Minnesota took home the gold (and silver, and bronze) at this year’s 37th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held each year in Denver. This is basicall the Olympics for American brewers, and the festival and competition welcomed over 62,000 beer lovers to taste test over 4,000 beers from more than 800 breweries across the States.
This 3-day event is one you need to add to your bucket list: It’s been listed as one of the 1,000 places you must visit in the U.S. and ranked as “The One Beer Festival You Must Go to Before You Die.”
They have me convinced.
The festival represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served in the form of a public tasting event and private judging competition with tickets usually selling out immediately for the chance to sample the best beers from every corner of the country. Held in the Colorado Convention Center, you’re able to get a literal taste of the American hand-crafted brewing scene with each brewery organized in alphabetical order and offering a one-ounce sample of each beer. And with over 4,000 beers to sample, you’re, ah, going to want to pace yourself.
While attendees make their way through the event one tasty ounce at a time, 293 judges made up of industry professionals from around the world, are also finding their favorites awarding gold, silver, and bronze in 102 beer categories covering 167 beer styles. Categories include best Coffee Beer, American-Style Wheat Beer, American-Style Pilsener, Export Stout, Experimental Beer, English-Style Summer Ale, Best In Show, and so many more.
This year the GABF judges panel awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries from across the States. And while breweries from Oregon and Montana earned the most medals, Minnesota didn’t go home empty handed. Minnesota snagged 12 awards recognizing brewing excellence in several categories with 4 golds, 4 silvers, and 4 bronze. Chances are you might have already imbibed in some of these winners, but if you haven’t, you now definitely know what to order next when you head out to the bar.
Here are the Minnesota winners:
Gold Medal: Saison, from Bent Paddle Brewing Co. in the category of Classic Saison.
Gold Medal: Dissent, from Steel Toe Brewing in the category of Export Stout.
Gold Medal: Cool for the Summer, from Lakes & Legends Brewing Co. in the category of Field Beer.
Gold Medal: Keller Pils, from Summit Brewing Co. in the category of Kellerbier or Zwickelbier.
Silver Medal: Provider, from Steel Toe Brewing in the category of English-Style Sour Ale.
Silver Medal: Kirby Pucker No. 21, from Eastlake Craft Brewery in the category of Fruited American-Style Sour Ale.
Silver Medal: False Hope, from Spilled Grain Brewhouse in the category of Other Strong Beer.
Silver Medal: Sunken City, from Insight Brewing Co. in the category of Specialty Saison.
Bronze Medal: First Call, from Modist Brewing Co. in the category of Coffee Beer.
Bronze Medal: No. 3 Brown, from The Freehouse in the category of English-Style Brown Ale.
Bronze Medal: Alt 1848, from Utepils Brewing Co. in the category of German-Style Altbier.
Bronze Medal: Wheatstone Bridge, from Tin Whiskers Brewing in the category of Herb and Spice Beer.
Congratulations are in order to the talented brewers at these local breweries who have concocted some of the best beers in the country for us to enjoy. And after you’ve taste-tested your way through Minnesota’s winners, if you’re interested in some of the best from outside the land of over 10,000 lakes, check out the complete list of 2018 GABF winners.
And read this article next: The Best Craft Breweries to Check Out in Northeast Minneapolis