By now, we don’t need affirmation that Washington makes exceptional beer, but it’s always nice to get compliments.
The latest round of beery daps came last weekend at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver. This year America’s premier beer fest and competition attracted more than 2,200 breweries vying for best-in-class medals in nearly 100 different style categories. Besides being the beer world’s biggest party, the copious awards (nearly 300 are doled out each year) serve as a guide of sorts; the collective opinions of trained judges being a slightly more reputable source than your buddy who makes suspect homebrew.
This year Washington breweries brought home 10 medals, a fairly typical haul for the Evergreen State in recent years. The already well-decorated Reuben’s Brews earned a gold medal in the Australian- or International-style pale ale category for its taproom-only Triumvirate. Bellingham’s Chuckanut Brewery, one of the top lager makers in the country, bagged two golds, one for its dunkel and another for its kolsch, which consistently rakes at GABF.
Considering that Washington is home to the hops capital of the world, it’s only fitting that one of the top fresh-hop beers hails from our state. Fremont Brewing Co. scored a silver in the fresh-hop ale category with its Field to Ferment offering, which showcases different hop varietals in different brews (this year’s Amarillo version was a one-two punch of orange and grapefruit juices with just-right bitterness).
While technically based in Wyoming, Melvin Brewing—founded by Mount Vernon native Jeremy Tofte—earned a big nod as brewery group and brewery group brewer of the year. GABF helped shoot Melvin to fame a few years ago after the rising brewery’s 2 x 4 double IPA won the fest’s coveted Alpha King Challenge (essentially a battle of the hoppiest beers) in back-to-back years. This summer Melvin opened a satellite brewpub in Bellingham.
Peep the rest of the Washington winners below and if you need even more required drinking, you can check out our own Washington Beer Award winners here.
Orlison Brewing Co. Boulder Garden Brown: Coffee Stout or Porter
Silver City Brewery Ridgetop Red: Irish-Style Red Ale
Wander Brewing Correspondent: Export Stout
Ghostfish Brewing Co. Meteor Shower Blonde Ale: Gluten-Free Beer
RAM/Big Horn Brewery (Seattle) Udder Chaos: Coffee Stout or Porter
RAM/Big Horn Brewery (Lakewood) Big Horn Hefeweizen: South German-Style Hefeweizen