IPSWICH — A local brewing company was recently announced as the winner of a prestigious award from “the Emmys of brewing competitions.”

Gary Rogers, 65, a co-founder of True North Ale Company in Ipswich, said that while there are many awards that brewers can and are proud to win, there are two large competitions that are to brewers what the Emmys and the Oscars are to actors.

The World Beer Cup is the Oscars of brewing competitions, Rogers said, and the Great American Beer Festival is the Emmys.

In October, GABF awarded True North with a silver medal for its CERVEZA Mexican Lager, and Rogers said the announcement was not only a huge honor, but a validation of the hard work he and his team puts into the Ipswich brewery.

The GABF is the largest brewing competition in the United States, and the second largest in the world. This year more than 8,800 beers were submitted for judging from more than 1,700 American breweries, Rogers said.

“It's big,” he said. “It's really big.”

According to Rogers, the CERVEZA Mexican Lager is “crisp, clean and light.”

“It’s not like a big stout that’s dark and malty,” he said, adding that the beer has an alcohol content of 4.3%. “It’s not an IPA, so it’s not hoppy. With this beer we did a couple of things that are a little bit different than what you would do with your typical lager. We used yeast from Mexico that the largest brewery in Mexico has used for many, many decades when brewing their beer.”

Rogers said the yeast was made commercially available by the brewery Modelo Especial.

“We added in flaked maize, flaked corn essentially,” Rogers added. “That adds just a little bit of sweetness for a longer finish than you would get from a Budweiser, for example.”

Rogers, who is originally from Beverly but now lives in the Byfield section of Newbury, said he started brewing his own beer at home around 36 years ago, just prior to the birth of his son, Jake. Jake, having grown up around his father's home brewing, developed an interest in the process, his father said. Rogers said a couple of years ago, his son approached him about starting a brewery together.

“I had been retired for a couple years,” Rogers said — True North opened in 2017 in a brand new facility off County Road. “I said, ‘Yeah, let's go.’”

This is not the first major award True North has won — the brewery won a gold medal from the World Beer Cup in 2018 for its Belgian blonde — but Rogers said the award is extremely validating.

“It reinforces what we set out to do,” he said, adding that credit should be given to the head brewer at True North, Seth Barnum. “We put a team together that was really focused on making great beer and looking to share that beer with people throughout Massachusetts and now in Rhode Island.”

Staff writer Erin Nolan can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at enolan@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @erin_nolan_.


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