The 2010 Great American Beer Festival was held this past weekend in Denver. The Festival featured 455 US brewers serving 2,200 different beers. 49,000 attendees were expected to partake in this three day beer sampling extravaganza.
The GABF features both a public tasting (where attendees get unlimited 1 oz. samples) and a private judging of 79 beer categories. For the fifth year in a row, the American-Style IPA category was the most popular style (based on the number of entrants).
I wanted to highlight the GABF award winning beers that I have reviewed, or currently have in my beer sampling pipeline.
Pelican Pub & Brewery: A big congrats to the Pelican for reeling in three medals! Bronze medals for Tsunami Stout and Wee Heavy. Gold for Cape Kiwanda Cream Ale in the Golden or Blonde Ale category. You may recall, I reviewed Cape Kiwanda last month and gave it a lowly two stars. How do I explain this?? Well, as the title of my blog states, I'm not a beer tasting professional. I'm not attempting the judge the merits of a beer relative to style guidelines. I just rate beers on whether or not I like them and would like to drink them again. So regardless of the medal, I'm not a big fan of Kiwanda. But, I'm a huge fan of Pelican. As their three medals prove, they are a GREAT brewery. Congrats!
Nectar Ales: Red Nectar won Gold in the American-Style Amber/Red Ale category. No surprise here, I agree this is a great beer. When I reviewed Red Nectar last month, I gave it four stars. I still have an extra in my fridge and look forward to re-tasting it soon!
Firestone Walker: This brewery has proclaimed themselves to be Pale Ale specialists. They're right, and they now have the hardware to prove it! They took Gold (for Mission Street Pale) and Silver (for Pale 31) in the American-Style Pale Ale category. I have a bottle of Pale 31 in my fridge, and I will soon be sampling it. Firestone Walker won a total of 5 medals overall. Quite impressive! Their summer seasonal, Solace, didn't win any awards, but I really enjoyed it as well.
Alaskan Brewing Co.: Smoked Porter took Gold in the Smoked Beer category. I tasted this two weeks ago and am working on my write-up. I'll try not to let this award influence my rating
A complete listing of the award winners can be seen here. This is a PDF file. Make a printout and take it with you when you go beer shopping. It's an excellent source if you're looking to try something new—and good. Let's just say you've got some "professional" judges behind those ratings. Enjoy!
Did you sample any of these beers or any of the other award winners? If so, let me know which ones and what you thought of them.