Cleveland-Area Breweries Snag Hardware at Great American Beer Festival

click to enlarge Cleveland-Area Breweries Snag Hardware at Great American Beer Festival
Photo © Brewers Association
In addition to being one of the best fests to sample beers from literally thousands of American breweries, the Great American Beer Festival is also a serious competitive event. The Great American Beer Festival Judge Panel, comprised of industry professionals from around the world, sample beers in small groups and without knowing the maker, in search of the three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the Great American Beer Festival.

Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over a three-day period. Judges are assigned beers to evaluate in their specific area of expertise and never judge their own product or any product in which they have a stake. The gold, silver and bronze medals that the panel awards are recognized around the world as symbols of brewing excellence.

Cleveland breweries brought home five medals.

In the German-Style Wheat Ale, Fat Head’s Brewery snagged the gold for its AlpenGlow.

Fat Head’s also claimed the bronze in the American-Style Black Ale category for its Midnight Moonlight.

“It was our ninth straight year winning medals and 27 for me personally at GABF,” says a jubilant Matt Cole of Fat Head’s.

BottleHouse Brewery and Meadery in Cleveland walked away with two bronze medals, one for its There is No Quad entry in the Aged Beer category and one for its Spring Gruit in the Historical Beer category.

Last but not least, Masthead Brewing claimed the bronze in the Double Red Ale category for its Midwest Red IPA.

About the award, Masthead manager Jeff Draeger says, “We obviously are very excited to have won a medal for our Midwest Red IPA. Taking home an award from GABF is very difficult to begin with, but even more so in a hoppy category. Being so new, and being able to represent Ohio, and specifically Cleveland’s Class of 2017, in this fashion is very humbling. We are looking forward to continuing our growth towards the four front of Ohio’s brewing scene.”

Since 2009, 22 Ohio craft breweries have combined to win 52 medals — 17 gold — at the Great American Beer Festival.

“The results of this year’s competition prove that Ohio continues to grow in reputation as a great craft beer state,” said Mary MacDonald, executive director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association. “Our breweries are a tremendous point of pride for Ohioans, and these nine medals show that our world-class beers can stand toe-to-toe with the best in the country.”

Check out all the winners here.
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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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