W.Va. brews do well at Bramwell’s Oktoberfest

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Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company assistant brewer, William Gudmundsson, celebrates his bewery’s wins at The 20th Annual Bramwell Oktoberfest in Mercer County.
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Hundreds of people braved bad weather October 10th for Bramwell’s 20th annual Oktoberfest in Mercer County.

Bramwell held its 20th Annual Oktoberfest last week, bringing together some of the best beers in the state and around the region.

Held in Mercer County, this year, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s Devil Anse IPA was judged “Best of Show,” taking home the Bramwell Cup.

The brewer’s Mothman Black IPA took second place.

Bridge Brew Works of Fayetteville, meanwhile, collected the most awards for the day. The brewer brought eight different beers to the competition. Five of them earned medals.

They won first and second place in the Belgian Styles and Specialty Beers division and won the Porters & Stouts category.

They also placed second among Pale Lager/Blonde Ales and third in the Fest Brew category with their Oktoberfest beer.

George Sitwell, the chairman of the Bramwell Oktoberfest, said 22 breweries competed in the Oktoberfest, most of which were local or regional.

“But we had some national breweries come and showcase what they make,” he said.

Despite soggy, cold weather, Sitwell said this year’s Oktoberfest was a roaring success.

“We had 870 people buy tickets and come out in the rain,” he said.

The size of the crowd is a far cry from that first year, Sitwell added.

“In 1995, when I started this, I brewed all the beer for it.”

Now, the beer comes from all over the state, with some from different parts of the country.

The idea for the festival originated with Sitwell just wanting to have a decent bottle of beer, which wasn’t an easy task in Mercer County or most of the rest of the state. In order to buy a Sam Adams beer, he had to cross state lines, and go all the way from Bramwell to Blacksburg, Virginia — about an hour away.

The festival emerged as a way to show off different beers with some friends and just grew from there.

“Now, there’s craft beer everywhere,” he said.

And Sitwell thinks that’s wonderful.

“I’m completely surprised that happened, but I’m totally thrilled,” he added.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5195 or follow @LostHwys on Twitter

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