Each October, the Great American Beer Festival recognizes breweries across the country as having produced the best in American craft beer.
While normal protocol calls for brewers and festival attendees to gather in Denver, Colorado, 2020 is not a normal year, and a big exposition center party was not in the cards. Instead, judging took place during 35 socially-distanced sessions over 18 days beginning Oct. 1. The awards ceremony was held virtually. And the pandemic’s impact was felt throughout: GABF participation was down nearly 25 percent from 2019 to 2020, with 1,720 breweries participating (down from 2,295) and 8,806 beers (down from 9,497) being judged.
“This has arguably been one of the most challenging years breweries have ever faced, so we hope these awards serve as a symbol not only of brewing excellence but also the resiliency of the craft brewing community as a whole,” the festival’s competition manager, Chris Swersey, said in a statement.
New England features some of the most celebrated breweries in the world (Hill Farmstead, Trillium, Tree House), but several New England states were surprising snubs; Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island came away empty-handed at this year’s awards (contrast that with the state of Oregon, whose breweries received 22 medals). Still, beers from eight New England breweries were awarded medals, up from six medals in 2019.
Here are the 2020 winners:
- “Cerveza,” True North Ale Co., Ipswich, Mass. Silver, American-Style Cream Ale.
- “Lazy Tiger,” Lamplighter Brewing Co., Cambridge, Mass. Silver, Experimental India Pale Ale.
- “Kolsch Money,” Springdale Beer. Co., Framingham, Mass. Bronze, German-Style Koelsch.
- “First Steps on a Sour Planet,” Aeronaut Brewing Co., Somerville, Mass. Bronze, German-Style Sour Ale.
- “White,” Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine. Gold, Belgian-Style Witbier.
- “Choco Tuesday,” Lone Pine Brewing Co., Portland, Maine. Silver, Experimental Beer.
- “Cuvee De Funk,” Lone Pine Brewing Co., Portland, Maine. Gold, Wood-and-Barrel-Aged Sour Beer.
- “Counter Weight Fest Bier,” Counter Weight Brewing Co., Hamden, Conn. Gold, Dortmunder or German-Style Oktoberfest.
- “Vienna Lager,” East Rock Brewing Co., New Haven, Conn. Silver, Vienna-Style Lager.
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