Record-Setting Year for Local Brewers
Last weekend the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) announced its list of winners. The competition saw 9,680 beers submitted by 2,192 breweries across the nation. Washington breweries brought home 22 medals from the GABF. Never before have the state’s brewers brought home so much hardware. The previous record was 17 medals (2003 and 2018).
“Steal the show” might sound like hyperbole, but only California brought home more medals. California has more than twice as many breweries as Washington. This year, Washington’s brewers won more medals than perennial powerhouses like Oregon and Colorado.
Below, I share the complete list of Washington winners. First, here are some highlights.
Beyond the Medal Count
Encore performances. For many of the winning breweries, and for some of the actual beers themselves, this was not the first trip to the podium at the GABF. It’s familiar territory for breweries like Reuben’s Brews and Fremont Brewing.
Some particular beers were also familiar with the stage. Chainline Brewing’s Polaris Pilsner, for instance, secured another medal. Chuckanut Brewery’s Kolsch continues to dominate that style category: it has medaled several times at the GABF. Silver City Brewery’s Old Scrooge brought home more hardware from the GABF as well. There were other repeat winners, too.
Nice work, rookie! Because it is located on West Seattle Island, it may seem difficult to access this brewery. Trust me, it is worth it. The Good Society Brewery opened in February 2020, just weeks before 1) the city closed the West Seattle Bridge unexpectedly and indefinitely and 2) the pandemic shut down the world. BUT, since opening, The Good Society has won back-to-back gold medals for its Grisette. Also, last year (its first year of existence) it was named Best Small Brewpub of the Year.
Multiple Medals. Four of Washington’s breweries each brought home two medals: Cloudburst Brewing, Grains of Wrath Brewing, Kulshan Brewing, and Stoup Brewing. Winning one is hard enough!
Other Honors. Cloudburst Brewing was named Brewery and Brewer of the year for breweries of its size, which is something we talk about here. Pamela Brulotte, one of the owners of Icicle Brewing, received the Defence of the Industry Award for her outstanding, important work benefiting the industry, which we talk about here.
Washington GABF medal winners 2021
Here is the complete list of winning breweries, including the beer, the medal (gold, silver, bronze), and the style category in which it won.
- Aslan Brewing CO., Gold, German Sour Ale: Disco Lemonade
- Chainline Brewing Co., Silver, Bohemian-Style Pilsner: Polaris Pilsner
- Chuckanut Brewery, Gold, German Style Kolsch: Kolsch
- Cloudburst Brewing, Gold, Kellerbier or Zwickelbier: Entschuldigung!
- Cloudburst Brewing, Silver, American Pilsner: Happy Little Clouds
- Elysian Brewing, Gold, Pumpkin Beer: Night Owl
- Fremont Brewing, Silver, Old Ale or Strong Ale or Barley Wine: Brew 4000
- Ghostfish Brewing Co., Gold, Gluten-Free Beer: Watchstander Stout
- Grains of Wrath Brewing, Bronze, Session India Pale Ale: Ticklish Warrior
- Grains of Wrath Brewing, Gold, Munich-Style Helles: Frost Hammer Helles
- Kulshan Brewing Co., Silver, German Sour Ale: Gose
- Kulshan Brewing, Bronze, Munich-Style Helles: Helles
- Loowit Brewing Co., Bronze, Robust Porter: Grimlock
- Lowercase Brewing, Silver, English-Style Brown Ale: Brown Ale
- Mirage Beer Co., Silver, Field Beer: Versatile Solutions for Modern Living
- Reuben’s Brews, Bronze, Belgian-Style Witbier: Lilywhite Wit
- San Juan Island Brewing Co., Bronze, Intl Dark Lager: The Late Boat Czech-Style Dark Lager
- Silver City Brewery, Bronze, Old Ale or Strong Ale or Barley Wine: Old Scrooge
- Stoup Brewing, Silver, American Amber/Red Ale: Stoup NW Red
- Stoup Brewing, Silver, America-Style Pale Ale: Mosaic Pale Ale
- The Good Society, Gold, Belgian-Style Table Beer or Belgian Style Session Ale: First to Fall
- Varietal Beer Co., Silver, Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale: Sup Cuz IPA
You can watch the awards presentation video here
You can see the list of all GABF winners here.