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2016 Summer Olympics | Pennsylvania Craft Beer Pride

Olympics (Design by Josh Ritenour)

The upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio are about to evoke some serious excitement and national pride. Americans everywhere are looking forward to tuning in to swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball. For two short weeks, we will all look to the medal counts, feeling as if our success as a nation is in the balance.

Single-minded nerd that I am, my thoughts automatically turn to the medals won by American craft breweries at the large beer festivals and competitions. Does the community take pride in these medals, as they do in Olympic ones?

As a born-and-bred Pennsylvanian, I know that my state has a lot of conflict. Pennsylvania is itself a state divided. In the west, they wave the Terrible Towels at Steelers (AKA “Stillers”) games, drink “pop,” and say “yinz” (the plural of “you”). The east sings “Fly, Eagles, Fly,” drinks “soda,” and says “yous.” PA, as we like to call it, is home to both the City of Champions and the City of Brotherly Love. The two sides rarely see eye-to-eye, but both sides can brought together by our love for the Commonwealth’s craft beer.

According to the Brewers Association, Pennsylvania had 178 craft breweries in 2015 (the most recent year with complete statistics), which puts it in eighth place nationwide. Those breweries, however, produced more than four million barrels of craft beer, solidly securing first place in total production. That is nothing to scoff at.

Nothing says success like a trophy case full of awards, and PA’s breweries have brought home a LOT of medals from the Great American Beer Festival (225 Medals) and the World Beer Cup (51 Medals) over the years. The barley-fed contenders from Pennsylvania have helped their home state earn a reputation as a craft brewing powerhouse and serve as inspiration for all the young worts across the nation. Strike up the marching band and load the confetti cannons because it’s time to recognize the achievements of these champions!

Most Medals Won by a Single PA Beer

Troegenator Double Bock | Tröegs Independent Brewing

GABF: 5 Gold, 2 Silver | WBC: 1 Gold, 3 Bronze
2016 Summer Olympics
Troegenator is PA’s biggest winner. Photo Credit:

8.2% ABV | 25 IBU

Tröegs Troegenator is the Michael Phelps of Pennsylvania beer. Just as Phelps broke records by bringing home 18 gold medals from three different Olympiads, this robust brew has brought home more GABF and WBC medals than any other craft beer in PA history. This chewy, double bock is a born champion. Notes of caramel and stone fruit are coupled with a smooth finish to create a brew that is definitely worthy of the traditional doppelbock suffix “-ator.” Brewed in the town of Hershey, which is located near the middle of the state, and formerly brewed in the capital city of Harrisburg, Troegenator is a champion that has the unique ability to bring both sides of the state together.

Most Medals Won by a PA Brewery

Stoudts Brewing Company

GABF: 10 Gold, 10 Silver, 7 Bronze, 2 Honorable Mention | WBC: 2 Gold, 1 Bronze
2016 Summer Olympics
Stoudts Brewing Company is the all-time winningest brewery in PA. Photo Credit:

With several different brews working together to fill our collective trophy case, Stoudts Brewing Company is PA beer’s equivalent to the 1996 Women’s Gymnastics team. Just like the ’96 team worked together to win gold in the Team All-Around, Stoudts’ pilsners, hefeweizens, kolsches, bocks and märzens brought their own individual strengths to the various competitions. Their work paid off, and they brought 30 medals home to the Keystone State. Stoudts understands that being a champion requires teamwork, and they have done that very well over the years. Even if you can’t remember the names of the individual brews, you can feel confident knowing that Stoudts has a solid brewing history.


The Underdog

XRéserve Peach & Ginger Saison | Saucony Creek Brewing Co. 

GABF: 1 Gold
2016 Summer Olympics
This saison came out of nowhere! Photo Credit:

5.2% ABV | 20 IBU

In 2004, 19-year-old Mariel Zagunis made the US Women’s Fencing Team at the 11th hour. The relative unknown fencer emerged from obscurity to bring home the first Olympic gold medal in fencing in 100 years. Saucony Creek Brewing Company holds a similar distinction in Pennsylvania craft beer. The young brewery came out of nowhere, and their XRéserve Peach & Ginger Saison brought home PA’s only gold medal from the 2015 GABF. This orange-colored ale joins classic farmhouse flavors with slightly sweet peach notes and subtle ginger spiciness to create a deliciously refreshing brew. Anyone who has seen Rocky can tell you that Pennsylvanians love an underdog, and this saison was the underdog beer that helped PA craft beer secure its place on the national scene.

While you are watching the 2016 summer Olympics and exercising your American pride, be sure to also exercise your state and local pride by drinking local beer. A beer is the perfect beverage to pair with the excitement of the Olympic games, so, before the opening ceremonies start, I suggest a trip to your local beer seller for an ample selection of craft beer … especially if it’s from Pennsylvania.

PA GABF Medal Count 2015

MedalMedals Won

PA World Beer Cup Medal Count 2016

MedalNumber of Medals Won

PA GABF All-Time Medal Count

MedalNumber of Medals Won

PA World Beer Cup All-Time Medal Count

MedalNumber of Medals Won


Featured image designed by Josh Ritenour

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