So another Great American Beer Festival is now behind us, and our beloved state of Oregon fared quite well in this 28th year of this event. Breweries from Oregon have brought home 22 medals from the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. This is quite an impressive total.
The 2014 GABF saw 49,000 attendees savor more than 3,500 beers from 710 brewers presenting their beers on the convention floor. The average number of competition beers entered in each category was 61.2 with the highest number of entries being 279 in the American-Style India Pale Ale category. Of the 90 different categories, this year’s competition featured three new categories: Belgian-Style Fruit Beer, with 41 entries; Historical Beer, with 12 entries; and Kuyt Beer, which had no entries. There’s a great chance that the Kuyt Beer category will not go empty next year, as a brewer’s chance on gaining a medal will be far greater. To make sure this massive event runs smoothly, GABF enlists over 3,200 volunteers to do so.
Oregon brewers were awarded an impressive 22 medals. Of the 268 medals awarded, there were two categories were only 2 medals were awarded; Oregon brewers had an impressive 8.2% rate of winning a medal.
Overall top total medal winners at GABF consisted of four breweries that were tied with the most medals won, with three each. Oregon has two of these four, 10 Barrel Brewing and Barley Brown’s Brew Pub join Devils Backbone Brewing Co. and Left Hand Brewing. Once you add Barley Brown’s Beer Gold Medal winning Hand Truck Pale Ale, Tyler Brown’s award winning brewing empire brought back a total of four medals. GABF accepts entries from each established brewery location, which in turn allows multiple location breweries to enter more beers into the limited amount of allocated competition spots.
In the largest entered category of American-Style IPA with 279 entries, Milwaukie, Oregon’s Breakside Brewery very deservingly took home Gold. Breakside’s Gold Medal keeps the Gold in Oregon for two consecutive years. Last year Barley Brown’s Brew Pub captured this highly coveted medal for their Pallet Jack IPA that won Gold in this year’s Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category.
One of the most interesting Gold Medal wins at GABF is from Arch Rock Brewing in Gold Beach, Oregon for their Gold Beach Lager in the Keller/Zwickelbier category. If you live up in the northern part of Oregon you may never of heard of this now approaching 2-year-old brewery. Arch Rock has a 15 barrel brewhouse that ferments in 30 barrel tanks led by James Smith, their brewmaster. Smith has been brewing professionally for the past decade. He arrived on the Southern Oregon coast from Victor, Idaho’s Grand Teton Brewing Company. Arch Rock currently self distributes along the Southern Oregon coast and into Eugene and the Rogue Valley. Sounds like a trip down the coast is in order.
Joining Arch Rock Brewing in winning their first ever GABF medal is Buoy Beer’s Silver Medal for Buoy Dunkel and 13 Virtues’ (formerly Philadelphia’s) Silver Medal for Weizenbock. Congratulations go out to these newer breweries!
All of these 268 medals were awarded from the 2014 panel of GABF judges. This year’s GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 222 beer experts from 10 countries evaluating 5,507 commercial entries, in addition to the 89 Pro-Am entries, with assistance from some 150 competition volunteers. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 90 beer categories. Winners were chosen from 5,507 competition entries, a 16% increase from 2013, from 1,309 breweries, hailing from 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to get a beer from the farmer’s field to the festival hall for the Great American Beer Festival? The Brewers Association has put together this nice video that highlights this process.
One thing was noticed in the video presentation is that the judges sample all of the entered beers from plastic cups filled with about 1 to 1.5 ounces each. With this delivery method one wonders how this can affect the judge’s perception of each beer that they evaluate.
If you’re curious to what is expected from the judges at GABF, here’s a nicely written article from John Holl, the editor of All About Beer Magazine. Holl gives us a great perspective from his first time experience while judging at GABF.
Here is a list of top 2014 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards:
Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Draught Works – Missoula, MT
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Marble Brewery – Albuquerque, NM
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost Lexington, VA
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year:
AC Golden – Golden, CO
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Bastone Brewery – Royal Oak, MI
Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year:
Brasserie Saint James – Reno, NV
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year:
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing – Long Beach, CA
Listed below is the complete list of Great American Beer Festival medal winners from breweries here in the Pacific Northwest of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. (Brewery – Medal – Beer Name – Category)
10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Gold – Cucumber Crush – Field Beer
10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Bronze – P2P – American-Style Stout
10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Bronze – Amber Waves – American-Style Wheat Beer
13 Virtues Brewing Co. – Silver – Weizenbock – German-Style Wheat Ale
Arch Rock Brewing Co. – Gold – Gold Beach Lager – Kellerbier or Zwickelbier
Barley Brown’s Beer – Gold – Hand Truck Pale Ale – International-Style Pale Ale
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub – Gold – Fresh Hop Pallet Jack IPA – Fresh or Wet Hop Ale
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub – Silver – Disorder – American-Style Stout
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub – Bronze – Turmoil – American-Style Black Ale
Bend Brewing Co. – Gold – Salmonberry Sour – Indigenous/Regional Beer
Breakside Brewery – Gold – Breakside IPA – American-Style India Pale Ale
Breakside Brewery – Bronze – Breakside Wanderlust IPA – American-Style Strong Pale Ale
Buoy Beer Co. – Silver – Buoy Dunkel – European-Style Dunkel
Caldera Brewing Co. – Silver – Caldera Ashland Amber – Classic English-Style Pale Ale
The Commons Brewery – Silver – Myrtle – American-Style Sour Ale
Deschutes Brewery – Bronze – Sage Fight IPA – Indigenous/Regional Beer
Ground Breaker Brewing – Gold – Dark Ale – Gluten-Free Beer
Logsdon Organic Farm Brewery – Silver – Peche ‘n Brett – American-Style Brett Beer
Old Town Brewing Co. – Silver – I’d Like to Buy the World a Kolsch – German-Style Kolsch
Pelican Pub & Brewery – Bronze – Poire du Pelican – Belgian-Style Fruit Beer
Pelican Brewing Co. – Bronze – Surfer’s Summer Ale – English-Style Summer Ale
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. – Silver – Hefeweizen – American-Style Wheat Beer With Yeast
Airways Brewing Co. – Gold – Pre-Flight Pilsner – American-Style or International-Style Pilsener
Chuckanut Brewery – Gold – Chuckanut Dunkel – European-Style Dunkel
Fremont Brewing Co. – Silver – Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star – Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Fremont Brewing Co. – Silver – Summer Ale – International-Style Pale Ale
Propolis Brewing – Gold – Beltane – American-Style Brett Beer
Pyramid Breweries – Gold – Apricot Ale – Fruit Wheat Beer
Silver City Brewery – Silver – Old Scrooge – Old Ale or Strong Ale
Sound Brewery – Bronze – Dubbel Entendre – Belgian-Style Abbey Ale
White Bluffs Brewing – Gold – Red Alt – German-Style Altbier
Grand Teton Brewing – Silver – Ale 208 – English-Style Summer Ale
Kootenai River Brewing Co. – Bronze – McGreagor Scottish Ale – Scottish-Style Ale
Sockeye Brewing – Bronze – Power House Porter – Brown Porter
Next year’s GABF will be moved up by a week to take place from September 24-26, 2015. And with this continued demand for tickets to this event, the Brewers Association announced during the GABF Awards that for 2015 GABF there will be an additional 90,000 square feet of floor space to be added. This is quite necessary and will surely be welcomed by both brewers and attendees. As always, make sure to get your tickets early as this event will sell out.
Congratulations to all of the brewery winners and those that had the initiative to enter their labor into this years Great American Beer Festival!
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.