Words & Deeds

Hoist a cold one! Boise breweries just won big at esteemed Great American Beer Festival.

Looking for an excuse to pop a cold one and salute local beer?

Gotcha covered. But make sure it’s a Black Cliffs American Stout from Boise Brewing.

Four Idaho breweries won medals this past weekend at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, which is the world’s largest commercial beer competition. The 33rd edition of the beer bash was held Oct. 3-5 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. About 60,000 people normally attend.

In a truly standout performance, three of the four Idaho breweries took home gold — and all three hail from Boise. Mad Swede Brewing Co. won gold for Naked Sunbather in the American-Style Brown Ale category; Sockeye Brewing won gold for Red-Fish Rauchbock in Smoke Beer; and Boise Brewing won gold for Black Cliffs in American-Style Stout. Grand Teton Brewing Co. of Victor also took home silver for Black Cauldron in the Imperial Stout division.

Lance Chavez.jpg
Boise Brewing head brewer Lance Chavez celebrates another win at the Great American Beer Festival. Boise Brewing Facebook

The wins are impressive. Judges tasted 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries. The Brewers Association awarded 318 medals to 283 breweries in 107 beer categories covering 174 different beer styles (including subcategories).

Putting things in perspective, the entire brewery-flooded state of Oregon took home only one more gold medal than Boise did. Oregon breweries did win 15 medals overall, however.

Last year, just one Idaho brewery medaled: Boise Brewing. Since opening in 2014 at 521 W. Broad St., Boise Brewing has medaled five years in a row at GABF — an unprecedented feat for an Idaho brewery. Head brewer Lance Chavez has been particularly successful with Black Cliffs, which picked up a bronze at GABF last year, plus silver in 2015 and 2016.

“It just keeps getting better and better,” Boise Brewing posted on Facebook after picking up the gold.

Also notable to Treasure Valley beer geeks? Barley Brown’s Beer of Baker City, Oregon, won bronze at GABF for its Turmoil in American-Style Black Ale.

Visit the Great American Beer Festival website for a full list of winners.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
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