Local Breweries Score Big at the Great American Beer Festival

DC Brau Citizen Silver Medal

This weekend the Great American Beer Festival, the Oscars of the beer world, was held in Denver, and breweries from the District, Maryland, and Virginia brought back an impressive amount of bling.

The annual competition, organized by the Brewers Association, included 5,507 beer entries from 1,309 American breweries. Each was entered in one of 90 style categories and then judged for quality and trueness to that style for the honor of a gold, silver, or bronze medal.

DC Brau took a silver for its canned flagship brew The Citizen in the Belgian- and French-Style Ale category. This makes the second GABF medal for DC Brau's brewing team, lead by Jeff Hancock. The brewery won a silver in 2012 in the same category for a one-off collaboration brew called Your Favorite Foreign Movie.

Capitol City Brewing Company, with locations in Shirlington and downtown D.C., beat out 138 other entries to win a silver in the highly competitive Red Ale/American-style Amber category for its Amber Waves Ale. This is Capitol City's first placing at the competition since 2008, and since Kristi Mathews Griner took over brewing operations last year.

Gordon Biersch in Rockville scored a silver as well in the American-Belgo-Style Ale category for its Belgian IPA. This was the second medal-winning year in a row for brewmaster Christian Layke, who won a silver for his Czech Pilsner last year.

Elsewhere in Maryland, brewmaster James Sobczak of Gordon Biersch in Annapolis received a gold for his Rauchbier. Three Baltimore-area breweries also won awards: Union Craft Brewing's Old Pro Gose summer seasonal snagged a silver, and Heavy Seas Beer's Gold Ale got a bronze, as did DuClaw's Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.

Virginia's Devils Backbone Brewing Company took top honors again, this time with the "Outpost" location in Lexington named Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year. This comes after similar national titles the past two years in a row: The location in Roseland won Small Brewpub of the Year in 2012 and then Small Brewery of the Year in 2013. Brewmaster Jason Oliver and his team continued to rock the traditional, if sometimes obscure, German styles with the following victors:

  • Gold:  Schwartz Bier (German-Style Schwarzbier category, 37 entries)
  • Silver:  Old Virginia Dark, (American-Style Dark Lager category, 19 entries)
  • Silver:  Turbo Cougar (Bock category, 27 entries)
  • Bronze:  Alt Bier (German-Style Altbier category, 33 entries)

Two other Virginia breweries, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond and Three Notch'd Brewing Company in Charlottesville, won medals. Hardywood got a gold for its Raspberry Stout and Three Notch'd bagged a bronze for its Hydraulion Red ale.

Find the full list of this year's winners and more details about the competition here.

Photo courtesy of DC Brau