WV Craft Brew Festival announces competition winners

The WV Craft Brew Festival announced the award winners from last Saturday’s beer competition. Held in Lewisburg at the State Fairgrounds, the festival included a competition for West Virginia-made beer from commercial breweries. 

“For a first-time event, we thought the WV Craft Brew Festival was a huge success,” said Kelly Collins, one of the lead festival organizers. “We ended up with over 1,400 people on grounds, and 66 craft beers from 13 breweries around the state of West Virginia. We are very excited to make this an annual event here in the Greenbrier Valley.”

wv craft brew festival

The judging

At the festival, breweries entered a selection of their beers into one of three categories to see who the panel of judges would rate as the best. Beers were divided into Light, Dark, and Specialty divisions and then competed against the others in the division. An overall Best of Show was also selected from among the division winners. All judging was done blind so that the judges did not know whose beer they were tasting.

The winners

The Petite Rye Saison from Bad Shepherd Beer was crowned grand champion as it took home the Best of Show award. It won the Light division. Festival beer judge Jeff McKay, owner of two premier craft beer outlets in Huntington, was impressed with the beer.

“I judged the Light category so I was lucky enough to judge the overall winner, Bad Shepherd Petite Rye Saison,” McKay said. “It was a very solid entry. The three of us in the group had only positive comments about it.”

Bad Shepherd also picked up first place in the Specialty Division for its The Loud IPA. The brewery had a good day.

Festival beer judge Rob Absten, from Charleston, felt a couple of the other entries really stood out as well.

“The Petit Rye Saison was the category winner,” Absten said, “but the Ipaetus Gose from Bridge Brew Works was a very good, refreshing take on that unusual style. Bright, effervescent, and with enough of a savory quality to offset the tartness.

“And the Dark beer division winner, a Cascadian Dark Ale, or Black IPA, from Parkersburg Brewing was dead-on to style — well bittered but balanced, with just enough roast notes  make it stand out from a standard IPA.”

Judging was led by long-time beers judges Jane & David Zalewski of Chesapeake, Ohio. David Zalewski also serves a treasurer of the Greater Huntington Homebrewers Association and Jane is club president.

Here are all the winners:

Light Division

1st – Petite Rye Saison, Bad Shepard Beer Company
2nd – Iapetus Gose, Bridge Brew Works
3rd – Logger Lager, Big Timber Brewing Company

Dark Division

1st – From Ash & Amber Cascadian Dark, Parkersburg Brewing Co.
2nd – Black Diamond Lager, Bridge Brew Works
3rd – 80 Shilling Scotch Ale, Morgantown Brewing Company

Specialty Division

1st – The Loud IPA – Bad Shepard Brewing Company
2nd – Double Bit IPA – Big Timber Brewing Co.
3rd – Double Dubbel Bourbon Barrel – Bridge Brew Works
Honorable Mention – Smoke Hole Lager, Chestnut Brew Works –

Best of Show

Petite Rye Saison, Bad Shepard Beer Company


The festival and competition were sponsored by the State Fair of West Virginia and the Lewisburg Rotary. All profits from the festival went to their respective foundations to support scholarship funds.

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