- Sunriver’s Brett Thomas accessorizing with GABF gold. Photo courtesy Sunriver Brewing.
he big headlines for Oregon beer, however, were made in Denver last weekend. That's the site of the Great American Beer Festival, the U.S.' largest and most prestigious craft-beer celebration, and it's fair to say that Sunriver Brewing had a nice weekend over there.
Head brewer Brett Thomas and the rest of the Sunriver crew won GABF gold for two different beers—the flagship Fuzztail hefeweizen and Cinder Beast, an imperial red ale on tap now at Galveston. The Brewers Association also awarded them the Small Brewing Company of the Year prize, previously scored by prestigious outfits such as Marble and Devil's Backbone. (GoodLife also scored gold for Sweet As, while Three Creeks got a bronze for Stonefly Session Ale.)
Sunriver's reputation upon its 2012 opening wasn't all that rosy—their beer was made by Phat Matt's, the not-at-all-missed Redmond contract brewer, and it didn't exactly make patrons swarm to their restaurant in the Village at Sunriver. Things changed quickly once they moved brewing on-site and hired Thomas from Silver Moon, and before long, Sunriver had a second pub on Galveston Avenue and a reputation for incredibly tasty beers.
Now the little resort brewery has a national reputation—and thanks to a brewery expansion in June and new distribution in Idaho and Washington, it won't be long before another Central Oregon regional darling is born.