Washington Brewers Go Gold (and Silver and Bronze)

Another Great American Beer Festival has come and gone, and along with being one helluva grand beer-drinking session spread over three days, there were the medals. Some brewers will aver that medals don't mean a thing—they're good for the ego, a swell "feel good." So beer drinkers don't go online en masse to see if their local brewpub won a gold medal. If they do, bonus. This year was good for Bill Jenkins and crew at the Big Time Brewing Co. in the University District, The well-established brewpub hauled home two medals, gold for Nemesis strong ale and bronze for Tinderstick ESB. Elysian, last year's Large Brewpub of the Year, had to settle for bronze with Avatar Jasmine IPA. Also winning medals: Walking Man Brewing, gold for High Road Scotch Ale; Snipes Mountain Brewery, silver for porter; Pyramid, silver for Pyramid Crystal Weizen; and Far West Brewing, bronze for 3 Threads Porter. The bigger news at the festival was the sheer volume and excellence of the craft-brewing competition, here and across the country. The Pacific Northwest didn't do badly overall. A few Oregon breweries also got their medals on, and the Pelican Pub and Brewery of Pacific City was dubbed "Small Brewpub of the Year." Beers from Alaska also got nods, including gold for Alaskan Brewing's Smoked Porter. Does it mean a lot to you, the beer drinker? If you already have a favorite IPA, and it happens to be from, say, Boundary Bay, you're probably not going to be too concerned that you'll have to look really hard—and probably in California—for AleSmith's gold-medal IPA. But if your favorite Scotch ale just happens to be brewed by Walking Man (on tap at the Collins Pub), you're in luck, 'cause you'll be drinking gold. dscheidt@seattleweekly.com

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