Great American Beer Festival Announces All the Winners From 2021 Awards

by Madison Miller

This past weekend was the weekend of dreams come true for many beer drinkers, beer brewers, and all-around craft beer aficionados.

The Great American Beer Festival went on this weekend in Denver, Colorado. Beer breweries from all around the country showed up with some of the best brews they have to offer.

Entires for the Great American Beer Festival

In the process, judges handed out 290 medals to 265 breweries that gathered for the event. It’s an epic display of craftsmanship, hard work, and unique flavor profiles as beer companies get the praise they deserve. There was just about every kind of beer you could possibly imagine being judged, including a festive pumpkin beer category.

There were 97 beer categories that a brew could fall into. According to Craft Brewing Business, there were 2,192 breweries that entered the competition and 9,680 kinds of beer. This year looked a little different than other Great Amerian Beer Festivals of the past.

There is usually a big festival portion, but due to COVID-19 that had to be canceled. Regardless, it was the largest competition to date this year. “The Brewers Association is proud to honor this year’s deserving winners. We look forward to celebrating in person together next year,” Chris Swersey, competition director of the Great American Beer Festival, said.

As for winners, there are far too many to share each one. The Great American Beer Festival posted a full list online, here. You can take a look at your favorite kinds of beer or search for some of your favorite local breweries to see how they did. Washington breweries, for example, brought home a massive 22 medals from the competition.

Individual and Brewery of the Year Awards

There are several categories that received more entries than others. One of which was the juicy or hazy IPA category with 427 entries. The winner is the DeadHead IPA Series, TourBus. This brewery is located in Normal, Illinois.

Another popular category is the American-style IPA with 404 entries. The winner was Volatile Substance from Von Ebert Brewing. This brewery is located in Pearl, Portland, Oregon.

Meanwhile, the fruited American sour ale gang also showed up this weekend with 249 entries. The winner was Fall River Brewing Co. with the Sherbert Drip. They are located in Redding, California. The German-style wheat ale was another top contender with 226 entries. The winner was JAFB Wooster Brewery in Wooster, Ohio, with their Hefeweizen.

Lastly, the German-style pilsener was also a top category at the Great American Beer Festival. Meanwhile, Brewing Co. was the gold winner with the Meanwhile Pilsner.

Individual beer awards were quite popular this weekend, but so was the Brewery of the Year Awards. It is awarded based on the number of barrels of beer that company releases each year. For example, Radiant Beer Co. produces zero to 250 barrels a year and got the award. Toward the middle is Cloudburst Brewing from Seattle, Washington, which makes 1,001 to 2,000 barrels.

The biggest brewery to win, with 15,001 to 100,000 barrels of beer is Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, Maine.

All in all, it was quite the weekend for beer aficionados. There’s also more to come. The fall hop harvest and beer production period has not started yet. There will be 78 Fresh Hop Beer category entries. These winners will get all the attention on October 15.