The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 290 medals to 265 breweries across the country during the 2021 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) awards ceremony in the largest competition to date. The best beers in 97 beer categories covering 175 different beer styles (including all subcategories) were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals during the 35th edition of the celebrated competition.
In 2020, the GABF had to pause for the first time in nearly 40-years, due to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. (inside.beer, 26.5.2020) This year, the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States had to skip its public event in 2021but the 2021 GABF competition and awards ceremony that typically coincides with the festival was postponed to take place at the BA’s annual Craft Brewers Conference & Brew Expo America on September 10, 2021. (inside.beer, 10.04.2021)
Judging took place in 34 sessions over 17 days with strict health and safety measures in place. A total of 170 judges evaluated 9,680 entries from 2,192 breweries from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The awards ceremony was held at the Bellco Theatre in Denver during the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC).
To allow for the fall hop harvest and beer production, and to include Fresh Hop beers in this prestigious competition, 78 Fresh Hop Beer category entries will compete in early October, with winners announced Friday, October 15.
“Despite being forced to cancel the festival portion of GABF, our brewing community rallied together to make this year’s GABF competition one for the books—our largest competition judged to date,” said Chris Swersey, competition director, Great American Beer Festival. “Judges continue to be impressed with the quality and innovation of all entries they evaluated. The Brewers Association is proud to honor this year’s deserving winners. We look forward to celebrating in person together next year.”
The Great American Beer Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary October 6-8, 2022, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
The winners of the top five most-entered categories were:
- Category 64: JUICY OR HAZY INDIA PALE ALE (427 entries)
GOLD: DeadHead IPA Series: TourBus – DESTIHL Brewery, Normal, IL
SILVER: Art is Hard – North Park Beer Co., San Diego, CA
BRONZE: Blissed – Attitude Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
- Category 63: AMERICAN-STYLE INDIA PALE ALE (404 entries)
GOLD: Volatile Substance – Von Ebert Brewing – Pearl, Portland, OR
SILVER: JAF IPA – JAFB Wooster Brewery, Wooster, OH
BRONZE: Bullitt – All Season Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
- Category 25: FRUITED AMERICAN SOUR ALE (249 entries)
GOLD: Sherbet Drip – Fall River Brewing Co., Redding, CA
SILVER: Tropical Hurt Locker – Short Fuse Brewing Co., Schiller Park, IL
BRONZE: Rasmine – Lynnwood Brewing Concern, Raleigh, NC
- Category 80: GERMAN-STYLE WHEAT ALE (226 entries)
GOLD: Hefeweizen – JAFB Wooster Brewery, Wooster, OH
SILVER: Küsterer Original Weissbier – Cedar Springs Brewing Co., Cedar Springs, MI
BRONZE: Hazy Skies Hefeweizen – Pilot Brewing Co., Charlotte, NC
- Category 43: GERMAN-STYLE PILSENER (210 entries)
GOLD: Meanwhile Pilsner – Meanwhile Brewing Co., Austin, TX
SILVER: Rail Pass – Bingo Beer Co., Richmond, VA
BRONZE: Golem Czech Pils – Gemüt Biergarten, Columbus, OH
The most medals won by an individual brewery were by
- Moontown Brewing Co. – Whitestown, IN – 3 Medals
SILVER: Moonlite – 40: American Cream Ale
BRONZE: 40th Parallel – 44: Bohemian-Style Pilsener
BRONZE: Skool House Bock – 51: Bock
Additionally, 15 breweries won two medals
A list with all 2021 GABF winners can be found here.