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Several D.C. area breweries were awarded medals this Saturday at the Great American Beer Festival, the annual national beer competition and tasting event in Denver, Colorado.
There was stiff competition.
Out of about 4,800 active U.S. breweries, 1,752 representing all 50 states and the District chose to send beers to the competition, totaling 7,227 entries. Only 288 awards were possible—a gold, silver, and bronze medal in each of 96 style categories. The average number of beers per category was 75, though some had as few as 10 or as many as 300.
Judges, of which there were 264 from 12 countries, looked to establish the “best examples of each style.”
Woodbridge, Virginia’sOrnery Beer Company and Public House, which opened last year, won a gold medal for head brewer Chris Jacques’ Light of Cologne in the German-style kolsch category, impressively beating out 110 other entries.
Sterling, Virginia’s Ocelot Brewing, known for its IPAs, took gold for Sunnyside Dweller in the kellerbier or zwickelbier category. According to head brewer Mike McCarthy, the German-style unfiltered pilsner dry-hopped with Magnum and Spalter Select hops is quickly becoming the brewery’s house lager and is already a go-to for staff.
Centreville, Virginia’s Sweetwater Tavern, part of the Great American Restaurants group, snagged a silver medal out of 85 entries in the Belgian-style witbier category with their Wit’s End Ale. The same beer won a silver in 2006 before then executive brewer Nick Funnellhanded over the reigns to current head brewer Joe Schineller.
Lost Rhino of Ashburn, Virginia headed up by Favio Garcia and Matt Hagerman, received a silver for Face Plant IPA in the English-style IPA category out of 43 entries. In 2014, their RhinO’fest, an Oktoberfest-style amber lager, won gold in the German-style märzen category.
Alexandria, Virginia’s Port City Brewing Company, which won three beer medals and top honors as “Small Brewing Company of the Year” at last year’s competition, scored a silver for Colossal Five, their 5th anniversary beer, in the old ale or strong ale category.
Head brewer Jonathan Reeves, inspired by last year’s discovery of a 140-year-old British beer brewed for an 1875 Arctic expedition, created Colossal Five specifically to be cellared for 10 if not 100 years. He is currently aging some in Cognac barrels with Brettanomyces yeast.
While no District breweries won medals this year, one Maryland and a total of 13 Virginia breweries brought home bling. They include:
Frederick’sBrewers Alley: Bronze for 1634 Ale in the herb and spice beer category (114 entries)
Fredericksburg’sSpencer Devon Brewing: Bronze for Sunken Road in the Belgian-style blond or pale ale category (61 entries)
Charlottesville’sSouth Street Brewery: Silver for Twisted Gourd in the pumpkin spice beer category (39 entries), and Bronze for Slippery When Wit in the session beer category (52 entries)
Richmond’sHardywood Park Craft Brewery: Silver for Grosse Teufel in the historical beer category (43 entries)
Richmond’sArdent Craft Ales: Bronze for Brett Saison in the brett beer category (53 entries)
Roseland’sDevils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows: Gold for Danzig in the Baltic-style porter category (41 entries)
Lexington’sDevils Backbone Outpost Brewery & Tap Room: Gold for Vienna Lager in the Vienna-style lager category (67 entries)
Arrington’sBlue Mountain Barrel House: Silver for 13.FIVE Ofest also in the Vienna-style lager category
Crozet’sStar Hill Brewery and home brewer Gary Layton: Silver for Vernal Equinox in the pro-am competition (88 entries)
The full winners list and more details about the competition can be found on the Brewers Association website here.