GABF Results Notes and Observations

September 28th, 2009 · No Comments · Notes

Just a few notes/observations after reviewing the full GABF results:

  • Cascade Brewing, from Portland, OR, took the top 2 spots in the Wood and Barrel Aged Sour Beer category. Their Bourbonic Plague earned the gold medal, and Vlad the Imp Aler earned the silver. Bourbonic Plague started off as a Belgian Spiced Double Porter that was then soured and aged in bourbon barrels filled with dates. It will be available in bottles shortly it sounds like. Vlad is a mix of oak barrel-aged sour blonde quadrupel, sour bourbon barrel tripel, and sour strong spiced blonde. Click here to see the writeup from my visit to Cascade earlier this year. Congrats to Brewmaster Ron Gansberg and owner Art Larrance.
  • California breweries dominated the American Style Strong Pale Ale, American Style IPA, and Imperial IPA categories. CA represented seven out of the nine medal winners in those categories. The notable exception was the gold medal winning Ace of Spades Imperial IPA from Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, which also tallied the second most customer favorite votes at the recent Hop Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle. I missed out on that beer at the fest, so I’ll be seeking this one out on my next trip to Portland.
  • Colorado and California typically dominate the competition each year for the most medals won by each state, with Colorado breweries and brewpubs coming out ahead for 2009. The top five medal winning states were: CO (45), CA (39), OR (22), WA (13), PA (12). There is usually a strong correlation between the top winning states, and the total number of beers submitted for the competition by those states. The top five states by number of beers submitted were: CA (594), CO (459), OR (172), WA (162), MI (138). It’s also worth noting that 11 out of CO’s 45 winners were from Miller/Coors.
  • American Style IPA was the most competitive category, with 134 entries. The winner was Union Jack IPA from Firestone Walker Brewing in Paso Robles, CA. You may recall that Union Jack was also the winner of last month’s Washington IPA Challenge. Good to know that our group of judges pallates were in line with the GABF judges. Two other California IPAs I’ve raved about in the past, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and Russian River Blind Pig IPA, rounded out the IPA category. Both Union Jack and Blind Pig were in the top 3 in last year’s competition as well.
  • Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter won the Imperial Stout category. Goes to show how silly names can be sometimes, and how beer styles/descriptors are just all over the map when it comes to beer.
  • While WA was a big winner in the GABF Pro-Am competition in 2008, the judges weren’t on their side this year. The gold medal went to Herbal Joe’s Columbarillo IPA, a recipe from homebrewer Ben Miller brewed by Chama River Brewing Co. in Albuquerque, NM. In 2008, WA homebrewer Jeff Niggemeyer won with his Barking Dog Scottish Ale brewed by Big Time Brewing in Seattle. Congrats should still go out to all the talented WA homebrewers that had entries in the competition.
  • California’s Pizza Port Carlsbad was named the Large Brewpub of the year after winning an astonishing seven medals, four of which were gold. Add that to the five medals they earned last year, and they are kicking some serious butt.
  • Alaskan Brewing went home empty-handed for the 1st time since 1999. I’ve got to taste the beers that beat out Alaskan’s wonderful Smoked Porter in the Smoked Beer category (won by the Left Hand Smokejumper from CO).


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