On Saturday, October 8, the state of Washington tore up, smacked down and shat on everything Oregon loves.
It was the worst single day for Washington burying Oregon since Mount St. Helens blew its top.
On the very same day the University of Washington's enthusiastic 70-21 skullfucking of notable Republican fundraiser Phil Knight's Oregon Ducks football team quite possibly pushed Mike Helfrich back inside Chip Kelly's uterus, something much worse happened: Washington beer beat Oregon beer in a fair fight.
They done made fools of us at the Great American Beer Festival, the biggest and most important beer party and competition in America.
Remember that back in 2014, Oregon was riding high at the GABFs—punching so far above its weight that California was wearing a foam cup to protect itself. For the second year in a row, an Oregon brewery had won the gold medal in the most coveted category in beer. First Barley Brown's IPA was called the best in the country in 2013, and then Breakside's was in 2014. In 2015, Laurelwood at least scored a silver among Imperial IPAs with Laurelwood.
But this year? Oregon didn't get a single gold in any of the most competitive categories—IPA, Imperial IPA, coffee beer, strong pale ale, or barrel-aged strong beer—the styles that had the most entrants. In fact, we only got one medal in any of those: a silver for Sunriver Brewing for its Rippin Strong Pale Ale.
Instead, two of those five major-category gold medals went to a single Seattle brewery: Georgetown, maker of Manny's Pale. Their Bodhizafa IPA ran away with the gold in the most coveted American-style IPA category, while their Gusto Crema took home the coffee beer gold.
Reuben's Brews, also from Seattle, ran off with the prize on German-style sours for their gose. Bellingham's Chuckanut won in the German-style Helles category because Chuckanut gonna Chuckanut.
And in a loss maybe as bad as the IPA losses, Spokane's Fish Brewing ran off with the gold in American style wheat—a style Oregon's Widmer brewing single-handedly invented.
Washington got seven gold medals to our five—which looks OK until you realize that a whopping 45 breweries from Oregon entered their beers in the GABF, while Washington entered a mere 18.
Percentagewise, it's a rout—even when you take into account Oregon's total of 21 gold, silver and bronze medals versus Washington's 14.
But, in seriousness: The real story isn't that Oregon beer has gotten worse. It's that Washington beer did so well.
Oregon's medal count of 21 has remained pretty much steady since 2014, when we picked up 22 medals. In fact, this year's medal tally puts us in third place behind California and Colorado, which both entered beers from three times as many breweries as Oregon did. We're still medaling better, on average, than either.
Five Oregon beers were considered the best of their style in the entire country—including Breakside's Rye Curious (rye beers) and 10 Barrel's P2P Stout (American stout).
Breakside and the Commons each picked up multiple medals—with Breakside scoring three and the Commons two.
In what has become an annual event, Ground Breaker medaled in the gluten free category—this time winning a gold with their dark ale—while dark horses Alesong of Eugene and Three Creeks of Bend won golds for Brett beer and brown porter, respectively.
In any case, the fact remains that our cross-Columbia neighbor seems to have pulled our beer-pickled heart out of our collective chest and roasted it with marshmallows. And Oregon's got some serious work to do.
Meanwhile, uh… go Beavers.