Rockwell Beer Co. won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival’s annual awards on Sept. 10. Rockwell placed first in the “Other Strong Beer” category for its Kazimierz, a foeder-aged Baltic porter.
“We were screaming,” head brewer Jonathan Moxey tells Off the Menu of the moment when Rockwell won.
There were also tears, he says. "It was not expected."
This is the second Great American Beer Festival medal for Rockwell, which opened in late 2018 at 1320 South Vandeventer Avenue in Botanical Heights. The brewery’s Stand By hoppy pilsner won bronze in 2019 in the “Kellerbier or Zwickelbier” category.
Moxey describes the gold-medal Kazimierz as a bit like an imperial stout, but lagered. After about a month and a half in a stainless-steel fermentation tank, the beer ages another four months in a foeder equipped with chilling fins.
“So even though it's out in the cellar in wood, inside (the foeder) the liquid is kept very cold at lagering temperature,” Moxey says. “So it allows a relatively strong beer to develop slowly and gracefully. So it's very smooth — like, it's 9.2% (ABV), but it drinks more like 6(%).”
Kazimierz, named after Casimir Pulaski, is currently available on draft in Rockwell’s tasting room.
Rockwell was not the only area brewery to win a medal at the 2021 edition of the Great American Beer Festival awards. (The festival itself did not take place this year; the awards were given out during the Craft Brewers Conference.)
Third Wheel Brewing in St. Peters won silver in the “Irish-Style Red Ale” for its Sandman, and the Eureka brewpub of Jackson, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing took silver in the “Experimental Wood-Aged Beer” category for its House of Flying Barrels: Plumage.
Elijah Pasciak, director of brewing operations for Melvin Brewing in Eureka, describes his reaction to the medal as “surprised, excited and thankful.”
Plumage, according to the Melvin Brewing Eureka Facebook page, is a saison "fermented in oak with plums, ginger, buddha's hand, lemon zest and mixed cultures.”
Of the silver-winning beer, Pasciak says, “It's expressive and dynamic. It's soft, yet it's tart. And it's very refreshing. And it's herbaceous, and it's delightful.”
Third Wheel didn't immediately return a message seeking comment on Monday.
This post has been updated with additional comment.