ACTON, Mass. — Laughing Dog Brewing of Ponderay recently won honors at the United States Beer Tasting Championship’s 25th annual summer competition.
A total of 538 beers from 174 breweries were examined across 17 different beer categories. Within each category, the USBTC determined both a grand champion and the best entry from each of seven U.S. regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Rockies/Southwest, California and Northwest/Pacific.
Laughing Dog won top regional honors in the Northwest/Pacific category, as well as honorable mention in the overall competition for its Inland Empire Amber, top regional winner for amber/red ales; its English Pale Ale, top regional winner in the bitter/ESB category; and for its De Achtste Hond, top regional winner for fruited sour beer.
The USBTC takes a unique approach in that its competition is held in multiple stages. Sequential field trials are conducted wherein judges evaluate beers and select the best to advance to subsequent rounds. This allows beers to be judged in relatively small flights while ensuring that the best beers are still determined through head-to-head competition. All beers were tasted in blinded fashion and judged on a hedonic scale.
The USBTC recognizes that American brewers are continually establishing new beer styles and reviving interest in classic styles. As one way to acknowledge this, the USBTC devotes “pull-out” categories in each competition to styles that are currently emerging or being faithfully carried on. In the USBTC’s most recent event, Imperial Hazy IPA, Hazy IPA, and Fruited Sour Beer were selected as the USBTC pull-out categories.