Last weekend was GABF and instead of being in Denver like you would expect any beer blogger to do we found ourselves in Asheville, NC for our good friends wedding. Certainly not a bad place for a couple of craft beer lovers like us, but obviously the center of the beer universe was focused squarely on Denver. My Facebook feed was blowing up as early as Monday with posts from beer friends bragging about their adventures through out Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.
While we couldn’t participate in the festivities this year we did feel oddly connected while reading the medal results and realizing that we have been to about one third of the locations (58 out of 183) that were awarded medals. This got me to thinking, what can beer travelers learn from analyzing the list of winners at this years GABF medals?
We plotted out the medals won by state and by called out the top cities to in the infographic below. Take a look and see how the awards were divvied up.
Here are the breweries that won awards for each of the called out cities:
- 10 Barrel Brewing Co. (2)
- Bend Brewing Co (1)
- Deschutes Brewery (1)
- Silver Moon Brewing (1)
- Avery Brewing Co (1)
- BJ’s Restaurant And Brewhouse (1)
- New Planet Beer (1)
- Twisted Pine (2)
- Upslope Brewing Co (1)
- CB & Potts Brewery (1)
- Equinox Brewing Co (1)
- Fort Collins Brewery (1)
- Funkwerks (2)
- New Belgium (2)
- Snake River Brewery (2)
- Thai Me Up Brewery (3)
- Heretic Brewing Co (1)
- The Church Brew Works (4)
- Breakside Brewery (1)
- Burnside Brewing Co (1)
- Columbia River Brewing Co (1)
- Harvester Brewing Co (1)
- Hopworks Urband Brewery (1)
- Laurelwood Brewing Co (2)
- The Commons Brewery (1)
- Devil’s BackboneBrewing Co (5) They also won 3 medals at their other location in Lexington, VA
Salt Lake City:
- Epic Brewing Co (1)
- Redrock Brewing Co (3)
- Uinta Brewing Co (3)
- The Beer Co (1)
- Ale Smith Brewing Co (2)
- Green Flash Brewing Co (3)
A couple of things pop out immediately:
- The West coast was heavily awarded. This isn’t entirely surprising considering the the large number of breweries that operate in this area. The more entries you have the more likely you will take home some hardware. SOme of our favorites include Ale Smith (CA), all of the Pizza Port’s, and 21st Amendment.
- The East coast wasn’t lacking for awards either. While their numbers paled comparison to the West they had a solid representation in Pennsylvania and Virginia. However, one of our recent visits, Devil’s Backbone Brewing, was responsible for 8 of Virginia’s 12 medals. Also have to give a shout out to Church Brew Works which not only won 4 medals but was also named Large Brewpub of the Year. They have a really cool location in an old church.
- Surprisingly, North Carolina, home of Beer City USA and many other innovative breweries, brought home just 4 medals. Although our friends at NoDa Brewing did their part by taking home a Silver medal in the Robust Porter category.
- The Midwest and South East are definitely lacking in medals, but once again can be largely attributed to having a fewer number of breweries in operation. Several of our hometown breweries were honored with awards including Free State Brewing (Bronze – American Style Stout), Blind Tiger Brewery (Gold – German Style Kolsch), and Boulevard Brewing (2 Golds - Belgian Style Wit Bier and Other Strong Beer).
- Most of the results stick pretty close to historical data of GABF medals awarded from 1987-2007.
So if you are the type of beer traveler that seeks out award winning breweries you might want to stay close to the coasts especially the West. While you can still get a wide selection of medal winning brews inland in Salt Lake City, Boulder, and Fort Collins for example.
- + Both breweries in Golden, CO (Golden City Brewing and Coors) won one medal (bronze)
- + 35 States won at least one medal
- + Only 24% of all active US breweries partook in the competition.
- + 6 of Fort Collin’s 7 medals were Gold