Washington breweries bring home record number of medals from GABF 2018


The results are in from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held last weekend in Denver. Among the Washington breweries that brought home hardware, Chuckanut Brewery (pictured above, from Facebook) brought home a pair of medals this year. All Washington winners are listed below. In 2018 Washington-born beers brought home a total of 17 medals. This matches Washington’s best medal total in the 32-year history of the GABF.

This year’s medal count is up from the previous few years. In 2017 Washington breweries won 10 medals. In 2016, 14 medals. In 2015, 13 medals. In 2003, like 2018, Washington scored 17 medals.

Generally considered the nation’s most prestigious beer judging competition, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out in the ever-expanding crowd of beers. This year the GABF saw 2,404 breweries enter a total of 8,496 beers for judging in 167 different beer style categories (including all subcategories). In the end, 280 breweries walked away with a total of 306 medals this year.

On average 83 beers were entered in each of these categories. The most-entered category this year was Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries), which was a new category this year (see our previous story about that). Below we share the list of winners in each of the three most-entered categories.

In all, Washington breweries brought home 17 medals this year. Chuckanut Brewery (two locations), Silver City Brewery, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, and RAM Restaurant & Brewery (two locations) brought home two medals each.


Gold Medals:

  • Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Hooligan Stout (American-Style Stout)
  • Silver City Brewery, Foxy Lady (Belgian-Style Fruit Beer)
  • Figurehead Brewing, Midwatch (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale)
  • Chuckanut Brewery – South Nut Brewery, Dunkel (Munich-Style Dunkel or Dark European-Style Lager)
  • Rogue Ales Issaquah Brewhouse, St. Chuck’s Smoke (Smoke Beer)

Silver Medals:

  • Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Easy Runaway (American-Style Strong Pale Ale)
  • 54-40 Brewing, Kascadia (German-Style Koelsch)
  • RAM Restaurant and Brewery – Lakewood, Oktoberfest (German-Style Maerzen)
  • Chuckanut Brewery – North Nut, Chuckanut Helles (Munich-Style Helles)
  • Silver City Brewery, Old Scrooge (Old Ale or Strong Ale)

Bronze Medals:

  • Cloudburst Brewing, Easy, Breezy, Beautiful (American-Style Wheat Beer)
  • Ram Restaurant & Brewery – Seattle, Udder Chaos (Coffee Stout or Porter)
  • San Juan Island Brewing Co, Bull Kelp ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
  • Loowit Brewing, Shimmergloom (Imperial Stout)
  • Grains of Wrath Brewing, Vienna Lager (Vienna-Style Lager)
  • Ten Pin Brewing, beWILDering C (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer)
  • Propolis Brewing, Oak-Aged Sour (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer)

How Did We Stack Up?

A lot of people concern themselves with how we compared to other states. Note that we have no idea how many Washington breweries submitted beers to the competition. We have no idea how many Oregon breweries submitted beers to the competition.

Without mentioning names, at least one of the very best breweries in Washington does not concern itself with entering these kinds of competitions. I should say, at least one of our best-loved, top-respected and most-ballyhooed breweries typically does not enter beer in competitions like this. Likely, there are great breweries in other states that don’t submit beer either. So, state-by-state comparisons are kind of meaningless.

We have over 60 breweries in Seattle and over 400 in Washington. Between them all, they brew some really great beer. That’s good enough for me.

But, because people want to know…

As usual, the top medal-winning states were California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, in that order. It is not surprising that the states with the most breweries won the most medals.

Oregon brought home 22 medals. Alesong Brewing and 10 Barrel Brewing each earned three medals. pFriem Family Brewers brought home the award for Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year.

Colorado brewers brought home 30 medals. Remember, the competition is in Denver.

California brewers brought home 72 medals. Remember, California has way more breweries than any other state. Still, that’s an impressive haul.

Most-Entered Categories

Here are the winners in this year’s top three most-entered categories:

Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)

GOLD: Alarmist Brewing – Le Jus, Chicago, IL
SILVER: Kros Strain Brewing Co., Fairy Nectar London Double Dry Hopped – La Vista, NE
BRONZE: Eris Brewery and Cider House, Foiken Haze – Chicago, IL

American-Style India Pale Ale (311 entries)

GOLD: Root Down Brewing Co. – Bine, Phoenixville, PA
SILVER: Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Portsmouth, Not an IPA (P.S. it’s an IPA) – Portsmouth, NH
BRONZE: Green Cheek Beer Co. – West Coast IPA is Dead! – Orange, CA

Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout (177 entries)

GOLD: Against the Grain Brewery, 70K Amburana – Louisville, KY
SILVER: Kane Brewing, A Night to End All Dawns – Ocean, NJ
BRONZE: FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Eclipse – Truckee, CA

One comment

  1. What is it with WY breweries? Melvin’s nonsense in WA, now a brewery in Laramie wins a GABF light lager gold for a beer they decided to call “Banquet.” Local media claims that MolsonCoors is on the war path.

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