The 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship was held recently on July 9 in Oxford Ohio. Entries included over 7,000 beers from all over the world. Awards were presented for 130 different beer styles. Portland Kettle Works is extremely proud to announce that 12 of our clients took home 23 awards, including a special call-out to Sun King Brewing who was named “Grand National Champion” after winning 3 gold and 3 silver medals. Congratulations to our friends and clients at each of the following breweries:
Portland Kettle Works is proud to be associated with these amazing American breweries as they raise the bar for the next generation of great craft beer! Here is a breakdown of the 23 awards won by the 12 breweries above during the 2019 US Open Beer Championship:
8 Gold Medals
1 Grand National Champion
About the U.S. Open Beer Championship: This competition judges more beer styles than any other competition in the world. In addition, it is the only competition to include beers from both professional breweries as well as award-winning homebrewers. Judges are selected from England, Canada, and the United States to perform blind tastings; they only know the category they are tasting and not which beers or breweries have been entered.
Washington Beer Awards’ website defines the competition’s mission as follows:
“…a craft beer competition designed specifically to support
Washington’s professional brewers. This competition will provide an opportunity
for all of Washington’s craft brewers to compete in a blind format. It will
allow recognition of brewing excellence in Washington and provide constructive
feedback supporting future competition entry decisions.”
The Washington Beer Awards’ website goes on to summarize the results for the 2019 competition as follows:
“This year 1,467 entries [by 193 Washington breweries] were
evaluated over the weekend of June 1st by a team of 78 judges. All of the beers submitted must have been
both brewed and made commercially available in the state of Washington. The entries were evaluated in a blind format
using the Brewers Association Style Guidelines by panels of trained beer judges
who awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze placements for each category grouping.”
Portland Kettle Works is proud to be associated with these amazing Washington breweries as they raise the bar for the next generation of great craft beer! Here is the list of these winners and their awards:
“If people don’t know you exist, you won’t be in business long.“
Award-Winning Brewmaster Shares His Thoughts on Moving from Homebrewer to Professional in Havre Montana
Raymond Miller was a homebrewer before he and his wife, Maria Naranjo moved to Havre Montana in 2015. In 2018, the couple realized their dream by graduating from homebrewer to professional when they opened Vizsla Brewing in the local Holiday Village Mall. Havre is a small town of fewer than 10,000 people that is also home to three breweries, all within the same two-mile stretch of Highway 2, the town’s main drag. With the competition so close, quality is even more important. The brewery’s website homepage proudly states that “Vizsla Brewing uses only American-made stainless steel equipment to brew”, as well as “we have three 5 bbl stainless steel fermenters on site to give the yeast the cleanest and most sanitary environment available to work.”
Their emphasis on quality paid off when Vizsla Brewing was recently awarded “Brewery of the Year” at Montana Brew Fest 2019. Maria attended the event and posted the following on Vizsla Brewing’s Facebook page on June 9, 2019:
“Given another shot, I’d totally do it over… just perhaps a bit differently.“
Brewery Owner Shares His Learnings Moving from Homebrewer to Professional Brewer in Seattle WA
Chris Smith has grown from homebrewer to professional brewer and, in the process, expanded from brewing 5 gallons of beer at a time to 500. His brewery, Lowercase Brewing, opened its doors in January of 2014, and is located in the South Park area of Seattle Washington. Since then, he has also opened a taproom in Georgetown. Lowercase’s passion is brewing simple, approachable beers. Chris has been quoted as saying: “We got our start making beer in our basement, and seeing what our friends thought of it. After a little trial and error, the beer started tasting pretty good.” Recently, Chris took the time to share his thoughts with Portland Kettle Works regarding his journey from homebrewer to professional brewer.
