Washington and Oregon breweries both showed well at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, the nation’s most important, professionally judged, beer competition. Washington breweries brought home 19 medals and Oregon breweries brought home 17 more. (Above: Chuckanut Brewery wins yet another GABF medal.)
Results from the GABF, held each autumn in Denver, were announced this past weekend. I share the list of Washington and Oregon winners below. Before I do that, I have some observations from the 2022 version of the GABF, which is not just a huge beer competition, but also a snapshot of the American beer culture.
For Washington, this is the second-largest medal haul in the history of the GABF, which spans more than three decades. Last year, WA brewers scored 22 medals. This year, 19 medals. Only California, Colorado, and Texas earned more medals this year. California is huge with way more breweries than any other state. Colorado has a robust, mature beer scene and also enjoys a homefield advantage, since shipping beer to the event is part of the battle. Texas is definitely an up-n-comer in the beer world, and it is also a huge state with a rapidly growing number of breweries.
The Haze is Clearing
Maybe you’ve noticed it on taplists around town. It seems that regular, American-style IPA is enjoying something of a comeback. It’s a slight shift, but the haze is clearing a bit
In 2022 American Style IPA returned to the pinnacle, supplanting Juicy or Hazy IPA as the most-entered beer category. This year, breweries submitted 423 beers in the American Style IPA category and 375 beers in the Juicy or Hazy IPA category.
Back in 2018, Juicy or Hazy versions of pale ale and IPA were given their own categories. Since then, Juicy or Hazy IPA has been the most-entered category at the GABF beer judging. Not this year.
Northwest Sour Power!
Washington and Oregon breweries swept Category 77, winning all three medals for German Sour Ale. In fact, of the three winners, two of them are from Bellingham. A total of 33 beers were entered in the category, with the medals going to:
Gold: Gose, Kulshan Brewing Co. – Trackside, Bellingham, WA.
Silver: Champagne Toast, Wander Brewing, Bellingham, WA.
Bronze: Riviera, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Bend Pub, Bend, OR.
Spell Pilsener However You Like, Just Give Me One
Several years ago, I made a prediction that if any beer style ever became “the next IPA” on the American craft beer scene it would be pilsner. It hasn’t happened yet, but pilsner is certainly growing in popularity, which this year’s GABF helped prove.
Of the 177 beer styles judged at the GABF, Pilsener was the third-most entered category. Specifically, German Style Pilsener. The Northwest connection, Von Ebert Brewing of Portland, OR scored the silver medal in that category this year.
I hope this helps shine a bit of light on Von Ebert, a brewery that is really damned good and probably doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. At least, it’s not very well known up here in Seattle. Also, I hope pilsner continues to grow in popularity, because I love the stuff.
The 3 Most-Entered Categories
Category 64: American Style India Pale Ale (423 entries)
GOLD: More Dodge Less RAM | Comrade Brewing Co. | Denver, CO.
SILVER: Dankster Squad | Riip Beer Co. | Huntington Beach, CA.
BRONZE: Hop-Fu! | North Park Beer Co. | San Diego, CA.
Category 65: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (375 entries)
GOLD: Anhyzer Kush | Flatland Brewing Co. | Elk Grove, CA.
SILVER: IPO IPA | White Rock Alehouse & Brewery | Dallas, TX.
BRONZE: RAD AF | City Barrel Brewing Co. | Kansas City, MO.
Category 45: German-Style Pilsener (233 entries)
GOLD: Industry | The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. | Austin, TX.
SILVER: Pils | Von Ebert Brewing – Pearl | Portland, OR.
BRONZE: German Pilsner | Shred Monk Brewery and Coffeehouse | Bozeman, MT.
