At the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, there's no shortage of brews to drink. But at the annual competition that accompanies the three days of sampling, only the best rise to the top.
Texas breweries raked in 21 medals at the awards ceremony on Oct. 7, including nine golds. Austin Beer Garden and Brewery in the capitol and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. in Houston were also recognized as small brewpub of the year and mid-size brewery of the year, respectively. It was the AGBG's second consecutive year to be honored as brewpub of the year.
A gold medal from GABF is regarded as one of the top honors in the industry and a total validation of a brewer's skill. The 2017 competition was its biggest yet, with 7,923 beer entries across nearly 100 style categories, according to the Brewers Association.
"We are so proud of our breweries," said Charles Vallhonrat, executive director of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, in response to the results.
The accolades "showed that Texas keeps making quality beer," he added.
This year marks an uptick in the number of medals garnered by the Lone Star State. (In 2016, Texas breweries earned 10 medals.) The biggest winner was Saint Arnold, which won a gold medal for its Pumpkinator fall seasonal and two bronze medals for its Weedwacker German-style wheat ale and Amber Ale.
Dallas-Fort Worth didn't shine like prior years. Just three breweries brought home medals: Peticolas Brewing Co. garnered silver for It's Always Something in the Belgian-style specialty ale category; Armadillo Ale Works won bronze for Honey Please in the honey beer category; and Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. took home silver for its Oktoberfest in the German-style maerzen category.
Here are the GABF results:
- Gold: Pumpkinator by Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (Houston) in "pumpkin/squash or pumpkin spice" category
- Gold: La Muerta by Freetail Brewing Co. (San Antonio) in "aged beer" category
- Gold: Rocket 100 by Austin Beer Garden and Brewery (Austin) in "American- or international-style pilsner" category
- Gold: Super Awesome Lager by Austin Beerworks (Austin) in "light lager" category
- Gold: Buckle Bunny by Eureka Heights Brewing Co. (Houston) in "American-style cream ale" category
- Gold: Velvet Revolution by Austin Beer Garden and Brewery (Austin)
- Gold: Amandus by Lazarus Brewing Co. (Austin) in "Belgian-style specialty ale" category
- Gold: Bearded Seal by Pinthouse Pizza (Austin) in "classic Irish-style dry stout" category
- Gold: Real Heavy by Real Ale Brewing Co. (Blanco) in "Scotch ale" category
- Silver: Luchesa Lager by Oasis Texas Brewing Co. (Austin) in "kellerbier or zwickelbier" category
- Silver: Shiner Bock by Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner) in "American-style amber lager" category
- Silver: Oktoberfest by Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. (Fort Worth) in "German-style maerzen" category
- Silver: Fireman's 4 by Real Ale Brewing Co. (Blanco) in "golden or blonde ale" category
- Silver: It's Always Something by Peticolas Brewing Co. (Dallas) in "Belgian-style specialty ale" category
- Silver: Lux Mundi by Save the World Brewing Co. (Marble Falls) in "other Belgian-style ale" category
- Bronze: Honey Please by Armadillo Ale Works (Denton) in "honey beer" category
- Bronze: Barrel-Aged Marfa Light by Big Bend Brewing Co. (Alpine) in "wood- and barrel-aged strong stout" category
- Bronze: Blue Bridge by Galveston Island Brewing Co. (Galveston) in "American-style amber and red ale" category
- Bronze: Amber Ale by Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (Houston) in "ordinary or special bitter" category
- Bronze: Holler ESB by Holler Brewing Co. (Houston) in "extra special bitter" category
- Bronze: Weedwacker by Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (Houston) in "German-style wheat ale" category
While Texas' haul is impressive, there's still opportunity to gain more recognition. Beer-heavy states like Colorado, California and Oregon dominated many of the awards. California breweries even swept the imperial India pale ale category.
See the full list of winners here and raise a pint to your local brewers.