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2016 Oregon Great American Beer Festival Medal Winners & Photos!

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Founder/Godfather Charlie Papazian accepts a medal for 35 years of service. (Photo © 2016 Jason E. Kaplan)

Founder/Godfather Charlie Papazian accepts a medal for 35 years of service. (Photo © 2016 Jason E. Kaplan)

The 35th annual 2016 Great American Beer Festival came to a close in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday, awarding 286 medals in the largest beer competition ever with 21 of those medals going to Oregon breweries. The New School crew was in Denver in force for the festival and awards with a first hand recap, analysis and photos of how it all went down.

It was one of the more memorable Great American Beer Festival awards, not the least because the Brewers Association backtracked on the best Mid-Size Brewing Co. award given to Fat Head’s, later regifting it to Karl Strauss Brewing – San Diego. Also, normally dominant breweries like Firestone Walker earned fewer awards (only one for FW). From an Oregonian’s perspective, it was a solid but surprising year. Our state’s 21 medals was better than the 19 in 2015, but less than the 22 medals of 2014. It became clear that it’s going to be increasingly hard for individual breweries to win large hauls of medals, perhaps because of how many breweries are now competing, as well as increasing quality in the industry as a whole.

Perennial Oregon winners that are used to walking away with bags of medals only got one or a few. Barley Browns Brewpub of Baker City, OR–the big winner of the last few years–made off with a gold for Shredder’s Wheat in American-style Wheat Beer, but that was it. 10 Barrel Brewing came back with one gold as well, for little-seen P2P Stout in the American-style Stout category.

 

Pelican Brewery wins a Silver for Pelicano Extra! at 2016 GABF

Pelican Brewery wins a Silver for Pelicano Extra! at 2016 GABF

Pelican Brewing of Pacific City pulled in a silver for Pelicano Extra!, a brand new Latin American-inspired summer seasonal available in 12oz bottles and six packs.

 

Breakside Brewery wins 3 Medals at 2016 GABF

Breakside Brewery wins 3 Medals at 2016 GABF

Breakside Brewery, one of the largest award winners of the last few years, was shut out of the 2015 GABF but came back this year to win 3 medals, the most of any Oregon brewery. The haul included a gold for “Rye Curious?” in the Rye Beer category, silver in the English-style Pale Ale category for “Breakside ESB,” and bronze for “Lunch Break ISA” in the Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale category. Craft Brew Alliance’s umbrella of Widmer, Kona, and Omission each won a medal for a total of 3, but the silver that Kona Brewing won for “Longboard Lager” goes to the brewery’s home state of Hawaii (though the beer was likely brewed here.)

 

Great Notion Brewing wins a Silver for Heart of Gold (Brewer James Dugan pictured)

Great Notion Brewing wins a Silver for Heart of Gold (Brewer James Dugan pictured)

More surprises were in store for Oregon brewers. First time GABF’ers Great Notion Brewing won a silver in the contentious American-style Sour Ale category for “Heart of Gold.” Great Notion has been open for less than a year and become known for its juicy New England-style IPA’s more than anything. Congrats to the new brewery for a stellar year one and proving skills in more than one area.

 

Alesong Brewing & Blending wins Gold at the 2016 GABF

Alesong Brewing & Blending wins gold at the 2016 GABF

Alesong Brewing & Blending has been one of the most anticipated new Oregon breweries, and proved why by winning a gold medal in the Brett Beer category for “Touch of Brett.” Alesong is a Eugene-based operation by former Oakshire brewer Matt van Wyk and brothers Doug and Brian Coombs. Alesong just launched its beers this past summer, and a gold should really put it on the map.

Migration Brewing Co. and BTU Brasserie, both of Portland, brought home one medal each, both of their first times winning and attending GABF. Migration won a bronze for “Old Silenus Ale”  in the Old Ale or Strong Ale category. BTU Brasserie won a bronze for “Butt-Ah Nut” in the brand new Pumpkin/Squash Beer category for un-spiced examples. Interestingly, that category had only a few entrants, and none were deemed worthy of gold or silver, so BTU collected the sole medal awarded.

