This last weekend saw the annual Great American Beer Festival and judging competition come to Denver again. This weekend was also my 45th birthday. When it came down to it, I could really only choose one to sink my energy into. Mrs. Brew Lounge and I spent the weekend eating and drinking our way around Philadelphia. Went to a 20-year favorite Italian restaurant of ours for dinner. Saw the Violent Femmes in concert. And I ran in the inaugural 5000 Yards Dash at the Yards Brewing Company.
Given all that, most of the time, my phone stayed away and I simply enjoyed the weekend. However, you know I couldn't help but take a few peeks at social media and the post-announcement e-mail that was sent with all the winners listed.
I'll keep this short since I'm confident that those of you who really geek out about this kind of stuff already know about the local winners. For the benefit of those that have not yet seen the list, here's a quick rundown of the local breweries to Philadelphia that came home with some new shiny medals for their brewhouses.
First up, a few quick stats to set the stage. 1,752 breweries from 50 states plus DC submitted 7,227 beers for judging. The beers were judged in 96 categories by 264 judges from 12 countries. 254 different breweries from 37 states were awarded at least one medal. The most medals (four) were won by Überbrew in Billings, Montana. 41 breweries of 464 first-time submitting breweries won a medal. The American-style IPA continued its run as the most-entered category with 312 entries; it was won by Georgetown Brewing Company in Seattle, WA. The average number of entries per category was 75 beers. Oh, and an estimated 60,000 were in attendance at the festival in the convention center which was run with the help of 3,600 volunteers.
As a sidenote, I wonder (and would like to dig into this more) if a suggestion previously tossed around might be getting some revival. That is, as GABF continues to grow seemingly without bound if it's time to breakout regional style GABF festival and judging. That's enough for now....on to the local winners.
Flying Fish Brewing Company
**Silver** - Red Fish (category: Extra Special Bitter; 71 entries)
**Bronze** - HopFish (category: Classic English-style Pale Ale; 38 entries)
MY NOTES: Great to see this long-time brewery from NJ just across the river from Philly winning for a couple of its tried-and-true year-round beers. Red Fish won a GABF bronze last year and a silver in 2014. The HopFish brought home both a GABF gold and a WBC bronze in 2014.
2SP Brewing Company
**Gold** - The Russian (category: Imperial Stout; 91 entries)
**Bronze** - Antonym (category: Belgian- and French-style Ale; 27 entries)
MY NOTES: There's been little doubt that 2SP will be a star on the Philly regional stage for some time to come. That brewer Bob Barrar came over from Iron Hill where he won scores of awards through the years (plus Small Brewpub of the Year at the Media location) and recreated The Russian is another interesting aspect to the story.
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (Phoenixville, PA location)
**Bronze** - Bridge Street Bock (category: Bock; 36 entries)
MY NOTES: Iron Hill takes home at least one award in the 20th consecutive year. Now that...how 'bout that?
Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company
**Bronze** - Churchville Lager (category: Vienna-style Lager; 67 entries)
**Bronze** - Croydon Is Burning (category: Smoke Beer; 65 entries)
MY NOTES: Our lager-winning ways continue. And Neshaminy Creek is well-deserved to carry the mantle. The excellent Churchville Lager took home a GABF gold in 2013.
Two Rivers Brewing Company
**Gold** - Six Finger Sam Saison (category: Specialty Saison; 92 entries)
MY NOTES: Funny how back when I was writing my book, I couldn't tell for sure whether Two Rivers in Easton would ever come to fruition. They were serving other commercial beers with the promise of someday having their own brewhouse. That day has come and now a lot more people are aware of it and searching for a way to Easton.
Yards Brewing Company
**Silver** - Love Stout (category: Classic Irish-style Dry Stout; 41 entries)
MY NOTES: Just the other day, I vented about wanting more high quality Irish Dry Stouts. Good thing I have access to this great one in my backyard. Always have. And, when at Yards on Sunday, was even more compelled to pick up another six-pack. Maybe a sixtel is in order next time.