Dining With Denise Neil

Two local breweries win medals at craft beer ‘Oscars,’ one of them Wichita’s first gold

Central Standard Brewing crowler canning system

The brewery at 156 S. Greenwood is the only craft brewery in Kansas that has the on-site canner. (Oct. 29, 2015)
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The brewery at 156 S. Greenwood is the only craft brewery in Kansas that has the on-site canner. (Oct. 29, 2015)

Wichita just keeps winning at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, and this year was a particularly big one for the Douglas Design District’s two breweries.

Over the weekend, Central Standard Brewing brought home Wichita’s first gold medal from the event, and Hopping Gnome Brewing became a first-time medalist.

The annual contest is considered the Academy Awards of the craft beer industry, and it’s the industry’s biggest, most competitive and most respected contest.

Central Standard won a gold medal in the “Historical Beer” category for its Pushing Trees, a Norwegian Raw Ale. The category awards prizes to beer styles from the past that aren’t commonly brewed in the United States.

Central Standard collaborated on the beer with Crane Brewing out of Kansas City. Several months ago, the brewers got together at Central Standard and made the beer, which included flavors from juniper branches head brewer Ian Crane collected on the grounds of Elderslie Farm.

The beer was an experiment because the recipes for it are generally passed down by word of mouth from father to son in Norway, and the beer is really only commonly brewed in small batches in that country. Crane said he got in touch with a Norwegian beer blogger when he was concocting the recipe for Pushing Trees.

Central Standard wasn’t planning to brew Pushing Trees again, but now, Crane said, they likely will.

Meanwhile, neighboring brewing Hopping Gnome won its first Great American Beer Festival medal in a hotly contested category. Their Sepia Amber won the silver in the American-Style Amber/Red Ale category, which had 124 entries from across the nation.

Brewer Torrey Lattin enters his beers each year hoping — but not expecting — to win. Really, said his wife and business partner, Stacy, they are looking for notes and critiques from the expert judges. A silver medal was a welcome surprise, she said.

Sepia Amber is one of Hopping Gnome’s flagship beers that’s always on tap. It’s a nice fall beer with notes of caramel, chocolate and nuts, Stacy said, and it’s one of the brewery’s most popular beers.

Owners of both breweries said they were equally happy for their neighbors — and for the attention the wins will bring to the Douglas Design District breweries.

“It’s a pretty big deal for Wichita, honestly,” Stacy said.

Last year, Wichita Brewing Co. was the only brewery to bring home a GABF medal, earning a silver in the English-Style Brown Ale category with its Shaven Yak.

In 2016, Central Standard Brewing became the first Wichita brewery to earn a medal at the event, earning silver for its Standard Issue sour ale in the “Other Belgian style ale” category.

Peruse a complete list of winners at www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.

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