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Ronan Co-op Brewery wins awards for excellence in brewing

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RONAN — Two beers by the Ronan Cooperative Brewery won metals in the North American Brewers Association (NABA) conference for excellence in brewing. Their Schwartz Lake Schwarzbier took home bronze, while their Mud Lake Dunkles Bock won silver.

“This is only the second time we’ve entered this contest,” Co-op head brewer Jim Myer said. “I think our beers have gotten better, we’re a year more experienced now.”

According to the NABA website, the annual competition is judged by brew masters from major international breweries, as well as experts from small, independent breweries, beer journalists, and certified judges. Since 1997, hundreds of competitors have participated every year.

The Co-op’s Schwarzbier, a dark lager affectionately referred to as a “black pilsner” by Myer, was put together last fall. “It seemed fun to brew … it’s a combination of science and food. It had some sweet notes of toffee and beer, and it’s a lot more compositional than a lot of beers,” he explained. “Even more so with that Dunkles Bock … That’s a big Bock beer, almost 8% alcohol. There’s a lot of malt called a Munich malt, which is such a powerful malt. It provides a lot of sweetness in that beer, then there’s some roasted German malt, that kind of ends up with an artisanal breadcrust feel ... It aged, or laagered, for 12 weeks.”

“(A member) told me we were robbed with that bronze metal, that we should’ve got gold,” taproom manager Eric Brunet laughed. “I thanked him for the encouragement.”

As summer comes into full swing, the now award-winning brewery will be offering a variety of events for the public along with their ever-expanding offering of beers. 

—  As part of Pollinator Week, on Friday, June 17, the brewery will host a Downtown Chalk Walk and Pollinator Party. Twenty spaces will be available for free outside the Co-op for anyone who wants to compete in the sidewalk chalk event and the party will consist of food trucks and plenty of pollinator-themed activities. 

—  On June 19, “Everything Beer with Bob” will be back featuring co-op board member Robert Hall, who will guide attendees through all the tasting elements that go into beer. 

—  Back by popular demand on June 26 is the return of the Paint and Sip event. 

—  An agriculture trivia takeover I takes place on June 28. 

—  Local food Fridays will also feature Mere’s Magic Universe & Tea shop owner Meredith Trosper’s “Whole Bowls,” made with black beans, carrots, coconut milks, rice and spaces in the colors of Ronan High, as well as some other meal inventions to be announced at a later date. 

With future concoctions for the brewery in mind, Myers said, “We’re really lucky here in Ronan that people don’t seem to expect a specific thing from microbreweries. We can just do more fun beers.” 

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Brunet said of the Co-op’s summer plans. “They should be a lot of fun.”

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