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GABF Winners: Rants n Raves

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beertunes, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. I'm shocked that Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh made such a splash, I've always thought they were pretty "middle of the road." They did win awards in style categories that I generally don't care much for. I've lived in Pittsburgh for close to 10 years and I think I can count the number of times I've been there/beers tried, on one hand. Maybe I need to give them another shot, especially the Heini's Hooch old ale (sounds right up my alley). That is if I can find it, it's not on their online menu at the moment.
    HopFace likes this.
  2. It also looks like the one review was by a brewer there.
  3. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I live in colorado, and I love the beer here. Anything I have ever traded for I have been able to say I can get the same or better locally. In the past I've expressed on BA that if more of our beers received more distro that they would be highly sought after. People jock rumpkin on here all the time, I feel its avery's worst ba beer. Not a lot of people outside of CO have heard of funkwerks, crooked stave, trinity, and strange brewing. They all walked away with medals in their categories for a reason. Strange and trinity are always on the top of the list when people ask me about where to go in co. And when it comes to local beer releases, funkwerks and crooked stave don't sit on the shelf very long. All these brewers sit under the radar and create these wonderful beers after years of microbio classes, studying and brewing abroad, developing proprietary yeast strains, and modifying malt bills and hop additions over the years simply because they love beer. And you can taste it in every pint. /end rant
    bryanole27, denver10 and jIsh like this.
  4. Edit - you can speculate that they did not win, but if they didn't enter this year due to the brewery having other things going on, like major expansions, they could not win. The only way to know is to ask the brewery.
    stevegoz likes this.
  5. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) California Dec 10, 2011

    For a the bitching, you have to know if the brewery you champion even entered. And due to the mass influx of new breweries, they're capped at 10 entries. So if the beer isn't at its peak 1.5 months before entries are due, they probably didn't enter it. Larger breweries may not be adjusting their brew schedule to match the deadline for shipping beer either. This makes a much bigger impact on lighter more delicate styles. 4,338 entries were submitted with 3 bombers or 4 12oz per batch, that's ~12,000 beers that 120 people handle and submit before ~180 judges. The judges are all pro brewers or experts (yeast manufacturers) etc...

    Plus a ton of small brewpubs with zero distribution enter. You can't knock their product because they haven't hand delivered a bottle to your entitles arse. This is going to be the new trend as breweries explode. GABF continues to grow and i wouldn't be surprised to see the competition last a full week in the future.
    As far as the catch all categories go, its a wide open field. Esp sours where a brewery can make a small one off batch that may never even be put on tap.
    beertunes and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  6. obrike

    obrike Savant (415) Texas Jun 19, 2009

    Fair enough...I actually do like the Bohemian.
  7. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    Really? I hope that's sarcasm...
  8. kaseydad

    kaseydad Advocate (655) California Nov 23, 2008

    +1 to that! Great gold for Jamil and his up-and-coming crew. The Heretic beers are growing on me and I'm happy to support this local fine East Bay brewery. Keep em' coming Heretic and congrats!
    fickenmeimirish likes this.
  9. kzoobrew

    kzoobrew Champion (830) Michigan May 8, 2006

    GABF is a great event, medals are nice and they are great for the breweries. Medals are nearly meaningless for the consumers, lets not get all bent out of shape by who won and who didn't. I have never drank a beer based on medals and am not going to start now.
  10. rhertan

    rhertan Aficionado (215) California Jan 22, 2008

    I wonder when was the last time you tried the Tap It IPA. I also live in SLO county and work around the corner from them....their beers have vastly improved over the last 4-6 months with some new additons to the brew team and just overall process improvements. I admit I would take Union Jack over Tap It 9 times out of 10 but the last few times I have had it I have been quite impressed. And its possible wiith hoppy beers that peak and fall off so quick maybe the day of judging was the day that beer shined the most
  11. kotayk

