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gabf20

272 medals awarded to 240 breweries in prestigious professional beer competition

Boulder, Colo. • October 16, 2020 — The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 272 medals* to 240 breweries across the country during the 2020 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awards ceremony. The best beers in 91 beer categories covering 170 different beer styles (including all subcategories) were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals during a virtual ceremony hosted on The Brewing Network.

Judges for the 34th edition of the celebrated competition evaluated 8,806 entries from 1,720 breweries from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. Socially distanced judging took place in 35 sessions over 18 days with strict safety measures in place. The awards ceremony was held virtually on Friday evening, kicking off the two-day online programming portion of the Great American Beer Festival.

“This year’s GABF competition may have looked a little different, but the beers entered into the competition were as impressive and innovative as ever,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Great American Beer Festival. “This has arguably been one of the most challenging years breweries have ever faced, so we hope these awards serve as a symbol not only of brewing excellence but also the resiliency of the craft brewing community as a whole.”

View the 2020 winners or download a PDF list of the winners.

GABF COMPETITION STATISTICS

  • 34th edition of the GABF competition
  • 8,806 beers judged
  • 1,720 breweries in the competition from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
  • 115 judges from 21 states
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 97
  • Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (377)
  • 272 total medals awarded
  • 240 medal-winning breweries
  • 337 first-time GABF entrants
  • 19 first-time GABF winners

 

MOST-ENTERED STYLE CATEGORIES

The winners of the top five most-entered categories were:

Category 58: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (377 entries) – Sponsored by The Cincinnati Insurance Companies 

GOLD: Spellbinder, Wren House Brewing Co., Phoenix, AZ

SILVER: Yojo, Moonraker Brewing Co., Auburn, CA

BRONZE: Wicked Pawesome, Metazoa Brewing Co. – Stringtown Production Facility, Indianapolis, IN

 

Category 57: American Style India Pale Ale (355 entries) – Sponsored by The Ardagh Group 

GOLD: IPA, Perry Street Brewing, Spokane, WA

SILVER: Updrift India Pale Ale, Pelican Brewing Co. – Tillamook, Tillamook, OR

BRONZE: Nothing Noble, Von Ebert Brewing – Pearl, Portland, OR

 

Category 39: German Style Pilsener (200 entries) – Sponsored by Micro Matic 

GOLD: Sprockets, Gravely Brewing Co., Louisville, KY

SILVER: Prost Pils, Prost Brewing Co., Denver, CO

BRONZE: Pils, Kansas City Bier Co., Kansas City, MO

 

Category 28: Wood & Barrel-Aged Strong Stout (199 entries) – Sponsored by BeerHole 

GOLD: A Night to End All Dawns, Kane Brewing Co., Ocean, NJ

SILVER: Ruckus, Melvin Brewing – Thai Me Up, Jackson, WY

BRONZE: Grasp of Oak, Moksa Brewing Co., Rocklin, CA

 

Category 60: Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale (192 entries) – Sponsored by The Alison Group 

GOLD: The Hopsplainer, Burke-Gilman Brewing Co., Seattle, WA

SILVER: Not A Scientist, Cloudburst Brewing, Seattle, WA

BRONZE: Sugar on My Tongue, Highland Park Brewery, Los Angeles, CA

 

MOST MEDALED BREWERIES

The most medals won by individual breweries included:

Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN – 4 medals 

GOLD – Afternoon Delight, Category 26 – Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer

BRONZE – Cherry Busey, Category 30 – Fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

BRONZE – Pachanga, Category 34 – Light Lager

BRONZE – Sunlight Cream Ale, Category 49 – Golden or Blonde Ale

 

Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, CO – 3 medals 

GOLD – Featherweight Pale Ale, Category 53 – American-Style Pale Ale

BRONZE – Vladimir Brutin, Category 18 – Experimental India Pale Ale

BRONZE – Let’s Talk About Mex, Category 37 – American-Style Cream Ale

 

