San Diego Breweries Earn 18 Medals At 2016 Great American Beer Fest | Karl Strauss Leads The Pack With 4 Medals and “Mid-Size Brewery of the Year” Honors

The Karl Strauss crew accepting their awards
October 8, 2016

Once again, San Diego craft breweries cleaned up at this week's 30th annual Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver, Colorado, taking home 18 medals including 8 gold, 3 silver, and 7 bronze, with Karl Strauss Brewing Co. leading the pack with two gold medals, two bronze medals and the coveted “Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year” award. Overall 286 medals were awarded to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States, plus three GABF Pro-Am medals to teams of amateur homebrewers paired with professionals.

Presented by the Brewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and known as a symbol of brewing excellence. In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to winning breweries in 96 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country. Neither a gold nor a silver medal were awarded in the Pumpkin/Squash Beer category.

Winners were chosen from 7,227 competition entries (nearly 9 percent more than the 6,647 entries in 2015 and surpassing all previous participation records) from 1,752 breweries hailing from 50 states plus Washington, D.C. The competition also saw its biggest-ever panel of judges, with 264 beer experts from 12 countries, including the U.S., and 170 competition volunteers. The panel also evaluated 88 Pro-Am entries, which were judged in three rounds over four days.

“This year’s GABF was more competitive than ever. So it is a great honor to win four medals and take home the 'Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year' award, and to do so across such a wide variety of beer styles, from a traditional Hef to a session IPA to a barrel aged American sour,” says Matt Johnson, Brewmaster of Brewery Operations.

San Diego Breweries were awarded 18 medals in total, with the full list of local recipients below:

Gold Medals 
American-Style Sour Ale: Queen of Tarts by Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
Bohemian-Style Pilsener: Sweet Ride by Bagby Beer Co.
Bock: Breakline Bock by Rip Current Brewing Co.
American-Style Amber/Red Ale: Prospector Red Ale by BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.
American-Style Brown Ale: Brown by Culture Brewing Co.
South German-Style Hefeweizen: Windansea Wheat by Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
Robust Porter: Tabula Rasa Toasted Porter by Second Chance Beer Co.
Barley Wine-Style Ale: Old Numskull by AleSmith Brewing Co.

Silver MedalsChili Beer: The Contender by Duck Foot Brewing Co.
Session Beer: Oatmeal Stout by Benchmark Brewing Co.
Imperial Stout: Gatling Gun Imperial Stout by BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.

Bronze MedalsCoffee Beer: Zumbar Chocolate Coffee Imperial Stout by New English Brewing Co.
Session India Pale Ale: Mosaic Session IPA by Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
English-Style Summer Ale: Liquid AC by Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
American-Style Strong Pale Ale: HFS by Alpine Beer Co.
Extra Special Bitter: Mother Earth ESB by Mother Earth Brew Co.
Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale: Roes Red by Pure Project
American-Style Stout: The Volcanist by Societe Brewing Co.
Last year in 2015, San Diego breweries brought home a total of 20 medals, with Karl Strauss being only eight breweries in the U.S. to have won three or more medals at the event. In 2016 KARL has racked up a total of 11 medals across local, regional, national and international competitions. And earlier this year KARL did something no other brewery has done, winning back to back California Craft Beer Throwdown titles for Aurora Hoppyalis as the best tasting IPA in the state of California.

View the full list of 2016 GABF winners online and be sure head to some of local award winning breweries to try their delicious beers.