Cascade Brewing continued its winning ways at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition, taking home the top two medals in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category: a gold medal for Bourbonic Plague and a silver for Vlad the Imp Aler. A total of 45 beers were entered in the class. GABF award winners were announced Saturday in Denver, Colo.
Brewmaster Ron Gansberg, production brewer Curtis Bain and brewery owner Art Larrance were all in attendance for the announcement, and were thrilled with the outcome.
“It’s accreditation and acknowledgement of what we’re doing across the broad field of our industry at this moment,” explained Gansberg, who has developed a reputation for pioneering the Northwest Sour Beer Style. “Assessing these beers is a very serious endeavor for the judging panel and it’s completely altruistic. There’s no agenda: it’s about tasting beers and selecting the best.”
Added Gansberg, “The brewing industry is vibrant and always changing, but at that moment, when they were judged, our beers were considered the finest in their field.”
The gold-medal winning Bourbonic Plague is a Belgian Spiced Double Porter aged for more than six months in bourbon barrels filled with dates. A wild-yeast blended beer, Vlad the Imp Aler is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale derived from a blend of oak barrel-aged 23- and 25-degree Plato sour blonde quadruppel, sour bourbon barrel tripel and sour strong spiced blonde.
The GABF medal wins in the sour category underscore Cascade Brewing’s mission to create full-bodied, sophisticated barrel-aged Northwest sour beers. Beer lovers in Portland have long recognized Cascade Brewing as a brewery to watch as it creates masterful sour beers through yeast and barrel-aging under the direction of Gansberg.
This marked the second year Cascade Brewing has entered the GABF; in 2008, it took home a Bronze medal for its Cascade Kriek, a Flanders Style Red Ale refermented with a sweet blend of fresh whole northwest cherries.
GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world with 3,308 entries. This year’s competition attracted 132 international beer judges from 10 countries. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 78 beer categories, establishing the best examples of each style in the US. Cascade Brewing was in stellar company, joining 21 other Oregon craft breweries with its medal wins.