Breaksides brewing team in Philly.
Breakside's brewing team in Philly. Breakside Brewing Facebook wall

If it’s cool to win a medal at the annual Great American Beer Festival organized by the Brewers Association, it’s more than doubly auspicious to medal at the World Beer Cup. It’s the biannual competition in which entries are judged blind and, unlike the GABF, the field of beers hails from around the entire globe. The winners were announced this past Friday at the Craft Brewers Conference, held in Philadelphia this year, and the list included 19 medals for Oregon breweries. No, that’s not as honorable as Colorado’s 34 total medals or California’s 42, but Washington State boasts dozen more breweries than Oregon and their brewers are taking home a mere four medals. And Germany on the whole earned only 17 (including only one sweep of a German style, wheat beers).

Two Beaver State breweries truly knocked it out of the park. Arch Rock Brewing from Gold Beach didn’t just earn gold for Pistol River Pale in the American-style pale ale category, which was the third most competitive category behind American IPA and Imperial IPA with 167 entries. Arch Rock also earned bragging rights of being name “Very Small Brewing Company,” making James Smith the best Very Small brewer. The brewery was started by Larry and Marjie Brennan in 2013 and the lucked out in hiring Smith, who came with several vaunted medals under his belt from Uinta in Utah and Grand Teton in Idaho, then quickly scored some golden hardware for his Gold Beach Lager at the 2014 GABF.

Breakside Brewery also won huge with four medals, three off the small basement brewery on North Dekum and one from the larger, fancy production brewery in Milwaukie. Their WBC medals include a smoked porter, a German altbier, a British ESB, and an Australian IPA. Wait! What’s an Australian-style beer if not Fosters?!? Apparently, category 48 at the World Beer Cup is an “Australian- or International-style pale ale.” While the two other medalists in this field included IPAs from Washington and New Mexico, Breakside took silver for Lunch Break India Session Ale (see this blogger’s Lush Life beer column in the issue of the Mercury that hits streets Wednesday). Breakside calls it an ISA and their official language on the label adds, “Call this beer a Session IPA, American Pale Ale, India Session Ale, Mini IPA, or something totally different.” Now they get to add Australian or International pale ale to the label copy! No matter where in the world you drink one, it’s a fantastic low-alcohol beer at 4.7 percent.

In the category to which beer geeks pay the most heed after American-style IPA, which is American-Style Sour Ale, Flat Tail brings bronze home to Corvallis for their DAM Wild, a wild ale featuring hops and lemon verbena. Commented Flat Tail co-owner and brewer Dave Marliave via Facebook, “One of my biggest life goals has been to win a GABF and a World Beer Cup medal prior to turning 30. So fucking stoked!!” (Flat Tail medaled twice at the 2013 GABF.)

Moving into dark beers, Ecliptic earned the gold medal in the brown porter category for Capella Porter. Not too shabby for owner/brewmaster John Harris, who created Deschutes Black Butte Porter in 1988 and just last week celebrated his 30th year as a professional brewer. Barley Brown’s out of remote Baker City is no stranger to the winner’s podium at these big competitions and took gold for Turmoil, the beer that pretty much kickstarted and still defines Cascadian Dark Ale (even if it’s referred to as American-style Black Ale at competitions). Also, out of the basement-level brewhouse at Columbia River Brewing in the former Laurelwood space (and formerly Old World Brewing before that), Stumbler’s Stout nabbed silver. Columbia River isn’t very popular among Portland’s elite beer sniffers, but they took two medals for stouts at the 2012 World Beer Cup—including Stumbler’s again, which also medaled at that year’s GABF.

And finally, apropos of the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot—just two weeks ago, Oregon brewers were awarded gold medals in two German-style categories and beat out actual German brewers in the process. In the Doppelbock or Eisbock category, Occidental from St. Johns won for their Lucubrator Doppelbock, besting ATOR 20 from Brauerei Riegele in Augsburg, probably the best brewery in Southern Germany I’ve been to and one I would want to teleport to Portland. Among German-style sour beers, which is to say Berliner Weisses and goses, Bend Brewing Co. won for Volkssekt, thereby topping bronze medalists Ritterguts for their gose (and, for funsies, a beer called Gosebusters from Noble Ale Works, the Anaheim brewery that tied Breakside with four medals and was dubbed best small brewery in the process).

Here is list of each winning beer from Oregon:

Category: 2 American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast - 39 Entries
Gold: Fuzztail, Sunriver Brewing, Sunriver, OR
Bronze: Lost Meridian Wit, Base Camp Brewing Co., Portland, OR

Category: 8 Chili Beer - 58 Entries
Silver: Hellcat, Fort George Brewery + Public House, Astoria, OR

Category: 17 Other Strong Beer - 47 Entries
Gold: Brilliant, 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category: 23 American-Style Sour Ale - 84 Entries
Bronze: DAM Wild - Hops and Lemon Verbena, Flat Tail Brewing Co., Corvallis, OR

Category: 31 Smoke Beer - 79 Entries
Silver: Breakside Smoked Porter, Breakside Brewery - Pub Brewery, Portland, OR

Category: 44 German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock - 53 Entries
Gold: Lucubrator, Occidental Brewing Co., Portland, OR

Category: 48 Australian- or International-Style Pale Ale - 84 Entries
Silver: Breakside Lunch Break ISA, Breakside Brewery, Milwaukie, OR

Category: 50 German-Style Altbier - 56 Entries
Bronze: Breakside Will’s Alt, Breakside Brewery - Pub Brewery, Portland, OR

Category: 51 German-Style Sour Ale - 78 Entries
Gold: Volkssekt, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Category: 58 Belgian-Style Pale Ale or Blonde Ale - 60 Entries
Silver: Raise the Roost, Portland Brewing, Portland, OR

Category: 69 Classic English-Style Pale Ale - 33 Entries
Gold: Caldera Ashland Amber, Caldera Brewing Co., Ashland, OR
Bronze: Breakside ESB, Breakside Brewery - Pub Brewery, Portland, OR

Category: 74 Brown Porter - 66 Entries
Gold: Capella Porter, Ecliptic Brewing, Portland, OR

Category: 77 Oatmeal Stout - 67 Entries
Silver: Stumblers Stout, Columbia River Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Bronze: Sasquatch Shadow, Elk Horn Brewery, Eugene, OR

Category: 81 Barley Wine-Style Ale - 71 Entries
Bronze: Stormwatcher’s Winterfest, Pelican Brewing Co. - Pacific City, Pacific City, OR

Category: 86 American-Style Pale Ale - 167 Entries
Gold: Pistol River Pale, Arch Rock Brewing Co., Gold Beach, OR

Category: 94 American-Style Black Ale - 67 Entries
Gold: Turmoil, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR