Beer Nut: Northampton Brewery Wins 5 Medals at Great International Beer Festival

MassLive, November 14, 2016, by George Lenker

I’m always urging people to drink local beer, and it certainly helps if your local beer is great.

And here in Western Massachusetts, we are lucky that most of our local brews reach at the least the “good” threshold, with some making it to the gold medal level. Such is the case with several of the Northampton Brewery‘s beers, according to judges at the Great International Beer Festival held in Rhode Island on Nov. 5.

The Northampton Brewery hauled in five medals: three bronzes, one silver and one gold.

The gold medal went to the brewery’s excellent Greyhound IPA, one of the venue’s many excellent India pale ales. The brew adds just a hint of grapefruit zest to the mix, making it delightfully tangy.

The silver medal went to the ESB, while the bronze medal were awarded to Daniel Shays Best Bitter, Conundrum (a black lager) and the brewery’s Pils offering.

What’s impressive about the Greyhound IPA winning the gold is that it won in the largest category in the competition. So kudos all around, but especially to assistant brewer Steve Bilodeau, who created Greyhound.

More than 800 beers and ciders from breweries and cideries across the U.S. and from around the world entered the competition. One hundred-thirty professional brewers, beer industry professionals (retail and distribution) and beer journalists acted as judges in a blind tasting format. First, second and third place awards were presented in 58 categories of ales, lagers and ciders. The judges knew only the style and subcategory of each beer and cider.

The only other Western Massachusetts brewery to grab a medal was Brewmaster Jack of Northampton, which took a bronze in the Belgian strong dark ale category. Worcester’s Wormtown Brewing grabbed three silvers, and Flying Dreams, also from Worcester, snagged a silver in the amber ale category.

The Spencer Trappist brewery in Spencer took a silver in the Belgian dark strong category.

There were several breweries from Eastern Massachusetts that won medals, with the most going to The Tap in Haverhill.

Beer note

Speaking of great beer coming out of Northampton, Building 8 just released its double IPA and I have to say it’s as good as both the brewery’s IPA and session IPA. While the alcohol is a little more than 8 percent, you don’t taste it. The cans sold out at the brewery already so you’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving week for the next batch of cans. However, it’s on tap at Sierra Grille in Northampton, if you feel you can’t wait that long.