2011 Great American Beer Festival® Winners Announced

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248 medals awarded; 18 first-time entering breweries earn medals; Indiana claims winningest entry rate

Boulder, CO • October 1, 2011—The 2011 Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) competition drew an impressive field of competitors, with 2011 topping last year’s entries by 11 percent. GABF remains the largest commercial beer competition in the world, with 3,930 beers vying for medals (compared to 3,523 entries in 2010).

A total of 248 medals were awarded. View the 2011 winners or download a PDF list of the winners.

Competition entries were received from 526 breweries from 48 states plus Puerto Rico.

This year’s GABF competition attracted 167 beer judges from nine countries. The competition was aided by the efforts of 107 volunteers. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 83 beer categories covering 134 beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.

2011 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year Sponsored by Microstar Keg Management

Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, Wash. Will Kemper

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, Calif. Matthew Brynildson

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Pabst Brewing Company, Woodridge, Ill. Bob Newman

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.

Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, Calif. Yiga Miyashiro

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group

Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, Calif. Pizza Port Brew Guys

Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year Sponsored by Country Malt Group

TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, Calif. Victor Novak

Overall Competition Highlights

Among the highlights of the 2011 GABF competition results:

  • Medals were won by 18 first-time entering breweries (seven gold medals, five silver medals, six bronze medals).
  • Indiana had the most winning rate of medals compared to entries by state, with a 19.2 percent winning rate. Specifically, Indiana won 10 medals out of 52 total entries.
    • Minnesota won three medals out of 21 entries for a winning rate of 14.3 percent.
    • New Mexico won four medals out of 31 entries for a winning rates of 12.9 percent.
    • Wyoming won five medals out of 39 entries for a winning rate of 12.8 percent.
    • Alaska won two medals out of 16 entries for a winning rate of 12.5 percent.
  • The entrants that won the most medals were:
    • Sun King Brewing Co., 8 medals
    • Six (6) medals each won by: Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Pizza Port Carlsbad, Rock Bottom Brewery
    • Four (4) medals each won by: Boston Beer Co., Boulvevard Brewing Co., Chuckanut Brewery, Pabst Brewing Co., Pizza Port Ocean Beach
  • The most gold medals were won by :
    • Sun King Brewing Co., 4 gold medals won
    • Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 3 gold medals won
    • Pizza Port Carlsbad, 3 gold medals won
    • Two (2) gold medals each won by: 21st Amendment Brewery, Boulevard Brewing Co., Chuckanut Brewery, La Cumbre Brewing Co., New Glarus Brewing Co.

Style Categories

The most competitive category was again American-Style India Pale Ale with 176 entries, representing brewers’ and beer enthusiasts’ persistent love for hop-forward beers. This category has been the top-entered at GABF since 2001.

The top five entered categories were:

  1. American-Style India Pale Ale – 176 entries
  2. Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer – 118 entries
  3. American-Style Pale Ale – 105 entries
  4. American-Style Strong Pale Ale – 103 entries
  5. Imperial India Pale Ale – 102 entries

The top 5 winners in the most-entered (that is, the most competitive) categories were:

  • American-Style India Pale Ale, 176 entries

Gold: Elevated IPA, La Cumbre Brewing Co, Albuquerque, NM Silver: Deviant Dale’s, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO Bronze: Head Hunter IPA, Fat Heads Brewery, North Olmsted, OH

  • Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer, 118 entries

Gold: Melange a Trois, Nebraska Brewing Co, Papillion, NE Silver: BBJ (Bourbon Barrel Johan), Sun King Brewing Co, Indianapolis, IN Bronze: Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co, Akron, OH

  • American-Style Pale Ale, 105 entries

Gold: Pale 31, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA Silver: Mission St. Pale, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA Bronze: Ute Trail Pale Ale, Amicas, Salida, CO

  • American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 103 entries

Gold: Pako’s Eye P.A., Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY Silver: AleSmith IPA, AleSmith Brewing Co, San Diego, CA Bronze: Hop Knot, Four Peaks Brewing Co, Tempe, AZ

  • Imperial India Pale Ale, 102 entries

Gold: Citra Double IPA, Kern River Brewing, Kernville, CA Silver: Double Jack, Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA Bronze: Imperial IPA, Epic Brewing Co, Salt Lake City, UT

Four new beer styles were judged at the 2011 GABF, including Fruit Wheat Beer (48 entries), Chocolate Beer (30 entries), American-Style Brett Ale (31 entries) and International-Style Pale Ale (20 entries).

2011 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition

Gold, silver and bronze medals were also awarded in the GABF Pro-Am competition, which pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers, who scale up the award-winning homebrew recipes. The medal winners, including the winning professional brewers and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) member homebrewers are:

Gold: Before Capone, C.B. & Potts Restaurant & Brewery, Westminster, CO Brewmaster: Dennis O’Harrow, AHA Member: Tom Gardner

Silver: Schwarzherz, Uinta Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT Brewmaster: Uinta Beer Team, AHA Member: Travis Grimm

Bronze: Kriek, Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora, CO Brewmaster: Dry Dock Brewers, AHA Member: Ted Manahan

The GABF Pro-Am Competition is sponsored by Brewers Supply Group, Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Hopunion and White Labs.

Summary: 2011 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 466 breweries in the festival hall
  • 2,375 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees
  • Approximately 3,300 volunteers
  • 526 breweries in the competition from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • 3,930 beers judged (includes 86 Pro-Am competition entries)
  • 83 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 167 judges from nine countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 48
  • Category with highest number of entries: 176, American Style India Pale Ale

2011 Great American Beer Festival Official Sponsors

DRAFT magazine Microstar Keg Management KBCO 97.3 FM 103.5 The Fox AM760 CraftBeer.com



Barbara Fusco, Marketing Director

303.447.0816 x152, barbara@brewersassociation.org


Photo © Jason E. Kaplan


The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience and American Craft Beer Week. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.

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