2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Winners

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,609) Aug 23, 1996 California

    The winners are up: https://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/winners/

    And if you've got 2:24:45 to spare, you can rewatch the livestream here:

    Congrats to the winners!


    DENVER • September 22, 2018 — The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries across the United States at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition. In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, award-winning breweries received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 102 beer categories covering 167 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country and earning a symbol of brewing excellence.

    • 32nd edition of the GABF competition
    • 8,496 entries plus 101 Pro-Am and 49 Collaboration entries
    • 2,404 breweries in the competition from 49 states plus Washington, D.C. (no Mississippi)
    • 293 judges from 13 countries
    • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 83
    • Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)
    • 280 medal-winning breweries (including Pro-Am and Collaboration)
    • 306 total medals awarded plus three (3) each for Pro-Am and Collaboration
    • 537 first-time GABF entrants


    In its GABF competition debut, the Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale style category was the most-entered with 391 entries. Since 2002, the most-entered category was American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 311 entries in 2018.

    The winners of the top five most-entered categories were:

    Category 63: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (391 entries)
    GOLD: Alarmist Brewing - Le Jus, Chicago, IL
    SILVER: Kros Strain Brewing Co., Fairy Nectar London Double Dry Hopped - La Vista, NE
    BRONZE: Eris Brewery and Cider House, Foiken Haze - Chicago, IL

    Category 62: American-Style India Pale Ale (311 entries)
    GOLD: Root Down Brewing Co. - Bine, Phoenixville, PA
    SILVER: Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Portsmouth, Not an IPA (P.S. it’s an IPA) - Portsmouth, NH
    BRONZE: Green Cheek Beer Co. - West Coast IPA is Dead! - Orange, CA

    Category 29: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout (177 entries)
    GOLD: Against the Grain Brewery, 70K Amburana - Louisville, KY
    SILVER: Kane Brewing, A Night to End All Dawns - Ocean, NJ
    BRONZE: FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Eclipse - Truckee, CA

    Category 59: American-Style Pale Ale (170 entries)
    GOLD: Ocean Beach Brewery - B.Right On Pale Ale - San Diego, CA
    SILVER: Ventura Coast Brewing Co. - Neighborhood - Ventura, CA
    BRONZE: Maplewood Brewing Co. - Charlatan - Chicago, IL

    Category: 28 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (162 entries)
    GOLD: Drake’s Brewing Co. - Santa’s Brass - San Leandro, CA
    SILVER: The Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Willett Barrel-Aged Ye Old Sprinklerhead Barleywine - Atlanta, GA
    BRONZE: Revolution Brewing, Straight Jacket - Chicago, IL


    In addition to Juicy or Hazy IPA, the following categories were also new to the competition this year:

    Category 60: Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale (132 entries)
    GOLD: Tin Roof Brewing Co., Voodoo - Baton Rouge, LA
    SILVER: Kings Brewing Co., Sippin on Dank - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    BRONZE: Fiction Beer Co., Madame Psychosis - Denver, CO

    Category 65: Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale (150 entries)
    GOLD: Black Market Brewing Co., New England Style Double IPA - Temecula, CA
    SILVER: Corridor Brewery & Provisions, DDH Double IPA - Chicago, IL
    BRONZE: Alvarado Street Brewery, Contains No Juice - Salinas, CA

    Category 35: American-Style Pilsener: (91 entries)
    GOLD: The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co., Rocket 100 - Austin, TX
    SILVER: Wolverine State Brewing Co., NZ Pils - Ann Arbor, MI
    BRONZE: The Post Brewing Co., Howdy Beer - Lafayette, CO

    Category 57: Australian-Style Pale Ale (46 entries)
    GOLD: Butcherknife Brewing Co., Sunshine Express - Steamboat Springs, CO
    SILVER: Worthy Brewing Co., Strata IPA - Bend, OR
    BRONZE: Austin Beerworks, Flavor Country - Austin, TX


    Most medals won by a single brewery: 3

    10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, OR – 3 medals
    GOLD – Baywindow, category 77: Berliner-Style Weisse
    GOLD – Passionate Envy, category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer
    SILVER – P2P, category 96: American-Style Stout

