Seven brewery members of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild earned medals at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival which took place in Denver on October 9 marking the largest number of unique GABF accolades awarded to L.A.-area brewers in the history of the competition.
California took home a cumulative 68 medals across the golden state but L.A’s seven medal win is indicative of the region’s maturing beer community; proving that both relative brewing veterans and newcomers are bringing high-quality brews worthy of national recognition.
No stranger to GABF medals, Long Beach-based Beachwood BBQ & Brewing earned a Silver medal in the Belgian-style Lambic/Sour category for Chaos is a Friend of Mine created by their Beachwood Blendery imprint while past GABF winners Kinetic Brewing and Smog City Brewing also took home bronze medals for 4th Gear (4th Anniversary) and Sabre-Toothed Squirrel in the Chocolate Beer & American-Style Amber/Red Ale categories respectively.
Two gold medals were awarded to El Segundo Brewing and Highland Park Brewery in two big categories: American-Style Amber/Dark Lager (Casa Azul) and American Strong Pale Ale (Good Green); the latter being one of the most highly-coveted awards of the competition next to India Pale Ale and the former coming as a shock to beer fans who identify El Segundo for their lineup of hoppy west coast IPAs.
“Being primarily an IPA brewery, I’m beyond stoked on winning in this category,” president and founder Rob Croxall said. “I’ve been really happy with Casa Azul over the years but am still in disbelief at how well it did.”
This year’s awards also saw four significant first-time wins. Brewmaster Devon Randall was well-decorated during her tenure at Pizza Port Brewing and earned Silver for Cowboy Curtis in the Smoked Beer category for the less than one-year old Arts District Brewing Company. Neighboring downtown L.A. brewery Iron Triangle Brewing also took home some first-year hardware with a bronze medal for Jawbone in the Imperial Stout category.
“We are delighted to join our fellow Los Angeles brewers in being recognized for one of our beers in what was the most competitive Great American Beer Festival to date,” Iron Triangle Brewmaster Darren Mosher said. “We are humbled by the honor and look forward to the continued growth of our combined craft beer presence in Los Angeles.”