Chuckanut Brewery – North Nut, Bellingham, WA – 3 medals 

GOLD – Chuckanut Maibock, Category 47 – Bock

SILVER – Chuckanut Chuck Lite, Category 34 – Light Lager

BRONZE – Chuckanut Rye, Category 12 – Rye Beer

 

Riip Beer Co., Huntington Beach, CA – 3 medals 

GOLD – Tangible Passion, Category 82 – Belgian-Style Specialty Ale

SILVER – The Riizzo, Category 10 – Coffee Stout or Porter

SILVER – Black the Riipper, Category 69 – American-Style Black Ale or American-Style Stout

 

23 individual breweries won 2 medals

213 individual breweries won 1 medal

 

BREWERY AND BREWPUB OF THE YEAR AWARDS

(See criteria here)

PACKAGING BREWERIES:

Very Small Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group 

<1,000 barrels produced in 2019 

Five Branches Brewing, Tarpon Springs, FL; Jerry Brown

 

Small Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by ABS Commercial 

1,000 – 14,999 barrels produced in 2019 

Big aLICe Brewing Co., Long Island City, NY; Big aLICe Production Team

 

Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by MicroStar Logistics 

15,000 – 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2019 

Lost Forty Brewing, Little Rock, AR; Lost Forty Brewing Team

 

BREWPUBS:

Small Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co. 

<750 barrels produced in 2019 

The Good Society, Seattle, WA; Phil Cammarano & Nick Berger

 

Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group 

750 – 1,500 barrels produced in 2019 

Monkless Belgian Ales, Bend, OR; Todd Clement & Chris Dinsdale

 

Large Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by Ska Fabricating 

Over 1,500 barrels produced in 2019 

The Freehouse, Minneapolis, MN; The Freehouse Team

 

LARGE BREWERIES AND MULTIPLE LOCATION BREWERIES:

Brewery Group of the Year – Sponsored by Live Oak Bank 

Over 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2019 or multi-location breweries wishing to compete as a group 

Three Creeks Brewing Co., Sisters, OR; Team Three Creeks

 

great american beer festival

America’s largest annual beer competition moves forward, festival will take place online

Boulder, Colo.  — The Great American Beer Festival® (GABF), the country’s preeminent beer festival and competition, will pivot its 2020 event, originally scheduled for September 24-26 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, to an immersive online experience October 16-17. This decision was further confirmed with the announcement on May 20, when Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes to allow the operation of alternate care sites in Colorado because of the presence of COVID-19, rendering GABF at the Colorado Convention Center infeasible.

“While we are disappointed to not be gathering in Denver this fall for the craft beer community’s annual big tent event, the health and safety of our attendees, brewers, volunteers, judges, and employees is and always has been our top priority,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association. “As the world is still greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to be affected for the foreseeable future, we must stay true to our priorities and pursue other ways to host GABF.”

The 39th Great American Beer Festival may look different, but beer lovers from around the country will have the opportunity to come together in new ways to celebrate the nation’s craft beer community. The spirit of the festival will live on through live and virtual experiences with beer lovers and breweries nationwide on October 16-17, 2020. The event is still in planning, but experiences will likely include beer tastings, conversations with brewers, local brewery activations, and at-home beer and food pairing deliveries.

The festival’s renowned professional beer competition will take place in 2020. A panel of more than 100 professional judges will assess the more than 7,000 expected entries to identify the three beers that best represent each style category. The GABF gold, silver, and bronze medals are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. Brewery registration opens on June 9. More information on the competition, style guidelines, and awards ceremony here.

“We are thankful to be able to move forward with this year’s competition and have the opportunity to award brewers’ achievements and generate consumer awareness for beer styles and trends,” added Pease. “We look forward to celebrating the annual accomplishments in brewing excellence and unveiling this year’s winners.”

Over the past few months, the Brewers Association has worked tirelessly on behalf of its members and the larger brewing community to provide critical resources, as well as lobbying Congress both independently and with other hospitality and food industry groups, for relief. Following the cancellation of the Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America® and World Beer Cup™ in April, the Brewers Association offered five weeks of complimentary virtual, online seminars to interested participants. Furthermore, the Brewers Association’s COVID-19 Resource Center includes information on draught system shutdown, how to forecast cashflow, a checklist for safely reopening, and more.

