And Kootenai River Brewing in Bonners Ferry became the Inland Northwest's first repeat winner, receiving bronze for its McGreagor Scottish Ale – duplicating its showing in that category two years ago.
Those are the fifth and sixth medals for area breweries since the competition started 30 years ago. Previous gold medal winners were No-Li for Crystal Bitter (now Spin Cycle Red) in 2012 and the former Coeur d’Alene Brewing for its Centennial Pale Ale in 1988, while Laughing Dog earned bronze for its IPA in 2012.
"We're so excited," says Perry owner/brewer Ben Lukes (pictured). "That was definitely the one (assistant brewer) Riley (Elmer) and I always championed as the best beer we do."
At 4.6 percent alcohol by volume and 45 International Bitterness Units, the IPL (India pale lager) is hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe and fermented with Czech pilsner yeast. "I just love the way the cleanness of that yeast allows those hops to pop through," Lukes says.
It hasn't been available since summer, but now will return soon on a year-round basis. In the meantime, Perry just tapped another hoppy lager, an Amarillo fresh hop dubbed The Freshness (5.5 ABV).
Perry Street and Kootenai River were among 254 breweries to win medals in this year's contest, which attracted a record 7,227 entries from 1,752 brewers across the country in 96 style categories. There were 52 entries in the session category that Perry won, and 46 in the Scottish category.
Breweries can enter the medal competition without participating in the actual event. Regional breweries pouring beer at this year’s festival were Waddell’s Brewpub, Post Falls Brewing and Moscow’s Rants & Raves.
Seattle's Georgetown topped 311 other entries in the prestigious American-style IPA competition to take gold for its Bodhizafa, and also finished first among coffee beers with Gusto Crema (both of which were served at the recent Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival).
Breakside brought home three medals: gold, rye beer, Rye Curious; silver, classic English-style pale ale, ESB; and bronze, Australian/international-style pale ale, Lunch Break ISA. Fellow Portland brewery The Commons won silver for other Belgian-style ales with Petite Classique, and bronze in specialty saisons with Creme de Peche.
And Montana's Uberbrew, from Billings, won four medals – gold in imperial India pale ale for Humulus Insani and in American-style wheat beer with yeast for White Noise, silver in double red ale for Average at Best and bronze in American-style black ale for Alpha Force Double Tap – and was named Small Brewing Company of the Year.
Overall, Oregon breweries totaled 21 medals to 14 for Washington, six for Montana and two for Idaho. Other Northwest winners include:
Washington: Black Raven (Redmond), gold, extra special bitter, Redfeather; Chuckanut (Bellingham), gold, Munich-style Helles; RAM/Big Horn (Lakewood), gold, English-style summer ale, Hometown Blonde; Reuben’s Brews (Seattle), gold and Kulshan (Bellingham), silver in German-style sour ale for their Goses; Chainline (Kirkland), silver, Bohemian-style pilsner, Polaris Pilsner; Dick's (Centralia), silver, barleywines; Barrel Mountain (Battle Ground), bronze, export stout, Starway Stout; Fish (Olympia), bronze, American-style wheat beer with yeast, Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen; Ghostfish (Seattle), bronze, gluten-free beer, Grapefruit IPA; Propolis (Port Townsend), bronze, fruited wood- and barrel-aged sour beer, Pi.
Oregon: 10 Barrel (Bend), gold, American-style stout, P2P; Alesong (Eugene), gold, Brett beer, Touch of Brett; Ground Breaker (Portland), gold, gluten-free beer, Dark Ale;Three Creeks (Sisters), gold, brown porter, FivePine Chocolate Porter; Barley Brown's (Baker City), silver, American-style wheat beer, Shredder's Wheat; Craft Brew Alliance (Portland), silver, ordinary/special bitter, Widmer Drop Top Amber and bronze, American-style/ice/malt lager, Omission Lager; Great Notion (Portland), silver, American-style sour, Heart of Gold; Pelican (Tillamook), silver, American/international-style pilsener, Pelicano Extra; Sunriver, silver, American-style strong pale, Rippin; Two Kilts (Sherwood), silver, Scottish Ale; BTU Brasserie (Portland), bronze, pumpkin/squash beer, Butt-Ah Nut; Flat Tail (Corvallis), bronze, mixed-culture Brett beer, Dam Wild Marionberry Pink Peppercorn; Logsdon (Hood River), bronze, Belgian-style fruit beer, Cerasus; Migration (Portland), bronze, old/strong ale, Old Silenus; Vertigo (Hillsboro), bronze, American-style fruit beer, Apricot Cream Ale.
Montana: Missoula Brewing, gold, Irish-style red, Highlander Devil's Hump; Philipsburg Brewing, bronze, pumpkin spice beer, 5 Phantoms Barleywine.
Idaho: Boise Brewing, silver, American-style stout, Black Cliffs.