It was another great showing for Michigan craft brewers at the 29th Annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Competition, going on this weekend in Denver, CO.
“Once again, Michigan has delivered the hardware to support what we all know – we’re making exceptional craft beer here in the Great Beer State,” says Scott Graham, Executive Director of the Michigan Brewers Guild. “This year’s winners are among a growing number in our industry who are putting Michigan on the map when it comes to producing consistently good, unique and exciting brews. Congratulations to them – and all our members who entered this esteemed competition.”
This year’s GABF competition attracted 151 beer judges from 10 countries. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 79 beer categories covering 133 beer styles, establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.
Seven members of the Michigan Brewers Guild received honors this year, including:
• Nectar Des Dieux, Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak, MI
Belgian-Style Abbey Ale - 76 Entries
• Bellipago, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, MI
Specialty Beer - 23 Entries
• Fourh Dementia Olde Ale, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren, MI
Old Ale or Strong Ale - 38 Entries
• Key Lime Pie, Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire, MI
Experimental Beer - 43 Entries
• Go Figure, Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham, MI
American-Style India Black Ale - 53 Entries
• Curmudgeon, Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Old Ale or Strong Ale - 38 Entries
• Endurance IPA Jr., Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
Session Beer - 30 Entries
• Simcoe Silly, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren, MI
American-Belgo-Style Ale - 47 Entries
• American Brown Ale, Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham, MI
57 American-Style Brown Ale - 47 Entries
• Bell’s Expedition Stout, 1995, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Galesburg, MI
Aged Beer - 30 Entries
The Great American Beer Festival invites industry professionals from around the world to sit together in small groups and, without knowing the brand name, taste beers in each specified style category. The ultimate goal of the judging panel is to identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the GABF.
Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over the three-day period during the week of the festival, with judges assigned to evaluate beers in their specific area of expertise. Breweries are awarded points, which are tabulated to arrive at the top three place medals in each category. The judging panel awards gold, silver or bronze medals that are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence. These awards are among the most coveted in the industry and heralded by the winning brewers in their national advertising. Medal distinctions are as follows:
• GOLD: A world-class beer that accurately exemplifies the specified style, displaying the proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance.
• SILVER: An excellent beer that may vary slightly from style parameters while maintaining close adherence to the style and displaying excellent taste, aroma and appearance.
• BRONZE: A fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.
The Great American Beer Festival is the granddaddy of all U.S. beer festivals, offering the largest collection of U.S. beer ever assembled. Sponsored by The Brewers Association, the festival features more than 1900 different beers from 400 breweries throughout the country. A highlight of the festival is that many of the beers are served by their makers, allowing aficionados the chance to meet many of their beer heroes.
In addition to the individual brewery awards, Imperial Beverage of Kalamazoo – on of the Guild’s distributor partners -- was named the 2010 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year. The Fourth Annual Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional American beer distributor who actively markets, sells and promotes craft beer. Awarding parties are The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Brewers Association (BA), and the honor is bestowed each year during the GABF.
Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. Each year, the Guild hosts four annual craft beer festivals, with the next – Detroit Fall Beer Festival – scheduled for October 23 (1-6pm) at Eastern Market in Detroit.
For more information about the Michigan Brewers Guild, including a dates of upcoming events and a list of member micro-breweries, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.