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Brewers from the Gem State chased gold, silver and bronze last weekend at the North American Beer Awards.
Fifteen Idaho breweries hauled in 23 medals at the 23rd annual beer battle in Idaho Falls — including several from the Boise area.
Held in conjunction with the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest at Sandy Downs Race Track, NABA is considered a major event on a national level. This year’s entries included 1,962 beers from 267 breweries, according to assistant competition coordinator Chris VanHorn. Of those, 1,893 were received and judged. Working their way through blind tasting sessions, 118 judges meticulously matched beers to style guidelines. A whopping 2,360 bottles of beer were opened and poured during judging.
Gold medals did not come easily. Only five Gem State breweries managed to earn the top honor, led by Boise Brewing, which nabbed two. The Ram Restaurant & Brewery of Boise, Bella Brewing of Garden City, Idaho Brewing of Idaho Falls and Wildlife Brewing of Victor each earned one gold.
Even if 10 Barrel Brewing’s corporate owner, AB InBev, makes “drink local” diehards grit their teeth, you have to give props where they’re due. 10 Barrel picked up five golds — and more overall medals than any other brewery: One at its Boise location, nine at its Bend, Oregon, brewery, and two at its Portland destination.
Unsurprisingly, NABA’s biggest category was the currently mega-popular Hazy or New England-Style India Pale Ale. It triggered 116 entries. Perhaps surprisingly, a brewery from the West won that category. Yep, 10 Barrel of Bend earned gold with Profuse Juice, which is slated to be released in cans this year.
Another Oregon brewery that racked up big honors? Barley Browns Beer of Baker City, which racked up three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
Below is the list of Idaho winners. Here’s the full list of NABA winners.
▪ 10 Barrel Brewing, Boise: Silver — 986 (Cascadian Style Dark Ale / American Black Ale)
▪ Barbarian Brewing, Garden City: Silver — Saison avec Brett Deux (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour or Brett Beer)
▪ Bella Brewing, Garden City: Gold — Spring Moss (Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale)
▪ Boise Brewing, Boise: Gold — Bike Route Stout (Oatmeal Stout); Gold — Sun Cruiser (Session Beer)
▪ County Line Brewing, Garden City: Bronze — Barnwood Brown Ale (American-Style Brown Ale, Dark Wheat Ale and Dark Hefeweizen)
▪ Idaho Brewing Co., Idaho Falls: Gold — Black Lager (Schwarzbier/Black Beer); Silver — Oktoberfest (Marzen-Oktoberfest Lager); Bronze — Maibock (Helles Bock / Mailbock)
▪ Jim Dandy Brewing, Pocatello: Bronze — Ambitious Blonde (Golden or Blonde Ale)
▪ Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay: Silver — Laughing Dog English Pale Ale (Strong Bitter / ESB)
▪ Mad Swede Brewing Co., Boise: Silver — Danegeld (Golden or Blonde Ale)
▪ Payette Brewing Co., Boise: Silver — Fly Line (Dortmunder Export); Bronze — Aura (Flavored Gose)
▪ Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Boise: Gold — Clearwater Kolsch (Kolsch); Bronze — Mood Swing (Double / Imperial Red Ale)
▪ Salmon River Brewery, McCall: Bronze — Udaho Gold (Light Ale); Bronze — Blonde Sabbath (Belgian-Style Pale Ale); Bronze — Buzz Buzz (Coffee Beer)
▪ Sockeye Brewing, Boise: Silver — Power House Porter (Brown Porter); Silver — Sour Puss (American Sour Ale)
▪ Wallace Brewing, Wallace: Silver — Wallace Strong (American-Style Strong Ale)
▪ Wildlife Brewing, Victor: Gold — Mighty Bison Brown (American-Style Brown Ale, Dark Wheat Ale and Dark Hefeweizen)