As I was pulling triple duty on Saturday, I was glued to my phone awaiting the results from the Great American Beer Festival while visiting a new brewery in Charlottesville before heading to a football game. But as I was scrolling through the results, I was really hoping to see a lot of Virginia Breweries take home some hardware. Several straight years of multiple breweries winning multiple medals should have paved the way for a solid showing again in 2014. Unfortunately, it was not the mother load we were hoping for.
Yes, Virginia craft beer won 7 medals and a best brewery for the 2nd year in a row, but with elevated expectations, the final numbers seemed a little low. Granted, the GABF is a monster in upon itself with over 700 breweries bringing 3500+ brews and you never know how things will truly end up. So let’s celebrate the winners this year, including the big dog that keeps getting bigger.
Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company (Lexington, VA: Basecamp and Outpost)
WINNER: Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year (Outpost)
GOLD: German-Style Schwarzbier (Schwartz Bier)
SILVER: Bock (Turbor Cougar)
SILVER: American-Style Dark Lager (Old Virginia Dark)
BRONZE: German-Style Altbier (Alt Bier)
They just keep getting better and better. When their run of medals came across the feed, I told one of the other writers that it would be hard for them not to win another best brewing company award. What was shocking to us was that they were in the Mid-Size category against some elevated competition and still won. This was Devils Backbone’s 3rd straight overall award, and with their 2012 Small Brewpub and 2013 Small Brewery, how can you stop this beast? With things looking up and up, you have to start thinking where they will go from here. Should be an interesting next couple of months.
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery (Richmond, VA)
GOLD: American-Style Fruit Beer (Raspberry Stout)
It would have been hard to keep several of their fruit beers off the podium, but the Raspberry Stout winning gold was a pleasant surprise. This was their first ever medal and should start to put them on the national map as they are starting to make a larger name for themselves outside of the 804.
Capitol City Brewing Co. (Washington, DC)
SILVER: American-Style Amber/Red Ale (Amber Waves Ale)
A welcome return to the winners circle was Capitol City, who was one of the breweries we featured in our preview. From 2001 to 2007, they had taken home 9 medals, but had been quite since. With a silver in a fairly big category, this bodes well for the future.
Three Notch’d Brewing Co. (Charlottesville, VA)
BRONZE: Irish-Style Red Ale (Hydraulion Red)
I will say this made my whole day. I’m pumped for the other winners, but to see this beer in particular win was exciting. We’ve been the head cheerleader for this particular beer for a very long time and to see it be recognized among the best in the US was amazing.