Billed as the Academy Awards for Oregon Beer, this evening Revolution Hall was host to the 2019 Oregon Beer Awards. The awards ceremony, now in its fifth year was filled with mainly beer industry folks for the sold out 2-1/2 hour awards ceremony.
It’s been a few years since we’ve attended the Oregon Beer Awards and thanks to Crux Fermentation Project as they were gracious enough to pass along an unused ticket to us. In all the awards ceremony has improved since we last attended a few years ago. A huge plus was keeping the ceremony on track and keeping it at under three hours!
The evening’s biggest winners were the multiple brewery locations from both 10 Barrel Brewing and Breakside Brewery. 10 Barrel Brewing were awarded 5 Gold Medals, 2 Silver Medals and 3 Bronze Medals from across their various breweries in Oregon. Breakside Brewery were awarded 3 Gold Medals, 1 Silver Medal and 5 Bronze Medals. Breakside Brewery was also awarded the Brewery of the Year: Large.
Prior to the awards ceremony getting underway, organizers hired a great house band with the Portland based Bitches of the Sun. Then at 6:05pm the evening’s awards began with a video featuring the OBA hosts, Joe Sanders from Old Town Brewing and Ben Love from Gigantic Brewing. Its comedy skit was a funny take on the seriousness of these brewing awards.
When OBA organizer and Breakside Brewery Brewmaster, Ben Edmunds took the stage he went over many of the numbers as it relates to the beer competition. He stated that the 5th annual OBAs were the largest OBA ever. A total of 133 breweries submitted beers for a combined 1,090 entries. At $30 an entry, the competition alone brought in $32,700 to the Willamette Week, the host of the awards. Quite the revenue stream for the weekly paper, as this dollar amount does not include all of the 30+ category sponsorships and ticket sales, minus the venue rental fee.
The Oregon Beer Awards select and celebrate Oregon’s top beers in 25 categories along with honoring Oregon’s breweries, bars and festivals in seven additional categories and a Hall of Fame inductee. With nearly 1100 entries the chance in winning is less than 7%. The beer categories with the most beers submitted include 79 IPA, 66 Fresh Hop IPA/Pale, 65 Hazy Hoppy, 63 Barrel Aged, and 61 Flavored.
Breweries with multiple TTB licensed brewing facilities may enter 10 per site, with a maximum of 40 beers across any family or chain of breweries. To learn more background on the awards click here.
Here is the recap of winners from the 5th annual Oregon Beer Awards held on February 26, 2019.
Brewery of the Year: Small – Ruse Brewing Brewery of the Year: Medium – Block 15 Brewing Brewery of the Year: Large – Breakside Brewery
It was strange to see Block 15 Brewing win the Brewery of the Year: Medium as the Corvallis based brewer were not awarded any medals during the evening’s ceremony. Maybe a private committee chose these three winning breweries. Most award ceremonies honor these Brewery of the Year honors by assigning points to the medals won in the head to head competition.
In the following eight categories about 300 or so beer industry folks received an email invitation to vote on their top choice of all nominees. The voting panel would vote for only one option in each category. We list the winner followed by the other nominees that the industry voters had to choose from. Yes, some interesting and strange choices to select from.
