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Wrapping up

It’s been two weeks since I left for Denver and the Great American Beer Festival. And what a two weeks it’s been. When I blogged last, I discussed some of our beers and the competition itself. Here’s a recap of what happened. On Wednesday the 30th of September, Port Brewing won $5000 in the Lallemand Nottingham Dry Yeast contest. First place was $30,000 and while we didn’t win that, we were awarded 1st place in the American Ale category for SPA (Summer Pale Ale). We will be using this money to purchase an ink jet coding system for our bottling line. We expect this to be operational before the end of the year (Hoorray BEER!) This is something we feel very strongly will help us with quality control issues. It’s long overdue that’s for sure.

Thursday night, the festival opened and a long line of people ensued at our booth hoping to get a taste of our beers. Duck Duck Gooze proved to be a popular choice and by Friday night, we were out of the 15 Gallons that we sent! On Friday afternoon, we made the annual pilgrimage to Falling Rock Tap House for the Alpha King contest. Port Brewing and Hop 15 narrowly was defeated and finished 2nd out of about 70 beers. It’s been a long time since anyone has won back to back awards and while we were pleased with our second place finish, missing by one point sure wasn’t any fun. We’ll try again next year.

Saturday brought the awards ceremony and it was a very long but exciting day. We had high hopes for our Veritas 005 and Cuvee de Tomme. We felt one of these two beers would need to medal if we were going to make a run at the brewery of the year awards. They didn’t and as such, we came up one point short of the mark. However, we were thrilled when Carnevale and Duck Duck Gooze struck gold in back to back categories. These are two beers that we are extremely proud of here at the brewery and knew had excellent chances to succeed. With the World Beer Cup coming up in April, we’ll hope for more earnings on their coat tails.

The coolest part of the awards ceremony was watching our brothers from Pizza Port bring down the house. Once we got firmly anchored in Ale land, the awards just kept rolling in. Seemed like every other category was being won by a Pizza Port beer. All told, Pizza Port earned 6 Gold Medals and if you throw in the two that we won as a sister company, an astounding 8 Gold Medals were earned. With 78 Gold Medals being earned, this means that over 10% of the Gold Medals called went to Pizza Port or Port Brewing Company. And given that this was the largest commercial beer competition in the world, it makes it that more impressive.

Still, the most impressive part of the weekend was the performance by my good friend Jeff Bagby who managed to rake at this competition. His brewing talents (and those of his team) are likely to never be matched. They entered 15 beers. 7 of them earned medals including 4 Gold Medals! Pizza Port Carlsbad also was named Large Brewpub Brewery of the Year. Since 2006, a San Diego based brewery has earned a Brewery of the Year award 3 of the last 4 years at the Great American Beer Festival. This truly reinforces the overall quality of the beer being produced in this city.

Post GABF, I headed to England to do some brewing in Faversham. Stay tuned for adventures in Kentish Brewing and Wooden leg devices.

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