Ferment Brewing won gold for Ferment Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival judging last week in Denver.

Ferment took top honors in the English-style or International-style Pale Ale competition for its beer ale inspired by the brewing traditions of Burton-on-Trent at the turn of the 19th century. It was the only brewery from the Gorge to earn a gold.

“Winning GABF gold for our Pale Ale has been a great honor and thrill for me,” said Dan Peterson, brewmaster at Ferment Brewing Co., which has been brewing for four years, and opened its Hood River brewery in August 2018.

“This beer, in particular, has been at the heart of the Ferment brewing philosophy from the start. It was the first recipe of 35 — so far — that we developed and was central to our concept of brewing beer to style, yet giving it a unique personality, all while making it approachable for all.”

Grains of Wrath of Camas earned silver in Vienna-style Lager for Vienna Lager.

Oregon breweries took home 15 medals at the festival, considered by many to be the nation’s most prestigious beer competition. Portland’s Breakside Brewery led the way with three, including a gold, and Migration Brewing, also of Portland, won two.

Peterson describes his pale ale this way:

“Heirloom malted barley and hop varieties come together to produce a result that is crisp and refreshing, featuring a complex depth of character with notes of tea, marmalade and a hint of rose.”

Added Peterson, “English-style pale ales are a study in balancing subtle, somewhat savory, malt notes and earthy hops with a mildly fruity yeast character. In this case, our Pale Ale uses an all English-sourced grain bill with English hops leading the charge in the kettle; we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”

Other Oregon medals

The GABF, presented by the Brewers Association, recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded on Oct. 5 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, in 107 beer categories covering 174 different beer styles.

In the 33rd edition of the GABF competition, 9,497 entries were submitted to the general competition, along with 113 Pro-Am and 70 Collaboration entries. The beer was made by 2,295 breweries from across the nation, with entries from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Judging took place over the course of three days, with an international panel of 322 judges from 18 countries.

The state’s tally included four golds:

  • Boneyard Beer for Diablo Rojo, in the American-Style Amber/Red Ale category
  • Breakside for What Rough Beast, in Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale 
  • Von Ebert Brewing for Obeisance, in Specialty Saison
  • Wayfinder Beer, where brewmaster is Charlie Devereaux, formerly of Double Mountain, won bronze in Munich-style Helles

— Kirby Neumann-Rea

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