Let us first just throw out a few numbers at you, just to give you an idea as to what the competition is like at the Great American Beer Festival, held by the Brewers Association every September in Denver.
• 526 breweries from 48 states plus Puerto Rico, submitted beers
• 3,930 beers vied for medals
• 248 medals were awarded
• 167 beer judges from nine countries did the dirty work
• 83 beer categories covering 134 beer styles (encompassing subcategories)
• 176 entries in the American IPA category (most of any category)
OK, that’s a lot of beer. And a lot of medals. And a lot of judges. (How do we get in on that action?)
So, let’s get this second bit of business out of the way. For those craft beer snobs who sneer at Pabst as hipster swill, perhaps the fact that Pabst Brewing Company took home four medals as well as Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, may help you reconsider your position. It may not be your thing, but it ain’t swill.
As you can imagine, by the inclusion of the Pabst brewing company, the competition is open to brewers large and small and the 83 categories pretty much cover any kind of beer you can imagine. Our favorite: Indigenous Beer. We have no idea what that means.
Scanning the extensive list of winners, however, we found several beers we’d like to someday drink, just based on their names.
• Shredders Wheat, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, OR (Silver)
• Grimalkin – Super Kitty Fantastico, Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis, IN (Bronze)
• Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co., Akron, OH (Bronze)
• Bourbon Murder, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR (Gold)
• Grand Inquisitor, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Wilmington, DE (Bronze)
• Nevermore Lager, Rock Bottom Brewery (King of Prussia, PA), Louisville, CO (Silver)
• Battle Axe Baltic Porter, Fat Head’s Brewery, North Olmsted, OH (Gold)
• Blackened CDA, Carter’s Brewing, Billings, MT (Silver)
• BORIS The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co., Akron, OH (Gold)
It should also be noted that Sun King Brewing from Indianapolis was the big winner, taking home eight medals (four gold!). Two Pizza Port restaurants/brewpubs in the San Diego area also fared well, winning 10 medals between them. We also recommend Firestone Walker who scored six medals, including three gold.
Now doesn’t that make you thirsty?