More information about the 2020 GABF logistics, schedule, and ticket options will be released in the coming months. For the latest news, follow @BrewersAssoc on Twitter.

 

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,400-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®SAVOR™: An American Craft Beer & Food ExperienceHomebrew Con™National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.

 

gabf

Back in 1982, the craft beer revolution was becoming something exciting, marked by something new—a premier, national festival and competition. 24 breweries, 50 beers, and 800 attendees seemed like small potatoes, but it was grand on a different type of scale. It was the first Great American Beer Festival, after all.

Now it’s 2018. Over 800 breweries, 4,000 beers, and 60,000 attendees over three days of craft madness reflects a different kind of picture, if not the same revolution. If you’ve been drinking craft beer these past few years, you know what the market looks like—unlimited options of craft from all over America. Craft beer is a good thing, so there can’t be too much, right? Right.

GABF, annually organized and put on by the Brewers Association, marks the still-growing and ever-changing craft industry across the world. The all-encompassing nature of the experience is overwhelming (in a positive way), but here’s what we took away as enthusiastic representatives of Michigan and our own craft mitten lifestyle.

Navigating the Colorado Convention Center is like navigating a small city. Countless rows of breweries from A-Z are stacked end to end with large endcap booths marking the beginning and end of another section. In the heart of it all is a meet-the-brewer neighborhood with extra industry folk, extra beer, and hey, it’s extra crowded. Outlying spaces are filled by seminar space, local food trucks, stages for music, walls of merchandise, and casual seating.

Every step and every direction there is something to catch the eye, the interest, and the taste buds. One brewery brought its own break-dancers. One seminar highlighted a bug and beer pairing featuring traditional bug dishes from Mexico. Jameson, as in the whiskey distillers from Ireland, had the biggest festival setup—at a beer festival!

Michigan represented well. We saw pioneers like Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing Co., and Short’s Brewing Co. boldly stake their claim on the floor with eye-catching endcap booths and, as always, delicious beer. Short’s setup screamed northern Michigan, with a booth decorated in waterskis and bright colors. New Holland brought aspects of their original Holland location with them and created a mini, brick-layed pub that created just the right ambiance to highlight their most popular brew, Dragon’s Milk.

Michigan also had some great newbies there, like Eastern Market Brewing Co. and Grand Armory Brewing Co. representing from Detroit and Grand Haven respectively. As first-timers, these breweries were excited to get fresh feedback on their beers and brands from national consumers.

How does all of this come together? How does it connect? Craft beer has always been about fun, but beneath that are attributes that have defined the industry since the beginning—aspects like quality, independence, local, community, collaboration, creativity, hard work, and innovation. This universal language of craft strives to bridge gaps everywhere. Local to global. Professional to amateur. Community to community. Brewer to retailer. Brewery to consumer. Craft to other craft.

Some new offerings at GABF this year definitely fell under the above characteristics and practices. New this year was both a Pro-Am Brewer Competition as well as a Collaboration Competition.

The Pro-Am united professional breweries with homebrewers to collaborate on recipes to compete for top, national honors. This exchange of skill sets, opinions, and experimentation reflects the creativity and transparency of the craft industry. Craft workers always strive for better quality, new ideas, and further education. Most professionals and commercial breweries now are marked by homebrewing pasts. It’s a cycle that keeps craft as dynamic as ever and challenges the industry to go down new pathways.

Also new this year was the Collaboration Competition, which connected multiple breweries in the creation of one great recipe to win national honors. In the spirit of community, this brings two brands, two missions, and two businesses into a new practice with each other. Open communication has always marked workers in craft beer—there is no information hoarding here. This competition just ups the ante on the creativity and collaboration that already defines the craft beer community.

