For the second year in a row, Pottstown, Pennsylvania's Sly Fox Brewing Company was victorious in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale category. From scores of entrants, Sly Fox's Grisette Working Class Ale was awarded the Gold Medal this year, after taking home the Silver Medal in 2013. Sly Fox was one of five Pennsylvania breweries to win a Gold Medal in 2014.
GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and winning brands are considered the benchmarks of brewing excellence.
Sly Fox Brewing Company's Grisette Working Class Ale is a Belgian-style ale that was originally brewed in the Hainaut province to be the beer of the miners in the area, just as Saison was the beer of the farmers. It was lighter than Saison and frequently contained wheat as well as barley malt (as does the Sly Fox version). The name is derived from the French word for "gray," referring to both the drab factory frocks worn by the young women (the Grisettes) who doled out pints as the men exited the mines, and also the color of the cobblestone rock being extracted.
The Grisette can features a nod to the legend of the style and, in true working class fashion, at the GABF competition Grisette was judged with beer poured from a can, as it was when it won in 2013. 2014 marks the second canning of this popular seasonal offering that is available in Sly Fox markets from May through August.
"The samples were pulled right off of our canning line," said Patrick Mullin, Director of Sales for the growing beer maker. "There was no special handling or consideration, and we think that speaks to the consistent quality of Sly Fox beers."
The back-to-back medals for Sly Fox Brewing Company round out 8 total GABF medals that the brewery has earned since they were founded in 1995. When Sly Fox's Pikeland Pils earned the brewery's first Gold Medal at the GABF in 2007 in the German-style Pilsner category, it marked the first time any craft beer in a can had been awarded a medal of any kind.
The 2014 GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 222 beer experts from 10 countries evaluating 5,507 commercial entries. Award-winning brewers received prestigious Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in 90 beer categories covering 145 different beer styles, establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.