    kotayk Aficionado (180) California Feb 22, 2011

    And to beat Duet which took the bronze ...
    Unreal.
  12. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    One last thing that just occurred to me. The larger breweries have a lot more to lose if they put out an experimental product that isn't great. Odell, Avery, Founders, Bell's all have great beers that have created a legacy. The smaller guys who have no reputation outside of their local communities have the ability to throw some real creativity into their fermenters without the issue of their fanbase cringing and walking away. Refer to the new coke that everyone hated. Coke went out on a limb and it cost them dearly. I'm not saying that any of these larger brewers are lacking in creativity, or their beers are outdated, but I am saying that there are a lot of little guys pushing the boundries in order to find their place in this crazy beer world.
  13. balosss

    balosss Aficionado (145) New Jersey Aug 21, 2003

    I know that the fo/bb was the 750ml French Oak/Bourbon Barrel Select.
    Not sure about the Gold. Guessing that might be a mistake.
    Congrats to CL, also a bronze for Golden Delicious.
    Rempo likes this.
  14. Xul

    Xul Advocate (500) California May 18, 2008

    What's wrong with Funkwerks? I have no vested interest in them, I just happen to enjoy their beers (even though I can't get them most of the time), but why the "barf" reaction?
  15. russwbeck

    russwbeck Savant (430) Virginia Aug 3, 2010

    Devil's Backbone was the real shock to me with 8 medals for beers plus small brewery of the year. Guess I have to make my way down there.
  16. Xul

    Xul Advocate (500) California May 18, 2008

    Just because the larger breweries aren't bottling experimental batches, doesn't mean they're not brewing them. Odell regularly has 5 - 10 one-off beers on tap at their brewery and Avery usually has a couple. I've never been to Founders or Bells, but I would be surprised if their brewers don't have a pilot system to play on.
  17. chanokokoro

    chanokokoro Advocate (590) Illinois Jan 31, 2012

    I've never been. Anyone have any feedback regarding Brickstone? Their beer and food menu looks promising.
  18. Xul

    Xul Advocate (500) California May 18, 2008

    Beers that are enjoyable to drink aren't always well-executed beers from a technical/stylistic point of view. There's a world of difference between saying "I like this beer" and "this beer is a textbook example of a given style."
    beertunes likes this.
  19. Then you my friend have too much hope for humanity ;)
  20. I always like these results. It doesn't really influence me but its always cool to see results based on blind taste and not preconceived idea of value. Plus, so many small breweries get a shot an it's just neat to see how the medals shape up.

    There are quite a few beers that medaled that don't get a ton of love or value on here but IMO they are top tier beers.
  21. bbeane

    bbeane Savant (350) Pennsylvania May 10, 2009

    Troegs winning three medals sickens me. Out of them, the only respectable one in my opinion was the wheat... And it's just respectable. I think they've gone to shit since the new brewery came along.
    Lordquackingstic likes this.
  22. I agree with your point about style, and I personally enjoy dreamweaver and hopback, but there's something about sunshine pils that rubs me the wrong way. Just my opinion.
  23. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I agree, even coors has ac golden. My point is that they have more to lose if they upset their client base.
  24. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Champion (910) Colorado May 19, 2005

    The GABF medals do pull some weight, but I wonder if the judging should be changed. I think they judge all the entries in, what, less than a week? Their palates have to be worn out.

    Perhaps extend that? Or, don't have it the same week as GABF (week before, so the judges can enjoy GABF events)?
  25. DovaliHops

    DovaliHops Savant (460) California Nov 16, 2009

    Very true
  26. Never been to the GABF, but have judged some homebrew competitons. If you ever judge an event, there is a time frame to get 'er done. The GABF is judged by professional brewers, industry people, and some beer writers. These folks have all done it before. They would get a morning flight, and an afternoon flight of beers in some category for that session.

    Your suggestion might be good for fresh palates, but you can only judge for so many days and you get tired of the whole thing. Did a big local compettion (>1000 entries), and after 2 days I just wanted to go home, and still had another 1/2 day to go. You can't drag it out too long, or you burn out the judges.

