UPDATED: See below.
Well, that was chaotic.
At first glance, attending the annual Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony with all the New Mexico brewers seems like a great thing. I envisioned quick and easy brewer interviews after they won their medals.
Anyway, I will be tracking down those brewers in the days ahead. Because four of them brought six more medals home to New Mexico.
Leading the way was Boxing Bear, where The Red Glove and Chocolate Milk Stout both captured gold medals. The former claimed the top spot in the Double Red Ale category (78 entries) while the latter snagged another medal in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category (71 entries), one year after taking silver. Congratulations to Justin Hamilton and his entire staff on what has been a banner year for the West Side brewery.
Oh, and then this happened about 7 p.m. local time, when an email from the Brewers Association showed up in my inbox.
“During competition registration, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. self-identified their San Diego location as a Mid-Size Brewpub. After the award ceremony, GABF competition staff realized that this was inaccurate: this location is, in fact, a Mid-Size Brewing Company. Karl Strauss, while it operates brewpubs, is classified as a production facility by GABF competition guidelines.
After reassigning Karl Strauss to the Mid-Size Brewing Company category, and recalculating the Brewery of the Year results, it resulted that Karl Strauss was the winner of the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year category. In addition, Boxing Bear Brewing Co. is the resulting winner of the Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year category.
All of us with the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewers Association deeply regret this error. Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon, which had originally been identified as the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year, had a very strong performance in the competition, winning a gold medal in the German-Style Wheat Ale category, a silver medal in Other Strong Beer, and a bronze medal in Fresh or Wet Hop Ale. They were among the top medal-winning breweries in the 2016 competition.
Congratulations to all of the winners in the most-entered Great American Beer Festival competition ever.”
So, to sum that up, BOXING BEAR IS THE 2016 MID-SIZE BREWPUB OF THE YEAR!!! This marks the second time in the last three sessions that a New Mexico brewery has been named brewery/brewpub of the year in its size classification (Marble won in 2014, in case you forgot). A humongous congratulations to Justin Hamilton and his entire team at the Bear. Looks like that trophy wall will need to be expanded!
Meanwhile, Bosque Brewing continued its seemingly unending run of success. Acequia IPA snagged silver in the Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category (45 entries), one year after taking gold in that same category. Meanwhile, Bosque Lager earned its first medal, a silver in the German-Style Pilsner category (115 entries) just weeks before it rolls out in six-pack cans.
La Cumbre snagged a bronze medal in the Baltic-Style Porter category (41 entries) for Siberian Silk, a first medal for that popular seasonal. On the other hand, Marble Pilsner earned its third medal, a bronze in the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier category (69 entries).
Overall, through three sessions (the last is pending tonight), it has been a hell of a time for New Mexico breweries. La Cumbre’s booth on the end of one of the Southwest rows has been a huge hit. Boxing Bear ran out of Chocolate Milk Stout on Saturday afternoon. Overall, the word of excellent beer in New Mexico is spreading further and further to a national and international audience.
We will raise a glass or two to that. Well, OK, more than two. I will have a whole lot more from GABF in the days to come. Until then, I am off to load up the trunk with rare beers to bring home.