The weekend couldn't have been more validating for Draught Works. While most of us walked away from the 25th annual Garden City BrewFest with little more than sea legs and commemorative glasses, the Northside brewery took home something extra. Make that two somethings. Draught Works' Blackberry Gose (5.4 percent alcohol by volume) not only won the prize for best Belgian/sour beer in Caras Park, but was named runner-up for best of show as well.
For co-owner Jeff Grant, the awards were a signal that the Missoula community has taken to his operation's sour program. It's a beer style that Draught Works has been following closely and improving on for several years now. The timing of the awards worked out well, too, given that the brewery will be releasing its Blood Orange Gose, another product of the sour program, by the end of May.
"It's new and interesting, right?" Grant says of the style, which, while relatively new to Missoula's craft beer palate, is actually centuries old in Germany. "It's currently unique, and people love unique. ... Even though it's an old style, it's new enough to our markets that it's intriguing and exciting."
Grant adds that despite their inherent acidity, sours tend to be lighter and more thirst-quenching—in other words, an ideal hook for summer drinkers and for newcomers to Montana's craft beer scene.
Draught Works isn't the only brewery celebrating a win at last Saturday's festival. Here's a round-up of the other winners:
Best IPA: Red Lodge Ales' Bruno's IPA
Best Pale: Sierra Nevada's Sidecar Orange Pale Ale
Best Lager: Blue Point's Toasted Lager
Best Light Lager: Rogue's Honey Kolsch
Best Fruit Beer: Tamarack's Apricot Ale
Best Amber/Porter/Stout: Highlander's Scotty Butte Wee Heavy
Best of Montana: Red Lodge Ales' Bruno's IPA
Best of Show: Red Lodge Ales' Bruno's IPA