Hopped Up

Washington Breweries Won Big at the Great American Beer Festival

Plus, the nation's top beer awards deemed Cloudburst its "Brewery and Brewer of the Year."

By Allecia Vermillion September 14, 2021

Stoup's Lisa Rome sports the brewery's silver medal.

The Great American Beer Festival, the industry’s biggest awards, doled out medals and accolades recently in Denver. Washington breweries brought home 22 medals, but one local favorite also received particular recognition.

The GABF deemed Cloudburst Brewing “Brewery and Brewer of the Year” in its category (aka a business that brews between 1,001 and 2,000 barrels of beer in a year). It’s a huge—and, frankly, deserved—honor for owner Steve Luke and lead brewer Zach Kornfeld. Since Cloudburst arrived on Western Avenue in 2016, Luke and his team have clocked a dizzying lineup of IPAs, but also a host of other styles that balance technical proficiency and creative verve. Their beer names alone probably deserve a medal. (A Ballard location arrived in 2020.)

Pamela Brulotte, owner of Icicle Brewing in Leavenworth, also received the F.X. Matt Defense of Industry Award for her advocacy for the broader beer industry.

The competition gets bigger every year—as does Washington’s presence. The Brewers Association, which puts on GABF, handed out 290 medals to 265 breweries. Which means Washington took home more than 7 percent of the honors. That’s not too shabby; Seattle Met archives extoll the excitement of nine medals back in 2014, and…aww...seven in 2010.

Our state’s list of winners, below, also doubles as a handy list of breweries worth a visit—or a revisit. Mirage and Good Society just landed on my to-do list. Remember, many of the specific beers honored are short-term presences in the tap room (with some very notable exceptions, like Stoup’s beers, Ghostfish’s excellent gluten-free stout, and Cloudburst’s iconic Happy Little Clouds).

Here are all the medalists from across Washington...

Stoup Brewing (Ballard)

Silver, American Amber/Red Ale: Stoup NW Red
Silver, America-Style Pale Ale: Mosaic Pale Ale

Cloudburst Brewing (Ballard)

Silver, American Pilsner: Happy Little Clouds
Gold, Kellerbier or Zwickelbier: Entschuldigung! 

Adam Robbings' Rueben's Brews sports his bronze medal. 

Reuben’s Brews (Ballard)

Bronze, Belgian-Style Witbier: Lilywhite Wit

Aslan Brewing Co. (Fremont)

Gold, German Sour Ale: Disco Lemonade

Fremont Brewing (Fremont)

Silver, Old Ale or Strong Ale or Barley Wine: Brew 4000

Lowercase Brewing (Georgetown)

Silver, English-Style Brown Ale: Brown Ale

Elysian Brewing (Georgetown/Capitol Hill/SoDo)

Gold, Pumpkin Beer: Night Owl

Mirage Beer Co. (South Park)

Silver, Field Beer: Versatile Solutions for Modern Living

Ghostfish Brewing Co. (SoDo)

Gold, Gluten-Free Beer: Watchstander Stout

The Good Society (West Seattle)

Gold, Belgian-Style Table Beer or Belgian Style Session Ale: First to Fall

Chainline Brewing Co. (Kirkland)

Silver, Bohemian-Style Pilsner: Polaris Pilsner

Silver City Brewery (Bremerton)

Bronze, Old Ale or Strong Ale or Barley Wine: Old Scrooge

Kulshan Brewing Co. (Bellingham)

Silver, German Sour Ale: Gose
Bronze, Munich-Style Helles: Helles

Chuckanut Brewery (Bellingham)

Gold, German Style Kolsch: Kolsch

San Juan Island Brewing Co. (Friday Harbor)

Bronze, Intl Dark Lager: The Late Boat Czech-Style Dark Lager

Varietal Beer Co. (Sunnyside)

Silver, Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale: Sup Cuz IPA

Loowit Brewing Co. (Vancouver)

Bronze, Robust Porter: Grimlock

Grains of Wrath Brewing (Camas)

Gold, Munich-Style Helles: Frost Hammer Helles
Bronze, Session India Pale Ale: Ticklish Warrior


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