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Great American Beer Festival 2014: How the Locals Fared

Last weekend much of the American beer world gathered in Denver to drink, network, and judge. Probably in that order. Local breweries took home some of the hardware.
 

Category: 73 - Belgian- and French-Style Ale - 27 Entries

Gold: Grisette, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pottstown, PA

Silver: The Citizen, DC Brau Brewing Co., Washington, DC

Bronze: Barren Hill Biere De Extra, Barren Hill Tavern and Brewery, Lafayette Hill, PA

 

Analysis: It’s a bit surprising that only 27 beers were entered in this category. Even more surprising is that all three medalists are in the mid-Atlantic. Now that Brau distributes to southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, you can try all three of these in a day if you’d like. It’s Brau’s second medal in this category, having landed another silver with Your Favorite Foreign Movie, a patersbier brewed from (then) local homebrewer Brian Barrow’s recipe through the Meridian Pint homebrew competition.

 

Category: 56 - American-Style Amber/Red Ale - 140 Entries

Gold: Dougie Style Amber Ale, Canteen Brewhouse, Albuquerque, NM

Silver: Amber Waves Ale, Capitol City Brewing Co., Arlington, VA

Bronze: Rocco Red Ale, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton, CA

 

Analysis: On occasion we’re asked to recommend a good, solid amber ale, and we usually point people to Rock Bottom in Bethesda, which won a gold medal in 2006 with their Raccoon Red. Seems like we should add Amber Waves to our referral list. Very strong work by Kristi Griner to pick up a medal so early into her tenure with Cap City.

 

Category: 66 - German-Style Sour Ale - 80 Entries

Gold: Reserve Wheat Ale, Telegraph Brewing Co., Santa Barbara, CA

Silver: Old Pro Gose, Union Craft Brewing, Baltimore, MD

Bronze: Berliner Weiss, Fegley’s Brew Works, Allentown, PA

 

Analysis: No surprise here. Union’s Kevin Blodger took a medal for his gose when he was brewing at Gordon Biersch-Rockville a few years back. He knows what he’s doing. This remains an excellent example of the style and a favorite for bars looking to get cheeky with beer cocktails at brunch.

 

Category: 21 - American-Belgo-Style Ale - 69 Entries

Gold: White IPA, Badger Hill Brewing, St. Louis Park, MN

Silver: Belgian IPA, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - Rockville, Rockville, MD

Bronze: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

 

Analysis: Over the past few year, the corporate office has given brewers some leeway at GB locations, including making non-German styles. Nice to see that pay off in terms of medals. We haven’t checked this beer out, but will be sure to do so and report back to you as it’s a favorite style among DCBeer staffers.

 

Category: 29 - Smoke Beer - 55 Entries

Gold: Rauchbier, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - Annapolis, Annapolis, MD

Silver: Smokejumper Smoked Imperial Porter, Left Hand Brewing Co., Longmont, CO

Bronze: Alaskan Smoked Porter 2013, Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, AK

 

Analysis: Another GB one-off medal, though this one a German style. Very impressive to beat out the inimitable Alaskan Smoked Porter and the very well-respected Smokejumper.

 

Category: 46 - Golden or Blonde Ale - 90 Entries

Silver: 5 Rabbit Golden Ale, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, Bedford Park, IL

Bronze: Gold, Heavy Seas Beer, Baltimore, MD

 

Analysis: One of the more underrated beers that’s widely available around this area. Simple, well put together, and refreshing. A great sushi beer and excellent on cask, as it is sometimes at ChurchKey.

 

UPDATE: Mea cupla, but DuClaw out of Maryland took a bronze in Chocolate Beer for Sweet Baby Jesus, their chocolate peanut butter porter that tastes like liquid Reese's Pieces. 

 

Road Trips

 

Virginia

 

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

DB Brewery Team

 

Analysis: All these guys do is win. There’s a reason for that. Jason Oliver and the DB team are very, very good at what they do. Their many individual medals are included below (along with others from breweries a further distance from DC proper) for your perusal. Someone had better recommend a chiropractor for Jason Oliver. His back is very young, but it won’t stay that way with all those medals around his neck.

 

Category: 3 - American-Style Fruit Beer - 56 Entries

Gold: Raspberry Stout, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA

Silver: Sleepyhead Passion Fruit, Coda Brewing Co., Aurora, CO

Bronze: Apricot, Dry Dock Brewing Co. - North Dock, Aurora, CO

 

Category: 41 - American-Style Dark Lager - 19 Entries

Gold: Lagerithm, Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim, CA

Silver: Old Virginia Dark, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

Bronze: Shiner Bock, Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner, TX

 

Category: 42 - German-Style Schwarzbier - 37 Entries

Gold: Schwartz Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

Silver: Lobo Negro, Pedernales Brewing Co., Fredericksburg, TX

Bronze: Duck-Rabbit Schwarzbier, The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, Farmville, NC

 

Analysis: The gold medal beer is on tap at numerous places in the District and Virginia at the moment, and this is the perfect season for it.

