Saturday, October 8, 2022

2022 GABF Awards

The 2022 Great American Beer Festival annual Awards Ceremony took place Saturday morning, the culmination of 2,154 breweries who entered 9,904 beers. And although there were 9,904 beers judged, there were only 235 people doing the judging, an average of over 42 beers tried per judge. I would almost begin to feel a little skeptical that the judges were able to do a completely competent job after that many beers, yet somehow they manage to award Allagash White a gold medal year after year. This competition is legit, folks.

Aside from Allagash, there were a number of familiar breweries taking awards this year, such as Russian River, Pizza Port OB, Left Hand, Chuckanut, and Breakside. There were 18 first-time medalists at the fest, which makes up about 6% of the medals awarded. Of particular interest to me were the medalists in the Juicy or Hazy IPA category, in which three breweries I have never heard of took the top three spots: City Barrel Brewing Co. out of Kansas City, MO; White Rock Alehouse and Brewery from Dallas, TX, and Flatland Brewing from Elk Grove, CA (it's near Sacramento. I looked it up).

Also of interest was the number of entries in the German-Style Pilsener (that's how the BA spells it) category. Sure, you'd expect American-Style IPA and Hazy IPA to be at the top, and they were, with 423 and 375 entries, respectively. But how about that German Pilsener, with 233 entries?? Lagers are cool, man!

And locally, a show of hands for those starting to sweat wondering if New Mexico was going to get shut out of the medals for the first time since 2006? Yeah, I was starting to wonder. And another show of hands from people who had their money on Flix Brewhouse to be the first NM brewery on the winner board? It took until the 40th category in the busy-named Australasian, Latin American or Tropical Light Lager category, where Flix won the silver with Luche Libre, their Mexican-Style Lager. And from there, the medals continued, not at the pace set by, say North Park Brewing Co., but at a very respectable rate. The next winner was Rowley Farmhouse Ales, who took a gold in the Belgian Fruit Beer category with Grandissant-Montmorency Cherry. Finishing up, we had two medalists in the Scotch Ale Category, where Quarter Celtic won bronze for Kill or Be Kilt, and Ex Novo took silver for Sons of Scotland. This was the first time at GABF where two New Mexico breweries medaled in the same category. The four medals earned by NM breweries matches the number won in 2021. Interestingly, it's also the seventh time in GABF history that NM has taken home four medals at one awards ceremony.

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