GABF Competition Stats
- 9,904 beers judged
- 177 beer styles
- 2,154 breweries in the competition from 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico
- 235 judges
- 310 volunteers
- The average number of competition beers entered in each category: 99
- Category with the highest number of entries: American Style India Pale Ale (423 entries)
- 300 total medals awarded, including 3 Pro-Am and 3 Collaboration medals
- 268 medal-winning breweries
- 301 first-time GABF entrants
- 18 first-time GABF winners
Northwest Medal Winners
Washington Winners at the 2022 GABF
Category 4: Field Beer – 80 Entries
Bronze: Rachelle, Fair Isle Brewing, Seattle, WA
Category 5: Pumpkin Beer – 77 Entries
Gold: Night Owl, Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Category 9: Coffee Beer – 84 Entries
Bronze: Gusto Crema Coffee Ale, Georgetown Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Category 15: Session Beer or Belgian-Style Table Beer – 84 Entries
Bronze: First To Fall, The Good Society, Seattle, WA
Category 22: Gluten-Free Beer – 49 Entries
Bronze: Gosefish Hibiscus-Cranberry Gose, Ghostfish Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Category 35: Light Lager – 143 Entries
Gold: Chuckanut Chuck Light, Chuckanut Brewery, Burlington, WA
Bronze: Wrath Premium American Lager, Grains of Wrath Brewing, Camas, WA
Category 51: German Dark Lager – 146 Entries
Bronze: Schwarzbier, Rainy Daze Brewing Co., Poulsbo, WA
Category 55: Golden or Blonde Ale – 159 Entries
Silver: Blonde Ale, Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, Bellingham, WA
Category 61: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale – 132 Entries
Silver: Alpenhaze, Icicle Brewing Co. – Production, Leavenworth, WA
Category 74: English-Style Brown Ale – 61 Entries
Bronze: Brown Ale, Lowercase Brewing, Seattle, WA
Category 77: German Sour Ale – 33 Entries
Gold: Gose, Kulshan Brewing Co. – Trackside, Bellingham, WA
Silver: Champagne Toast, Wander Brewing, Bellingham, WA
Category 80: German-Style Altbier – 44 Entries
Gold: Lithium, Resonate Brewery + Pizzeria, Bellevue, WA
Category 90: Brown Porter – 56 Entries
Gold: Transporter, Kulshan Brewing Co., Bellingham, WA
Category 86: Belgian-Style Sour Ale – 50 Entries
Silver: Foxy Lady, Silver City Brewery, Bremerton, WA
Category 97: Old Ale or Strong Ale or Barley Wine – 70 Entries
Gold: Three Ryes Men, Reuben’s Brews – Production Brewery, Seattle, WA
Category 98: Fresh Hop Beer – 82 Entries
Gold: Mistadobalina, Perry Street Brewing, Spokane, WA
Silver: Hyperion, Varietal Beer Co., Sunnyside, WA
Oregon Winners at the 2022 GABF
Category 11: Specialty Beer – 34 Entries
Gold: Breakside I Purple You, Breakside Brewery – NW Slabtown, Portland, OR
Category 18: Experimental Beer – 96 Entries
Silver: Edgefield Coolship no. 5, McMenamins Breweries, Portland, OR
Category 21: Historical Beer – 59 Entries
Gold: Feniks, Great Notion Brewing, Portland, OR
Category 24: American Sour Ale – 25 Entries
Gold: Hot Break, Little Beast Brewing, Clackamas, OR
Category 27: Mixed-Culture Brett Beer – 61 Entries
Bronze: Oregon Sunrise, Alesong Brewing & Tasting Room, Eugene, OR
Category 28: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer – 59 Entries
Silver: Sensationator, Deschutes Brewery – Portland Brewery & Public House, Portland, OR
Category 31: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer – 34 Entries
Silver: Genièvre, ColdFire Brewing Co., Eugene, OR
Category 40: Australasian, Latin American or Tropical Light Lager – 69 Entries
Gold: Mexican Lager, pFriem Family Brewers, Hood River, OR
Category 45: German-Style Pilsener – 233 Entries
Silver: Pils, Von Ebert Brewing – Pearl, Portland, OR
Category 57: English Ale – 47 Entries
Bronze: Otter Encounter, Deschutes Brewery – Bend Brewery & Public House, Bend, OR
Category 60: American-Style Pale Ale – 160 Entries
Gold: Rippin, Sunriver Brewing Co., Sunriver, OR
Silver: Breakside Woodlawn Pale Ale, Breakside Brewery, Portland, OR
Category 77: German Sour Ale – 33 Entries
Bronze: Riviera, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Bend Pub, Bend, OR
Category 78: Specialty Berliner-Style Weisse – 68 Entries
Gold: Gindulgence, 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – Bend Pub, Bend, OR
Silver: Breakside Passionfruit Sour Ale, Breakside Brewery & Taproom, Milwaukie, OR
Bronze: Coming to Fruition: Cherry, Oregon City Brewing Co. Oregon City, OR