Local brewers bring home gold from 'Beer Olympics'

SEATTLE -- Three local brewers brought home gold medals at the recently completed 2014 World Beer Cup, considered to be the most prestigious beer contests in the world. 

It's often called the "Olympics of Beer" because it takes place every two years and features the best brews from all over the world.

Scuttlebutt Brewing of Everett won a gold medal for its 2009 Old #1 Barley Wine in the Barley Wine-Style Ale category. Flyers Restaurant & Brewery won the gold in the Other Strong Beer category for its Brouwers 8.  And Redhook Brewery won a gold for its Audible Aile in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale competition.

The awards ceremony was streamed live over the internet from Denver.  Scuttlebutt brewmaster Matt Stromberg watched in surprised as his Barley Wine was announced as a gold medal winner.

"It was overwhelming, and then very satisfying," said Stromberg, who remembers brewing the batch in 2009. 

Barley Wines are made to be aged like a fine wine, says the low key brewmaster. 

"It's not for drinking at a tailgate. It's more like drinking a sherry," he said.

Phil Bannan and his family started Scuttlebutt more than 20 years ago.

"I started it because I didn't want to run out of beer," Bannan said with a wink.

If a beer meets the style guidelines set by the Brewer's Association and the judges find the taste to their likings, that's what it takes to take home a medal.

Nine Washington brewers were awarded medals. Scuttlebutt has sold out of its gold medal winning 2009 batch but does have a 2008 barley wine that is a close match. Some local specialty liquor stores could have stashed some cases away of the award winning beer says Stromberg.  The going price is roughly $6, if you can find it.