The Great American Beer Festival celebrated its 35th anniversary last weekend, October 6th-8th. It was another year of a very well run, very well attended (60,000 people!) festival, featuring 780 breweries and 3800+ unique beers from all across the country. I am so thankful to the Brewers Association, the thousands of volunteers, and sponsors who put in countless hours of time and effort to make GABF 2016 a huge success. And of course, many thanks to all the breweries who brought such incredible beers to share.
It’s always hard to fit in all the breweries and beers I want to try. I spend a lot of time preparing my list, mapping out a plan, and doing my best to stick to it. But inevitably there are so many pit stops I end up making when I find something interesting along the way. I tried a beer made with BBQ sauce, two peanut butter & jelly beers, several with maple syrup, a red velvet cake beer, a couple brewed with mushrooms, and more. Talk about variety!
Of all the beers I had, here are my top 10, in no particular order. Except I have to say that the Barrel-Aged Mexican Achromatic was my absolute favorite beer this year!
Barrel-Aged Mexican Achromatic from Weldwerks Brewing (CO)
Coffee Maple Achromatic from Weldwerks Brewing (CO)
Atrial Rubicite from Jester King Brewery (TX)
Oyster Weiss* from Scratch Brewing Company (IL)
Blueberry Maple Stout from Saugatuck Brewing Co (MI)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Barleywine from Moody Tongue Brewing (IL)
Dubious Nights from The Rare Barrel (CA)
Monmouth Red from Allagash Brewing Co (ME)
Cassis Amour Rouge from Mantra Artisan Ales (TN)
Ode Bruin from Two Brothers Brewing Co (IL)
*Oyster Weiss won a bronze medal in the category of Experimental Beer
Awards! There is something very special about attending the awards ceremony. Hearing the announcements and watching all the deserving breweries go up and get their medals is truly inspiring. There were 254 medalists this year with a total of 286 medals! Congratulations to all of the 2016 Award Winners!
These Colorado breweries took home a total of 38 medals: Bootstrap Brewing Co., Echo Brewing Co., 12Degree Brewing, Cerebral Brewing, 14er Brewing Co., Front Range Brewing Co., Fiction Beer Co., El Rancho Brewing, 4 Noses Brewing Co., Verboten Brewing, Upslope Brewing Co., Telluride Brewing Co., Coors Brewing Co., Ska Brewing, Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Black Bottle Brewery, The Post Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., Denver Beer Co. – Canworks, Prost Brewing, Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel, Carver Brewing Co., Baere Brewing Co., Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing, Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery, Left Hand Brewing Co., Blue Moon Brewing Co., Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co., Broken Compass Brewing, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse – Boulder, Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co., Dry Dock Brewing Co. – South Dock, and Copper Kettle Brewing Co.
I’ve been attending the Great American Beer Festival since 2009, and I feel like each year gets better as far as the organization of the event and the quality of beers. I had a wonderful time, tried some amazing beers, met some great people, and can’t wait for next year’s festival (October 5-7, 2017)!