On Saturday, the Brewers Association announced the winners of the 2023 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The annual festival is the United State’s largest professional beer competition, with over 9,000 brews submitted for consideration from over 2,000 brewers from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. This year’s conference, held in Denver from September 21-23, was the culmination of a nine-day tasting period in which beers spanning 99 categories and175 beer styles were sampled by a panel of 250 judges from 10 countries.
This year, judges awarded a total of 303 medals to 263 breweries. Sharonville, Ohio’s Third Eye Brewing Co. walked away with the biggest haul, taking home two gold medals in the Herb and Spice Beer and Chocolate Beer categories and two silver medals in the Pumpkin Beer category and GABF Collaboration Competition.
“The Great American Beer Festival competition serves as a platform for the finest beers from across the nation to undergo rigorous scrutiny and vie for the title of ‘Best in Class,’” says festival competition director Chris Williams in the release. “The beer community’s unwavering commitment to pushing the frontiers of innovation and quality is truly commendable.”
This year’s most-entered categories were unsurprisingly both iterations of the India Pale Ale: Juicy or Hazy with 365 entries and West Coast-style not far behind with 301 entries. This marks an interesting change from last year’s top category, the American-style IPA, which received just 206 entries this year compared to 2022’s 423 entries, bumping the category down to the fifth-most popular. Light Lager proved to be the third-most popular category, followed by German-style Pilsner.
In addition to awarding top accolades in traditional categories, judges also awarded three medals in their GABF Collaboration Competition and GABF Pro-Am Competition. The GABF Collaboration Competition provides a space for commercial breweries to create a collaborative beer to be considered for top-honors while GABF Pro-Am encourages collaboration between commercial breweries and homebrewers, with each entry’s recipe based on a homebrew recipe from members of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA).
The winners from these five top categories are listed below, along with this year’s GABF Competition and GABF Pro-Am winners.
Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale (365 entries)
- Gold: Away Days, 1852 Brew Co., Visalia, Calif.
- Silver: Juicy Mid-Tones, Corn Coast Brewing Co., Lincoln, Neb.
- Bronze: Make It Rain, Side Hustle Brewing Co., Hilton Head Island, S.C.
West Coast-Style India Pale Ale (301 entries)
- Gold: Westbound Select, Westbound & Down Brewing Co., Idaho Springs, Colo.
- Silver: Untold Prophecy, Slice Beer Co., Lincoln, Calif.
- Bronze: Bright Side IPA, Uprise Brewing CO., Spokane, Wash.
Light Lager (284 entries)
- Gold: Nashville Light, Nashville Brewing Co., Nashville
- Silver: Mexican Lager, Lone Tree Brewing Co., Lone Tree, Colo.
- Bronze: Legendary Lager, MadTree Brewing, Cincinnati
German-Style Pilsner (228 entries)
- Gold: Prodigal Pils, Lazarus Brewing Co.-Laz 2, Austin
- Silver: Prost Pilsner, Prost Brewing Co., Denver
- Bronze: Don’t Fear The Answer, Tenma Beer Project, Oakland, Calif.
America-Style India Pale Ale (206 entries)
- Gold: Head Hunter, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, North Olmstead, Ohio
- Silver: Breakside IPA, Breakside Brewery & Taproom, Milwaukee
- Bronze: Downtown Tom, Three Mile Brewing Co, Davis, Calif.
Collaboration Competition (95 entries)
- Gold: Luna Mexican Export Lager, Cheluna Brewing Co. & Prost Brewing Co., Aurora, Colo., & Denver
- Silver: Mounds of Importance, Third Eye Brewing Co. & Narrow Path Brewing Co., Sharonville, Ohio & Loveland, Ohio
- Bronze: Two’s Daze, Attic Brewing Co. & Two Locals Brewing Co., Philadelphia
Pro-Am Competition (50 entries)
- Gold: She Fancies Herself A Little Bit French, CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing & Mark Pennick, Fort Collins, Colo.
- Silver: Rob’s Baltic Porter, New Belgium Brewing Co. & Rob Hardisty, Fort Collins, Colo.
- Bronze: What Is That? Decipher Brewing Co. & Joel Miller, Charlottesville, Va.
A full list of this year’s winners can be found on the Great American Beer Festival’s website.