    Alesong Brewing and Blending, Eugene, OR – 3 medals
    SILVER – Terroir Pinot Noir, category 19: Experimental Beer
    SILVER – Terroir Pinot Gris, category 25: Brett Beer
    BRONZE – Touch of Brett Mandarina, category 25: Brett Beer

    Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT – 3 medals
    GOLD – Miner’s Gold, category 2 American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast
    SILVER – Pompey’s Pilsner, category 42 Bohemian-Style Pilsener
    BRONZE – Prickly Pear, category 55 Classic English-Style Pale Ale

    • 37th anniversary of the festival
    • Over 800 breweries in expanded festival hall
    • 4,000+ beers served at the festival
    • 62,000 attendees
    • 4,086 volunteers (festival and competition combined)
    • 584,000 square feet of festival hall
    MORE: https://www.brewersassociation.org/...honored-at-2018-great-american-beer-festival/

  2. Sturgeon83

    Sturgeon83 Aspirant (283) Mar 11, 2015 Kentucky

    We've been singing the praises locally of those Amburana wood barrels AtG has been using for the past year, and I'm glad to see they're getting recognition.
    springdalebeer and Premo88 like this.
  3. cjgiant

    cjgiant Poo-Bah (4,257) Jul 13, 2013 District of Columbia

    Just perusing for local pride and my thoughts of the winners if I've had them (not that you asked, but)...

    Wow, Rocket Frog got a bronze in Brown Ale - only been open about half a year. Good for them (though I didn't enjoy that offering that well).

    Port City continues to win (silver) for they're very solid Optimal Wit. Blue Mountain also silvered for their fest beer (which I bypassed today in the store, may have to grab some next time).

    Nice to see Ardent Pilsner recognized - I finished three of four four-packs this summer.

    Some golds:
    Lost Rhino a gold for their fairly tasty Irish Dry Stout that I thought was somewhat reminiscent of Guinness (but a little bolder).
    Sweetwater Tavern (my introduction to local craft beer started at the Merrifield location) for their Schwarzbier - which I found quite tasty (too bad they split their ratings across 4 locations, the location I recorded against had 3 people at a 4 rating)

    Only one from MD and none from DC. Virginia bronze winner Big Ugly I have not heard of, but they have a winning robust porter, so I am now curious. Lastly, Gordon Biersch of Tysons?? I always did go for their Czech Pils when I went there, but it's not really a VA brewery, is it?
  4. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (795) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Congrats to all the winners and especially the Chicago boys and girls!

    33% win percentage in the debut of the hazy categories and a complete New England shutout. Wow.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Root Down Brewing has only been open a little over a year and they won Gold for the IPA category. Bine is indeed a very tasty 'regular' IPA and worthy of a medal.

    Cheers to the folks of Root Down Brewing!!
    FatBoyGotSwagger and LuskusDelph like this.
  6. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    391 entries in the hazy IPA category. Wow. Winner is a 5.8% beer. Interesting.

    I wonder among the 300 regular IPA entries, how many were true west coast style? Lines are blurred quite a bit.

    I thought there's be more hazy dipas.

    I don't think many hyped breweries enter their beers so a NE shutout in their own category is not surprising.

    I am glad to see Alvarado street take a bronze. I have had offerings from them and found them stellar.

    Anymore this is a west coast/proximity to Co popularity contest. Just the closeness to Ca alone has more obscure entrants than a little brewery wanting to enter from VT or NH.

    It is what it is. NM had a good amount of medals. A few of them likely would have never entered if this thing wasn't so close. So it's hard to get a gauge of just what these medals mean.
    rodbeermunch likes this.
  7. Vav

    Vav Aspirant (257) Jul 27, 2008 Illinois

    Well, I’m thrilled Pixie Dusted won silver but bummed the slide said Barrelworks and Paso rather than Barrelworks and Publican.

    Still, I’ll take it, I’m incredibly proud of this beer.

    And I’m also super proud of Alarmist. I love Gary and everything about him and his business.
    MostlyNorwegian, clarkw42 and nickMB like this.

    REVZEB Poo-Bah (3,517) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois

    Glad to see the Chicago hazy scene get some love. Underrated as a beer city
    DanCuzz, eppCOS and dukeandduke like this.
  9. meanmutt

    meanmutt Meyvn (1,070) Feb 6, 2012 Ohio
    Premium Trader

    Congrats to my locals MadTree and Brink on the medals!

