Big Bear Brewing Co. Claims National Gold Medals

By John Linn

Big Bear Brewing Company Takes Home the Gold at National Competitions This Summer

CORAL SPRINGS, FLORIDA – Much like America’s Olympic team, Big Bear Brewing Co. has spent the summer capturing gold medals. The independently owned and operated brewpub, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary in Coral Springs, was recognized with five accolades at national competitions this season, cementing its status as the go-to restaurant in South Florida for locally-made, award-winning food and drink.

Winning big this summer was Big Bear’s Polar Light (4.9% ABV, 15 IBUs). This German-style kolsch beer took a gold medal at the prestigious United States Open Beer Championship, a competition squaring off over 1,650 American brews in 65 categories. The win catapulted Polar Light to the position of “Best German Kolsch Beer in the Country” according to, eclipsing many other nationally distributed beers from the likes of Harpoon Brewing Company and Goose Island.

Although the name suggests a typical light lager, Polar Light is a far cry from sudsy, domestic brew. A traditional German-style kolsch, Polar Light is cold-brewed with authentic yeast, pilsner malt, and noble hops to create round malt profile and mellow hop aroma and flavor. Its quality ingredients – and meticulous creation – make it extremely clean and drinkable, a fact evidenced each day at the brewery: Big Bear sells approximately 100 gallons of the popular quaff per week.

“Polar Light is a beer that is easy to overlook, but it’s one of the tougher beers to brew,” says Brewmaster Matthew Cox, the force behind the tanks at Big Bear Brewing Co. for the past 11 years. “It’s an easy sell for people who might be unfamiliar with microbrews in that it’s light and refreshing, but it’s authentic enough to appeal to craft beer veterans.”

Another big victor this summer has been Big Bear’s Paw Print IPA (6.5%, 60 IBUs), recently named Grand Champion IPA at the United States Beer Tasting Championship. Against a qualified field of 73 entries, Paw Print trampled its competition, claiming top honors at both the regional and national level. This huge win came against several other established IPAs deemed “exceptional” in the blind tasting, including Cigar City Jai Alai, Terrapin Hopsecutioner, and Sweetwater IPA.

Big Bear’s classic American IPA bursts forth with a heady dose of American hops, imparting citrus and grapefruit aromas, a deeply fruity flavor, and a pronounced bitter finish. But like everything brewed at Big Bear, balance is key: In this case, Cox employs English floor-malted Marris Otter – one of the most expensive and highest quality base malts available – to create a rich, biscuit-y body that perfectly compliments Paw Prints’ bouquet of whole-leaf Cascade hops. The beer has earned nine major medals to date.

Polar Light and Paw Print are joined in recognition by two other Big Bear brews. Grizzly Red (5.8%, 18 IBUs), a staple at the restaurant since inception, earned a silver medal at the USOBC in the red ale Irish Red Ale category. This four-time medal winner features a mellow, caramel-laden malt bill balanced by a judicious blend of American and continental hops. Cox’s newest conception, Smokey the Bear (8.7% ABV, 60 IBUs), also took a bronze medal at the USOBC. This Imperial Smoked Porter combines the roasty, cocoa expression of a dark porter with a mild smokiness imparted by cherry wood-smoked malt. The careful interplay of smoke and malt makes it a perfect compliment to Big Bear’s spice-crusted prime rib or chocolate lava cake. Smokey the Bear has even proven to be almost as fun to say as it is to drink – USOBC judges named it one of the Top Ten Most Creatively-Named Beers among the 1600-plus entrants.

Each of these accolades only adds to Big Bear Brewing Company’s growing success. The brewpub, recently reviewed in the Sun-Sentinel and on the program, Check Please! with Michelle Bernstein, creates all of its own sauces and dressings, and sources local ingredients whenever possible. Its wide-ranging menu features wood-fired pizzas, free-range chicken and poultry, USDA prime steaks, and sumptuous burgers made with Wagyu beef, all of which make for an ideal pairing with its award-winning beer.

Big Bear Brewing Company is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, with brunch served on Sundays. Brewmaster Matthew Cox is available for interview, and media inquiries can be made by calling John Linn at 561-755-7456, or by e-mail at


Contact Info

Company: Big Bear Brewing Co
Contact: John Linn