Sometimes it feels that way, with all this talk of cellaring craft beers and pairing them with food and tasting them in vertical flights. Maybe next will come a focus on malt's terroir (we already scrutinize the provenance of the hops) and a market in beer futures.

Well, if it can be tasted, it can be graded; if it can be graded, it can be ranked. With that thinking, we felt inspired to apply the learnings of 11 years of the Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards to the beers available in this province. For the first annual Vancouver International Craft Beer Awards, we invited breweries to send in any beers for sale in B.C. stores year round; the 212 entries we received then made their way to Steel Toad Brewery (ineligible, hence a safe home) where on a Monday in early April they were met with gusto by the 18 judges tasked with tasting and ranking them. One important difference between beer and wine: with beer, judges swallow their mouthfuls. (Many of the taste buds responsible for appreciating bitter notes are far back in the throat.) By day's end, the jury -- cicerones and servers, chefs and writers, beer makers and distributors -- was in a lively mood, and discussion about the competition's Best of Show winner grew heated. To learn more about the competition, keep updated on and discover their final rulings in the June issue of the magazine.