PUBLISHED: 5:51 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Juneau company wins three medals at 2007 Great American Beer Festival
Alaskan Brewing Co. won three medals at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival on Saturday in Denver, maintaining its claim to fame as the most award-winning craft brewery in the history of the nation's largest and most prestigious beer festival.

It was a big day for Alaskan Smoked Porter, which won a silver medal in the Smoke-Flavored Beer category and a bronze in the Aged Beer category for the 2004 vintage.

The two most recent medals maintained its position as the most award-winning beer in GABF history, with 16 medals total. Alaskan Stout refused to be eclipsed by Alaskan Smoked Porter, taking home a bronze in the Oatmeal Stout category.

"We were honored to accept the three medals," said Ann Metcalfe, Controller at Alaskan Brewing Co., "because with a record 2,800 beers entered, it confirms that our commitment to making excellent beer is recognized and rewarded."

"The crowds at the sold-out festival lined up to taste our Smoked Porter, which was gone in less than two hours at each session," Metcalfe said.

"This was my first GABF, and I was gratified to see such excitement for our products among all the beer lovers in attendance."

This was the first medal at GABF for Alaskan Stout, which had won a gold medal at the 2002 World Cup.

"I'm so glad that Alaskan Stout won a medal, because I hope it will draw attention to an exceptional beer in a category that can be overlooked," said plant manager Curtis Holmes.

Far from overlooked is the Alaskan Smoked Porter, which has earned a reputation as a world-class beer. As with a fine wine, a limited amount of Alaskan Smoked Porter is made each year and it can be aged. That's because some yeast is left in the beer, allowing the beer to condition in the bottle with the smoke acting as a preservative.

Alaskan Brewing has an extensive library of vintage Smoked Porter, which was first brewed in 1988.

A very popular feature at the 2006 GABF was a rare opportunity to taste 11 different vintages from the stores of Alaskan Brewing's private library.

Alaskan Smoked Porter is often credited with reviving the rauchbier style in the United States.

The malt for this unique beer is smoked over alder wood, a hardwood indigenous to Southeast Alaska that is often used to smoke fish. That winning combination was the result of a partnership between Alaskan Brewing and Taku Smokeries, a fish smokehouse that was then located across the street from the brewery.

In 2005 Taku Smokeries planned an upgrade that would get rid of the existing commercial smokehouse that had been used to smoke the malt for Alaskan Smoked Porter. Luckily, Alaskan Brewing Co. was able to buy the smokehouse that has played such an important part of the history and success of the brewery.

"History and authenticity is very important to us," said Geoff Larson, Co-founder and Co-owner of Alaskan Brewing Co.

"We felt that by buying the original smokehouse we could preserve the quality and consistency of Alaskan Smoked Porter for years to come, as well as a key part of our history."