The Chicago area only took home eight of the 268 medals awarded at this weekend’s Great American Beer Fest in Denver, but we make those awards count—Chicago has one of the country’s best stouts and two of its best IPAs. Half Acre’s Heyoka and Temperance Beer Company’s Gatecrasher each earned medals for American- and English-style IPA, respectively, while Haymarket’s Defender took gold in the American-style stout category.
The annual festival is part industry convention, part beer family reunion and part raucous celebration of all things beer—or, it’s the Oscars or Super Bowl of the fermented-malt arts. Seeing approximately 5,000 brewers, brewery reps, staff and beer fans packed into the Bellco Theater for the awards ceremony, you can start to get a feeling for how big the brewing community is, and also how much it can still grow.
Here's the list of Illinois winners:
Gold Medal, American-Style Stout: Defender, Haymarket Brewery
Silver Medal, American-Style India Pale Ale: Heyoka, Half Acre
Bronze Medal, Kellerbier or Zwickelbier: 18th Rebellion, Horse Thief Hollow
Gold Medal, Wood- and Barrel-aged Sour Beer: Sour Beer #2, Two Brothers
Silver Medal, English-Style India Pale Ale: Gatecrasher, Temperance Brewing Company
Silver Medal, Golden or Blonde Ale: 5 Rabbit, 5 Rabbit Brewery
Silver Medal, Historical Beer: White Eagle Smoked Wheat, RAM Schaumburg
Silver Medal, Other Strong Beer: Shadow of the Moon Imperial Stout, Flossmoor Station Brewing
Illinois, Beyond Chicagoland:
Gold Medal, South German-Style Hefeweizen: Little Egypt Hefeweizen, Carbondale Craft Beer (aka Little Egypt Beer)
Here are a few more of my thoughts from Friday on the circus that is GABF.