    On a related note...when the hell did MadTree Happy Amber become an E.S.B.?
    taalhiker and WesMantooth like this.
  10. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,410) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Other than Rowley Farmhouse Ales, a bunch of crap from New Mexico getting the medals.
    deadwolfbones and SFACRKnight like this.
  11. Giantspace

    Giantspace Defender (673) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    dayblazer wins silver as a cream ale........I cant taste this at all

    Makes me wonder about all the others now

    MonkeyBread likes this.
  12. nw2571

    nw2571 Initiate (34) Feb 26, 2017 Indiana

    Congrats to Taxman. Brewing some of the best Belgians in the US, IMO.
    jkblr, darktronica and TheGent like this.
  13. nickMB

    nickMB Aspirant (277) Nov 17, 2009 Illinois

    I didn’t have the heart to tell ya, the crowd mildly boo’d too because the collab said FW/FW. And so weird & wonderful with the Chicago showing in the haze categories. The most entered categories and three solid crews here took home some medal.
    Vav likes this.
  14. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Cherry wheat is just okay. I bought some after their last medal win last year. I just can't get behind it.

    Pistol Pete's 1888 is genuine crap though I agree. Their Lager is better.

    I do take offense as malpais is a beast. A couple medals under its belt already. A top 20 beer as per the ba top list for it's export style. And I do tend to like it. And it's a core products available everywhere.

    The others not exactly winning in popular or exciting categories.
    deadwolfbones likes this.
  15. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,410) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I missed that Malpais medaled. Not really my favorite, but definitely not crap. La Cumbre doesn't make a bad beer, imo.
  16. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Then I read Palmer and quarter Celtic got a bronze for a collaboration beer. Palmer really tries but they produce stuff not worth my time or consumption calories. QC , still haven't been but I liked what the guys at canteen did before they left. No real desire to visit. I guess blindly even crap beer has a shot. Or what we perceive and truly taste as crap. Maybe it's all crap? Lol
    LuskusDelph and eppCOS like this.
  17. Vav

    Vav Aspirant (257) Jul 27, 2008 Illinois

    Yah i watched the vid. IDGAF, our blend took silver, boo all ya want :stuck_out_tongue:
    sharpski and nickMB like this.
  18. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Anyone able to track these winners scores before and after winning? Le jus was sitting at a modest 4.05 on ut before hand. That barely sniffs the radar as far as ne ipas go.
  19. NotAlcoholicJustAHobby

    NotAlcoholicJustAHobby Savant (902) Jun 13, 2015 Vermont

    Man I live in a beer wasteland. Not a single medal winner.
    JayWhitson, Mikexw, Ranbot and 8 others like this.
  20. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,609) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Premium Trader

    Austin Beer Garden 3 years in a row with the best large brewpub, and they are primarily a lager brewer.
    Roadkizzle and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  21. Oktoberfiesta

    Oktoberfiesta Aspirant (250) Nov 16, 2013 New Mexico

    Doesn't feel like VT is worth visiting.

    Please note sarcasm

    Ive seen the positive effects of gabf medals hitting NM. But we're a mere state away. We're lucky and taking advantage.

    The more visible random hotspots that become known or shown as viable via social media, the more this whole fest feels like a farce. So many Brewers and reps just getting shit faced. A good excuse I guess to relive your college days. But so many smaller outlets aren't using this fest at all. And they're striving. I think we should highlight those guys.
    uptown_thunder likes this.
  22. darktronica

    darktronica Poo-Bah (1,848) Aug 29, 2014 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    OK, I've done some analysis on the winners, so here are some fun facts. Some are related to the quality of medal winners, as determined by BAs, and others are related to the quality of BA itself as a site. If you have other questions you want answered, maybe I can add to what I've already pulled.

    I looked up every medal winner and recorded the number of ratings and average score, as well as the brewery average, total number of ratings for that brewery's beers, and number of active beers. Where a beer was not listed on BA, I also checked Untappd, but unless otherwise noted, values presented here are for the BA database. This was a manual process, so I used some subjective judgement at times when identifying the winning beers; for example, for chains like Karl Biersch, RAM, and BJ's, I looked beyond just the location listed as the winner to find the beer.