GABF’s evolution reflects craft communities across the nation—how they grow, adapt, and change. What stays the same is the enthusiasm. Brewers create because they love the craft of beer. Consumers drink because they love the liquid and the experience. It all begins and ends with actual beer. Everything in between can change and evolve at anytime. This mystery and guessing and experimentation are how we all get our next steps.

This is how the craft industry boomed with New England IPAs this past year. The demand and craze was so big nationally that GABF added it as a beer style category for the first time ever; and as it turns out, it broke the record for the most submissions in a category. The style that originated on the east coast picked up traction nationally—uniting brewery communities, cultures, and practices. New things created from old. New spins on traditional styles. This was just this year’s example.

What comes next? Breweries always have their ears to their consumers and to fellow brewers elsewhere for inspiration. Whatever it is, it will surely taste great and will represent something bigger than just beer in a glass.

 

Photography © Brewers Association

great american beer festival

LANSING, Mich.—Seven Michigan Brewers Guild member breweries were awarded a collective nine medals this past weekend at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Competition, in Denver, Colorado—the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence, presented by the Brewers Association.

The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries across the United States with award-winning breweries receiving prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 102 beer categories covering 167 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country and earning a symbol of brewing excellence. Read more about the competition below.

Michigan Brewers Guild member received the following awards:

GOLD

  • West Coast Swing Amber – American Style Amber/Red Ale: The Mitten Brewing Co., Grand Rapids

SILVER

  • NZ Pilz (American Style Pilsener): Wolverine State Brewing Company, Ann Arbor
  • Kung Fu Smurf (Belgian Style Dubbel or Quadruple): Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak
  • Breakfast Stout (Coffee Stout or Porter): Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
  • Roundhouse (Double Hoppy Red Ale): Bell’s Eccentric Café, Kalamazoo
  • My Brown Eyed Girl (English Style Brown Ale): Thornapple Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
  • Porter (Robust Porter): Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids

BRONZE

  • Cerveza Delray (International Style Pilsener): Brew Detroit, Detroit
  • Raucher (Smoke Beer): Wolverine State Brewing Company, Ann Arbor

The Great American Beer Festival is the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals, offering the largest collection of U.S. beer ever assembled. The judging panel awards gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. These awards are among the most coveted in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising. Medal distinctions are as follows:

  • GOLD: A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
  • SILVER: An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
  • BRONZE: A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.

GABF Competition Statistics:

  • 32nd edition of the GABF competition
  • 8,496 entries plus 101 Pro-Am and 49 Collaboration entries
  • 2,404 breweries in the competition from 49 states plus Washington, D.C. (no Mississippi)
  • 293 judges from 13 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 83
  • Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)
  • 280 medal-winning breweries (including Pro-Am and Collaboration)
  • 306 total medals awarded plus three (3) each for Pro-Am and Collaboration
  • 537 first-time GABF entrants
  • 31 first-time GABF winners

The Michigan Brewers Guild is the network of innovative and passionate brewers that serves as the recognized advocate for the Michigan craft beer industry. The mission of the Michigan Brewers Guild is to promote and protect the Michigan craft beer industry with an overarching goal to help craft beer acquire 20% of the market by 2025.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $144 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $600 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

 

Photo © Brewers Association

great american beer festival

 DENVER, CO — The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries across the United States at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition. In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, award-winning breweries received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 102 beer categories covering 167 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country and earning a symbol of brewing excellence.

 

View the 2018 winners or download a PDF list of the winners.

 

GABF COMPETITION STATISTICS

  • 32nd edition of the GABF competition
  • 8,496 entries plus 101 Pro-Am and 49 Collaboration entries
  • 2,404 breweries in the competition from 49 states plus Washington, D.C. (no Mississippi)
  • 293 judges from 13 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 83
  • Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)
  • 280 medal-winning breweries (including Pro-Am and Collaboration)
  • 306 total medals awarded plus three (3) each for Pro-Am and Collaboration
  • 537 first-time GABF entrants
  • 31 first-time GABF winners

 

MOST-ENTERED STYLE CATEGORIES

In its GABF competition debut, the Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale style category was the most-entered with 391 entries. Since 2002, the most-entered category was American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 311 entries in 2018.