    The GABF judges have the festival booths to go to, the awards ceremony, and there is always the brewery back home to deal with. The local pros I know say it is a great time (non have judged as far as I know), but they are ready to come home once it is over.
    beertunes likes this.
  27. Mebuzzard

    Mebuzzard Champion (910) Colorado May 19, 2005

    Fatigue makes sense. Then again, I've met and drank with judges during GABF events. Their judging session may/not be over, and they don't seem all that tired :)
  28. ipa247

    ipa247 Savant (270) California Dec 23, 2008

    Great to see Cafe Racer 15 win the silver in the imperial ipa category. Love that beer and wish that bear republic brewed it more often and occasionally bottled it. So tasty!
  29. Shaudius

    Shaudius Initiate (15) Aug 12, 2012

    It depends on what you mean by may never even be put on tap. All beers entered in the GABF have to be commercially available. "All beer brands entered in the Great American Beer Festival must be commercially available exactly as entered by brand name. “Commercially available” means the entered brand has been available for sale at retail under the exact brand name as entered on the GABF entry registration form on or before the date that registration opens (June 27)."

    So if you mean that the beer might never have seen sale outside of the brewery itself, or is only available in extremely limited bottles(for instance like AC Golden product mentioned up thread) and not put on tap elsewhere, then yes what you said is true , but it still has to have been sold at some point as I understand it.
  30. xnicknj

    xnicknj Advocate (730) Pennsylvania May 25, 2009

    yeah, i nearly fell over when i read this.
  31. dmoser

    dmoser Aficionado (140) California Sep 11, 2009

    I've never had any beer by Church Brew Works, but I met Steve Sloan when he was brewing at Firestone Walker. Super nice guy, so I was glad to see his name up there.

    I was at Island Brewing in Carpenteria, CA Friday and bought a bottle of the Barrel Aged Night Sail on the bartenders recommendation. The next day I check the results and see that it got a Silver, looking forward to trying it. Also their place is great, nice local atmosphere and looks right out on the beach.

    I too was surprised by Tap It winning gold, but good for them.
  32. Prima is a great beer, but it's quite hoppy for the style. The criteria isn't what's best, the criteria is what fits an agreed upon set of style guidelines best. Sunshine probably fits the style guidelines better than Prima.
  33. foobula

    foobula Savant (330) Illinois Dec 14, 2009

    The film industry has a similar rule for Academy Award consideration, AFAIK. So you'll get a film that gets a release at one theatre in LA for a day, just to fulfill a requirement.

    Not coming up with any examples right now, but I'm halfway through a bomber of Bourbon County Coffee.
  34. foobula

    foobula Savant (330) Illinois Dec 14, 2009

    I thought this was awesome. 1) Because I like GI, 2) because I'm not particularly fond of hoppy beers and the GI IPA I had recently was right up my alley.

    That being said, it's interesting to see from this video that judging beer is not about how good it tastes, but about how well it conforms to style (a point made eariler in the thread.) Which makes the style guidelines seem like required reading alongside the list of winners.
  35. Point Oktoberfest gold, staghorn silver = WTFx1000000!!!
  36. Azzy

    Azzy Savant (290) Texas Jul 16, 2012

    Lol category 33!
  37. stevens point whole hog pumpkin is a really nice pumpkin brew. gold medal worthy? dont know about that, but I hope to find another 4 pack locally.
    Redrover likes this.
  38. Duet is a great beer, but I wonder if the low IBU's hurt it here.
  39. I'm not sure it has ever helped them any either. These awards are a complete no-op for consumers.
    Errto likes this.
  40. SalukiAlum

    SalukiAlum Advocate (505) Colorado Dec 19, 2010

    The awards mean stuff for many breweries and not so much for other. You can make an award winning beer, make multiple award winners, have solid beer across the board, distro, seasonals. So much that actually make a brewery. New winners every year. I think the medals open the door for breweries that maybe I haven't heard of and I like that.

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