2012 Great American Beer Festival

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Medals awarded to breweries from all corners of the country

Boulder, CO • October 13, 2012—The 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition awarded 254 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing excellence. View the 2012 winners or download a PDF list of the winners.

Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 beer categories covering 134 different beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S. Winners were chosen from 4,338 competition entries from 666 breweries, hailing from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam.

Matching its largest field of entries to date, this year’s GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 185 beer experts from 11 countries participating, with assistance from 120 competition volunteers.

2012 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

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

Funkwerks Brewing Team

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

Tröegs Brewing Company
John Trogner III

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by The Beer Institute

Pabst Brewing Company
Gregory Deuhs

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

Devils Backbone Brewing Company – Basecamp
Devils Backbone Brewery Team

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

The Church Brew Works
Steve Sloan

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

Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company
Rob Lobreglio 

GABF12 Winners

Download a hi-resolution version of this image.

Overall Competition Highlights

Reflecting craft brewing’s increasing popularity nationwide, across state and regional borders, overall competition highlights include:

  • The 2012 competition saw winners from across America, indicating that more than ever, ambitious brewers are opening breweries and producing extremely high quality beer brands in once unlikely locations.
  • Tap It Brewing Company of San Luis Obispo, Calif.—a first-time medal winner—took home a gold medal in the most competitive GABF competition category, American-Style India Pale Ale.
  • Wyoming was the winningest state by number of entries, with 17.4 percent of the state’s 46 entries earning medals, while three of the six Brewery of the Year award-winning breweries were located in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Style Categories

GABF WinnersSince 2001, the most-entered category has been American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 203 entries in 2012. Beer lovers around the country have shown their preference for hop-forward beers, and breweries are rising to meet demand with an ever-increasing selection of IPAs.

The top five entered categories were:

  1. American-Style India Pale Ale
  2. Imperial India Pale Ale, 128 entries
  3. Herb and Spice Beer, 114 entries
  4. American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 111 entries
  5. American-Style Pale Ale, 109 entries

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

American-Style India Pale Ale

Gold: Tap It Brewing Company, San Louis Obispo, Calif., Tap It Brewing IPA
Silver: Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City, Ore., Pallet Jack IPA
Bronze: Alpine Beer Co., Alpine, Calif., Duet

Imperial India Pale Ale

Gold: Thai Me Up Brewery, Jackson, Wyo., 2 X 4
Silver: Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Healdsburg, Calif., Café Racer 15
Bronze: Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif., Double Jack

Herb and Spice Beer

Gold: Burnside Brewing Co., Portland, Ore., Sweet Heat
Silver: Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, Mass., CBC Heather Ale
Bronze: Epic Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, Utah Sage Saison

American-Style Strong Pale Ale

Gold: Thai Me Up Brewery, Jackson, Wyo., Melvin
Silver: Lumberyard Brewing Co., Flagstaff, Ariz., Lumberyard IPA
Bronze: Laughing Dog Brewing, Ponderay, Idaho, Laughing Dog IPA

American-Style Pale Ale

Gold: Brickstone Brewery, Bourbonnais, Ill., Brickstone APA
Silver: Piece Brewery, Chicago, Ill., The Weight
Bronze: Three Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, Ind., Zombie Dust

The 2012 GABF competition featured the new Fresh Hop Ale category, with 34 entries. This category showcases ales that are hopped exclusively with fresh, undried, “wet” hops. The winners in that category are:

Gold: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif., Estate Homegrown Ale
Silver: Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif., HopTime Harvest Ale
Bronze: Tommyknocker Brewery, Idaho Springs, Colo., Colorado IPA Nouveau

2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition
Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co., Country Malt Group, Hopunion and White Labs

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: More Fun Blonde, New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colo.
Brewmaster: New Belgium Brewing Co., AHA Member: Jay Shambo

Silver: Pointon’s Proper – An English Mild, RAM Restaurant and Brewery – Wheeling, Ill.
Brewmaster: Lanny Fetzer, AHA Member: Scott Pointon

Bronze: Classic American Pilsner, Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, Minn.
Brewmaster: Mike Hoops, AHA Member: Kyle Sisco

Summary: 2012 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 578 breweries in the festival hall
  • More than 2,700 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees
  • Approximately 2,800 volunteers
  • 666 breweries in the competition from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam
  • 4,338 beers judged (includes 94 Pro-Am competition entries), a more than 10 percent increase over 2011
  • 84 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 185 judges from 11 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 50.6
  • Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale, 203

2012 Great American Beer Festival Official Sponsors

DRAFT Magazine
Ford Escape Hunger Drive
Microstar Keg Management
Snyder’s of Hanover
KBCO 97.3
103.5 The FOX
AM 760
Yard House Restaurants


Barbara Fusco, Sales & Marketing Director
303.447.0816 x152


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.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.


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