On the other hand, medal-winners can take enormous pride. GABF's blind-tasting is rigorous and no half-assed beers makes it through the juggernaut. If a beer medaled, it's a very good beer. So which very good Oregon beers were acknowledged by judges? The 25 came from twelve breweries, and there were a number of multiple-award winners. A few notes:
- The Barley Brown/Baker City Brewing operation is a medal machine: five in all, three of which were gold--including Pallet Jack IPA, entered in the most-competitive category in the competition (252 entries). The brewery hasn't lost a beat since Shawn Kelso decamped for 10 Barrel. Congrats to Marks Lanham and Eli Dickison.
- Nor has Bend Brewing, which lost Tonya Cornett to 10 Barrel, but still picked up three medals. Congrats to Ian Larkin.
- Harvester gets some serious cred for winning gold in the gluten-free category. Everyone wants to brew a better gluten-free beer, and in 2013, they're all looking to Harvester.
- Bolt Minister (Old Town) and Dave Marliave (Flat Tail) were first-time winners. Bolt took gold in the fresh hop category, and Dave took silver in kolsch and bronze in the catastrophically-named American-Belgo-Style Ale.
- I don't know if the big breweries entered this year, but it was the little guys who brought home the medals. In addition to the ones already mentioned, Breakside and The Commons double-medaled, and not-quite-so-wee 10 Barrel, Oakshire, and Pelican also medaled. Of the big boys, only Deschutes (two silvers) and Ninkasi (1 gold) made the winner's circle.
Of course, congrats go to everyone--