2013 GABF Medals: How does Colorado Stack Up to the Rest of the Nation?

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Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is the Academy Awards of breweries and, needless to say, the folks here in Colorado tend to think we have some pretty damn decent beers.  How much of that sense of superiority is fact and how much is pure delusion?  Let’s look at the results of the 2013 GABF and see where the Centennial State stacks up against the other 49.

Most Overall Medals

  • California: 52
  • Colorado: 46
  • Oregon: 25
  • Virginia: 14
  • Pennsylvania: 12

There’s much bickering surrounding the debate of “Greatest American Beer City” but, typically, San Diego, Denver, and Portland are considered the frontrunners.  It would seem that the overall medal count would support this notion as California, Colorado, and Oregon were, by far, the most decorated states at GABF.

Does this mean that California is a better beer state than Colorado?  Not necessarily.  For one, California has many more breweries than Colorado thus a higher number of breweries = more competition entries = better chances at winning a medal.  Plus, there’s this other statistic:

Most Gold Medals GABF

  • Colorado: 19
  • California: 16
  • Oregon: 10
  • Texas: 4
  • Virginia: 4

California may have the quantity but, baby, we got the quality!  Cali can have all the silver and bronze they want; those medals are for the first and second place losers.  Gold medals are for champions and Colorado has more than anybody else!

Also, once again, Colorado, California, and Oregon prove themselves as the uncontested American craft beer states.

Multiple Medals in a Single Category

  • California: 10 (5)
  • Colorado: 8
  • Oregon: 5
  • Montana: 1
  • Ohio: 1
  • Pennsylvania: 1
  • Texas: 1
  • Virginia: 1

My hat is off to California; when they make a beer, they make it well.  Ten times California had more than one medal in a single category and five of those times they swept the entire category!  No other state swept a category even once.  If you’re looking for a good American-Style Amber/Red Ale, American-Style Black Ale, Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout, Imperial Red Ale, or Session Beer then, I must admit, California is where you need to be drinking.

Non-Medaling States Great American Beer Festival

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Idaho media-oldman (Copy)
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont

Do you have a loud-mouthed beer geek friend living in any of these states?  This list is something you might consider throwing in their face next time they start getting on your nerves.

Great American Beer Festival

What follows is a break-down of all the categories in which Colorado breweries received a medal.  There’s a brief explanation of the beer style as well as mention of the other two breweries and states that medaled in the same category.

Next up: Gold medal winners

About Chris Bruns


Chris Bruns is a self-professed beer geek living in Denver. Chris spends much of his time brewing beer at home with friends and family, attempting to visit every brewery in Colorado, attending special beer events and festivals, purchasing and assessing the latest releases from local breweries, and blogging about his adventures in the world of craft beer. He is also the Denver Craft Beer Examiner on Examiner.com. Contact Chris by e-mail at chrisdbruns@gmail.com or through his blog at www.beerincolorado.blogspot.com.

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