“We made a point of hiring beertender and service staff who were craft beer lovers first”
Bent Barley Co-Owner and Co-Brewer Shares His Experiences Starting a Successful Veteran Brewery
Bent Barley Brewing in Aurora Colorado was started by two friends and coworkers, Mark Job and Paul Dampier, who share a love of homebrewing and enjoying great beers with friends. As a majority veteran brewery, Bent Barley is committed to utilizing American brewing equipment and ingredients, and providing support to their local community and businesses. Mark recently took time to talk with Portland Kettle Works, describing the connection between his military career and his brewing career in the following manner:
“During a 20-year United States Air Force career I was stationed all over the world. That led to an appreciation of classic beer styles, the importance of authenticity to those styles, and also a willingness to experiment with new styles and brewing processes. ”
“Unemployment combined with a great love for craft beer are a magic combination of factors”
Cerveceria La Bru Owner Shares His Experiences Starting a Successful Mexico Brewery
Cerveceria La Bru is a craft brewery started in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico in 2006 by three Mexican brewmasters who wanted to introduce craft beer to their country. Their specific emphasis was on the great traditional styles of Old Europe. Cerveceria La Brü’s approach was in preserving the old brewing methods: no chemicals, no preservatives, no filtering, and no pasteurization. Today, their Mexico brewery continues to handcraft these traditional beers but with the addition of many local and traditional Mexican ingredients such as blue corn and wild vanilla. Portland Kettle Works recently spoke with Cerveceria La Bru’s Owner, Matthew Hikory, who shared his thoughts on how all this came to be.
“You’ll find a way to succeed. You just have to fight for it.“
Head Brewer Shares His Experiences Starting Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery in San Antonio, Texas
Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery opened in 2014 in what was originally Pearl Brewing Company’s brewhouse, built in 1894 and a San Antonio landmark ever since. The restaurant portion of this brewery-restaurant is helmed by San Antonio Chef Jeff Balfour, who brings a modern take on Texas cross-cultural cuisine. Head Brewer Les Locke, who discovered homebrewing in the Marines while stationed in Hawaii at the age of 19, recently shared the following thoughts with Portland Kettle Works regarding his experience at Southerleigh.
A recent Yelp review captures the customer experience at Southerleigh: “The interior is well decorated and rustic looking with all of their brewing equipment exposed on the 2nd floor. The smell of the place is right in your face, seafood and a hint of hops.” Stop in for a bite and a brew.
At PKW, we received the following email from Center Street Brewing about their recent brewery opening and just had to share the good news!
Joe, We opened our doors this past weekend and were met with a packed house both days! 40 to 50 people waiting to get in, and a packed house in the tap room. We are super proud of our team, and Portland Kettle Works is an integral part of that! We absolutely love the brewing equipment and it has out-performed our expectations! Thanks to everyone at PKW! From our team here at Center Street Brewing Company, to all of the team at Portland Kettle Works and The LABrewatory.
Below is a link to an article that was front cover (top fold) of today’s local newspaper [The Record-Journal]. Couldn’t help but to throw in a PKW thanks!
New Smyrna Beach Brewing Wins 2 Gold Medals at the 2019 Best Florida Beer Professional Competition
New Smyrna Beach Brewing has been an amazing partner of Portland Kettle Works for 2 years now, and we are so happy to see they are getting some much deserved recognition. They recently purchased two new 10 bbl fermenters to fill out their cellar which will allow for so much more great, local beer. Make sure you stop in for a beer next time you’re in the Tampa Florida area. New Smyrna Beach is a “must-visit.”
Tampa FL, USA – During the 2019 Brewer’s Ball, the best craft brewers gathered to find out who would win gold, silver, and bronze in the most prestigious professional beer competition in Florida. With over 200 breweries in the state of Florida and 800 entries, only the best of the best would take home a medal and New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company took home two:
Gold Medal, Mixed Culture Brett, Three Sisters Saison
Gold Medal, Irish Red Ale, Feeding Frenzy Irish Red
New Smyrna Beach’s Three Sisters Saison went through a mixed culture fermentation and was aged in French white wine barrels for 10 months before undergoing bottle conditioning. It is available in 750 ml corked bottles which can only be purchased in the taproom located at 143 Canal Street. New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company’s Feeding Frenzy Irish Red is available in both the NSB taproom as well as local bars and restaurants in Volusia County.
Make sure you stop in for a beer next time you’re in the Tampa Florida area; New Smyrna Beach Brewing is a “must-visit.”
