Photo courtesy Great American Beer Festival
The long drought is over. Little Rock’s Lost Forty Brewing Co. won a silver medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival for its Logger Rita Vienna Lager, marking the first time an Arkansas brewery has earned a medal since 2008.
Little Rock’s Lost Forty Brewing Co. won a silver medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival in the Vienna-Style Lager Category.
Category 45: Vienna-Style Lager – 87 Entries
Gold: Gustav, Taft’s Ale House
Silver: Logger Rita, Lost Forty Brewing
Bronze: Dock Time, Stony Creek Brewery
2008 was the year Vino’s earned gold for its imperial red ale. The tiny downtown Little Rock brewpub and punk rock destination earned a bronze for the same beer in 2006. North Little Rock’s Diamond Bear Brewing Co. is the only other Arkansas brewery to place at the event, taking home gold in 2007 for its English-style pale ale and a bronze for Honey Weiss the same year. Diamond Bear’s pale ale also won silver in 2003.
GABF—as it’s known for short—was founded in 1982. It is the premiere beer festival in the Unites States and is hosted by the industry’s trade organization, the Brewers Association. Attendance numbers have yet to be released for 2017, but last year more than 60,000 people enjoyed the festival and nearly 800 breweries poured beers in the festival hall.
This year 2,217 breweries submitted beers in the competition. Taking home a medal is considered a big deal in the industry because the competition is fierce.
Lost Forty’s entry is self-billed as a Mexican-style lager. The beer first appeared in early 2016 as a part of the brewery’s Fresh Cut series—a lineup of small batch beers released on Mondays.
The BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) description of the style points to a moderately rich malt aroma with a clean lager character. A toasty flavor backbone is buoyed by a slight bitterness and notably dry finish. Vienna lagers tend to be light red to copper in color. The most prevalent example in the market is Sam Adams Boston Lager.
Photo courtesy Lost Forty Brewing
The gold medal for the style was awarded to Taft’s Ale House from Cincinnati, Ohio. The bronze was given to Stony Creek Brewery from Branford, Connecticut.
Lost Forty responded to the win with a note of appreciation on its Facebook page:
Thank you Arkansans for supporting your local breweries and thank you L40 brew crew for your unrelenting dedication to crafting exceptional beer. We can’t wait to have you all over for a pint of this award-winning recipe soon! CHEERS!
Northwest Arkansas was also represented at GABF, with Apple Blossom Brewing Co. and New Province Brewing Co. submitting beers in the competition, and Fossil Cove pouring beers in the festival hall. Other Arkansas participants included Rebel Kettle Brewing Co. and Damgoode Pies.
GABF is a pilgrimage that many beer drinkers make at some point. Descending on Denver with a necklace of pretzels and an itinerary built exclusively around beer is a bucket list experience that’s up there with attending the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby.
For an Arkansas brewery to draw accolades at the premiere beer event in the U.S. is a huge accomplishment. Hopefully the next medal comes much sooner than the last.
Cheers to Lost Forty Brewing Co. for its win. And cheers to Arkansas beer!