The 2017 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 293 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States, plus three GABF Pro-Am medals to teams of homebrewers paired with professionals. Presented by the Brewers Association (BA), GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and the premier symbol of brewing excellence.
In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, award-winning breweries received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 98 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country.
Winners were chosen out of 7,923 competition entries from 2,217 breweries in 50 states plus Washington, D.C. (a 15 percent and 24 percent increase respectively from the 7,301 entries and 1,783 breweries in 2016).
The competition took place in six sessions over a period of three days and was judged by 276 beer experts from 13 countries, including the U.S. In addition to commercial brewery entries, the judging panel also evaluated 118 Pro-Am entries. The competition was made possible with the help of 365 volunteers.
American-Style India Pale Ale (Most Entered Category): Gold went to Illinois’ Hailstorm Brewing Co. for their Prairie Madness, brewed with American, German and English malts and duly hopped with Mosaic and Simcoe hops. Silver went to Gold Digger IPA by Auburn Alehouse (Auburn, CA), and Bronze to Breakside Brewery & Taproom’s (Milwaukee) Breakside IPA.
Imperial IPA: The DIPA category this year was dominated by California breweries. Gold went to Ballast Point Brewing Co. (owned Constellation Brands) for Manta Ray. Although Ballast Point was banned from sponsorship this year, it was still permitted to compete. Silver went to actual craft brewery Knee Deep Brewing Co. (Auburn) for fan favorite Lupulin River, and Bronze to Danville Brewing’s (Danville) Chux.
American-Style Pale Ale: Gold — Monterey Street, Central Coast Brewing Co. (San Luis Obispo, CA); Silver — Mosaic Pale Ale, Lynnwood Brewing Concern – Production Facility (Raleigh, NC); Triple Tail, Sweetwater Brewing Co. (Atlanta, GA).
Wood-Aged / Barrel-Aged Strong Stout: Gold — Medianoche, WeldWerks Brewing Co. (Greeley, CO); Silver — Maman 2017, Perennial Artisan Ales (Saint Louis, MO); Barrel-Aged Marfa Light, Big Bend Brewing Co. (Alpine, TX).
American-Style Sour Ale: Gold — DAM Wild: Hops and Lemon Verbena, Flat Tail Brewing Co. (Corvallis, OR); Silver — Disenchantment Blend #1, Bond Brothers Beer Co. (Cary, NC); Yeast of Eden – Skeptics & Believers, Alvarado Street Brewery (Salinas, CA).
Wood-Aged / Barrel-Aged Sour Beer: Gold — Plum Creek Sour, Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co. (Castle Rock, CO); Silver — Train to Beersel, Bruery Terreux (Anaheim, CA); 5th Anniversary Tequila Sour, Loveland Aleworks (Loveland, CO).
Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale: Gold — El Sur, Casa Agria Specialty Ales (Oxnard, CA); Silver — Blended 2017, Side Project Brewing (Maplewood, MO); Drinking with Friends, Mraz Brewing Co. (El Dorado Hills, CA).
Session IPA: Gold — Rome City IPA, Brew Hub (Lakeland, FL)
Fresh Or Wet Hop Ale: Gold — Wet Hop Melvin, Melvin Brewing Co. (Alpine, WY)
Experimental Beer: Gold — Source Series Opuntia, Carolina Bauernhaus Ales (Anderson, SC)
Brett Beer: Gold — Fancy Pants, Jessup Farm Barrel House (Fort Collins, CO)
American-Style Pilsener or International-Style Pilsener: Gold — Rocket 100, The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. (Austin, TX)
You can download a list of all the beer competition medalists here.
Small Brewpub and Brewmaster of the Year | <750 BBLS
Mid-Size Brewpub and Brewmaster of the Year | 750 – 1,500 BBLS
Large Brewpub and Brewmaster of the Year | 1,500+ BBLS
Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year | <1,000 BBLS
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year | 1,000 – 14,999 BBLS
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year | 15,000 – 6,000,000 BBLS
Large or Multiple Location Brewery Group and Brewmaster of the Year
Gold, silver and bronze medals were also awarded in the GABF Pro-Am competition, which pairs homebrewers with professional brewers, who scale up the award-winning homebrew recipes. The medal winners, including the winning professional brewers and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) member homebrewers are: