The 38th annual Great American Beer Festival, held last weekend (October 3rd-5th), was nothing short of amazing. It was another fantastic year of beer, featuring 800 breweries and 4000 unique beers from all across the country. I’d like to take a moment to give a huge shout out to the Brewers Association, sponsors, and the 4,280 volunteers who put in
countless 63,623 hours (yes–it’s documented) of time and effort to make GABF 2019 a wonderful success. And of course, many thanks to all the breweries who brewed and brought such incredible beers to share.
Returning to this year’s festival was an even bigger version of the Jameson Caskmates Barrel Aged Beer Garden (14,000 sq ft), containing 22 brewery partners with beers aged in Jameson barrels. I love barrel-aged beers, so I really appreciate this part of GABF.
PAIRED was also back again, with 50 beers which can’t be found anywhere else in the country and bites created by 25 award-winning chefs. I wasn’t able to attend PAIRED this time around, but check out the awesome menu that attendees got treated to this year! And if you haven’t been to this part of the festival before, definitely consider it for next year.
I tried numerous superb beers at Great American Beer Festival, and of course there were many I could consider favorites. But if I had to pick my top 5, here they are:
- Gin Barrel Aged Imperial Cabinet (collaboration by Bruery Terreux from Anaheim, CA and Jester King from Austin, TX)
- Fragmentation of Silence (Orpheus Brewing, Atlanta, GA)
- Mega Devil’s Teeth (Modern Times Beer, San Diego, CA)
- Mexican Chocolate Yeti (Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver, CO)
- Sour Cherry Sour (Hermitage Brewing Company, San Jose, CA)
For attendees, the festival itself is where the excitement is. Show up, sample all the beer. But what most don’t see is the behind-the-scenes competition that a couple thousand breweries (and judges and volunteers) put so much hard work into.
Here’s a bit of info on 33rd edition of the GABF competition:
- 9,497 entries plus 113 Pro-Am and 70 Collaboration entries
- 2,295 breweries in the competition from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands
- 322 judges from 18 countries
- Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 88
- Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (348)
- 283 medal-winning breweries (including Pro-Am and Collaboration)
- 318 total medals awarded plus three (3) each for Pro-Am and Collaboration
- 401 first-time GABF entrants
- 37 first-time GABF winners
Want to see the full list of winners? Click here. Congratulations to all the breweries who won in 2019!
And a special congratulations to all of the Colorado medal winners!
- BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery: A&M Honey Bock ( gold in honey beer)
- Bootstrap Brewing: 1956 Golden Ale (gold in Golden or Blonde Ale)
- Bruz Beers: Séréneté Grand Cru (silver in Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale or Belgian-style Quadruple)
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Co: Trump Hands (silver in Session IPA) AND Vladamir Brutin (silver in Emerging India Pale Ale)
- Carver Brewing Co.: Lightner Creek Lager (bronze in Light Lager)
- Cellar West Artisan Ales: Westfield (silver in Specialty Saison)
- Comrade Brewing Co.: Superpower IPA (gold in American-style Strong Pale Ale) AND More Dodge Less Ram (gold in American-style India Pale Ale)
- Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: Get The Funk Out (gold in Belgian-style Lambic or Sour Ale)
- Echo Brewing Co.: Junebug (gold in Belgian-style or French-style Ale)
- Denver Beer Co.: Amburana Dream (gold in wood- and barrel-aged beer)
- Dostal Alley Brewpub and Casino: Cousin Jack (silver in ordinary or special Bitter)
- Dry Dock Brewing Co.: Malbock (silver in Bock)
- Dueces Wild Brewery: Knuckle Dragger (gold in Scotch Ale)
- Equinox Brewing Co.: Eclipse Brown Ale (silver in English-style Brown Ale)
- Good River Beer: Fu Fighter (gold in Belgian-style Pale Strong Ale)
- Green Mountain Beer Co.: Belgian Quad (silver in aged-beer)
- Grist Brewing Co.: Grist Maerzen (bronze in American-Style Amber Ale)
- Holidaily Brewing Co.: Bombastic Hazy IPA (gold in gluten-free beer)
- Joyride Brewing Co.: Ice Cutter Kolsch (silver in German-style Koelsch)
- Launch Pad Brewery: Peacekeeper (bronze in session beer)
- Mirror Image Brewing Co.: Balefire Irish Red (silver in Irish-style Red Ale)
- New Belgium Brewing Co.: Chess with Checkers (bronze in the pro-amateur competition)
- Odell Brewing Co.: Mountain Standard IPA (silver in Australian-style Pale Ale)
- Primitive Beer: Shibbleshabble (silver in experimental beer)
- The Post Brewing Co.: El Corn (silver in International-style Dark Lager)
- Red Leg Brewing Co.: Howitzer Amber (silver in German-style Altbier)
- Storm Peak Brewing Co.: Hoochie Mama (silver in Fruited American-style Sour Ale)
- Twisted Pine Brewing Co.: Northstar Imperial Porter (gold in other strong beer)
- Upslope Brewing Co.: Upslope Craft Lager (silver in International-style Pilsner)
- Vail Brewing Co.: Deck Daze Passion Fruit Tea-Infused Wheat (bronze in herb and spice beer) AND Pete’s Stash (bronze in Australian-style Pale Ale)
- Vine Street Pub and Brewery: Yonder Mountain Stout (silver in Oatmeal Stout)
- WeldWorks Brewing Co.: Itsy Bits (silver in Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale) AND Extra Extra Juicy Bits (gold in Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale)
- Westbound & Down Brewing Co.: Double-Barrel Louie (silver in wood- or barrel-aged Strong Beer) AND Westbound Double IPA (silver in Imperial India Pale Ale)
- Wit’s End Brewing Co.: Lindauer Lager (silver in Dortmunder or German-style Oktoberfest)
- Zuni Street Brewing: Way West Wit (gold in Belgian-style Witbier)
Thanks again to all who made the 2019 Great American Beer Festival possible, including all you dedicated craft beer drinkers who showed up to support the best beer fest in the land! I’ll see you again at GABF, September 24-26, 2020!
2 Comments Add yours
Great recap. GABF is definitely a bucket list event for me.
I also run a beer blog, we do beer reviews, brewery reviews, hops, home brewing, beer events, news, etc, all kinds of beer related articles and blog posts, you can check us out at: https://thebeerthrillers.home.blog/
Be sure to check us out, leave a comment, and maybe we can collaborate and do guest writing for each other or something. It would be fun! I clicked to follow you.
— The Beer Thrillers
Awesome! Followed. You NEED to do GABF once for sure! It’s an unreal experience.