Winners were chosen from 6,647 competition entries (20 percent more than in 2014) from 1,552 breweries hailing from 50 states plus Washington, D.C. This year’s GABF competition saw its biggest panel of judges ever, with 242 beer experts from 15 countries, including the U.S., and 155 competition volunteers. The panel also evaluated 91 Pro-Am entries.
2015 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards
Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group (BSG): Rip Current Brewery (San Marcos, Calif.); Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe
Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, Sponsored by O-I:
Port City Brewing Co. (Alexandria, Va.); Port City Brewing Co. Team.
Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, Sponsored by MicroStar Logistics: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, Calif.); Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Team.
Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, Sponsored by Beer Institute: Pabst Brewing Co. (Los Angeles, Calif.); Gregory Deuhs.
Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year, Sponsored by Briess Malt & Ingredients Co.: Melvin Brewing (Jackson, Wyo.); Kirk McHale and Jeremy Tofte.
Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year, Sponsored by Brewers Supply Group (BSG)
TAPS Fish House & Brewery (Corona, Calif.): TAPS Fish House & Brewery Team
Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year, Sponsored by Country Malt Group:
Titletown Brewing Co. (Green Bay, Wis.), David Oldenburg.
Overall Competition Highlights
Thirty-eight first-time entering breweries won awards.
Top three states by ratio of medals to entries by state: Maine: 21% with 14 entries and three medals; Rhode Island: 10% with 10 entries and one medal, North Dakota: 8% with 12 entries and one medal
Most medals won, with three medals each:
- Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif. (three medals: two gold, one bronze)
- Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis, Ind. (three medals: one gold, one silver, one bronze)
- Port City Brewing Co.; Alexandria, Va. (three medals: two silver, one bronze)
- Left Hand Brewing Co.; Longmont, Colo. (three medals: one gold, two bronze)
- Fat Head’s Brewery; Middleburg Heights, Ohio, (three golds).
Since 2002, the most-entered category has been American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 336 entries in 2015.
The top five entered categories were:
- American-Style India Pale Ale (336 entries)
- Gold: BNS Brewing & Distilling Co., Revolver IPA (Santee, Calif.)
- Silver: Wicked Weed Brewing – Candler, Pernicious IPA (Candler, N.C.)
- Bronze: The Brew Kettle Taproom and Smokehouse, White Rajah (Strongsville, Ohio)
2. Imperial India Pale Ale (208 entries)
- Gold: Fat Head’s Brewery, Hop Juju Imperial IPA (Middleburg Heights, Ohio)
- Silver: Laurelwood Public House and Brewery, Eazy Duz It IIPA (Portland, Ore.)
- Bronze: Breakwater Brewing Co., Teahupo’o (Oceanside, Calif.)
3. Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (179 entries)
- Gold: Nebraska Brewing Co., Melange A Trois (La Vista, Neb.)
- Silver: Sun King Brewing Co., Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil (Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Bronze: Ska Brewing, Ska Face (Durango, Colo.)
4. Session India Pale Ale (161 entries)
- Gold: Societe Brewing Co., The Coachman (San Diego, Calif.)
- Silver: Steel Toe Brewing, Size 4 (St. Louis Park, Minn.)
- Bronze: Noble Ale Works, Nose Candy (Anaheim, Calif.)
5. American-Style Pale Ale (160 entries)
- Gold: Central Coast Brewing Co., Monterey St. Pale Ale (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
- Silver: Track 7 Brewing Co. – Natomas, Hoppy Palm (Sacramento, Calif.)
- Bronze: Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Featherweight Pale Ale (Golden, Colo.)
Let’s end with some photos of some of the cool booth setups around the floor:
There you have it. See you again next year. And if you plan on pouring some beers for the mobs at GABF in 2016, consider some of these tips on planning for a beer event.