The Great American Beer Festival is held annually in Denver, Colorado. Breweries throughout the United State enter their beers to be judged in a controlled, 'blind' manner. Many people consider the winners to be the best examples in the nation in their respective categories.
This year was the 29th year for the festival. 3,521 beers were entered by 516 breweries. 151 judges came from 10 countries. 4,900 people attended. On average, each of the 79 categories had 44 entries. The most in in any one category was the American-style India Pale Ale with 142 entries.
The best name for a winning beer was "Clueless Beer Writer," a silver medal winner in the Vienna style Lager category for The Sandlot Brewery of Denver, Colorado. The strangest category had to be "Out of category - traditionally brewed beer" —appropriately enough, Category 13. That's a head-scratcher.
Congratulations to all the winners, but here, today, we'll only mention those from Virginia and Maryland, which is where this blog is written. There were no winning entries from Washington, D.C. —the 'D' in 'DMV'— but we'll claim an honorary mention for the District. The national brewpub chain Gordon-Biersch garnered two medals, and one of its locations, although not necessarily the location which brewed the winners, is indeed in D.C.
Devils Backbone of Roseland, Virginia, took 4 medals, 2 gold; Blue Mountain Brewery of Afton, Virginia, took 2 medals, one gold; Heavy Seas of Baltimore, Maryland took 2 medals, both bronze; Sweetwater Tavern of Centreville, Virginia, took one medal, a gold.
Devils Backbone in Roseland, Virginia.
Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, Virginia.
Taylor Smack, brewer
*Bronze - German style Kölsch
Great American Restaurants (aka Sweetwater Tavern) in Centreville, Virginia.
See the full list of all winners here at the festival website or as a pdf file download here. More information here. As per usual, there's good analysis of the results at BeerNews.org. And, a 'thank you' to BeerTap.tv for streaming the awards ceremony, live on the web.