New Smyrna Beach Brewing Company is an independently owned brewery and taproom located on Canal Street in historic downtown New Smyrna Beach. Brewmaster Chris Coyle opened the brewery in January 2014 with the goal of bringing quality local craft beer to New Smyrna Beach. Specializing in beers brewed for the beach life style, the taproom offers 16 rotating beers on tap that are all brewed in-house. The brewery also distributes the gold medal Feeding Frenzy Irish Red as well as the infamous Shark Attack IPA to local bars and restaurants.
Tromso, Norway– Steeped in beer brewing tradition, Norwegian breweries have become a bright light in the north for craft beer lovers. Not surprisingly, Norway has a rich and wild history of brewing and drinking beer. Too far north for grapes, the ancient Norse would not be vanquished in their desire for heady drink. Likely on a raid of their fairer neighbors, the Vikings discovered beer which they imported to their homeland as far back as 1000 AD. Eventually Norsemen began to develop strong traditions and customs tied to its consumption. So serious were the Vikings about their adopted drink that it was considered a crime not to participate in the public drinking rituals or in brewing beer.
In times gone by, traditional porters were brewed for Norwegian weddings, christenings, and funerals by farms throughout the country. By law, every farm was required to brew beer, and at Christmas the quantity of grain that went into the grist had to be equal to the combined weight of the farmer and his wife. To fail in this responsibility was to risk having your farm and possessions confiscated and divided between the state and the church. In extreme cases, “lawbreakers” could find themselves deported to Iceland (ouch!). Out of these strong traditions surrounding beer and community, Norwegian breweries have become the craft beer destination in Northern Europe. Today, Norway boasts over 80 craft breweries with many brewing traditional recipes while incorporating American Pacific Northwest, British, and European brewing styles.
“…we have developed our business around the amazing beer scene in Portland, so a brewery supplied by a Portland company fit perfectly for us.”
Portland Kettle Works (PKW), manufacturers of American brewing equipment in Portland Oregon, has been expanding within the European market. One example of this global expansion is the installation of a 7-barrel (8.2 hl) brewery system (pictured above) in Tromso Norway located 200 miles (350 km) above the Arctic Circle. Thad Fisco, owner of Portland Kettle Works, traveled to Tromso to complete the installation of the PKW brewing system at Graff Brygghus (Norwegian for “brewhouse”) in late August 2015.
Together, Graff and PKW built on Norwegian beer heritage with the same strong sense of brotherhood found both in Norway as well as the Portland beer scene. Martin Amundsen and Marius Graff setup their brewery and taproom in a fully renovated character building that has been in the Amundsen family for 3 generations. After three months of renovations, the first brew through their new PKW brewery system was the well-received Portland Pale Ale. “So much of what we are doing is about the connection with Portland” says Amundsen. Graff concurs: “My dream is to have an article written about our brewery by The Oregonian… I would frame it and put it on the wall.”
In order to find the perfect brewery system, Graff spent a month in Portland Oregon brewing on systems supplied by several manufacturers before giving Portland Kettle Works the nod. During his research, Graff brewed with several local favorites including Buoy Beer Company in Astoria, Coalition, BTU Brasserie, and Kells. In Graff’s own words: “we wanted a brew system from the United States because the most innovation in the market is American, and we have developed our business around the amazing beer scene in Portland, so a brewery supplied by a Portland company fit perfectly for us.”
Since then, Graff Brygghus, as with many Norwegian breweries, has become a popular local destination. Aiding the popularity, Tromso is home to a university and Norway has a drinking age of 18 years. Additionally, with 3 months of midnight sun and 3 months of northern lights, Tromso is a popular destination for thirsty tourists. “Graff Brygghus is perfectly positioned to rock the craft beer scene in Tromso and Northern Norway” says Fisco; “their PKW brewing equipment is going to allow these guys to make a clean, perfect product with creative recipes that were not previously available to Norwegian breweries.”
Update: Graff Brygghus continues to grow and has just reserved their second order of brewery tanks from PKW. Congratulations Marius and Martin! Skål!
Marius Graff (L), Head Brewer & Martin Amundsen (R), CEO, Graff Brygghus