The 2013 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is taking place this weekend in Denver, CO and the competition just wrapped up, awarding 252 medals to some of the best breweries in the United States. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence. In its 27th year, the 2013 competition surpassed all previous participation records, setting the bar high. San Diego Brewers did well at this year's event, receiving an astounding 11 medals in various categories.
To accommodate growth, this year's GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 201 beer experts from 11 countries evaluating 4,809 entries, with assistance from more than 130 volunteers. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 beer categories covering 138 different beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S. Winners were chosen from 4,809 competition entries from 745 breweries, hailing from 49 states, plus Washington, D.C.
The full list of GABF Winners can be found online, but from San Diego, the following medals were awarded:
- Pizza Port Ocean Beach Gold Medal Session Beer for Beer Hunter
- Monkey Paw Brewing Co. Gold Medal American-Style Strong Pale Ale for Bonobos
- Karl Strauss Brewing Co. Gold Medal Irish-Style Red Ale for Red Trolley Ale
- AleSmith Brewing Co. Gold Medal Barley Wine-Style Ale for AleSmith Old Numbskull
- Pizza Port Ocean Beach Silver Medal Imperial Red Ale for Rhino Chaser
- Coronado Brewing Company Silver Medal American-Style Black Ale for Black Sails
- AleSmith Brewing Co. Silver Medal Belgian-Style Abbey Ale for AleSmith Decadence 2012 Quadrupel
- The Lost Abbey Bronze American-Style Sour Ale for Red Poppy
- Pizza Port Ocean Beach Bronze Medal American-Style Strong Pale Ale for Kung Fu Elvis
- Oceanside Ale Works Bronze American-Style Black Ale for Oxymoron
- Pizza Port Solana Beach Bronze Oatmeal Stout for Oats
Reflecting craft brewing's increasing popularity nationwide, across state and regional borders, overall competition highlights include twenty-four first-time entering breweries winning awards. During the registration process, 230 breweries self-identified as first-time entrants. There was a tie for most gold medals won, three each for Left Hand Brewing Co. (Longmont, Colo.) and for Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, Calif.). New Jersey topped the list of ratio of medals to entries by state, with one medal won among seven entries, a 14.3% ratio. Delaware had a 13% winning ratio, with three medals won among 23 entries. California, the state with the highest number of beer entries—at 885—won 52 medals for a 5.9% ratio of medals to entries.
Congratulations to all the winners at the GABF, and best of luck to all you aspiring for gold next year! For more information on the Great American Beer Festival, visit greatamericanbeerfestival.com.