#gabf Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Gravely Brewing Co. in Louisville, KY won two medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Sprockets, a German Pilsener, won a gold medal and Doc’s Dunkel, a German Wheat Ale, won a bronze. Gravely Brewing was the only Kentucky brewery to bring home medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.
When one thinks about the state of Indiana, a few things may immediately come to mind. Corn, basketball and the show “Parks and Recreation” are all likely answers but for many, craft beer is not necessarily one of them. That is a shame, considering that at the 2020 Great American Beer Festival competition, the Hoosier State picked up an impressive 10 medals and was home to the brewery with the highest number of winning beers overall: Sun King Brewing.
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing head brewer Chris Davison found out his brewery had won two medals at the Great American Beer Festival in the most 2020 way possible: over Zoom while getting his daughter ready for bed. The Columbus, Ohio, brewery’s team had a company Zoom call going while the awards were announced virtually from Denver. Chris had bedtime duties, and parenting supersedes brewing.
The conversation that begat Jameson Caskmates transpired at a pub in Ireland’s County Cork in 2014, eventually evolving and growing into a program that included numerous U.S. Craft Breweries and ultimately a partnership with the Great American Beer Festival (2018 & 2019). Although GABF is virtual this year due to the relentless pandemic, Jameson remains focused as ever on its Caskmates and craft-beer partnerships.
Typically by this point in the year, Colorado beer fans are already knees deep in big-time hype beer releases from breweries that aren’t typically available in the state. However, with GABF going digital, and the entire industry in a state of unknown due to the on-going pandemic, it’s been generally uncertain whether the typical treasure trove of special releases would be hitting the market.
It’s tempting to bemoan the fact that the industry remains in a lengthy pandemic-induced pivot. However, it’s time to start focusing on what is instead of what isn’t happening. For this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF), beer drinkers will have a chance to purchase a GABF Passport that gives them access to a host of good deals (an idea similar to Chicago and Illinois Craft Beer Weeks held in previous years). One can purchase the $20 GABF Passport and start enjoying brewery deals October 1 through October 18. As well, the passport gives beer drinkers an opportunity to attend (view) the star-studded Virtual GABF Festival (October 16-17) (which includes the awards ceremony).
For the past 22 years, on the Monday before the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one of the country’s most iconic beer bars has helped usher in the event with a celebratory kick-off tapping at 5 p.m.
However this year, on September 21, when Falling Rock Tap House’s GABF countdown timer would normally have ticked down to all zeros, there will be little pomp and circumstance as the festival transitions to a virtual format in response to the pandemic.
Lone Pine Brewing Company is a not-to-be-missed brewery that quickly grew from a small hole in the wall spot to a major player in the New England craft beer scene. Lone Pine opened in Portland, ME’s East Bayside neighborhood in 2016; by 2019, they grew enough to warrant a major expansion in Gorham, ME. Lone Pine is known for its vibrant hop-forward American ales and, over the course of two years, Lone Pine has worked to create what they call the “quintessential NEIPA with boutique hops.” The offspring of that labor of love is their award-winning Chaos Emeralds Double IPA featuring Galaxy and Mosaic hops.
It’s been an interesting year in beer to say the least. This year we set out to explore a wider array of breweries and beers and came back pretty surprised by what we discovered. And while it would be nearly impossible to break down the best beers from 2019, we looked back on some of our favorites from the past year as well as some of the most stand-out breweries, beer festivals and stories from 2019. Enough exposition, let’s get straight to the honors.
Being a fan of spicy food, I’ve tried to like chili beers. Some are too mild, some blast out my taste buds; I rarely finish a full pint before tapping out. But when I heard that the GABF Gold Medal Winner for Chili Beer was a quick drive away in Omaha, Nebraska, I knew I had to try it.
When you take your first sip of Brickway Brewery & Distillery’s Jalapeno Pineapple Pils, you will set down your glass and say, “Oh, I get it. That’s what a chili beer is supposed to taste like.”
Winning something once is tough. Repeating that successful feat is an even tougher task. So, when Cincinnati-based Brink Brewing won GABF gold for “Very Small Brewing Company” for a second consecutive year, a lot of people took notice – myself included. As a young operation, volatility and uncertainty are commonplace. Making good beer, consistently, at a profit, is an arduous task that not many can master. Building a loyal drinking base and gaining accolades for your creations become even more difficult as you try to keep your core business afloat. This is what makes the work of Head Brewer Kelly Montgomery even more impressive. To find out more about the success of their small but stout operation, their reaction to GABF gold, and what comes next, we posed 5 questions to Brink Brewing’s Kelly Montgomery.
