Washington Beer Awards, registration starts soon

Specialty Competitions LLC recently announced that registration for the Washington Beer Awards will begin soon. The awards program recognizes outstanding beers brewed in Washington and is endorsed by the Washington Beer Commission. The winners are announced at the Washington Brewers Festival, which is held each year on Fathers Day weekend at Marymoor Park in Redmond. More info in the press release below.

The following opinions have nothing to do with my own and I share them here because I think it is worthwhile to hear other voices.

Some people have expressed (to me, anyway) opposition to the awards program, asserting that it creates a competitive environment that is not beneficial to Washington’s brewing industry as a whole. Another complaint I’ve heard is that many breweries choose not to enter beer in the competition, so the winning beers did not necessarily compete against the entire Washington beer field.

I should also note that nobody has ever told me that they think the judging is unfair. By all reports, it is expertly conducted.

Whatever your opinion, the Washington Beer Awards are happening, so here is what you need to know.

Press release:

Washington Beer Awards® returning this spring

Washington’s state-wide professional beer competition registration beginning soon

Seattle, WA, February 17, 2015: Specialty Competitions LLC is proud to announce the return of the Washington Beer Awards®, the craft beer competition designed specifically to support Washington’s professional brewers. This is the third year for the Washington-only competition that provides an opportunity for all of Washington’s craft brewers to compete in a blind judging format and fosters recognition of brewing excellence in Washington.

Only Washington breweries with beers produced and sold in Washington can enter the competition. The event is endorsed by the Washington Beer Commission as a way to help promote our excellent Washington brews and raise awareness of our rich brewing culture.

In 2014 more than 70 breweries submitted over 460 beers to the competition spanning nearly 100 styles from the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines. Judging was conducted by dozens of trained judges who assessed the technical and stylistic accuracy of the entries. More than 100 gold, silver, and bronze medals were presented recognizing brewing excellence in the state.

The 2015 competition is expected to grow with additional entries and award categories. The competition will also recognize “Breweries of the Year” who receive multiple awards in various categories and also feature a “Best Washington Agricultural Product Inspired Beer” special award. This year’s competition will include a “Pro-Am” category recognizing collaborations of homebrewers and professional brewers who have scaled up homebrewer recipes for production on a commercial scale.

Breweries can register entries from March 1st through March 30th. The 2015 judging will be conducted in May with the winners being announced at the Washington Brewers Festival in mid-June. Details on the competition (including rules and registration information) as well as a list of the previous winners can be found at www.wabeerawards.com.

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