Best Beer Bar/Bottle Shop: Belmont Station
Other nominees: Bailey’s Taproom, The BeerMongers, The Bier Stein, Saraveza, Imperial Bottle Shop, Tin Bucket, Lombard House, John’s Marketplace, and Loyal Legion
Best Brewpub Experience: Wayfinder Beer
Other nominees: Breakside Brewery (NW Slabtown). Fort George Brewery, pFreim Family Brewers, StormBreaker Brewing (Mississippi Location), Buoy Beer, Ex Novo Brewing, Pelican Brewing (Pacific City), Deschutes Brewery PDX, and Hopworks Urban Brewery (Powell)
Best Beer Festival: Festival of the Dark Arts
Other nominees: Bend Brewfest, Brewstillery Fest, Holiday Ale Fest, Oregon Brewer’s Festival, Hood River Hops Fest, Portland Farmhouse & Wild Ale Fest, Portland Fruit Beer Fest, KLCC Brewfest, and Portland Craft Beer Festival
Best New Brewery: Ruse Brewing (est. 2015)
Other nominees: West Coast Grocery Company, Modern Times PDX, Ferment Brewing Company, Von Ebert, Freehand Brewing, The Wheel Apizza Pub, Boss Rambler Beer Club, Porter Brewing, and Dirty Pretty Beer
Beer Doing More: Ex Novo Brewing
Other nominees: Ninkasi Brewing, Silver Moon Brewing, Breakside Brewery, Hopworkd Urban Brewery, Migration Brewing, Pelican Brewing, Baerlic Brewing, Widmer Brothers, and Deschutes Brewery
Best Collaboration: Terrifico Horror Pils (Wayfinder Beer & Heater Allen & Modern Times)
Other nominees: 3-Way IPA (Fort George & Modern Times & Holy Mountain), Peach Punch You In The Eye (Great Notion Brewing & Block 15 Brewing), Modern Beast (Little Beast Brewing & Modern Times), Hazy Rider (StormBreaker Brewing & Old Town Brewing), Coming Out Party (Breakside Brewery & Comrade Brewing), Rauch Helles (Heater Allen & Wayfinder Beer), Super Uncool IPA (Upright Brewing & Ruse Brewing), and Olde Imperial Stout (StormBreaker Brewing & Bull Run Distillery)
Best Branding: Gigantic Brewing
Other nominees: Ex Novo, Breakside Brewing, pFriem Family Brewers, Wayfinder Beer, Little Beast Brewing, Block 15 Brewing, Ecliptic Brewing, and Ruse Brewing
2019 Hall of Fame Inductee: Jim Parker
Other nominees: Lisa Morrison, Art Larrance, Larry Sidor, Karl Ockert, Kurt & Rob Widmer, Fred Bowman, Gary Fish, Mike & Brian McMenamin, Carl Singmaster, and Jamie Floyd
It was heartwarming to see the OBAs call an audible and honored the late Jim Parker by inducting him into the Oregon Beer Hall of Fame. Jim recently passed away from a debilitating stroke he suffered late last year. Through the years, Jim’s influence in the craft beer industry in Oregon and beyond was well noted. He will be sorely missed and it was great to see him posthumously honored.
When it comes to the beers honored from the previous year, the 2019 Oregon Beer Awards honored breweries in 25 various beer categories. For each category the judges chose a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winner. Here’s a rundown on all of the evening’s winners.
Gold: Salem Ale Works – Hootenanny Honey Basil
Silver: 10 Barrel Brewing – Passionate Envy
Bronze: Three Mugs Brewing – Mo’ Honey Ale
Classic UK Styles
Gold: Crux Fermentation Project – Gramps Ale
Silver: Level Beer – Biscuits to a Bear
Bronze: 10 Barrel Brewing – RedeuX
Gold: Breakside Brewery Dekum – Basic Witch
Silver: Ancestry Brewing – Belgian Dark Strong
Bronze: Wayfinder Beer – Rumination
Fresh Hop Pale Ale and India Pale Ale
Gold: Sasquatch Brewing – Hey, I Just Met You and This is Hazy
Silver: pFriem Family Brewers – Fresh Hop Centennial IPA
Bronze: Breakside Brewery and Taproom – What Fresh Beast
Other Fresh Hop Beers
Gold: West Coast Grocery Co. – Willamette’s With Love
Silver: StormBreaker – SteamBreaker
Bronze: Level Beer – Fresh Hopped Let’s Play!
Golden Blonde & Light Ales
Gold: Bend Brewing Co. – Alpha Blonde
Silver: Breakside Brewery Slabtown – True Gold
Bronze: Wild Ride Brewing – Big Booty Golden Ale
Gold: 10 Barrel Brewing East Side Pub – C4K
Silver: Bend Brewing Co. – Coffee N Cream
Bronze: Bend Brewing Co. – StumpTHUMPin’ Coffee Brown
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.