Cigar City, Gordash, and Other Florida Breweries Prep for the Great American Beer Festival | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Cigar City, Gordash, and Other Florida Breweries Prep for the Great American Beer Festival

September 16 is like a holy day for beer nerds across the U.S. That's the start of the Great American Beer Festival, held annually in Denver. Each year at the fest, more than 500 brewers from across the nation gather to share, sample, and compete for top honors in the world of beer. And this year, that includes some of our nearest and dearest local breweries: Gordash Brewing Co. in Fort Lauderdale, Big Bear Brewing Co. in Coral Springs, Brewzzi in Boca Raton, Inlet Brewing Co. in Jupiter, Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, and Corner Cafe in Jupiter.

Even if you're not planning on making the trek out to Colorado, you can still root on our local boys from home. Just read on to find out what specialty beer each brewer is sending to the fest.


Big Bear Brewing Co.
Brewmaster: Matt Cox
Previous GABF Wins:

2002 gold, Kodiak Belgian Dubbel. Big Bear also notably took a gold in

the 2008 North American Brewer's Association Conference for its Witness

Belgian wit beer.
This Year's Submissions: Cox is sending out

three beers to the fest this time around: His complex Kodiak Belgian

Dubbel and summery Witness Belgian wit will each make a showing, as

well as his Brown Bear English-style brown ale.

Brewmaster: Fran Andrewlevich
Previous GABF Wins:

2009 silver, Boca German Alt; 2001 silver, Import/Export Buis Pilsner;

2001 gold, Boca German Alt. 2000 gold, Boca Alt; 2000 silver, Helles or

High Water.
This Year's Submissions: South Florida's most decorated brewer is enterering six beers this year: the Boca German alt;

"Catapils," a hoppy Bohemian pilsner; Brewzzi German-style pilsner;

Boca Blonde Helles, a very light, drinkable brew; Cityfest Vienna-style

lager; and Black Duke dark Schwarzbier, a rich German beer.

Corner Cafe and Brewery
Brewmaster: Matt Webster
Previous GABF Wins:

None yet, but in 2009, its Gnarly Barley won gold in the Florida Beer

Competition. Webster also won the 2008 homebrew competition for his

German Kolsch, and his Dunkel took fifth place in the Samuel Adams Long

Shot Competition.
This Year's Submissions: We're still waiting to hear back from Webster on what, exactly, they will be submitting.

Gordash Brewing Co.
Brewmaster: Bob Gordash
Previous GABF Wins:

Gordash has long been an exhibitor at beer festivals across the nation,

but this is the first year it's entering the GABF competition. Good luck!
This Year's Submissions:

Gordash's flagship brew, Holy Mackerel Special Golden Ale, will make its debut at the fest. That said, everything Gordash makes is

big and full of Belgian flavors. Its Mack in Black is a dark version of

its Holy Mackerel. And Gordash will launch its new beer at the

fest, a 10 percent alcohol amber Belgian ale called Panic Attack.

Inlet Brewing Co.
Founder: Ray Nickolaus
Previous GABF Wins: If Inlet wins an award this year, it'll be its first at the fest.
This Year's Submission:

Inlet is submitting its organic Belgian Amber ale, Monk in the Trunk,

for just the second time. It's a sweet brew with lots of organic hops.


Cigar City Brewing
Brewmaster: Wayne Wambles
Previous GABF Wins: Cigar City entered the GABF for the first time in 2009 and picked up a gold for its Humidor IPA, a wood-aged imperial with tons of hops and smoky flavor. Its Hunahpu Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, brewed with ancho chili and Mayan chocolate, won a gold in the U.S. Beer Open in Georgia this year.
This Year's Submissions: This newish brewery out of Tampa has quickly gained a huge following for its creative and well-produced beers like Jai Alai IPA and Maduro Oatmeal Brown ale, both of which will be at the fest (you can find them in South Florida to boot). Among its nine beers entered is Big Town Scotch Ale, Humidor wood-aged IPA, Guava Grove Saison, Marshal Zhukov's Imperial Stout, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale, and Cubano Espresso Brown ale. Perhaps the strangest entry of all is a special version of Marshal Zhukov's called Final Push, a beer aged on Kopi Luwak coffee, which is coffee that's eaten and then passed by an Asian civet cat! Wild!

Good luck to all our Florida brewers. Let's hope they bring home the gold.

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John Linn