It’s a big day in beer and a day where a lot of dreams come true, as breweries find out if they’ve scored a Great American Beer Festival medal in the 2019 competition.
“If you don’t have butterflies in your stomach, you don’t have a beer entered in the competition,” GABF Competition Director Chris Swersey said before the award ceremony started in Denver’s Bellco Theatre Saturday morning.
The GABF competition is for U.S. breweries, and the competition for a GABF medal is as fierce as ever. Judges examined 9,497 beers from 2,295 American breweries. Winning a GABF competition medal can catapult a small brewery to success.
The competition continues to show that the India Pale Ale beer style, along with the juicy or hazy IPA substyle, aren’t going anywhere. The Juicy or Hazy IPA category was the most-entered for the second year in a row with 348 entries; 2018 marked the first year Juicy or Hazy IPA (also known as New England-style IPA) was recognized as a GABF competition style.
In the Juicy or Hazy IPA category, Chicago’s Old Irving Brewing Co. took home a gold medal for Beezer, Hazy IPA from City Lights Brewing Co. in Milwaukee won silver, and Devil’s Gulch Pond Farm Brewing in San Rafael, California, won bronze.
American-style India Pale Ale was the second most-entered competition category in 2019. Out of 342 entries, Denver’s Comrade Brewing won gold for its More Dodge Less RAM IPA; Green Cheek Beer Co. from Orange, California, took silver for its Radiant Beauty, while San Diego’s Coronado Brewing Co. won bronze for its Weekend Vibes IPA.
In all, 283 medals were awarded this year. Charlie Papazian, the founder of the Great American Beer Festival, was on stage to greet the medal winners with a fist bump.
You can see if breweries near you took home a medal on the competition’s website.