3 New England Breweries were awarded medals at the 2012 GABF

Great American Beer Festival Medals

It’s in the books – the 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) hall is in cleanup mode, getting ready for next year. The Holy Grail celebration of beer brought beer fans of all ages to Denver, Colorado in the pursuit of hops and the sweet nectar of the Gods – BEER.

As part of the festival, brewers sought out the prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 beer categories covering 134 different beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.  Here are the results:

In 2012, the largest competition to date, 158 beer experts (along with 120 competition volunteers) judged 4,388 competition entries. These entries were received from 666 breweries located within 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam. THE RESULTS: 254 medals.

The top five entered categories were:

  • American-Style India Pale Ale
  • Imperial India Pale Ale, 128 entries
  • Herb and Spice Beer, 114 entries
  • American-Style Strong Pale Ale, 111 entries
  • American-Style Pale Ale, 109 entries


Returning home tired and rejuvenated, three breweries from New England are bringing with them a highly coveted GABF Medal (Cisco Brewers – Gold; Cambridge Brewing Company – Silver; Jack’s Abby Bronze). Two additional breweries, with homes in New England are also celebrating (Redhook – Silver & Bronze; Boston Beer Company – Bronze).

Cisco Brewers Logo

Those not returning home with a medal will have to wait for next year!

Here are some regional stats:

    • This is the first Gold and first ever GABF medal for Cisco Brewers
    • This is the seventh medal for Cambridge Brewing Company
      • Cambridge Brewing Co has won one 7 medals in the last 9 years (since 2004)
        • Since 2004, CBC has only missed out in 2010 and 2005.
        • The medals are: One Overall, Two Gold, Three Silvers, and One Bronze medal
      • This is the third medal for the Heather Ale (2012 Silver, 2011 Overall Award, 2006 Gold)
    • This is the first Bronze and first ever GABF medal for Jack’s Abby Brewing
    • This is the 44th medal for Boston Beer Company
      • Boston Beer Co has won 44 medals since 1985
      • Boston Beer Co has one a medal every year for the last 9 years, tallying 17 medals (since 2004)
      • The Dopplebock has won 5 medals: 2 golds, 2 silvers, 1 bronze (2012- Silver, 2009- Silver, 1998- Bronze, 1997- Gold, 1990- Gold)
    • This is the 10th medal for Redhook Brewery
      • Redhook has won 10 medals, earning two in 2012.
      • Redhook has won eight medals in the last 10 years (since 2003)
      • This is the first ever GABF medal for both the Pilsner and Winterhook.

Jacks Abby Brewery Logo

Here are the full regional results:

Category: 6 Herb and Spice Beer, 114 Entries

  • Gold: Sweet Heat, Burnside Brewing Co., Portland, OR
  • Silver: CBC Heather Ale, Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge, MA
  • Bronze: Utah Sage Saison, Epic Brewing Co., Salt Lake City, UT

Category: 24 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer, 70 Entries

  • Gold: Lady Of The Woods, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket, MA
  • Silver: Sentience, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Denver, CO
  • Bronze: George’s Phunk, Nodding Head Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA

Category: 27 Smoke Beer, 50 Entries

  • Gold: Bambastic, Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO
  • Silver: Rauchtoberfest, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – Lancaster, Lancaster, PA
  • Bronze: Smoke & Dagger, Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, MA

Cambridge Brewing Company Logo

Category: 28 American-Style or International-Style Pilsener, 26 Entries

  • Gold: Gold Country Pilsner, Auburn Alehouse, Auburn, CA
  • Silver: Redhook Pilsner, Redhook Brewery Woodinville, Woodinville, WA
  • Bronze: Gold Leaf Lager, Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost, Lexington, VA

Category: 54 American-Style Amber/Red Ale, 87 Entries

  • Gold: Hopback Amber Ale, Tröegs Brewing Co., Hershey, PA
  • Silver: Fixed Gear American Red Ale, Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI
  • Bronze: Winterhook, Redhook Brewery, Woodinville, Woodinville, WA

Category: 42 German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock, 19 Entries

  • Gold: Uber Bock, Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., Madison, WI
  • Silver: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Co. – Samuel Adams, Cincinnati Brewery, Cincinnati, OH
  • Bronze: Resurrection Doppelbock, Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co., Red Lodge, MT

Sam Adams Brewery Logo

Reflecting craft brewing’s increasing popularity nationwide, across state and regional borders, overall competition highlights include:

  • The 2012 competition saw winners from across America, indicating that more than ever, ambitious brewers are opening breweries and producing extremely high quality beer brands in once unlikely locations.
  • Tap It Brewing Company of San Luis Obispo, Calif.—a first-time medal winner—took home a gold medal in the most competitive GABF competition category, American-Style India Pale Ale.
  • Wyoming was the winningest state by number of entries, with 17.4 percent of the state’s 46 entries earning medals, while three of the six Brewery of the Year award-winning breweries were located in the Mid-Atlantic region.
  • Style Categories
    • Since 2001, the most-entered category has been American-Style India Pale Ale (IPA), which saw 203 entries in 2012. Beer lovers around the country have shown their preference for hop-forward beers, and breweries are rising to meet demand with an ever-increasing selection of IPAs.

Redhook Brewery Logo

Summary: 2012 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 578 breweries in the festival hall
  • More than 2,700 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees
  • Approximately 2,800 volunteers
  • 666 breweries in the competition from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Guam
  • 4,338 beers judged (includes 94 Pro-Am competition entries), a more than 10 percent increase over 2011
  • 84 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 185 judges from 11 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 50.6
  • Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale, 203
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