To craft beer enthusiasts across the country, the Great American Beer Festival — held annually in Denver — is a drinking event like no other. Thousands of microbrews from every corner of the U.S. are poured side by side in a convention center the size of several football fields. But to the many talented brewers in attendance, GABF is all about the medals (don’t let them tell you any differently). Three days of tasting and judging culminates in the awards ceremony, wherein entrants are rewarded with gold, silver, or bronze pendants across more than 100 categories of beer styles. With more than 4,000 American craft breweries in existence today, competition at last week’s contest was as fierce as ever. Amidst the madness, no less than four NYC-area producers were able to bring medals back to the Empire State.
In the category of English-Style Summer Ale, Newburgh Brewing came away with a silver for their Cream Ale — a lightly carbonated, super malty session beer, available in cans. Crossroads Brewing, further up the Hudson, in Athens, won silver in the export stout category. Out on the Island, Bay Shore’s Great South Bay Brewery scored gold for their irresistible Maple Bacon Porter, available only on draft earlier this year. The five boroughs were represented proudly by Grimm Artisanal Ales, the husband and wife team of gypsy brewers based out of Brooklyn. Their bourbon barrel-aged Double Negative took home a medal for the second year in a row in the Imperial Stout category, now reigning champs backed by the gold to prove it.
Also in attendance were local standouts such as Gun Hill Brewing out of the Bronx — gold medal winners in 2014 for their Void of Light stout, Ridgewood’s Finback Brewery, and the crew from the multi-medaled Captain Lawrence Brewing. ‘Celebrity’ brewmaster Garrett Oliver was stationed at his booth, as usual, pouring rare selections from Brooklyn Brewery to the hoarded masses. While none of these breweries took home hardware in 2015, their beers remain victorious amongst the thousands who lined up to sample them last week in Colorado, and the many thousands more who sip on them week after week back here in the Big Apple.