The 2018 Great American Beer Festival, now in its 37th year, wrapped up on Saturday in Denver, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest brought home 40 medals from the festival’s competition. The state of Oregon led the way with 22 medals plus pFriem Family Brewers taking Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year while breweries from the state of Washington were awarded 17 medals.
For the 32nd year of GABF Competition, the Brewers Association awarded 306 medals in an astonishing 102 different categories of beer to 280 different breweries. These 306 medals were all whittled down from the 8,496 entries from 2,404 various breweries from 49 states and the Washington D.C. The only state that did not have a brewery enter beer into the competition was Mississippi.
Prior to awards ceremony on Saturday morning at the Bellco Theater inside the Colorado Convention Center, 293 judges from 13 countries evaluated these 8,496 entries earlier in the week. The category with the highest number of entries was the newly established Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale that saw a record 391 entries and the three winning breweries all hail from the Midwest. There were 537 first-time GABF entrants and 31 first-time GABF winners in 2018.
Breweries from the state of Oregon were awarded 5 Gold Medals, 10 Silver Medals and 7 Bronze Medals while breweries in the state of Washington were awarded 5 Gold Medals, 5 Silver Medals and 7 Bronze Medals.
pFriem Family Brewers was the big winner from Oregon in 2018. Prior to 2018, pFriem had only won one medal at GABF for its Pilsner with a Silver Medal in 2015. This year pFrieim was awarded a Gold Medal for Druif in the Mixed-Culture Brett Beer category and a Silver Medal for Pilsner in the German-Styel Pilsener category. These two-awarded beers proved large enough to take home the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year award in 2015.
When it came to the brewery with the most medals awarded at the 2018 GABF, two of the three are from Oregon. 10 Barrel Brewing were awarded two gold medals and one silver medal. Alesong Brewing & Blending were also awarded three medals with two silver and one bronze. Also of note is that Alesong Brewing & Blending have won a medal at each GABF since it opened in 2016. The third brewery to earn three medals is Lewis & Clark Brewing from Helena, Montana.
Other Oregon based breweries that were awarded medals at the 2018 GABF include Ground Breaker Brewing that has won a medal in the Gluten Free Category seven years running. GoodLife Brewing has won Gold Medals for its Sweet As Pale Ale for the past two consecutive years.
Portland based Craft Brew Alliance won three medals, one each from its Widmer Brothers Brewing and Omission brands along with its stragtegic brewing partner Appalachian Mountain Brewery – Portsmouth. Widmer’s Hefeweizen has won 9 GABF Medals since 1998.
Below is a list of 2018 Great American Beer Festival winners from Oregon, Washington and Idaho.
OREGON WINNERS: Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer – 54 Entries
Gold: Sweet As Pacific Ale, GoodLife Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Category 2: American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast – 37 Entries
Silver: Fuzztail, Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR
Bronze: Hefeweizen, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR
Category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer – 103 Entries
Gold: Passionate Envy, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR
Category 13: Specialty Beer – 55 Entries
Silver: Double Stack, Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR
Category 16: Session Beer – 50 Entries
Bronze: Stonefly Session Ale, Three Creeks Production, Sisters, OR
Category 101: Old Ale or Strong Ale – 37 Entries
Silver: Old Scrooge, Silver City Brewery, Bremerton, WA
IDAHO WINNER: Category 96: American-Style Stout – 43 Entries
Bronze: Black Cliffs, Boise Brewing, Boise, ID
Beyond the Pacific Northwest here is the list of the Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards that includes the previously mentioned winner of Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year that went to pFriem Family Brewers.
PACKAGING BREWERIES Very Small Brewing Company of the Year 1,000 barrels produced in 2017
Brink Brewing Co. – Cincinnati, OH; Brewmaster: Kelly Montgomery
Small Brewing Company of the Year 1,000 – 14,999 barrels produced in 2017
Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. – Helena, MT; Brewmaster: Lewis & Clark Brewing and Packaging Crew
Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year 15,000 – 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2017
pFriem Family Brewers – Hood River, OR; Brewmaster: pFriem Family Brewers
BREWPUBS Small Brewpub of the Year <750 barrels produced in 2017
Ocean Beach Brewery – San Diego, CA; Brewmaster: Jim Millea & Scott Watkins
Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year 750 – 1,500 barrels produced in 2017
Root Down Brewing Co. – Phoenixville, PA; Brewmaster: Root Down Brew Team
Large Brewpub of the Year Over 1,500 barrels produced in 2017
The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. – Austin, TX; Brewmaster: Amos Swifty Kim
LARGE BREWERIES OR MULTIPLE LOCATION BREWERIES Brewery Group of the Year Over 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2017 or multi-location breweries wishing to compete as a group
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. – Truckee, CA; Brewmaster: FiftyFifty BrewCrew
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 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 the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.