GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 3 – Wolverine State Brewing

I have saved the double winner for last. Ann Arbor’s Wolverine State Brewing picked up both Silver and Bronze this year.

SILVER – NZ Pils in the American-style Pilsener category
BRONZE – Raucher in the Smoke Beer category

In addition to those winners, I would add the following to my taster tray….

Wheelbarrow Weekend – “a refreshing Munich Helles made with oats & fresh-squeezed lemon juice.”

Tundra King – “This new addition to our IPL lineup is in contrast to many of our other IPLs and hop-forward lagers because it’s even more injected with hoppy and bitter goodness!”

Gulo Gulo – “India Pale Lager (I.P.L.) is hopped with Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, Warrior and Pilgrim hops. It is dry-hopped once in the fermenter and then a second time with whole-cone Cascade hops before packaging.”

Barista – “We brew this beer in collaboration with Roos Roast of Ann Arbor. Karl the Brewer used to be a coffee roaster before joining the brewing world and so we put him in charge of the coffee side.”

GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 2 – Smylie Brothers Brewing

Our second Medal Winning stop is bemusing, Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. in from the city of Evanston. SBBC won silver in the Fruit Wheat Beer category for Purple Line, a wheat ale brewed with hibiscus, blueberry and blackberry. This beer is no stranger to hardware as it also won GABF medals in 2015 and 2017 too.

So with that lineage, here is what I would sample in my “imagined” taster flight…

Helles Lager – “A Bavarian style pale lager. Crisp and clean, showcasing Pilsner malt. Lightly hopped with German noble hops.”

Gin Barrel Farmhouse Saison – “Our Farmhouse ale aged in Chicago Distilling Co.’s Finn’s Gin barrels.”

Simcoe Pale Ale – “An American Pale Ale hopped exclusively with Simcoe hops. Light and crisp malt body with pungent notes of pine, grapefruit and citrus.”

Grisette – “Light in body and low in alcohol, this saison is brewed with spelt, an heirloom variety of wheat. Floral aroma with notes of lemon and citrus. Very dry, crisp and refreshing.”

Smy Rye IPA – “Rye IPA brewed with Ekuanot and Citra hops. Aromas of citrus peel, melon and pine, with a crisp rye spice.”

GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 1 – Cloudburst Brewing

Cloudburst Brewing made the most of their time on the Great American Beer Festival stage. A colorful expletive on the shirt was straight to the point, “F*^%# ABInBev”

But let’s focus on the beer that earned them a bronze medal and also won in my informal, cool beer names awards that has no award (yet). Easy, Breezy, Beautiful won in the American-Style Wheat Beer.

After that, I would add the following to my first taster tray:

Happy Little Clouds – “a Bastardized” German Pilsner
Ministry Of Truth – Double Stout w/ Blackberries
The Ghost of Great Owl – Pumpkin Beer
Out of Touch – Throwback IPA w/ (mostly) Cascade & Chinook
Boom. Roasted! – Coffee Porter

GABF Winning Brewery # 1 – Spellbound Brewing

Our first GABF Gold stop is in New Jersey and their new democratic governor.

The beer that won was a Porter Aged on Palo Santo Wood. and the brewery is Spellbound Brewing based in Mount Holly.

Here are the beers that I would try if I found myself in their taproom…..

Peach IPA
“Light in color and body, refreshing hoppy citrus notes intertwine with the peach. The peach rounds the edges of the hop.”

Pale Ale
“Light in color and body. A classic American pale ale dry hopped with Citra hops to give it a bright citrusy aroma and flavor. Low in ABV, high in flavor.”

Belgian Tripel Cherry
“Dark golden in color. We add sour cherries to the fermentation on our tripel. Aromas of cherry and fruity esters from the yeast. Finishes with a hint of honey sweetness and lingering cherry.”

Vices Coffee Porter
“VICES – Coffee Porter is our porter aged on Small World Coffee Crispy Hippie Coffee beans. The result is a huge coffee aroma with notes of roasty malt and chocolate.”

GABF Winning Brewery # 3 – Uberbrew

When you think of best use of hops, even the most knowledgeable craft beer fan doesn’t think of Billings Montana. Nor would one probably place a bet that the Small Brewing Company of the Year would hail from Big Sky country.

But Überbrew from Montana left Denver with (4) medals and bragging rights among small brewers.

Following on the heels of their Alpha King Challenge win in 2015, they bagged two golds, a silver and bronze at this year’s GABF. And those are the beers in my first taster tray paddle, if I ever find myself at their brewery.

GOLD – White Noise (American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast)
GOLD – Humulus Insani (Imperial IPA)
SILVER – Average at Best (Double Red Ale)
Bronze – Alpha Force Double Tap (American-Style Black Ale)

Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to seeing the surprise winners next year.