Texas brewers raked in the medals once again at one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the country this weekend.
This year's Great American Beer Festival "competition was the largest and most competitive to date," according to festival organizer the Brewers Association — with 9,497 beers entered in 107 categories. But Texas breweries found a way to shine, taking home 16 medals total. Half of those were gold. Several went to breweries that had never won before.
One new medal winner was South Austin's St. Elmo Brewing, which nabbed a gold in the fruited American-style sour ale category for Roxanne, a pink guava sour ale. St. Elmo's win was especially sweet, as the style category was the third most-entered at the fest this year, with 215 entries vying for a medal. (The two most entered categories, of course, were all about the IPAs.)
"Winning a gold medal for Roxanne feels like you might think, hella-cool and amazing," St. Elmo's co-founder and head brewer, Bryan Winslow, said. "The experience was mind blowing and surreal. It is such an honor to win in a field with so many amazing brewers."
It's the first GABF medal for St. Elmo but not the first medal for the brewery to win this year. Rosa, St. Elmo's raspberry sour, won a silver at the U.S. Beer Open in June. (Clearly, there's something to be said for St. Elmo's sour program.)
Other first-time winners at GABF include Central District Brewing, which opened in downtown Austin in May and wowed competition judges this weekend with the Wit-tington Belgian Wit. The wibtier took a gold medal in the American-Belgo-style ale category. Another first-timer was Family Business Beer Co. in the Texas Hill Country, which was awarded silver in the German-style pilsner category for the Golden Age Pilsner.
Accepting the medal was gratifying for head brewer Nate Seale, previously of (512) Brewing.
"It's a thrill and an honor to be recognized within the industry for the work and the craft that we're so proud of, and a dream to walk that stage and get the Charlie Papazian fist-bump," he said. "I'm also incredibly proud to follow in the footsteps of some of the brewers that I admire most, representing our incredible Texas craft beer scene and lager tradition."
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Pinthouse Pizza, a previous winner at GABF, proved yet again why the brewpub's IPA program might be the best in Austin: Fresh Hop Green Battles IPA took gold in the fresh or wet hop ale category. (Sadly, there are no more cans of it left, and the draft version may well be gone now at the Burnet location as well.)
It's also worth noting that Real Ale's Real Heavy Scotch Ale is something special. The beer has now won a medal five years in a row — three golds, one silver (this year) and one bronze.
Here's the full list of Texas’ 2019 Great American Beer Fest winners.
Altstadt Brewery Lager: gold for Munich-style helles
Altstadt Brewery Kolsch: gold for German-style kolsch
Bitter Sisters Brewing Sisters Quad: bronze for Belgian-style dark strong ale or Belgian-style quadrupel
Central District Brewing Wit-tington: gold for American-Belgo-style ale
Community Beer Co. Texas Lager: gold for session beer
Family Business Beer Co. Golden Age Pilsner: silver for German-style pilsner
Freetail Brewing Snap Yo' Baltics: gold for Baltic-style porter
Great Heights Brewing Bourbon Legend: bronze for wood- and barrel-aged strong beer
Live Oak Brewing HefeWeizen: bronze for German-style wheat ale
Pinthouse Pizza Fresh Hop Green Battles: gold for fresh hop beer
Real Ale Brewing Real Heavy: silver for Scotch ale
Saint Arnold Brewing Pumpkinator: bronze for pumpkin/squash beer or pumpkin spice beer
Save the World Brewing Princeps Pacis: gold for Belgian-style tripel
SpindleTap Brewery Honey Hole ESB: silver for honey beer
St. Elmo Brewing Roxanne Guava Sour Ale: gold for fruited American-style sour ale
True Vine Brewing Galactic Minotaurt: bronze for contemporary gose