Post-GABF ramblings.

I was drinking a Sly Fox Grisette while watching the Great American Beer Festival Awards Ceremony on the tube yesterday when it was announced that it had won a Silver Medal. I had grabbed a can from the ‘fridge a few minutes before, when it was announced that  Sly Fox Oktoberfest won a Bronze. I went to get one to toast the win only to recall that I had finished my last one the night before, so I grabbed a Grisette as an alternative. Serendipity rules. I already was assured of having a GABF winner with dinner; there was also a sixer of the earlier-announced Silver Medal-winning Yards Brawler (one of two wins for Philadelphia’s oldest brewery) in  the ‘fridge.

It was a pretty good, and sometimes surprising, day in Denver for local brewers, certainly topped off by the Gold Medal taken by Bucks County’s Neshaminy Creek Brewing for its Churchville Lager, first released last April; a very nice step forward by a still relatively new brewery. Old reliable Tröegenator took another Gold and Sunshine Pils a second medal (Bronze) forTröegs. Dogfish Head, Flying Fish, Iron Hill Media, McKenzie Brew House, Rock Bottom King of Prussia and Stewart’s Brewing each won a medal, bringing the local region’s total to 13.

An interesting background story that I don’t want to see get lost in all this is the down-to-the-wire Silver Medal win for Iron Hill’s Russian Imperial Stout. It came in  the third to last category of the day and kept alive the company’s record of garnering at least one medal at every GABF since its first in 1997as well as  brewer Bob Barrar’s personal GABF winning streak (this was his 15th). Iron Hill usually acquires multiple GABF wins, so this was a kinda scary moment for them. Probably the primary reason it happened is that they were initially shut out of the competition when registration was filled within 45 minutes of opening. They ended up on a waiting list and but were only allowed to enter four beers when they ultimate made the cut.

Might I say that this is eminently stupid? Yes, I might. I understand that the Brewers Association was  overwhelmed by the number of applicants for the competition, but when a two-time Brewery of the Year winner might have been unable to compete, something is way out of kilter. It’s clear that the ongoing  wave of new breweries is going to continue to exacerbate this situation. The  BA has to find a way fix this (some automatic entries based on  past performance basis might work, so long as there was not even a hint of favoritism).

I’ve posted more detailed coverage the Beer Yard site. Note that I include both DFH and Tröegs as “local” because they are and have been prominent players in the region. Note also that, unlike the official GABF record, the one I post for the Beer Yard credit beers to the locations where they are brewed, not to the corporate headquarter addresses used by Iron Hill and Rock Bottom. I think my approach is more accurate and to the point but it does create differences in the medal totals for the states involved (i.e., Delaware lost the Iron Hill medal to Pennsylvania in my version).

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