The Ore Dock Brewing Company is seeing gold. The Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) of Chicago recently awarded the Upper Peninsula brewery with two gold medal ratings at its 2014 World Beer Championships. Both ‘Reclamation IPA’ and ‘Saison’ scored 93 out of a possible 100 points in their respective beer style categories. The medals are especially meaningful as each represents the flagship offering of the two distinct beer styles focused upon by brewers at Ore Dock: American/English and Belgian ales.
The World Beer Championships take place annually with seven different tasting sessions per year. According to Ore Dock Brewmaster Nick VanCourt, this is part of the competition’s allure. “Rather than a select number of judges tasting a multitude of beers in one setting, each beer is tasted at the particular time of year its style is called for. The beer is also tasted upon its receipt during that timeframe which allows your entry to be rated while still being very fresh.”
In a craft beer industry dominated by hop-heavy ales such as the India Pale Ale (IPA), Ore Dock’s Reclamation proves there is indeed room for balance. “We like to refer to Reclamation as a ‘mid-coast’ IPA. It’s not as hop-forward as its west coast counterparts, nor is it as malty as what you often find out east,” explains VanCourt. And though the same concentration on ingredients and process are paid toward the Belgian-style ‘Saison’, the ale itself is rather simple according to VanCourt. “It comes down to the correct balance of one hop and one malt with this beer, and then letting the yeast do all the work.” The resulting complexity of ‘Saison’ is further enhanced by the bottle conditioning of this beer at the time of packaging, which ultimately allows for experiencing this style of ale in its truest form.
“To medal with both of the recipes that truly represent our vision of the craft beer world here at Ore Dock is an awesome accomplishment,” says VanCourt. “We strive to create ales bursting with complexity while focusing on a calculated balance of beer’s big four ingredients. The end result, we hope, is a highly drinkable product.” BTI’s ratings seem to have validated just that.