While the mile-high city of Denver is filled with over 70,000 beer lovers attending the Great American Beer Festival, an underground ballroom at a lower downtown hotel is jammed with 322 beer judges from eighteen countries working their way through 9,497 beers in over one-hundred categories. The daunting task to work through them all and reach consensus finishes in the Denver Convention Center Ballroom, where medals are handed out.
Orange County and Long Beach brought in about the same amount of medals as last year, but there are a few new faces in the pack that came out strong. Interesting to note that a few winning beers also recently won at the new CA Brewer’s Cup last month at the CA Beer Summit, as noted below with an asterisk. OC continued IPA dominance with Green Cheek getting silver for Radiant Beauty IPA (they also won last year for West Coast IPA is Dead IPA), as well as Phantom Ales getting silver for Juice Jockey Imperial IPA. This is the first time in twelve years the GABF gave awards for non-alcoholic beer, where local Newport Beach brewery Bravus nearly swept the show with two medals. Here’s the rest of the beers you should be seeking out this weekend!
Gamecraft Brewing There is no Cow Level Coffee Stout*
Green Cheek Australian for Pale Australian-Style Pale Ale
TAPS Brewery Krystal Clear Hefeweizen*
Green Cheek Radiant Beauty IPA (342 entries)
Phantom Ales Juice Jockey Imperial IPA
Tustin Brewery Portola Breakfast Stout
Bravus Oatmeal Stout (1st-time winner – the non-alcoholic category hasn’t been in GABF for over a decade)
Beachwood BBQ & Brewing Kilgore Stout
Ambitious Ales Central Perk Coffee Beer*
TAPS Brewery Don’t Drop That Dun Dun Dunkel*
Bravus Barrel-Aged Bourbon Stout
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!