    Keep in mind that the reference class here is a total of 102 categories, producing 306 medal winners.

    • 92 winning beers were not found in the BA database or had zero ratings--16 with zero ratings, the rest were missing entirely. For these missing and unrated beers, Untappd had an average number of 166 distinct ratings.
    • The median number of ratings of medal winners on BA was 3. Excluding beers that were missing from BA entirely, the median number of ratings was 7. The mean number of ratings is 177.
    • The most popular winners, with over 1000 BA ratings, are Founder's Breakfast Stout (17,131 ratings), Founder's Porter (7601), Allagash White (5490), Cigar City Maduro (2875), Left Hand Sawtooth (2177), Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (2148), Bruery Mischief (1857), Lost Abbey DDG (1856).
    • 6 winners came from breweries that are not in the BA database (5) or that have zero beer ratings (1).
    • 22 winners came from breweries with fewer beer ratings than beers.
    • The average rating of winners in the BA database was 3.86.
    • The brewery average of winning breweries (unweighted) was 3.82. Weighted by the number of ratings a brewery has, this average is 3.89.
    • 92 winners came from breweries with fewer than 100 total ratings across all active beers. 215 came from breweries with fewer than 1000 total ratings.
    • On average, the rating of a winning beer was only 1% higher than the brewery's rating across all beers. 94 medal-winning beers (excluding those that weren't rated on BA) had average ratings below the brewery's average.
    • Two beers won medals with BA averages below 3 (bronzes for Ranger Creek Brewery's San Antonio Hatch Lager (2.95 with 3 ratings), and Sierra Blanca's Cherry Wheat (2.99 with 2 ratings)).
    • Only six medal winners have BA averages of 4.5 or above (Orpheus' I Am Only Memories, Founder's Breakfast Stout, Great Notion's Double Stack, Werk Force's Bad Polaroid, Lost Abbey's Duck Duck Gooze, and Kros Strain's Fairy Nectar London DDH). The Orpheus, Werk Force, and Kros Strain beers only have 1 or 2 ratings, so take that average with a grain of salt.
    • Only 27 winners have averages over 4.0 and more than 10 ratings on BA.
    Obviously, a lot of selection effects are at work here. Many top and larger breweries don't feel the need to compete; many breweries don't submit beers that have already won awards; breweries may strategize about what categories to compete in, rather than sending what they consider their best beers. Beers are judged to style standards rather than whatever whims BA and Untappd users use to rate beers. But I think these results are interesting nonetheless.
    #22 darktronica, Sep 23, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  23. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (128) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Chicago is one of the last places I would call an underrated beer city. And I think many can agree with me. I always have a fucking blast drinking my way around Chicago’s breweries, downtown and further out.
    aussiebeer, eppCOS and ChrisMon02 like this.
  24. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,260) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    In your fourth bullet point what are the 5 breweries that are not listed on BA? We need to fix that if they can produce winning beers.
    darktronica likes this.
  25. REVZEB

    REVZEB Poo-Bah (3,517) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois

    Oh I agree it is a blast, but I have found it doesn't get the hype like other "top beer cities" do
    mambossa likes this.
  26. darktronica

    darktronica Poo-Bah (1,848) Aug 29, 2014 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    It appears I misclassified some of these or changed my notation for them throughout the data collection process, but the six breweries I noted above are as follows:

    Lockport Brewery (Bolivar, OH) (on BA, but zero beer ratings)
    Ignite Brewing Company (Barberton, OH) (not in BA)
    Trustworthy Brewing Company (Burbank, CA) (not in BA)
    6th and La Brea (Los Angeles, CA) (on BA, but zero beers added, zero beer ratings)
    Little City Brewing Company (Raleigh, NC) (on BA, but zero beers added, zero beer ratings)
    Paradigm Shift Brewing (Massillon, OH) (on BA, but zero beer ratings)
    drtth and Mothergoose03 like this.
  27. ChrisMon02

    ChrisMon02 Champion (817) May 2, 2010 Ohio

    Pretty weird that this one only has 5 reviews and a rating under 4. Ratings can be hit or miss but only 5 site reviews of a GABF winner?
  28. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,714) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I suspect the lack of reviews is due to Root Down being such a new brewery (they opened in June 2017). They are also a small, local brewery so less production as well.

