The 35th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) wrapped up on Saturday evening after yet another fun and successful event. We’ve had a full two days to recover from attending the fest, so we’ll be bringing you several stories recapping the event over the next several days. However the biggest news is perhaps the GABF beer competition, so today, lets talk about medals!
GABF Competition Overview
Each year, GABF awards gold, silver and bronze medals for excellence in 96 beer-style categories. These beers represent the best-of-the-best of their style category. Beers that win GABF gold medals are considered a world-class beer that perfectly exemplifies its style. It’s an incredibly touch competition, so much so that in the new pumpkin/squash category, there was only a bronze medal awarded – no silver or gold medals were given. With such stringent guidelines and tough judging, when a brewery wins a medal for their beer, you know that that beer is an outstanding example of the beer style, taste, aroma and appearance.
This year the GABF beer competition was fierce. There were 7,227 competition entries this year, from 1,752 different U.S. breweries. While most style categories saw an average of 75 entries, the more popular categories were much tougher. The most popular style again this year was the American-Style IPA, which had 312 entries. So yeah, winning a medal is a pretty big deal. This year a total of 286 medals were awarded to 254 breweries. That sounds like a lot, but it means that just under 1,500 breweries went home empty handed. So you could say that winning a medal in this, the largest commercial beer competition in the world, is a pretty big deal.
Colorado Medal Winners
This year Colorado breweries earned a total of 38 medals, which put our state second only to California in total medals awarded. The medal haul for Colorado breweries includes 13 gold medals, 16 silver medals and 9 bronze medals. Below is the full list of Colorado winners. Make sure you stop by their taproom to enjoy a brew and give them a high five!
Colorado’s Gold Medal Winners
- 4 Noses Brewing Co (Broomfield) – Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Pumpkin Spice Beer
- 14er Brewing Co (Denver) – Rocky Mtn Saison – Chili Beer
- Bootstrap Brewing Co (Niwot) – Stick’s Pale Ale – American-Style Pale Ale
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Co (Golden) – Solid Gold – Belgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Co (Golden) – Trump Hands – Session India Pale Ale
- Copper Kettle Brewing Co (Denver) – Blond – Other Belgian-Style Ale
- Denver Beer Co – Canworks (Denver) – Drama Queen – Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
- Echo Brewing Co (Frederick) – Kirby – Golden or Blonde Ale
- Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel (Erie) – Tri-Town Brown – English-Style Brown Ale
- El Rancho Brewing (Evergreen) – Valhalla – Historical Beer
- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse (Loveland) – Little Red Cap – German-Style Altbier
- Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co (Castle Rock) – Warning Sign – German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock
- The Post Brewing Co (Lafayette) – Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale – Classic Saison
Colorado’s Silver Medal Winners
- Black Bottle Brewery (Fort Collins) – PDA – Belgian-Style Tripel
- Blue Moon Brewing Co. (Denver) – Mango Wheat – Fruit Wheat Beer
- Broken Compass Brewing (Breckenridge) – Ginger American Ale – Herb and Spice Beer
- Carver Brewing Co. (Durango) – Lightner Creek Lager – American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager
- Cerebral Brewing (Denver) – Dreamy Thing – Brett Beer
- Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery (Ridgway) – Ridgway Blonde – English-Style Summer Ale
- Coors Brewing Co. (Golden) – Coors Banquet – American-Style Lager or Ice Lager or Malt Liquor
- Dry Dock Brewing Co. – South Dock (Aurora) – Helles – Munich-Style Helles
- Fiction Beer Co. (Denver) – Alternate Present – German-Style Schwarzbier
- Front Range Brewing Co. (Lafayette) – Piney Ridge Dunkel – European-Style Dark Lager/Munich-Style Dunkel
- Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. (Glenwood Springs) – St. James Irish Red Ale – Irish-Style Red Ale
- Left Hand Brewing Co. (Longmont) – Fade to Black, Volume 1 – Export Stout
- Prost Brewing (Denver) – Weißbier – South German-Style Hefeweizen
- Steamworks Brewing Co. (Durango) – Backside Stout – Oatmeal Stout
- Steamworks Brewing Co. (Durango) – Slam Dunkel – German-Style Wheat Ale
- Upslope Brewing Co. – Flatiron Park (Boulder) – Upslope Brown Ale – American-Style Brown Ale
Colorado Bronze Medal Winners
- 12Degree Brewing (Louisville) – Treachery – Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale
- Baere Brewing Co. (Denver) – Saison – Classic Saison
- BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery – Boulder (Boulder) – Wild & Crazy Rye – Historical Beer
- Bootstrap Brewing Co. (Niwot) – Wreak Havoc – Imperial Red Ale
- CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing (Fort Collins) – Not Brown – English-Style Brown Ale
- Coors Brewing Co. (Golden) – Coors Light – American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager
- SKA Brewing (Durango) – Mexican Logger – American-Style or International-Style Pilsener
- Telluride Brewing Co. (Telluride) – Face Down Brown – American-Style Brown Ale
- Verboten Brewing (Loveland) – Little Nonsense – Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Congratulations to all our Colorado winners!
For a full list of all 2016 competition winners, visit the Great American Beer Festival website.