The Great American Beer Festival was held this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Denver, Colorado, and South Florida brewers descended on the Mile-High City complete with their A-games, but it wasn't enough to secure any medals.
Due South Brewing Co. and Funky Buddha Brewery represented the Broward/Palm Beach area, and were joined by other Florida breweries 7venth Sun Brewing Company, Cigar City Brewing, Darwin Brewing Co., Florida Beer Company, and Swamp Head Brewery.
Unfortunately, only one Floridian brewery secured a medal: a gold for Cigar City Brewing in the ProAm category, where Wayne Wambles, head brewer at CCB, teamed up with AHA member Jeff Gladish to produce an award-winning Poblano Wit. The Professional-Amateur category "pairs amateur brewers with professional brewers, who scale up the award-winning homebrew recipes."
Though some of the best beer being produced from SoFla was represented, the state couldn't stop the onslaught of 'Great Western Beer', including three gold medal winners Left Hand Brewing and Firestone Walker.
In fact, as breweries go, we in Florida were fortunate to find our beloved beer makers on the lists of some of the beer industry's top journalists and bloggers. Chris Staten, Beer Editor for DRAFT Magazine selected Funky Buddha for his PorchDrinking.com fantasy brewery 'team' prior to the event. Cigar City was selected by PorchDrinking.com's founder, Tristan Chan. That put two Florida breweries out of 625 in a veritable 'top 120' list. Not bad for a state with a per capita brewery ranking of 44th!
The GABF is held every October in Denver, and features hundreds of breweries from around the country giving out samples of their most interesting, flavorful, popular, or stylized beers. This year, 624 breweries attended with over 3,100 different beers poured. A judging competition dominates the event, and like the Olympics, they bring a certain cache to the winners.
2014 will be Florida's year, I can feel it.
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