Earlier today the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 286 medals to 254 brewers. The festival is celebrating its 35th year with 60,000 attendees pouring into the Colorado Convention Center since this Thursday. However, 2016 marks the 30th year that the Brewers Association has hosted the GABF competition that brings in beers from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to be judged earlier this week.
This year 1,752 breweries entered 7,227 beers into the 96 various categories, an almost 9% increase over last year’s 6,647 entries. With the increase amount of new brewery openings here in the U.S., GABF had 464 new brewery entrants into this year’s competition. Of these, 41 breweries were awarded medals including Alesong Brewing & Blending from Eugene, Oregon with a Gold medal for its Touch of Brett. To judge this massive amount of beer, GABF saw the festival’s largest panel of judged ever with 264 experts from 12 countries.
The largest entered category this year was once again the American-Style India Pale Ale category with 312 entries. This category saw 40 table of judging from nearly half of the 264 judges during the competitions first round of judging. Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing took home Gold with its Bodhizafa IPA, an impressive accomplishment! (Here’s a link to all of the 2016 GABF winners.)
The largest amount of medals awarded went to Überbrew of Billings, Montana with four. (2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze). Three medals were awarded to Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – San Diego of San Diego, California (2 golds, 1 bronze), Brown Truck Brewery of High Point, North Carolina (1 gold, 2 silver), and Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon of North Olmsted, Ohio (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze). Closer to home Breakside Brewery won a total of three medals but that included entries from its two different brewery locations. Breakside was awarded a Gold and Silver from its Portland Brewpub and a Bronze from its Milwaukie production facility. This is a great reward for Ben Edmunds and his brewing team at Breakside Brewery.
Here in the Pacific Northwest breweries from the state of Oregon were awarded 21 medals (5 gold, 7 silver, 9 bronze). Our neighbors to the north were awarded 14 medals (7 gold, 3 silver, and 4 bronze), while Idaho breweries took home silver and a bronze.
This year also marked some firsts for a few Oregon breweries when it comes to being awarded medals at GABF. Three Creeks Brewing (gold), Great Notion Brewing (silver), Sunriver Brewing (silver), Two Kilts Brewing (silver), Vertigo Brewing (bronze), BTU Brasserie (bronze), Migration Brewing (bronze), Omission (bronze), along with the previously mentioned Alesong Brewing & Blending (gold) all took home medals for the very first time from the coveted competition.
Here’s a list of winning breweries from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Congratulations to all that were awarded medals!
Oregon Brewery Winners: Category 1: American-Style Wheat Beer – 37 Entries
Silver: Shredder’s Wheat, Barley Brown’s Beer, Baker City, OR
Category 3: American-Style Fruit Beer – 106 Entries
Bronze: Apricot Cream Ale, Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro, OR
Category 5: Belgian-Style Fruit Beer – 61 Entries
Bronze: Cerasus, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, OR
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.