The house yeast is a key ingredient in Allagash White. Photo courtesy of Allagash Brewing Co.

Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland was named Brewer of the Year on Friday at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

The festival itself was canceled this year, but the prestigious annual tasting competition went on, awarding 290 medals to 265 breweries. Allagash won Brewer of the Year in its category – brewers that produce 15,001 to 100,000 barrels of beer annually.

The Portland brewery also won two silver medals for its Allagash Tripel in the Belgian-Style Abbey Ale category and for Allagash White – the brewery’s flagship beer – in the Belgian-Style Witbier category. A silver winner, according to the competition, is “an excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.”

Allagash was the only Maine brewery to win a medal this year. Including this year’s awards, the Portland brewery has won a total of 19 Great American Beer Festival medals. This year was the first time it won Brewer of the Year.

“We love what we do and care deeply about the quality of the beers we make, and we’re honored and humbled to be recognized for that,” Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash, said in a written statement. “It’s been a particularly challenging and enlightening year and a half. But we’ve been able to weather the storm and, from our perspective, come out on the other side even stronger. Being honored at GABF feels like validation for all of the hard work we’ve put in.”

Judging was blind, and took place over 17 days, covering 175 beer styles in 97 categories. It took 1,170 judges to evaluate 9,680 entries in all categories, the Brewers Association said.

To allow time for the fall harvest and beer production, finalists in the fresh hop beer category will compete in early October, and winners will be announced Oct. 15.


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