The winners of the top five most-entered categories were:

 

Category 63: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)

GOLD: Alarmist Brewing – Le Jus, Chicago, IL

SILVER: Kros Strain Brewing Co., Fairy Nectar London Double Dry Hopped – La Vista, NE

BRONZE: Eris Brewery and Cider House, Foiken Haze – Chicago, IL

 

Category 62: American-Style India Pale Ale (311 entries)

GOLD: Root Down Brewing Co. – Bine, Phoenixville, PA

SILVER: Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Portsmouth, Not an IPA (P.S. it’s an IPA) – Portsmouth, NH

BRONZE: Green Cheek Beer Co. – West Coast IPA is Dead! – Orange, CA

 

Category 29: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout (177 entries)

GOLD: Against the Grain Brewery, 70K Amburana – Louisville, KY

SILVER: Kane Brewing, A Night to End All Dawns – Ocean, NJ

BRONZE: FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Eclipse – Truckee, CA

 

Category 59: American-Style Pale Ale (170 entries)

GOLD: Ocean Beach Brewery – B.Right On Pale Ale – San Diego, CA

SILVER: Ventura Coast Brewing Co. – Neighborhood – Ventura, CA

BRONZE: Maplewood Brewing Co. – Charlatan – Chicago, IL

 

Category: 28 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (162 entries)

GOLD: Drake’s Brewing Co. – Santa’s Brass – San Leandro, CA

SILVER: The Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Willett Barrel-Aged Ye Old Sprinklerhead Barleywine – Atlanta, GA

BRONZE: Revolution Brewing, Straight Jacket – Chicago, IL

 

NEW COMPETITION CATEGORIES

 

In addition to Juicy or Hazy IPA, the following categories were also new to the competition this year:

Category 60: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (132 entries)

GOLD: Tin Roof Brewing Co., Voodoo – Baton Rouge, LA

SILVER: Kings Brewing Co., Sippin on Dank – Rancho Cucamonga, CA

BRONZE: Fiction Beer Co., Madame Psychosis – Denver, CO

 

Category 65: Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale (150 entries)

GOLD: Black Market Brewing Co., New England Style Double IPA – Temecula, CA

SILVER: Corridor Brewery & Provisions, DDH Double IPA – Chicago, IL

BRONZE: Alvarado Street Brewery, Contains No Juice – Salinas, CA

 

Category 35: American-Style Pilsener: (91 entries)

GOLD: The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Rocket 100 – Austin, TX

SILVER: Wolverine State Brewing Co., NZ Pils – Ann Arbor, MI

BRONZE: The Post Brewing Co., Howdy Beer – Lafayette, CO

 

Category 57: Australian-Style Pale Ale (46 entries)

GOLD: Butcherknife Brewing Co., Sunshine Express – Steamboat Springs, CO

SILVER: Worthy Brewing Co., Strata IPA – Bend, OR

BRONZE: Austin Beerworks, Flavor Country – Austin, TX

 

MOST MEDALED BREWERIES

  • Most medals won by a single brewery: 3

10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR – 3 medals

  • GOLD – Baywindow, category 77: Berliner-Style Weisse
  • GOLD – Passionate Envy, category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer
  • SILVER – P2P, category 96: American-Style Stout

 

Alesong Brewing and Blending, Eugene, OR – 3 medals

  • SILVER – Terroir Pinot Noir, category 19: Experimental Beer
  • SILVER – Terroir Pinot Gris, category 25: Brett Beer
  • BRONZE – Touch of Brett Mandarina, category 25: Brett Beer

 

Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT – 3 medals

  • GOLD – Miner’s Gold, category 2 American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast
  • SILVER – Pompey’s Pilsner, category 42 Bohemian-Style Pilsener
  • BRONZE – Prickly Pear, category 55 Classic English-Style Pale Ale

 

BREWERY AND BREWER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

(See criteria here)

 

PACKAGING BREWERIES

Very Small Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

<1,000 barrels produced in 2017

Brink Brewing Co. – Cincinnati, OH; Brewmaster: Kelly Montgomery

 

Small Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by ABS Commercial

1,000 – 14,999 barrels produced in 2017

Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. – Helena, MT; Brewmaster: Lewis & Clark Brewing and Packaging Crew

 

Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year – Sponsored by MicroStar Logistics

15,000 – 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2017

pFriem Family Brewers – Hood River, OR; Brewmaster: pFriem Family Brewers

 

BREWPUBS

Small Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients

<750 barrels produced in 2017

Ocean Beach Brewery – San Diego, CA; Brewmaster: Jim Millea & Scott Watkins

 

Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

750 – 1,500 barrels produced in 2017

Root Down Brewing Co. – Phoenixville, PA; Brewmaster: Root Down Brew Team

 

Large Brewpub of the Year – Sponsored by The Country Malt Group

Over 1,500 barrels produced in 2017

The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. – Austin, TX; Brewmaster: Amos Swifty Kim

 

LARGE BREWERIES OR MULTIPLE LOCATION BREWERIES

Brewery Group of the Year – Sponsored by Live Oak Bank

Over 6,000,000 barrels produced in 2017 or multi-location breweries wishing to compete as a group

FiftyFifty Brewing Co. – Truckee, CA; Brewmaster: FiftyFifty BrewCrew

 

PRO-AM COMPETITION

Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., The Country Malt Group and White Labs

Gold, silver and bronze medals were also awarded in the GABF Pro-Am competition, which pairs homebrewers with professional brewers, who scale up their award-winning homebrew recipes. The medal winners, including the winning professional brewers and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) member homebrewers are:

 

GOLD:             Little Harpeth Brewing Co. – Nashville, TN

Deer Crossing, Munich-Style Helles Lager

Brewmaster: Jesse Brown and Mike Onofray

Homebrewer: Chris Allen

 

SILVER:            Rock Bottom Brewery – Warrenville, IL

Gone for a Burton, English-Style Brown Ale

Brewmaster: Erik Pizer

Homebrewer: Jim Todd

 

BRONZE:         Cheluna Brewing Co. – Aurora, CO

La Bomba; Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale

Brewmaster: Jennifer Perez

Homebrewer: Chris Cardillo

 

COLLABORATION COMPETITION

Medals were also awarded in the first-ever GABF Collaboration Competition, which recognizes the collaborative spirit of the professional craft brewing community.

 

GOLD:             New Belgium Brewing Co. – Ft. Collins, CO

TransAtlantique Kriek

Collaboration Brewery: Oud Beersel – Beersel, Belgium

 

SILVER:            Firestone Walker Barrelworks – Buellton, CA

Pixie Dusted

Collaboration Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – Paso Robles, CA

 

BRONZE:         Quarter Celtic Brewpub – Albuquerque, NM

Mocha Hipster Bomb

Collaboration Brewery: Palmer Brewery and Cider House – Albuquerque, NM

 

GABF STATISTICS

  • 37th anniversary of the festival
  • Over 800 breweries in expanded festival hall
  • 4,000+ beers served at the festival
  • 62,000 attendees
  • 4,086 volunteers (festival and competition combined)
  • 584,000 square feet of festival hall

 

Photo © Brewers Association

brewers association

 

Boulder, Colo. —To educate beer lovers about the craft brewing community and what it means to be independent, the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent craft brewers—is launching a new national awareness campaign, “That’s Independence You’re Tasting.” This integrated advertising campaign is part of the Brewers Association’s ongoing efforts to distinguish and promote America’s small and independent craft brewers. The videos will be presented across a variety of media platforms.

“That’s Independence You’re Tasting” takes a proud and positive tone, focusing on independence and choice—both key tenets of craft brewing culture—and tells the story of the country’s more than 6,600 independent craft brewers. These hard-working women and men are entrepreneurs, innovators, collaborators, risk takers and underdogs who advance the beverage of beer.

