect English, "is Rex." He has only been working with beer professionally shortly. But he does so intensively, as if he had to make up for a lifetime of beer. Rex worked his way up as a self-taught beer maker to become one of the first BJCP judges in China in a very short time. In 2021, he became the first Advanced Cicerone in Asia. The European Beer Star is the most important international beer competition for him because he can learn a lot about German tradition, German beer and the competition there, after all, he is one of the organizers of the Chinese beer competition "Master Cup China" and "Chinese International Beer Challenge".


Tobias Frank | Austria

The graduate engineer in brewing and beverage technology was involved in the organisation of the European Beer Star when it was launched in 2004. He has worked at the Ottakringer Brewery in Vienna since 2006, working his way up from Second Master Brewer to First Master Brewer and on to Managing Director for Technology. He has remained loyal to the European Beer Star: as a Table Captain and an entrant.

Ottakringer submits several entries to the European Beer Star every year - knowing full well that the organisers make sure judges never get to judge their own beer. “The European Beer Star is the pinnacle of beer competitions. No other international competition is organised and run with comparable professionality.” For Tobias Frank, taking part in the expert tasting is a continuing education programme. Nowhere else is it possible to taste so many beers and styles from all over the world, with such wonderful freshness. Tobias Frank also appreciates the network emerging from the competition and the exchange with fellow master brewers and other beer experts.


Dr. Carsten Eger | Germany

born in Coburg, Franconia, earned the degree of a graduate engineer in brewing and beverage technology from TUM Weihenstephan in 1989 and completed his doctoral studies in 1993, with Professor Donhauser as his doctoral supervisor. In 1994, the beer sommelier followed the call of the Beck & Co brewery to Bremen; since 2016, he has been working at Union Brauerei, likewise a Bremen-based brewery, as a master brewer.

When asked about his area of responsibility, he answers with a laugh: “We're small, we take care of everything.” Carsten Eger has been a judge for many years, he is now a Table Captain while also being an entrant. He likes entering beers brewed by Union Brauerei in the competition: “If we have something nice.” For him, being part of the jury is "a great honour. I enjoy seeing how much appreciation each individual beer receives from the judges. Even in the preliminary round, when it comes to screening for the shortlist. No matter if a sample will be awarded afterwards or not, whether it wins gold, silver or bronze or whether it does not place on the podium, every beer is given full attention."


Luca Giaccone | Italy

Luca Giaccone is a librarian at the public library in his hometown Cuneo, he is a Slow Food consultant and has been a judge for the European Beer Star for 15 years.

A mathematician by training, he started his career as a librarian, a profession he has now practised for 25 years. What shaped him most, even more than university, were his travels in the 1990s, on which beer already played an important role.

“I quickly realised that I had to go to the source! Beer is much more than just a drink. There are centuries of history and tradition in every glass. I learnt more in Belgian cafés and English pubs than in all the books I've read!” Quite extraordinary to hear something like that from a librarian...

Luca Giaccone has been the editor of the “Guida alle birre d'Italia”, the Italian beer guide, since it was first published. He has also written two other books about beer: “Il piacere della birra” and “Belgio”. He organises tastings and seminars for Slow Food and is a speaker at events such as Salone del Gusto, Terra Madre, Cheese and Slow Fish.

“There are only few things that I enjoy more than feeling at home at the Spezial in Bamberg or at the tables of U Zlatého tygra.” Luca Giaccone also greatly appreciates his beer network. “Through beer, I've made friends all over the world: tasters, enthusiasts like me.

Taking part in the European Beer Star means being part of a big family! A tasting involving judges who have a completely different background than me is an enormously enriching experience for me.”

“The European Beer Star is without any doubt the best organised competition I have ever taken part in. The beer is served in the perfect way - optimum conditions for the jury to do a good job. Being part of this prestigious jury is a great honour; something I look forward to with great enthusiasm every year.”

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