We returned from the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Sunday, after several days celebrating beer, another successful year, and exploring Colorado. The GABF is the single largest beer festival in the country, with 4 sessions beginning on Thursday evening, and is punctuated by an enormous awards ceremony on Saturday morning, where beers entered into the competition (blindly and painstakingly assessed throughout the week by qualified and experienced beer judges) are crowned gold, silver, and bronze medals according to their categories. In this American-only “Olympics of Beer”, brewers have worked tirelessly to create beers that best exemplify the style – be it American, German, Belgian, or English – beers that medal have essentially reached the pinnacle of this expression, and are truly world-class demonstrations of these classic beers. This year, in just three days, almost 8000 beers were judged by about 300 judges, in 99 categories. It is a gigantic effort – and it all culminates on Saturday morning in a huge ballroom, with thousands and thousands of nervous brewers and brewery teams anxiously awaiting the results – it’s truly electrifying.
For the third time in four years, we scored a medal! This year our “Herd of Turtles” was awarded a silver medal in the Baltic-style Porter category! Such an exciting, thrilling, gratifying experience to win, to get to walk across the big stage in front of our friends and peers, and to have this great beer recognized on a national level. We now have three medals under our GABF belt: Gold (Bohemian-style Pilsner “Sweet Ride” – 2016), Silver (“Herd of Turtles”- this year), and Bronze (Irish-style Dry Stout “Asphalt Jungle” – 2014).
Fingers crossed for the international version of this competition: the biannual World Beer Cup, which will take place in Nashville next spring.