    Premo88 and darktronica like this.
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,387) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Their lagers win gold medals in the categories entered.

    They won a Gold in the Helles category. Jack's Abbey was Bronze. I'm pointing that out as there have been threads on the "Best Lager Brewery". I have been to ABGB a number of times, and they make outstanding lagers. Pils, Pils, Pils!
    donspublic and JackHorzempa like this.
  30. darktronica

    darktronica Poo-Bah (1,848) Aug 29, 2014 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    Even larger, older breweries may not get many ratings, depending on what they send to the competition. The median number of ratings for all of the medal winners was 3, so at least half of the winners have been rated 3 or less times on BA.

    In some cases, this may be due to brewers sending experimental one-offs to compete. For example, Cambridge Brewing Company, 10 Barrel, Rogue, and FiftyFifty all won with beers that aren't in BA's database at all and have fewer than 200 ratings on Untappd.

    In other cases, it likely is due to medals being won by small breweries in parts of the country with few BAs around to rate them or add the beers. For example, breweries from Montana took home five medals this year (two golds, one silver, two bronze).
    KarlHungus, drtth and JackHorzempa like this.
  31. eppCOS

    eppCOS Crusader (722) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    'cept for Cumbre's Malpais Stout - still love that beer, and reminds me it's time to stock up on that bad boy for the fall! Cheers... @denver10 !
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  32. eppCOS

    eppCOS Crusader (722) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    And I'll say it again - my homer Colorado buddies think I'm NUTS when I talk about the Chicagoland beer scene, and arguably we have a greater range, density, and variety of "stuff" as a state here in CO - but the Chicago beer scene kills it. So much to enjoy, a variety of styles, and I can use mass transit in between breweries too. I still miss my CTA/walk/brewery days!
    Cheers to all the winners...
    aussiebeer likes this.
  33. darktronica

    darktronica Poo-Bah (1,848) Aug 29, 2014 Indiana
    Premium Trader

    For a head-to-head matchup, Colorado won 29 medals, while Illinois won 10. The proportion of gold/silver/bronze within that total was virtually identical for each state. However, all of the Illinois winners are from the greater Chicago metropolitan area, compared to the Colorado winners being more geographically dispersed throughout the state.

    There's very likely a convenience and local awareness factor making CO breweries more likely to enter, but for comparison, CO had 348 breweries in 2017, with Illinois at 200 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/726518/number-craft-breweries-state/).
    rodbeermunch and FarmerTed like this.
  34. deezy14

    deezy14 Initiate (36) Sep 12, 2016 California

    Happy for Noble, my home place. I feel like this Nobility was one of Evans beer creations before he left. Also, congrats to Rick at Stereo!
  35. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,245) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    GABF participation is voluntary, clearly the breweries not participating are doing so because they choose not to. I'm not sure how to highlight a brewery short of buying their beers. I went to the members session. Yesterday and checked out a ton of breweries I hadn't heard of until the fest. And yeah, I suppose that there are a lot of reps drinking a lot of beer. Isn't that what beer is for?
    rodbeermunch likes this.
  36. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,410) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    Already addressed...missed that that one had medaled.
    eppCOS likes this.
  37. WesMantooth

    WesMantooth Poo-Bah (2,463) Jan 8, 2014 Ohio

    Saw that. Not sure what they were drinking. Unless they changed something up, it definitely doesn’t deserve a medal in an ESB category.
  38. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (246) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    Sounds to me like you give too much credence to the medals.
  39. walterfarris

    walterfarris Initiate (16) Dec 7, 2017 California

    I consider myself lucky to live here in SoCal where so many recognizeable breweries took home some kind of medal. Unlike last year though, I've only actually had one or two beers among the winning brews in my area; gonna have to get ahold of that Black Market Double Hazy winner. It's cool that stuff put out by breweries I enjoy are also enjoyed enough to grab a medal, and the same goes for everybody elsewhere.
  40. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (323) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    Is Brown Porter now a thing? It's no longer a Brown Ale?