Esther Short -- Downtown Vancouver's Loowit Brewing Company made a splash at the inaugural Washington Beer Awards last month, winning a gold medal in the fruit beer category. Loowit's award-winning Vandalia Summer Ale was one of more than 400 beers submitted by nearly 70 Washington brewers in the first-ever competition. Beer makers were evaluated by judges through blind taste tests in dozens of categories, from sour beers to strong ales to imperial stouts. Winners were announced June 15 at the Washington Brewers Festival in Redmond. Loowit Brewing, 507 Columbia St., opened its taproom last November. See a full list of winners here: http://www.wabeerawards.com/winners.