290 medals awarded to 265 breweries in world’s largest commercial beer competition
Boulder, Colo. • September 10, 2021 — The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 290 medals to 265 breweries across the country during the 2021 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) awards ceremony in the largest competition to date. The best beers in 97 beer categories covering 175 different beer styles (including all subcategories) were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals during the 35th edition of the celebrated competition.
Judging took place in 34 sessions over 17 days with strict health and safety measures in place. A total of 170 judges evaluated 9,680 entries from 2,192 breweries from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The awards ceremony was held at the Bellco Theatre in Denver on Friday evening during the Craft Brewers Conference® and was livestreamed on The Brewing Network.
To allow for the fall hop harvest and beer production, and to include Fresh Hop beers in this prestigious competition, 78 Fresh Hop Beer category entries will compete in early October, with winners announced Friday, October 15.
“Despite being forced to cancel the festival portion of GABF, our brewing community rallied together to make this year’s GABF competition one for the books—our largest competition judged to date,” said Chris Swersey, competition director, Great American Beer Festival. “Judges continue to be impressed with the quality and innovation of all entries they evaluated. The Brewers Association is proud to honor this year’s deserving winners. We look forward to celebrating in person together next year.”
As previously announced, the Great American Beer Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary October 6-8, 2022, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
GABF Competition Statistics
- 35th edition of the GABF competition
- 9,680 beers judged
- 2,192 breweries in the competition from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico
- 170 judges
- Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 99.6
- Category with the highest number of entries: Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (427)
- 290 total medals awarded
- 265 medal-winning breweries
- 425 first-time GABF entrants
- 30 first-time entrant GABF medal winners
Most-Entered Styles Categories
The winners of the top five most-entered categories were:
Category 64: JUICY OR HAZY INDIA PALE ALE (427 entries) – Sponsored by Antigo Zeon
GOLD: DeadHead IPA Series: TourBus – DESTIHL Brewery, Normal, IL
SILVER: Art is Hard – North Park Beer Co., San Diego, CA
BRONZE: Blissed – Attitude Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Category 63: AMERICAN-STYLE INDIA PALE ALE (404 entries) – Sponsored by Micro Matic
GOLD: Volatile Substance – Von Ebert Brewing – Pearl, Portland, OR
SILVER: JAF IPA – JAFB Wooster Brewery, Wooster, OH
BRONZE: Bullitt – All Season Brewing Co., Los Angeles, CA
Category 25: FRUITED AMERICAN SOUR ALE (249 entries) – Sponsored by Amoretti
GOLD: Sherbet Drip – Fall River Brewing Co., Redding, CA
SILVER: Tropical Hurt Locker – Short Fuse Brewing Co., Schiller Park, IL
BRONZE: Rasmine – Lynnwood Brewing Concern, Raleigh, NC
Category 80: GERMAN-STYLE WHEAT ALE (226 entries)
GOLD: Hefeweizen – JAFB Wooster Brewery, Wooster, OH
SILVER: Küsterer Original Weissbier – Cedar Springs Brewing Co., Cedar Springs, MI
BRONZE: Hazy Skies Hefeweizen – Pilot Brewing Co., Charlotte, NC
Category 43: GERMAN-STYLE PILSENER (210 entries) – Sponsored by John I Haas, Inc.
GOLD: Meanwhile Pilsner – Meanwhile Brewing Co., Austin, TX
SILVER: Rail Pass – Bingo Beer Co., Richmond, VA
BRONZE: Golem Czech Pils – Gemüt Biergarten, Columbus, OH
Most Medaled Breweries
The most medals won by an individual brewery:
Moontown Brewing Co. – Whitestown, IN – 3 Medals
SILVER: Moonlite – 40: American Cream Ale
BRONZE: 40th Parallel – 44: Bohemian-Style Pilsener
BRONZE: Skool House Bock – 51: Bock
Additionally, 15 breweries won two medals.
Brewery of the Year Awards
0 – 250 Barrels
Radiant Beer Co., Anaheim, CA; Andrew Bell & Radiant Beer Co. Team
251 – 500 Barrels – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group
Main & Six Brewing Co., Jacksonville, FL; Dennis Espinosa & Alex Leuthold
501 – 1,000 Barrels – Sponsored by Fermentis
Moontown Brewing Co., Whitestown, IN; Cody Peczkowski
1,001 – 2,000 Barrels – Sponsored by ABS Commercial
Cloudburst Brewing, Seattle, WA; Steve Luke & Zach Kornfeld
2,001 – 5,000 Barrels – Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group
Short Fuse Brewing Co., Schiller Park, IL; Brian Lagro & Craig Kofod
5,001 – 15,000 Barrels – Sponsored by MicroStar Logistics
Sudwerk Brewing Co., Davis, CA; Team Sudwerk
15,001 – 100,000 Barrels – Sponsored by Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.
Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, ME; Team Allagash
Brewery Group – Sponsored by Live Oak Bank
Over 100,000 barrels produced in 2020 or multi-location breweries wishing to compete as a group
Metazoa Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN; Metazoa Brewing Team
Editor’s note: Photos for media use are available on the GABF website.
*Out of a possible 291 medals in 97 beer style categories, 290 were awarded. The gold medal was not awarded in category 96: Scotch Ale. The winners of the Fresh Hop Beer category will be awarded in mid-October.
The 2021 Great American Beer Festival competition was made possible in part by the generous support of its sponsors.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,600-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR™: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con™, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. 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® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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 13672 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.