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Iron Hill Brewery Medals at 21st Consecutive GABF

Iron Hill
Dan Bortz

On Saturday, October 7, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant won two silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. This brings their lifetime medal count to 47, but that isn’t even the astonishing part of this story. These medals—one for their Russian Imperial Stout in the Imperial Stout category and the other for Solzhenitzen in the Aged Beer category—extend an already amazing GABF medal-winning streak to an unprecedented 21 consecutive years.

Iron Hill’s 21-year streak is the longest by any independent craft brewer, but GABF isn’t the only major beer festival where they have been enjoying this kind of success. They have also earned three “World Champion Brewpub” titles and 30 medals at the World Beer Cup.  Maintaining that kind of streak is no accident and is the result of a singular focus on quality and consistency in every beer they brew.

Founded by home brewers Kevin Finn and Mark Edelson and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant now operates 12 locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. Each brewpub has their own craft kitchen and scratch brewery, allowing individual chefs and brewers the freedom and creativity to pair the freshest ingredients with the highest quality grains and hops.

“Our established history of earning national awards for our beers, along with our many repeat wins, is a testament to the exceptional quality and consistency of our beers,” says Iron Hill’s Director of Brewing Operations Mark Edelson. “Each of our 12 locations is led by their own individual head brewer, producing world-class beer day in and day out. We’re proud to congratulate them as they carry on our winning ways.”

To truly appreciate Iron Hill’s achievement, it helps to have a little perspective. The craft beer landscape is constantly evolving, and has been for decades. When Iron Hill entered their first GABF in 1997, there were only 1,700 total beers from 400 breweries entered in the competitions 50 categories. This year, judges tasted nearly 8,000 beers from 2,217 breweries in 98 categories. With competition growing every year, it is impressive that any brewery could pull off a multiple-year winning streak, but Iron Hill has gone even further by never failing to medal in a GABF appearance.

Iron Hill’s most award-winning beers include:

  • Russian Imperial Stout: A full-bodied stout that starts with a complex, malt-y sweet, high-roasted character, balanced with the use of citrus-y American hops.
    2003 GABF gold; 2006 GABF gold; 2006 WBC bronze; 2010 GABF gold; 2010 WBC gold; 2011 GABF silver; 2012 WBC gold; 2012 GABF bronze; 2013 GABF silver; 2014 WBC gold; 2015 GABF silver; 2016 WBC silver; 2017 GABF Silver
  • Bedotter: A traditional Belgian-style golden ale with complex aroma and notes of plum, spice and banana, with refreshing balanced bitterness.
    2002-2004 GABF bronzes, 2014 GABF silver; 2016 WBC gold
  • The Cannibal: A golden Belgian-style ale with complex flavors and a dry finish accented by a nose of tropical fruit and dry spice.
    2005 GABF gold; 2006 WBC silver; 2015 GABF silver
  • Lambic du Hill: A traditional, unfiltered Belgian-style lambic made with wild yeast and bacteria and aged in oak barrels for two years for aromas of banana, oak, and hay and a nutty flavor with refreshing sourness.
    2003 GABF gold; 2008 GABF gold; 2010 WBC bronze

Featured Image Credit: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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