The 27th annual Great American Beer Festival hosted the largest ceremony in its history over the weekend, awarding over 200 medals to commercial breweries across the country. The 2013 event required 201 judges from 11 countries who judged 4,809 different beers across 84 distinct style categories, making the 2013 GABF the most comprehensive competition of both professional and amateur breweries in its history. There were 24 first-time breweries who took home awards and 230 breweries in total who joined this year’s ceremony for the first time. New Jersey dominated the ratio of medals by state, winning an average of one medal per seven entries.
Breweries and brewpubs were given awards based on their size, ranging from very small to large categories. Baker City Brewing Co. of Baker City, Ore. took home the award in Very Small Brewing Company of the Year, while Pelican Brewing Co. of Pacific City, Ore., earned a victory in the Large Brewpub of the Year category.
Unquestionably the most popular type of beer in terms of competition entries has been American-Style India Pale Ale, which pulled in 252 entries this year. The second most popular category, Imperial India Pale Ale, had 149 entries. The least popular category this year was the newly added Adambier category, in which no participating entries were recorded.
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub took home the coveted gold medal in the Best American-Style India Pale Ale category for its Pallet Jack IPA, beating out the other 251 entries. Texas-based Namaste Brewing at the Whip Inn won best Herb and Spice Beer for their Bitterama.
The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit that organizes the event each year, represents over 70 percent of the brewing industry and its members brew 99 percent of the beer that is made in the U.S. every year. Click here to view a complete list of this year’s GABF winners by category.