The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is one of the most prominent and celebrated beer festivals in the United States. This annual event is organized by the Brewers Association, a trade organization representing small and independent American craft brewers. The festival attracts brewers, beer enthusiasts, and industry professionals from all over the country.
One of the central aspects of the GABF is its beer competition. Breweries from across the nation submit their beers for evaluation and potential recognition. The competition covers an extensive list of beer categories, and expert judges assess the entries based on various criteria, including aroma, appearance, flavor, and overall impression.
This year, Wyeast Laboratories proudly sponsored six distinct beer categories. The categories represent some of our favorite styles around the world that demonstrate the importance and qualities of the chosen yeast strain.
Categories and Winners:
- Session India Pale Ale (#16): This category celebrates the art of crafting flavorful, lower-alcohol IPAs that are perfect for long sessions of enjoyment.
- Gold – Only Good Vibes, Halcyon Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
- Silver – The Next Chapter, Original Pattern Brewing Co., Oakland, CA
- Bronze – Micro Blaster, Shred Beer Co., Rocklin, CA
- Mixed-Culture Brett Beer (#28): These beers are brewed by combining Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeast strains, resulting in a beer with complex, often funky, sour, and evolving flavor profiles.
- Gold – Loup et Renard Saison, Odd Breed Wild Ales, Pompano Beach, FL
- Silver – Never Been Wrong, Thompson Island Brewing Co., Rehoboth Beach, DE
- Bronze – Silent Sounds, Monday Night Brewing – Garage, Atlanta, GA
- Bohemian-Style Pilsner (#46): This category paid tribute to the classic, crisp, and refreshing lagers that have been favorites for generations.
- Gold – Crazy Horse, Lazarus Brewing Co., Austin, TX
- Silver – Daytonian Rhapsody, Eudora Brewing Co., Dayton, OH
- Bronze – Tahoe Pilz, FiftyFifty Brewing Co. – Production Facility, Truckee, CA
- Munich-Style Helles (#47): It showcased the rich, malt-forward, and highly drinkable lagers that are the epitome of German brewing tradition.
- Gold – Prinz Crispy, Deschutes Brewery & Public House – Bend, Bend, OR
- Silver – Templin Family Helles, Templin Family Brewing, Salt Lake City UT
- Bronze – Ein Helles, Counter Weight Brewing Co, Cheshire, CT
- German-Style Koelsch (#56): The beer style is a unique and distinct beer that originates from the city of Cologne (Köln) in Germany. Kölsch is an ale that is fermented with ale yeast strains, but it undergoes a lagering period at cooler temperatures, typically around 50°F (10°C).
- Gold – Kodiak Kölsch, Bear Chase Brewing Co., Bluemont, VA
- Silver – Rise & Climb, New Terrain Brewing Co., Golden, CO
- Bronze – Cruzer, Real Ale Brewing Co., Blaco, TX
- Imperial India Pale Ale (#66): The choice of yeast in brewing Imperial India Pale Ales is a crucial decision that can significantly influence the beer’s final character.
- Gold – Triple IPA, Claremont Craft Ales, Claremont, CA
- Silver – Drama King, Liquid Gravity Brewing Co., San Luis Obispo, CA
- Bronze – Double MO7, Del Cielo Brewing Co., Martinez, CA
Congratulations to the winners of each category! Your dedication to brewing excellence continues to inspire us all. The GABF is not just an event; it’s a testament to the incredible craft beer community and the remarkable beers that bring us together. Until next year, cheers!