Every fall thousands of beer connoisseurs make the pilgrimage to Denver, Colorado for the mecca of beer events, The Great American Beer Festival. Of course this festival includes the requisite sampling (guzzling) and seminars but it is also the most recognized beer competition in the world. A professional judging panel grades 79 distinct categories of beer in blind tastings to determine the best of each style. Hundreds of breweries compete for the coveted Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards.
Over 200 beers received awards from the 79 represented styles. Many of the winners were small local and regional breweries but there were plenty of widely distributed metal winning beers as well. Some of the more notable and nationally available award winners to look for on the shelves include:
- Oregon’s Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen-Bronze
- Summit Brewing Company’s delicious flagship, Summit Extra Pale Ale-Silver
- Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Ale-Bronze
- Well-respected Rogue Brewing Company’s Hazelnut Porter-Bronze
- Blue Moon Brewing Company’s Summer Honey Wheat Ale-an impressive Gold (they also earned Silver at our Battle of the Wits)
- The smooth Sam Adams Honey Porter-Bronze
- Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Company’s hoppilicious Humidor IPA-Silver
- Alaskan Brewing Company’s complex Smoked Porter-Gold
- The interesting Allagash White-Bronze
- Kona Brewing Company’s easy-drinking Longboard Lager-Silver
- Maryland’s Oktoberfest style Clipper City Marzen-Bronze
- Rogue’s warming Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout-Bronze
- Steelhead’s tasty Extra Pale Ale-Silver
Beer drinkers are encouraged to check out the list of winners and try not only the national brews, but also the local and regional gems available. This is also a great list to expand an aspiring beer geek’s palate, find a fine example of a particular style, or to just find a good beer for the evening.