It feels like just yesterday it was still summer and fall wasn’t even a thought. Here we are in the second week of October and summer is long gone. Now we’re right in the middle of football season, pumpkin space lattes and soon to be Halloween. Time flies when you’re having fun, and hopefully you’re drinking good beers along the way because we definitely are. Here’s What We’re Drinking.
Non-alcoholic beers were an emerging category of beer at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival with several breweries participating in both the festival and the competition. While they played a small part in the overall event, their addition to the competition this year may be a harbinger of things to come if this trends continue in the right direction.
Pastry stouts, hazy IPAs and rare sours tend to command most of the buzz at the Great American Beer Festival; the lines at brewery booths pouring those beers last week in Denver certainly attested to that. However, I chose a different tasting route for my festival experience. As I wandered the festival floor, I didn’t so much choose “the road less traveled” as much as an overgrown path forgotten by time: I wanted to taste as many obscure, historical beer styles as I could.
GABF offers a wonderful educational opportunity for anyone who wants to taste styles largely lost to history. Want to know what a gruit tastes like? Want to compare multiple export stouts or Dortmunder lagers beside each other? You’ll never have a better chance to do it than at GABF.
Another Great American Beer Festival, another 4,000 beers in the books. Somehow breweries have yet to run out of beer puns for their beer names, so we searched high and low throughout the 2019 GABF to find the wittiest titles or otherwise amazing names. Though some were award winners and others were poured on the festival floor, all are hilarious.
Here are the best beer puns and names from GABF 2019.
This has been another great year for the home state of the Great American Beer Festival. Colorado breweries took home a whopping 40 medals and two brewery/brewer of the year awards at this year’s GABF. Of the 40 medals, 13 of them were gold medals, 21 silver and six bronze. Without further ado, let’s deep dive into this some of this year’s winners.
Chicago is once again home to Great American Beer Festival’s gold medal-winning Hazy IPA after Old Irving Brewing Co. took home top honors for Beezer. Last year, the first year with the Hazy IPA category, Alarmist won the inaugural gold for Le Jus. (And, in 2017, Hailstorm won for its Prairie Madness IPA which was the most-entered category by breweries that year.)
As bagpipers marched into the Colorado Convention Center Thursday evening to officially usher in the 38th annual Great American Beer Festival the PorchDrinking team was feverishly sampling as many beers as possible, to discover hidden gems and standouts from night one.
The Great American Beer Fest is an awe-inspiring menagerie of beer. Good beer, weird beers, surprising styles, and not nearly enough time to give them all a thoughtful pause. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so we over at PorchDrinking have several different routes that we have planned out to make it easier for those who love specific styles. There isn’t really a wrong way to do GABF (except not drinking water, please drink water) so here is a way to dive in that is more musically inclined.
The Great American Beer Festival began in 1982 with 24 breweries serving 47 beers to fans for a single, five-hour session. Today, the number of external events exceed the beers poured at that first fest, and the convention hall will allow patrons to select from more than 3,500 beers. What do you drink? Where do you go? How can one possibly navigate such a colossal beer experience? We at PorchDrinking.com have tried to make the process simpler, writing more than a dozen stories on the event. And, to further simplify it, we have now put all those stories in one location.
First a few important notes on this year’s festival:
- A few tickets still remain for Thursday Night and Saturday Night sessions. Tickets available here.
- This year’s festival format returns to booths being arranged alphabetically by region.
- Attendees of ALL sessions will receive glass cups instead of plastic.
- Thursday Night, Friday Night and Saturday Night Sessions begin at 5:30, Saturday’s Day Session begins at Noon. For first time attendees, we recommend arriving at least an hour and a half before your session to wait in line.
- Don’t forget to check out other sections for hidden gem beers. The Brewers Guild section has guild representatives from several states that bring beers from breweries that aren’t otherwise pouring on the festival floor.
- The Heavy Medal section has beers pouring from past GABF medal winners.
- There’s a Fresh Hop booth with all fresh/wet-hopped beers.
- Several breweries will have special timed releases that aren’t otherwise listed on the pour list. Modern Times Beer, for example, will have a different special release each day of the fest.
Enjoy GABF. Enjoy Beer. Enjoy Craft in all it glory. And here are more tools to help you enjoy the week.