Hello, dear readers. It's great to be back in the District after a long Great American Beer Festival weekend. Sorry it's taken so long to write – between the inevitable post-GABF fatigue and the inevitable work overload involved in resuming normal life after a 4-day bacchanal (plus an oh-so-fun trip to the dentist), I've been remiss in my duty to the DCBeer community. You have my heartfelt apology.
Anyway, down to business. GABF consists of two main events, the contest and the grand tasting sessions, plus some smaller side ventures. For this initial rundown, we'll stick to the medals
GABF solicits entries for 84 categories of beer, awarding gold, silver, and bronze in each. If my math serves me, that makes 252 medals total. With 4,338 entries from 666 breweries, any given beer had a 5.8% chance of winning. Yes, I know that's not strictly true, given that each beer is entered into a given category that is more or less competitive given the number of other entries, but let's pretend, OK?
Given those long odds, the #DCBrews area fared pretty darn well, as you've undoubtedly heard. Firstly, the District's own DC Brau took home silver in the Belgian- and French-style Ale category with Your Favoriate Foreign Movie, the patersbier formulated by homebrew contest winner Brian Barrows; this marked the first win for a DC packaging brewery (Cap City has won several medals in previous years). Brewer Jeff Hancock was on hand to accept the medal and was visibly thrilled at the member's only tasting session following the ceremony, but more on that tomorrow.
Getting outside of DC, hardware was sprinkled throughout the greater Capital region. Maryland took home two: DuClaw snagged a silver in the Chocolate Beer category with its X-1, its mean chocolate rye porter, while newcomers Union Craft Brewing grabbed a German-style altbier gold for Balt Alt.
Virginia saw an even greater haul of precious metals. Mad Fox's Elixer Maibock took silver for bocks and Bill Madden was on hand to bring home another medal for his increasingly jammed trophy case. Over at Port City, Bill Butcher and Co took bronze in the competitive English-style IPA category for its
Optimal Monumental IPA. And Rock Bottom Arlington brought home a gold in Gluten Free for its Nikki's GF Honey Pale Ale. A bit further south, Local Species by Blue Mountain Barrel House (the appropriately named barrel-aged operation tied to Blue Mountain) took bronze in the wood- or barrel-aged category.
Then there's Devils Backbone, which took home a whopping eight medals between its Basecamp and Outpost:
- Old Virginia Dark: Silver, American-style Dark Lager
- Danzig: Silver, Baltic-style Porter
- Ramsey's Draft Stout: Bronze, Classic Irish-style Dry Stout
- Ramsey's Export Stout: Bronze, Foreign-style Stout
- Berliner Metro-Weiss: Gold, German-style Sour Beer
- Gold Leaf Lager: Bronze, American- or International-style Pilsner
- Turbo Cougar: Bronze, Bock
- Vienna Lager: Gold, Vienna-style Lager
…which led to DB being named Best Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year.
All in all, it was a huge showing for the #DCBrews catchment area. Congrats to the winners and to all the great breweries from our region – you did us proud!
There's plenty more to come in our GABF roundup. Tomorrow, we move to the tasting session, followed by some extracurricular GABF outings and a side trip to a nearby beer mecca. Stay tuned.