The brewers were back in person last week at the Great American Beer Festival awards show, though that was just about the only normal aspect of the latest edition of the country’s most prestigious competition for brewing.
Rather than coincide with an event open to the general public, a colossal celebration of alcohol consumption that draws more than 60,000 people to the hangar-sized Colorado Convention Center for three days, the ceremony took place during the Craft Brewers Conference, both of which are organized by the Professional Association of the Brewers Association. For the second year, this organization has canceled the downtown Denver festival due to concerns about the pandemic.
But the industry-only summit continued, with medal presentations taking place on Friday, September 10 at the Bellco Theater inside the convention center. The hurdles of hosting a massive competition during a global health crisis were noticeable: the normally noisy venue was less than half full, and there were only a handful of Oregon brewers in attendance for. pick up their gear on stage, most choosing to watch the rewards stream at home.
Despite the struggles of the past 18 months, the State has managed to come back with a double-digit medal count: 15, which is significantly lower than the record 22 in 2020 and 2018. However, the loot has included huge wins. , including a gold in one. of the most competitive categories.
The state can once again boast that it has the best American-style India Pale Ale in the country. Von Ebert Brewings Volatile Substance took first place in this category, with 404 entries. WWs Beer Guide called the beer the star of 2020, praising its heady pine notes of what dewdrops would look like in a nearby forest just before evaporating.
Two other Oregon breweries have won gold for their IPAs in recent years: Barley Browns in Baker City and Breakside, based in Portland.
This is not Von Ebert’s first exceptional victory at the GABF. In 2019, he made history as the first producer, first winner, an honor less than 40 breweries had achieved at the time.
Breakside had the most wins among competitors from Oregon, including a gold medal in the Weisse Specialty Berlin-style category as well as a bronze medal for an American Amber Lager. However, Ex Novo also won a pair: one for the Portland facility and the other for its spinoff in Corrales, New Mexico.
There was at least one other surprise to Oregon viewers at the ceremony, newcomer Crowing Hen clinched a silver medal for his Season Specialty. The 5-barrel producer only opened a year ago on a farm in the Carlton countryside.
If the pandemic eases by 2022, the Brewers Association hopes to once again welcome crowds and collective consumption. The next Craft Brewers Conference is slated to take place next May in Minneapolis, at the same time as the World Beer Cup competition. And after a two-year hiatus, we should be on track to participate in another Great American Beer Festival in early fall in a year from now.
Here’s a recap of all the winners from Oregon and Southwest Washington:
American amber lager: Breakside BreweryNW Slabtown Breakside Disco Queen Lager, Portland (bronze)
American Amber / Red Ale: Old Town Brewing Paulies Not Irish, Portland (bronze)
American India Pale Ale: Von Ebert BrewingPearl Volatile Substance, Portland (gold)
Strong American Pale Ale: pFriem Family Brewers IPA, Hood River (silver)
Australian Pale Ale: Worthy Brewing Co. Strata IPA, Bend (silver)
Belgian fruit beer: Alesong Brewing & Tasting Room Stonefruit Symphony, Eugene (gold)
Extra Special Bitter: Hopworks Urban Brewery Velvet ESB, Portland (gold)
German Altbier: Brasserie Block 15 & Taproom Altbier, Corvallis (gold)
International Pale Ale or New Zealand Pale Ale: Ex Novo Brewing Co. Intergalactic Pale Reality, Portland (silver)
Juice or Hazy Pale Ale: Rogue Eastside Pub & Pilot Brewery Newport Daze Hazy Pale Ale, Portland (silver)
Helles à la munichoise: Grains of Wrath Brewing Frost Hammer Helles, Camas, Wash. (gold)
Other strong beer: Deschutes BreweryBend Public House Dee Wright Imperial Brown, Bend (silver)
Session beer: Three Creeks Brewing Co. Production Stonefly Session Ale, Sisters (gold)
India Pale Ale session: Barley Browns Moxee Water Beer, Baker City (gold)
India Pale Ale session: Grains of Wrath Brewing Ticklish Warrior, Camas, Washington (bronze)
Berliner-Style Weisse specialty: Breakside BrewerySE Taproom Breakside Passionfruit Sour, Milwaukie (gold)
Season Specialty: Poule qui chante French Prairie, Carlton (silver)
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