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Great American Beer Festival: Winners

by The Drink Nation on Oct 3, 2011 in Beer
Great American Beer Festival: Winners

Over the weekend, the Brewers Association held their Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony. This year, the largest commercial beer competition in the world drew a record-setting 3,930 entries from 526 breweries in over 80 different beer styles. (A full list of the 248 gold, silver and bronze medals given out is available in PDF form here.) The winningest entrant overall was Sun King Brewing, which took home eight medals total, four of them golds. Check out some of the highlights, below.

In the coveted Brewery and Brewer of the Year segment, California cleaned up, scoring the golds for Mid-Size (Firestone Walker, Paso Robles), Small Brewpub (Pizza Port, San Diego), Large Brewpub (Pizza Port, Carlsbad) and Brewpub Group (TAPS Fish House, Brea). Washington State’s Chuckanut took home the award for Small Brewing Company and none other than Pabst (Woodridge, IL) walked away with first place for Large Brewing Co.

On to the actual brews. As it has been every year since 2001, the most competitive category was American IPA, which garnered 176 entries. Gold went to New Mexico’s La Cumbre Brewing for their Elevated IPA, a 7.2% ABV available only on tap, growler or cask. Oskar BluesDeviant Dale’s cans from Colorado took silver and Ohio’s Head Hunter IPA, from Fat Heads Brewery, took the bronze.

Barrel-Aged beer is an increasingly popular style, and out of 118 vying, Nebraska Brewing’s Melange a Trois took the win. Aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels, this bottle-conditioned 10% ABV Belgian-style ale is offered in half-liter cruets. Runners up were Sun King’s BBJ (Bourbon Barrel Johan, from Indianapolis) and Ohio’s Hoppin’ Frog, with Naked Evil BBW.

Four new styles were judged this year, including Fruit Wheat Beer (won by Chicago’s Cerveceria for 5 Lizard 5 Rabbit); Chocolate Beer (where Barley Brothers from Arizona scored tops); American Brett Ale – a tart, complex brew made with a new wild yeast (Maine’s Allagash took the gold with Confluence); and International Pale Ale – a medium-bodied, calmer IPA (Boulevard Pale Ale from Missouri came out a winner).

All in all, it was an impressive showing, with contestants coming from 48 states and Puerto Rico. How many of the winners have you tasted?

Photo via Flickr user BrightEyedMedia

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