DENVER — As the Michigan beer scene becomes more and more recognized for increasing quality, the nation is starting to take notice too.
Michigan breweries took home six of the 268 medals awarded during the Great American Beer Festival, held last weekend in Denver. The festival, in its 28th year, is the largest commercial beer competition in the world.
Royal Oak’s Bastone Brewery led the charge, with two beer medals and the title of Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year.
Two of Bastone’s beers took a silver medal in the competition — Thor’s Hammer (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale) and Private Stock #472 (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer).
“Thor’s Hammer is a Belgian golden strong ale,” said Rockne Van Meter, brewmaster for Bastone. “This style exhibits medium hop aroma and bitterness as well as medium malt character, and can finish slightly dry.
“Private Stock #472 is a Saison with white wine and aged on wood. The characteristics of the wood and wine go well with the complex fruit generated flavors of a Saison,” he said.
Van Meter went on to mention that Private Stock #472 was a brand new beer for him, and that it’s possible that the winning beer might make another appearance next summer. Thor’s Hammer might be released at an upcoming festival.
“It’s been a very humbling GABF,” said Rockne. “It think every brewer’s goal is to win, win anything, and to go home with the Brewery of the Year and Brewer of the Year award is something that I’ll never forget.”
“We are honored to represent Michigan and proud of Rockne’s achievement,” added David Ritchie, Operating Partner at Bastone. “Winning Best Small Brewpub during our 10th anniversary year is really exciting.”
Tapistry Brewing took home its first GABF medal, a bronze for it’s Peck’s Porter — categorized as a Robust Porter.
“At Tapistry we strive to use traditional ingredients and processes when we are brewing something like Peck’s or our German trilogy of beers,” said Nate Peck, head brewer at Tapistry. “While we embrace the traditional classic styles we also try to push our boundaries and use interesting ingredients and processes.”
The six medals marked the most for Michigan since 2010, when the state’s breweries took home 10 medals.
Photography: Steph Harding