North Carolina breweries won 17 medals — eight gold, six silver and three bronze — at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). This more than doubles the previous high of eight medals overall, which was achieved last year.
The Charlotte region nabbed four medals, including three gold. D9 Brewing (Cornelius) won gold for its Dry Hopped Systema of Naturae [Scuppernong & Lily varietal] wild sour ale (Experimental Beer category). NoDa Brewing won gold for its NoDajito Wheat Ale (Herb and Spice Beer category). Olde Hickory Brewery won gold for its Irish Walker barleywine (Old Ale or Strong Ale category) and silver for its Event Horizon stout (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout).
Competition was stiff, with 96 categories and 7,227 individual beer entries, which is nearly 9 percent more than the 6,647 entries in 2015 and surpasses all previous participation records. Entries came from 1,752 breweries hailing from 50 states plus Washington, D.C.
Judges award a gold, silver and bronze medal in each category — so long as they feel a beer is not only among the top three of the category but deserves a respective medal for achieving excellence to the style (e.g., a category’s top beer might only receive a silver medal if nothing was worthy of gold).
The Triangle (Raleigh-Durham area) was particularly successful with five medals of its own. The state’s most successful brewery was Brown Truck Brewery of High Point: gold for its #10 American Lager (American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager); silver for its #4.5 Hops with Saison Added (American-Belgo-Style Ale); and silver for its #4 Saison (Specialty Saison). Brown Truck also won the Very Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year award.
South Carolina breweries took home two silver medals: Swamp Rabbit Brewery (Travelers Rest) for its Numbskull (Bock) and Revelry Brewing (Charleston) for its Oh My Darlyn! (Scotch Ale).
In 2015 from the Charlotte region, Triple C won bronze for its 3C IPA (American-Style Strong Pale Ale), and Sycamore won bronze for its Southern Girl Lager (American-Style Lager or Light Lager).
The GABF, first held in 1982, is hosted annually in Denver, Colorado, by the Brewers Association.