Big fun at the Rhode Island Convention Center last weekend: On Friday I was among 83 judges for the 16th Annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition. It's a diverse field of fermented beverages: 470 entries were judged in 44 categories. And Rhode Island (and New England) brewers had a strong showing. GREY SAIL made a big splash in its first year: their Flagship Ale won gold in the Cream Ale category, the limited edition Stargazer took top honors for Strong Beer: Russian Imperial Stout, and Autumn Winds Fest Beer placed second in the Oktoberfest frame. REVIVAL BREWING also made its mark with its debut entries, winning silver in the Strong Beer: Old Ale division for its Double Black IPA and in the Belgian & French Ale category for its Saison. NARRAGANSETT collected first-, second-, and third-place honors, respectively, for its Lager (in the Premium Lager category), Porter (in the Robust Porter subdivision; the seasonal will hit stores in 16-ounce brown cans next week), and Narry Light (in the Lager Ale: Mixed Styles grab bag). And the brewpub folks also represented: UNION STATION took silver for its Northern Light in the Golden Ale column, and TRINITY BREWHOUSE's Imperial Red got bronze for the vague Strong Beer: Other. Congrats all around.
And give it up for the Boston Beer Company, better known as SAMUEL ADAMS: they won 14 awards spanning a wide range of styles, from English Bitter (Pale Ale) to Amber & Dark Lager (Chocolate Bock) to Schwarzbier (Black Lager) to Fruit & Spice (American Kriek). Many people dismiss Sam for its ubiquity and giantness (as the largest craft beer maker; Sierra Nevada is second), but its impressive medal-gathering at the GIBCC should inspire you to dig in and enjoy their wares.
On Saturday, more than 5000 hopheads attended two sessions at the Fest. We concentrated on offerings from area brewpubs, and were rewarded with tastiness from Amherst Brewing, Gardner Ale House, and Watch City, plus Blatant Brewery.
AND SPEAKING OF GREY SAIL
We're happy to report that the legal dispute between Grey Sail Brewing Company and Full Sail Brewing Co. has been resolved. The one-year-old Westerly brewery and the 25-year-old beerists from Hood River, Oregon, got tangled in a contretemps over trademark infringement involving their names and branding imagery. The case was officially settled last week; the resolution requires a name change from Grey Sail Brewing Company to GREY SAIL BREWING OF RHODE ISLAND. OK, glad that's cleared up!
Grey Sail . . . oops, sorry . . . Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island will celebrate its first anniversary with the release of an Imperial Pilsner, which will be available on tap and in 22-ounce bombers this week. Raise a toast to their ultra-successful first year in the market!