Grand Haven brewery captures Gold

Alex Doty • Oct 13, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Odd Side Ales of Grand Haven received two medals in the Specialty Beer category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The local craft brewery took home a Gold award for its Barrel Aged Sweet Potato Soufflé Rye and a Silver award for its Rye Hipster Brunch Stout.

Odd Side Ales owner Chris Michner said it was great to be honored for the two special releases, which both debuted last year.

“I was excited because they started with Bronze,” Michner said of the award announcements. “On our way up to the stage (to collect Silver), they called Gold.”

Michner said it’s unknown if you’ll receive any award until you’re called up on stage, as the beers were judged among nearly 40 entries in the category.

“We all kind of flipped,” he said.

A Gold award is considered “a world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.” A Silver award beer is considered “an excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.” A Bronze award recipient is considered “a fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.”

Michner said that if festival judges believe no beer in the category meets the quality and style-accuracy criteria, they may elect not to award a medal. Judges may award a beer with a Silver or Bronze medal and yet not award a Gold medal, etc., depending on the criteria met.

Michner noted that this is the first time Odd Side Ales has been awarded at the event, which it has attended since first opening in Grand Haven in 2010, only missing out on the 2014 and 2015 events.

“It’s always been close, but it’s always been the top three (that are awarded),” he said.

Odd Side Ales’ pub manager, Reid Warber, said it’s rare for a brewery to medal multiple times in the same category.

“That doesn’t happen at all,” he said.

Warber noted that the overall time in Denver was “a really good experience.”

“I’m really proud of all of the workers,” he said. “Morale is high, but you can always get an extra boost.”

In all, 293 medals were presented in 98 categories covering 161 different beer styles at the Great American Beer Festival, which took place Oct. 5-7. Winners were chosen out of 7,923 competition entries from 2,217 breweries in 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

The competition took place in six sessions over a period of three days and was judged by 276 beer experts from 13 countries, including the U.S.

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