The Great American Beer Festival is one of the premier tasting events in the world – but it’s also a serious competition that identifies our nation’s very best beers.
The Professional Judge Panel tastes, rates and critiques brews in each specified style category, without knowing the brand name. The judges then identify the three beers that best represent each beer style and award gold, silver and bronze medals to those most deserving.
Gold: A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
Silver: An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
Bronze: A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.
If judges believe that no beer in the category meets the quality and style-accuracy criteria, they may elect not to award a medal. Judges may award a beer with a silver or bronze medal and yet not award a gold medal.
To win any of these medals is an incredible honor. In my opinion, any brewery that wins one is entitled to unlimited bragging rights for the rest of time.
This year’s competition drew in an impressive lineup of 3,523 beers (9% more than the 3,308 beers entered last year) and there were 151 beer judges from 10 countries judging 133 beer styles.
The most competitive category was the American-Style IPA with 142 entries and the gold medal went to “Pseudo” IPA from Pizza Port San Clemente (which I hope to check out very soon). There were also three new categories this year, Imperial Porter (nine entries), Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout (34 entries) and American Style India Black Ales (53 entries).
We’d like to send out a special congrats to our friends at Brewery Ommegang for winning the Bronze in Belgian-Style Abbey Ale with their Three Philosophers and also to our friends at Stone Brewing Co. for placing twice. Not only did they win Silver in Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer for their Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle, they picked up a Bronze for their Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale in the brand new American-Style India Black Ale category.
We can’t say we were surprised to see that our pals down at the Ithaca Beer Co. earned a Gold in the American-Style Sour Ale category with their Golden Sour Ale, Excelsior! Brute. It’s pretty incredible stuff and we couldn’t be happier to have a local(ish) brewery win such an acclaimed award.
You can check out everyone who placed right here!
[techtags:GABF, GREAT AMERICAN BEER FEST]