Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. is no stranger to winning awards. But the Akron brewery got a special honor this month when it was named “USA Brewery of the Year” at the third annual New York International Beer Competition in New York City.
“It’s nice to win a competition in New York, especially with us rolling out our beers in New York,” Thirsty Dog co-owner John Najeway said, referring to the fact that the brewery recently started distributing in Manhattan.
Thirsty Dog bested other craft brewer heavyweights such as Deschutes, Samuel Adams and 21st Amendment for the top award.
Thirsty Dog also was the only brewery to receive a “Double Gold” for its Bernese Barley Wine Ale — a beer that won the inaugural homebrew contest at West Point Market and was later produced on a commercial basis as part of the grand prize. Bernese was designed by brothers Nick and Justin Herstich of Akron.
The brewery also received bronze medals for its Citra Dog and barrel-aged Wulver Wee Heavy Ale.
The top U.S. brewery award was well-deserved, said Adam Levy, who runs the event.
“These guys really swept it. I’m happy for them,” he said.
He described Thirsty Dog as “people who are passionate about beer and they are making great beer at a great price.”
The only other Ohio-based craft brewery to win was Listermann Brewing Co. in Cincinnati. It received a gold for its Cincinnatus and bronze for Planetary IPA.
Samuel Adams, which brews many of its beers in Cincinnati, won three gold, five silver and five bronze medals.
Nearly 400 beers and ciders from more than 20 countries were entered in the competition, which was judged by beer buyers, retail store owners, restaurant/bar proprietors, beer distributors and importers. Less than 35 percent of the brewers who submitted beers and ciders won a medal.
“We take great pride in that,” Levy said. He described some competitions as “third grade soccer,” when brewers get some type of award simply for entering.
To see all the winners, click here.