 

Category: 43 - Bock - 27 Entries

Gold: Troegenator, Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA

Silver: Turbo Cougar, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Outpost, Lexington, VA

Bronze: Winterbock, Triumph Brewing Co. of New Hope, New Hope, PA

 

Analysis: You could do a lot worse than a day at Hershey Park and dinner and drinks less than a mile away at Troegs. This is the fifth GABF gold medal Troegenator has won and the sixth overall (a silver in 2010). No embarrassment for Jason Oliver to give way to what is clearly a titanic beer in this style.

 

Category: 62 - Irish-Style Red Ale - 60 Entries

Gold: ‘Rado’s Red Ale, Crow Hop Brewing Co., Loveland, CO

Silver: Piper Down, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits - Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA

Bronze: “Hydraulion” Red, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., Charlottesville, VA

 

Category: 67 German-Style Altbier - 33 Entries

Gold: Red Alt, White Bluffs Brewing, Richland, WA

Silver: Dusseldorf Altbier, Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., Arcata, CA

Bronze: Alt Bier, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. - Basecamp, Roseland, VA

 

Delaware and Pennsylvania (3 hour drive maximum)

 

Category: 6 - Pumpkin Beer - 52 Entries

Gold: Wolaver’s Pumpkin Ale, Otter Creek Brewing Co., Middlebury, VT

Silver: Spiced Harvest, Old Dominion Brewing Co., Dover, DE

Bronze: Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale, Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, WI

 

Category: 18 - Indigenous/Regional Beer - 31 Entries

Gold: Salmonberry Sour, Bend Brewing Co., Bend, OR

Silver: Choc Lobster, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Rehoboth Beach, DE

Bronze: Sage Fight IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR

 

Analysis: Move over oyster stout! This brewpub one-off was brewed with lobsters prior to pitching grain, including chocolate malt. The lobsters were then served at Dogfish’s Rehoboth pub. Really. We give up.

 

Also, salmonberries are related to raspberries and look like a cluster of salmon roe. No fish were harmed, we think, in the brewing of the gold medal beer, unless isinglass was used.

 

Category: 76 - Belgian-Style Tripel - 58 Entries

Gold: Golden Monkey, Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, PA

Silver: Bedotter, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Newark, Newark, DE

Bronze: La Flama Dorada, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, Ocean Beach, CA

 

Analysis: Golden Monkey is my least favorite of Victory’s flagships, but I’m not a judge at GABF. I’ll pretend that this is for Prima Pils, which is coming to cans soon. All of Iron Hill’s locations are excellent, and more on that below.

 

Category: 12 - Rye Beer - 83 Entries

Gold: Rye Pale Ale, The Civil Life Brewing Co., St. Louis, MO

Silver: Rye of the Tiger, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Media, Media, PA

Bronze: Rockchuck Rye, Lander Brewing Co., Lander, WY

 

Analysis: There have to be at least fifteen beers out there called Rye of the Tiger. This one is apparently very, very good (this year) but not the best (this year). Anyway, get some new puns, brewers. Here’s a freebie: Stakes is Rye.

 

Category: 19 - Historical Beer - 21 Entries

Gold: Thurston, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA

Silver: White Eagle Smoked Wheat, RAM Restaurant & Brewery - Schaumburg, Schaumburg, IL

Bronze: Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce, Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA

 

Category: 45 - Baltic-Style Porter - 42 Entries

Gold: Perkuno’s Hammer, Earth - Bread + Brewery, Philadelphia, PA

Silver: Black Eagle Baltic Porter, Black Tooth Brewing Co., Sheridan, WY

Bronze: Puddy Porter, Faction Brewing Co., Alameda, CA

 

Category: 50 - English-Style India Pale Ale - 39 Entries

Gold: Tumbleweed IPA, Lewis & Clark Brewing Co., Helena, MT

Silver: Gatecrasher IPA, Temperance Beer Co., Evanston, IL

Bronze: Burton IPA, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Media, Media, PA

 

Analysis: So Iron Hill-Media is good at making beer.

 

Congratulations to all the winners, and especially those who are local and within a short driving distance of DC. Have any thoughts about any of these beers? Leave them in the comments or by tweeting us at @dcbeer!

 

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