The Commons Brewery had a strong showing, though the brewing crew did not personally attend this year. The brewery won 2 medals, a bronze for “Creme de Peche” in the Specialty Saison category and another bronze for “Petite Classique” in the Other Beiglan-style Ale category.

 

Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Beer and Paul Arney of The Ale Apothecary

Tony Lawrence of Boneyard Beer and Paul Arney of The Ale Apothecary

Though we don’t know all the breweries who entered, I was bummed not to see pFriem Family Brewers repeat, and nothing for Deschutes, Hopworks, Laurelwood, Boneyard, The Ale Apothecary, Fat Head’s PDX ,and others.

 

All 2016 Oregon GABF Medal Winners:

 

Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer – 37 Entries 
Silver: Shredder’s Wheat, Barley Brown’s Beer, Baker City, OR

Category 3: American-Style Fruit Beer – 106 Entries 
Bronze: Apricot Cream Ale, Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro, OR

Category 5: Belgian-Style Fruit Beer – 61 Entries 
Bronze: Cerasus, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, OR

Category 6: Pumpkin/Squash Beer – 10 Entries 
Bronze: Butt-Ah Nut, BTU Brasserie, Portland, OR

Category 14: Rye Beer – 81 Entries 
Gold: Breakside Rye Curious?, Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 22: Gluten-Free Beer – 37 Entries 
Gold: Dark Ale, Ground Breaker Brewing, Portland, OR

Category 24: American-Style Sour Ale – 142 Entries 
Silver: Heart of Gold, Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR

Category 25: Brett Beer – 53 Entries 
Gold: Touch of Brett, Alesong Brewing & Blending, Eugene, OR

 

Flat Tail Brewing wins Bronze at 2016 GABF. Photo © 2016 Jason E. Kaplan

Flat Tail Brewing wins Bronze at 2016 GABF. Photo © 2016 Jason E. Kaplan

Category 26: Mixed-Culture Brett Beer – 65 Entries 
Bronze: DAM Wild: Marionberry Pink Peppercorn, Flat Tail Brewing Co., Corvallis, OR

Category 35: American-Style or International-Style Pilsener – 66 Entries 
Silver: Pelicano Extra!, Pelican Brewing Co., Tillamook, OR

Category 37: American-Style Lager or Ice Lager or Malt Liquor – 34 Entries 
Bronze: Lager, Craft Brew Alliance – Omission, Portland, OR

Category 54: Classic English-Style Pale Ale – 38 Entries 
Silver: Breakside ESB, Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 56: Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale – 90 Entries 
Bronze: Breakside Lunch Break ISA, Breakside Brewery & Taproom, Milwaukie, OR

Category 58: American-Style Strong Pale Ale – 169 Entries 
Silver: Rippin, Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR

Category 65: Ordinary or Special Bitter – 39 Entries 
Silver: Drop Top Amber Ale, Craft Brew Alliance – Widmer, Portland, OR

Category 67: Scottish-Style Ale – 46 Entries 
Silver: Scottish Ale, Two Kilts Brewing, Sherwood, OR

Category 79: Specialty Saison – 92 Entries 
Bronze: Creme de Peche, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 85: Other Belgian-Style Ale – 31 Entries 
Bronze: Petite Classique, The Commons Brewery, Portland, OR

Category 86 Brown Porter – 61 Entries
Gold: FivePine Chocolate Porter, Three Creeks Production, Sisters, OR

Category 90: American-Style Stout – 55 Entries 
Gold: P2P, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category 95: Old Ale or Strong Ale – 38 Entries 
Bronze: Old Silenus Ale, Migration Brewing Co., Portland, OR

 

Vasilios Gletsos, John Harris and Matt van Wyk

Vasilios Gletsos, John Harris and Matt van Wyk

Culmination Brewing's Paul Francis, Conrad Andrus and Devin Benware

Culmination Brewing’s Paul Francis, Conrad Andrus and Devin Benware

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: [email protected]

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