2018 Great American Beer Festival Awards Are In The Books And The Winners Are Legit

24 September, 2018

The DME team travels a lot. It's kind of our thing. It doesn't matter if it's the far corner of Wyoming or in the heart of Peru, if we see or hear about a local brewery, we're going. Granted we keep our expectations low and hope for a nice surprise but when we roll into any brewery and see their GABF medals framed on the wall or above the taps there's an immediate sense of raised expectations from the beer we're about to try. That's because winning a GABF medal is no easy feat. These coveted Bronze, Silver and Gold medals are awarded to stand out beers, great brewers/breweries/brewpubs and beers that push the creative envelope in new categories proving the lifeblood of craft brewing is alive and thriving.

It should also be known that these awards aren't judged by a secret panel of snooty beer elitists, it's a panel of brewers, homebrewers, fans and Brewer Association members. It's an award of your beer peers.

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This year at the 37th Great American Beer Festival the Brewers Association awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries across the United States in the 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 All Winners & Categories Here


·         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
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
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 medals won by a single brewery: 3
o   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
o   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
o   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
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
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

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
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:
Little Harpeth Brewing Co. - Nashville, TN
Deer Crossing, Munich-Style Helles Lager
Brewmaster: Jesse Brown and Mike Onofray
Homebrewer: Chris Allen
Rock Bottom Brewery - Warrenville, IL
Gone for a Burton, English-Style Brown Ale
Brewmaster: Erik Pizer
Homebrewer: Jim Todd
Cheluna Brewing Co. - Aurora, CO
La Bomba; Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale
Brewmaster: Jennifer Perez
Homebrewer: Chris Cardillo
Medals were also awarded in the first-ever GABF Collaboration Competition, which recognizes the collaborative spirit of the professional craft brewing community.
New Belgium Brewing Co. - Ft. Collins, CO
TransAtlantique Kriek
Collaboration Brewery: Oud Beersel - Beersel, Belgium
Firestone Walker Barrelworks - Buellton, CA
Pixie Dusted
Collaboration Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA
Quarter Celtic Brewpub - Albuquerque, NM
Mocha Hipster Bomb
Collaboration Brewery: Palmer Brewery and Cider House - Albuquerque, NM


·         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


If you're a craft beer fan and you've never made the pilgramige to GABF - make it a priority to go.