The 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) has wrapped, and what a great festival it was! While all we have to show for the fest are great memories, 283 breweries took home much cooler souvenirs from GABF in the form of gold, silver, and bronze medals. Our local breweries made sure many of those medals stayed in Colorado, winning a total of 40 medals during this year’s competition.
The 2018 GABF Beer Competition
But before we break down our local medal count, let’s take a look at the competition numbers…
2019 Competition Facts & Stats
In this 33rd year of the GABF competition, 322 judges from 18 countries evaluated 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries, plus 113 Pro-Am and 70 Collaboration Competition entries. Entries were received from all 50 states plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 318 medals in 174 beer categories/subcategories, plus three medals each in their ProAm and Collaboration Competition.
“This year’s GABF competition was the largest and most competitive to date,” said Chris Swersey, competition manager, Great American Beer Festival. “The beers and talent were as impressive as ever, and we congratulate this year’s winners for their achievements in brewing.”
More GABF Competition Facts
- The average number of beers entered in each category: 88
- The category with the highest number of entries was the Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale, with 348 entries. The category debuted on top last year and continues to reign supreme in terms of entries.
- There were 401 first-time GABF entrants and 37 first-time GABF winners.
- Three medals were not awarded. There were no gold medal winners in the American-Style Wheat Beer or the Historical Beer categories, and no bronze medal was awarded in the Emerging India Pale Ale category.
- Charlie Papazian, the founder of GABF, retired from the Brewers Association in January 2019. However, you may notice that Charlie was back on stage this year. He returned for the award ceremony to help hand out medals and give winners a much-anticipated fist bump!
Colorado Breweries Win Big at GABF
Recovering from their 2018 slump where they only earned 30 medals, Colorado breweries were awarded 40 medals this year, their highest medal count since 2013. Overall, Colorado was 2nd only to California in total medals won. Most impressive, out of the 35 Colorado breweries that won medals this year, 15 of were first-time winners. With so many breweries (new & old) making award-winning beer, it’s no wonder Colorado is called The State of Craft Beer!
One of Colorado’s biggest winners was Comrade Brewing Co. The Denver brewery was named the 2019 Small Brewing Company of the Year and received two gold medals, solidifying their status as an IPA powerhouse. Superpower IPA was awarded the gold in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category, while it’s triple-dry hopped variation, More Dodge Less RAM, took gold in the American-Style India Pale Ale category. Comrade Brewing Co has won a total of five GABF medals since 2014.
Another big Colorado winner was Westbound & Down Brewing Co who was named the Midsize Brewpub of the Year. The Idaho Springs brewpub was awarded two silver medals: one for Double Barrel Louie in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category, and one for Westbound Double IPA in the Imperial India Pale Ale categories. These were their first GABF medal wins, which makes the honor all the more impressive.
Cannonball Creek Brewing Co kept their winning streak alive, winning two silver medals. This Golden brewery’s 7-year winning streak is currently the longest active winning streak for any Colorado brewery. They won silver for Trump Hands in the Session India Pale Ale category and for Vladimir Brutin in the Emerging India Pale Ale category.
Colorado’s 2019 GABF Medal Winners
|Medal||GABF Category||Beer Name||Brewery Name||Brewery Location|
|Gold||Golden or Blonde Ale||1956 Golden Ale||Bootstrap Brewing||Longmont|
|Gold||Honey Beer||A&M Honey Bock||BJ's Restaurant & Brewery - Boulder||Boulder|
|Gold||Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer||Amburana Dream||Denver Beer Co. - Olde Town Arvada||Arvada|
|Silver||Irish-Style Red Ale||Balefire Irish Red||Mirror Image Brewing Co.||Frederick|
|Silver||Aged Beer||Belgian Quad||Green Mountain Beer Co.||Lakewood|
|Gold||Gluten-Free Beer||Boombastic Hazy IPA||Holidaily Brewing Co.||Golden|
|Bronze||Pro-Am Comp||Chess with Checkers||New Belgium Brewing Co.||Fort Collins|
|Silver||Ordinary or Special Bitter||Cousin Jack||Dostal Alley Brewpub & Casino||Central City|
|Bronze||Herb and Spice Beer||Deck Daze||Vail Brewing Co. - Vail Village Pilot||Vail|
|Silver||Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer||Double Barrel Louie||Westbound & Down Brewing Co.||Idaho Springs|
|Silver||English-Style Brown Ale||Eclipse Brown Ale||Equinox Brewing||Fort Collins|
|Silver||International-Style Dark Lager||El Corn||The Post Brewing Co.||Lafayette|
|Gold||Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale||Extra Extra Juicy Bits||WeldWerks Brewing Co.||Greeley|
|Gold||Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale||Fu Fighter||Good River Beer||Denver|
|Gold||Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale||Get The Funk Out||Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project||Denver|
|Bronze||American-Style Amber Lager||Grist Maerzen||Grist Brewing Co.||Highlands Ranch|
|Silver||Fruited American-Style Sour Ale||Hoochie Mama||Storm Peak Brewing Co.||Steamboat Springs|
|Silver||German-Style Altbier||Howitzer Amber||Red Leg Brewing Co.||Colorado Springs|
|Silver||German-Style Koelsch||Ice Cutter Kölsch||Joyride Brewing Co.||Edgewater|
|Silver||Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale||Itsy Bits||WeldWerks Brewing Co.||Greeley|
|Gold||Belgian- and French-Style Ale||Junebug||Echo Brewing Co.||Erie|
|Gold||Scotch Ale||Knuckle Dragger||Dueces Wild Brewery||Colorado Springs|
|Bronze||Light Lager||Lightner Creek Lager||Carver Brewing Co.||Durango|
|Silver||Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest||Lindauer Lager||Wit's End Brewing Co.||Denver|
|Silver||Bock||Maibock||Dry Dock Brewing Co. - South Dock||Aurora|
|Gold||American-Style India Pale Ale||More Dodge Less RAM||Comrade Brewing Co.||Denver|
|Silver||Australian-Style Pale Ale||Mountain Standard IPA||Odell Brewing Co.||Fort Collins|
|Gold||Other Strong Beer||Northstar Imperial Porter||Twisted Pine Brewing Co.||Boulder|
|Bronze||Session Beer||Peacekeeper||Launch Pad Brewery||Aurora|
|Bronze||Australian-Style Pale Ale||Pete's Stash||Vail Brewing Co. - Vail Village Pilot||Vail|
|Silver||Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale or Belgian-Style Quadrupel||Séréneté Grand Cru||Bruz Beers||Denver|
|Silver||Experimental Beer||Shibbleshabble||Primitive Beer||Longmont|
|Gold||American-Style Strong Pale Ale||Superpower IPA||Comrade Brewing Co.||Denver|
|Silver||Session India Pale Ale||Trump Hands||Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.||Golden|
|Silver||International-Style Pilsener||Upslope Craft Lager||Upslope Brewing Co. - Flatiron Park||Boulder|
|Silver||Emerging India Pale Ale||Vladimir Brutin||Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.||Golden|
|Gold||Belgian-Style Witbier||Way West Wit||Zuni Street Brewing Co.||Denver|
|Silver||Imperial India Pale Ale||Westbound Double IPA||Westbound & Down Brewing Co.||Idaho Springs|
|Silver||Specialty Saison||Westfield||Cellar West Artisan Ales||Lafayette|
|Silver||Oatmeal Stout||Yonder Mountain Stout||Vine Street Pub & Brewery||Denver|
View the full list of all GABF medal winners for this year and prior at greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/winners/.
Congratulations to all the GABF winners!