This year's competition saw 2793 entries by 473 breweries evaluated by 107 judges from 7 countries. Phew. The ceremony was kinda mellow, with medal hopefuls>"/>
This year's competition saw 2793 entries by 473 breweries evaluated by 107 judges from 7 countries. Phew. The ceremony was kinda mellow, with medal hopefuls cheering their regional breweries on offering the only spice.
Elysian Brewing won a SILVER for their Great Pumpkin (the more spice-restrained of their two p-beers) in the Fruit and Veggie Beer category, a GOLD for the Wise ESB in the super hot Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter category, and a SILVER for their Dragonstooth Stout in the Other Strong Ale/Lager category. They missed brewpub and brewer of the year by mere points. Don't cry for them, though. They've cleaned up plenty from the GABF. The Wise ESB (now a triple gold winner) stood out on the floor with it's supreme balance between the jacked up hops and a complex malty sweetness with hints of orange that if you could turn into a bread, I'd have it for breakfast every morning.
Fish Brewing Company won GOLD!! for their Old Woody in the Old or Strong Ale category. The Washington section cheered extra loud when it was announced. Awwww.... This beer reminded me of all my favorite cookies, sweet with plenty of brown sugar, nut and honey flavors and a stroke of soft baked fruit like dried cherries in an oatmeal cookie. Find a bottle of this for the holidays if you can.
Flyers Restaurant and Brewery from Oak Harbor won SILVER for their Bottleworks Viii Anniversary Ale in the Other Strong Ale/Lager category. Two years in business, two GABF medals (among other awards). Plan a road trip people--this brewpub's worth your time. The anniversary ale was not on the festival floor, but going back to notes I thought it was an awesome ale, closest to a Scotch Ale in style--fine caramel and plum pudding with an over-arching chocolate richness.
Hales Ales won SILVER in the Extra Strong Bitter or Strong Bitter category for their O'Brien's Harvest. (A good example of entering your beer in the right category. I would have put it in a totally different place.) Did I ever tell you that this is one of my favorite fall beers ever? Oh yeah, I DID. I deep malted ale with a well-integrated fresh, aromatic hop aroma and flavor that's like the icing on a cake.
Not pictured: Pyramid won GOLD for their Crystal Weizen in the American-stle Wheat Beer category, and Rock Bottom Brewery-Bellevue's Hop Bomb wone SILVER in the American Strong pale Ale category. Congratulations to everyone!!!!! I can tell you, the PNW section was ounce for ounce one of the strongest sections at the festival. I was so proud to tell people where I was from, and what they should taste from our fair corner of the country.
It was cool to see a lot of the beers that resonated with me win medals, like armchair quarterbacking the Academy Awards, except the GABF awards are fair. And people stared at me for hooting and hollering when Two Brothers from Warrenville, IL medaled. I was just stoked to see a beer named "Domaine DuPage" get bronze. (You have to be from Chicagoland to think that's funny.) More this afternoon and a recap this evening after I drag my ass away from the after party at Falling Rock. Now it's back on the floor.