The 2010 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) has left the building. And we only have 359 days until the next one. Honestly, it will likely take that long to recuperate.
This year the GABF, once again held in downtown Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, was bigger and better then ever. It broke all previous ticket sales records, selling out five weeks in advance of the event. With 3,523 individual beers entered in this year’s competition – an increase of 9% over last year’s 3,308 entries – it safely remains the largest commercial beer competition in the world. Over 450 U.S. breweries (56 of them first timers to the GABF) served roughly 36,000 gallons of more than 2,200 different beers to 49,000 attendees. It took 3,400 volunteers some 54,000 hours to set up and execute this year’s festival.
This year 151 beer judges from 10 countries awarded brewers with prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 79 beer categories covering 133 beer styles. Four new categories were added this year: American Style India Black Ale, Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout, Pumpkin Beer, and Field Beer. The category with highest number of entries was “American India Pale Ale” with 150. Click here to see a complete list of individual category winners.
Besides awarding medals in the various and ever expanding list of beer categories, the GABF awarded brewers and brewpubs of various sizes. Those winners included:
- Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Blue Moon Brewing Company, Denver, CO – Dr. David Ryder
- Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Utah Brewers Cooperative, Salt Lake City, UT – UBC Brewers
- Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year: Mad River Brewing Company, Blue Lake, CA – Mad River Brewing Company
- Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year: TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA – Victor Novak
- Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA – Pizza Port Brew Guys
- Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year: Pizza Port San Clemente, San Clemente, CA – Noah Regnery
Colorado Springs’ only winner was Bristol Brewing Company, which won two medals. A silver in category 79 (Barley Wine-Style Ale) for Old #23 Barley Wine, and a bronze in category 54 (Scottish-Style Ale) for Laughing Lab Scottish Ale. Ironic since Camden, the original “Laughing Lab” and inspiration for the beer’s iconic image, passed away recently. Jim Stinson from Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, along with American Homebrewers Association member Adam Glaser, won the silver medal in the Pro-Am category with Ryed Hard & Put Away Wet. While local brewers might not have won a ton of bling, they were still recognized for their other worldly brews. Duane Lujan and Nick Hilborn from Rocky Mountain Brewing had the show floor buzzing with a number of their fruit pie beers. Those in and around the Colorado Springs area know all about their mad brewing skillz, and now so does a lot more of the country. You’ll be hearing more from these guys in the future.
The GABF isn’t just about the four tasting sessions over three days. It’s become a focal point for dozens of smaller and sometimes incredibly special events in and around the Denver metro area. From rare beer tasting/tapping events at Wynkoop, Falling Rock, Freshcraft and Euclid Hall, to book releases, fundraisers (Pints for Prostates and Beer For Boobs – both cancer awareness organizations) and the like… the GABF has become a living, breathing organism that continually morphs into a bigger and better overall experience. Words simply can’t do it justice.
Beer Tap TV was on hand and live streamed hours of footage, including the prestigious Saturday member’s only/award ceremony. To see what you missed out, go to their Ustream channel and check it out!
So if you want to be a part of the festivities next year we suggest you buy your tickets as soon as they go on sale (which typically occurs around the end of June). We hope to see you there!