“Independent craft brewers are a success story for American industry,” said Bob Pease, president & CEO, Brewers Association. “Each of the over 6,600 U.S. craft breweries is a unique contributor to its community and should be celebrated. As a national campaign, ‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’ generates awareness beyond any one individual brewery or beer and touches the spirit of independence that is a core American value. We are proud to be able to do for all our BA members what would be extremely difficult for them to do individually. Together we are united in independence.”

The initial phase of the awareness campaign launched in June 2017 with the introduction of the independent craft brewer seal. Featuring an iconic beer bottle shape flipped upside down, the seal indicates that a brewery is certified to be independently owned. The seal has been adopted by more than 3,700 craft brewing companies—representing more than 80 percent of the volume of craft brewed beer.

“‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’ is designed to keep independent craft brewers and their beers top of mind. Our hope is that after being exposed to these stories, beer lovers are moved to support independent breweries and seek the seal when making their beer purchases,” added Pease. “By choosing a beer that has the independent craft brewer seal, the beer drinker knows that they are supporting a brewery with ties to the community.”

To learn more about “That’s Independence You’re Tasting” and the independent craft brewer seal, visit CraftBeer.com—the Brewers Association’s website for beer lovers—follow along and join the discussion at #SeektheSeal.

 

 

great american beer fest

The popular refrain from the 1971 Gene Wilder classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory seemed the most appropriate way to describe my excitement when I found out I would be attending the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. As a lover of craft beer I was vaguely aware of the festival but never thought I would have the opportunity to attend. I’ve been to several West Michigan beer festivals but I was not prepared for the wonders that awaited me in scenic golden Colorado. Oh, and Golden, Colorado is the home of Coors… right? Get it? Golden ticket? Never mind…

The Great American Beer Festival was started in 1982 and had 24 breweries, 47 beers, and roughly 800 attendees in the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder, Colorado. Fast forward to 2017 where some 60,000 attendees, 3,900 beers, and 800 breweries were crammed into the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Tickets sold out in just over four hours.

In an attempt to the make the trip as affordable as possible we packed up the MittenBrew-Subaru and made our way from the Midwest to the Rockies. We agreed to make the drive casual and did so by stopping at some cool places like 3 Floyds, The World’s Largest Truck Stop, several Kum & Go gas stations as well as a Pump and Pantry (no, I am not making those last two up). Once in western Illinois, the long straight highways were lovingly hugged on both sides by vast expanses of corn, grassland, and not much else.

We intentionally arrived two days early to hit some of the amazing breweries that call Colorado home. In no particular order we hit Avery, Oskar Blues, Crooked Stave, Bull and Bush, Left Hand, Wynkoop, Great Divide, Bootstrap, Mockery, Black Shirt, and Colorado’s own—Coors. At each location we were greeted warmly, treated well, and welcomed back. It’s a town very much in love with its beer, both macro and craft.

Returning to luxurious hotel accommodations after each day of exploring might have been nice, but we chose to camp with some great friends from Railtown Brewing and City Built Brewing. Warm, clear sunny days gave way to frosty cold nights (we’re talking 3 layers to sleep cold). I dreamt of having all 4 of Charlie Bucket’s grandparents on my air mattress to keep me warm. Ok, that may have been an overshare.

Thursday, the opening day of the festival, arrived and it was lovely outside—warm, sunny and just really pleasant. We attended the Michigan Brewer’s Guild gathering at 1-UP-LODO which was a lot of fun to watch. Brewers talking beer, the local sites, and playing vintage arcade games. I used to be a decent Galaga player, I am sad to report I am not any more. I was much better at KISS pinball. After some great laughs and beers we headed to the festival.

great american beer fest

The Colorado Convention center is monstrous and appears to be guarded by a frozen two-story tall blue bear. The general admission line was wrapped around the building and I never actually saw the end of the line, and this was almost 45 minutes before the gates opened. People were enjoying the sunny weather and the glorious anticipation of tasting some of the best beers in the world. It was very much like the 5 golden ticket holders meeting Willy Wonka at the gate when we arrived at the event door to get our media credentials—except that there were 2 of us.

I have attended large techie conventions before, but to see that many brewery booths was really overwhelming. Media attendees were granted early entry so I got to walk in and see the place before the onslaught. I casually strolled in trying to maintain my composure while planning my dark beer “must haves.” While perusing the giant map and list we began to hear bagpipes which meant the festival was about to open to the attendees. Reading that 60,000 people attend over the 3 days was a neat fact but it didn’t occur to me what that would look like. There must have been 2,000 people just standing inside the main door waiting to go through the gates. It was literally a river of beer shirts, beards, cargo shorts, weird hats, costumes, and smiles. The vibe was really positive. It was also clear that many people knew exactly where they were going right away, some even running to get that first pour of their favorite libation.

From that moment on it was elbow to elbow with people laughing, smiling, and celebrating the wonderful gift of beer. I was ecstatic to get some fantastic beers that I hadn’t tried before like Double Barrel Baptist from Epic, Barrel Aged Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues, Tweak from Avery, and to close out the festival I had a pour of Utopias from Samuel Adams. What an amazing journey of beer and community.

great american beer fest

These are my tips for first time attendees:

  • Cell phones are only good for taking pictures of your drunk buddies or co-workers. Don’t plan on making calls or getting texts in the convention center during the festival.
  • Know where the bathrooms are. It’s a long walk to anywhere on the convention floor and it takes 10 times longer trying to move through the crowds.
  • Pace yourself and stay hydrated #betterdrinkingculture
  • Smile and take it all in. The sooner you settle into the scene, the sooner you’ll realize you’re with friends.
  • Try something new. I am a dark beer lover and I had a sour or two—I let my hair down.
  • If you find yourself on a brewery tour and are invited to hold a hop pellet, might I recommend that you don’t eat said hop pellet. Trust me.

 

It was an amazing adventure and while I didn’t win control of the chocolate factory I did get to meet some great people. Dates for the 2018 Great American Beer Festival are September 20th – 22nd in 2018. I’ll be seeing you then Denver, and not as a green newbie this time!

Cheerz!

 

Photography: Steph Harding & Ray Ashley

Rockford, Mich.—Rockford Brewing Company returns to Michigan from this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado, with national recognition.

The brewery won multiple awards including Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year, a silver medal in the Irish-Style Dry Stout category for their Sheehan’s Stout and a bronze medal in the English-Style Brown category for Rogue River Brown.

“My head is still spinning. I’m very proud of the talent that we have at Rockford Brewing Company,” said Seth Rivard, co-owner of Rockford Brewing Company. “We have a passionate staff who never cease to amaze me.”

GABF Rockford Brewing

Seth Rivard & Jeff Sheehan

Rockford Brewing Company competed at the festival with 2,217 United States breweries. Their winning brews were selected by an international panel of 276 judges who blind tasted 7,923 entries.

“Each year the Great American Beer Festival showcases the best that American brewers have to offer,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Great American Beer Festival. “With a record 8,000+ entries, this year’s competition was the most competitive to date. Congratulations to all the winners who truly demonstrated why the U.S. is the world’s best and most diverse brewing nation.”

This year’s wins have energized Rivard and Rockford Brewing Company co-owner Jeff Sheehan to continue striving for excellence.

“I am extremely motivated for us to step up our game,” Sheehan said. “We want to stick to our values but continuously improve. We owe this success to everyone who has supported us—the West Michigan community and beyond.”

The brewery has been acknowledged by the Great American Beer Festival once before in 2015, when Rogue River Brown won its first bronze in the English-Style Brown category.

The owners hope the national recognition will encourage beer tourists inclined to visit West Michigan’s larger breweries to check out the greatness in the smaller ones, too.

“Grand Rapids is a country-wide destination for craft beer,” Sheehan said. “People come to the city and want to stop at the bigger breweries but these awards will hopefully prove that though we are a small brewery, we belong on that ‘must visit’ list.”

Rockford Brewing Company plans to celebrate their achievements with an event celebrating the fans and staff of Rockford. More information is to come.