GABF Award Winners!

Hats off, felicitations, hear-hear, raised glasses, and of course a gigantic CHEERS to these Great American Beer Festival Winners!! We thank you for these delicious offerings:


Bend Brewing Cherry Baltic 9% ABV, Silver Medal, Aged Beer: Fresh Oregon sour cherries are used for this brew! Mmm. Definitely in the Baltic Porter style, with a rich nose of caramel, dried fig and date, and molasses.

Admittedly, I am not normally a huge fan of Baltic Porters, because they tend to be syrupy and cloying. CLICK HERE to see my most unfortunate experience with a true Baltic Porter during my first 100 beers. 30 days. challenge. YIKES.

GABF was just...AWESOME.

But this one has somewhat redeemed the style for me. Warm, comforting notes of cherry pie, sugared crust. Not too heavy or syrupy, I believe it is the cherries that reign this beer in, bring it balance (like The Force), a quality I don’t see often from Baltic Porters. So, Cheers! to Bend for this lovely offering.

SIDE NOTE: I also really enjoyed the Scarlet Imperial Red. Nice hoppy aromas with lovely caramel malt, light brown sugar, and cherry aspects. Hoppy but with richness, this is a wonderful example of the Imperial Red Ale style. And at 9%, it’s too dangerously good!

Bend Brewing is located in (guess where?), Bend, Oregon, overlooking Mirror Pond and Deschutes River. Ever heard those two names before? (Wink) Opened in 1995, it has become one of Oregon’s most popular and beloved breweries. When I began making my list for the 100 breweries, a beer friend in Oregon told me this one had to be included. And luckily I was able to try their delicious brews at GABF. And needless to say, I was pleased. I look forward to a future trip visiting the brewery and trying their Hophead, Outback Old Ale, and Pinnacle Porter.


Short’s Key Lime, Gold Medal, Experimental Beer: Get this. The beer is ACTUALLY made with lime, marshmallow fluff and graham crackers! A huge hit at GABF, I wasn’t overly taken with this beer. After years of bartending and making countless Key Lime Martinis and shots, the only way I want Key Lime is in a pie in South Beach, Florida. I love to eat it, I just don’t want to drink it. It’s my hang-up with Fruit beers also. I’m the first person to make a big berry salad, or munch on a palette of strawberries, but I don’t want it in my beer. It’s just confusing to me.

Now, I will say this. This is a VERY well-crafted and balanced beer. Nothing over the top or insanely injected, this beer is quite drinkable for those who like the profile. So, I applaud Short’s for making such an interesting beer.

My personal choice for Gold? Their Spruce Pilsner, a beer made with Blue Spruce tips and Simcoe hops. THAT’S the one I would want to drink. Like sipping on a pine tree, I loved the freshness and originality of this beer. Unusual but not fake or odd, the Spruce Pilsner is perfect for gin drinkers or anyone who loves the smell of a pine forest and the outdoors. Would love to have this one again.

Short’s Brewing began in 2004 and is located in the Northern Michigan town of Bellaire. Starting with 7 barrels, then 178 barrels in 2004, Short’s grew to 2000 barrels in a mere 4 years. Struggling through a tough winter, souring beer, and little financing, it appeared Short’s might go under. But with new financing genius and management savvy, Short’s not only survived, it flourished. And now winning a Gold at GABF? These guys are doing it right. I raise a glass to their success. P.S. When you visit their website, a pair of legs in shorts actually does a little dance for you.


Joey chillin' with a severed hand at the Lumberyard with David's Double.

Anderson Valley David Double, Silver Medal, Belgian Style Strong/Specialty Ale: I like this beer. Great Dubbel character. A hit at the bar, I tasted David Double with a Deschutes Obsidian Stout fanatic and a Humboldt Hemp Ale lover. A nostril-filling, almost vibrant nose. Aromas of Belgian yeast, whisky, heated honey mixed with Caro syrup and brown sugar. A rising sweetness as you breathe it. This is a great holiday beer. Serve at the Thanksgiving and Christmas table with sweet potato casserole, brown-sugar glazed ham, and pecan pie. Mmmm!

Anderson Valley Brewing, located in Boonville, California (is that like the Boondocks? Because I’ve lived there.) was began in 1987. Originally a 10-barrel brewhouse in the lower lever of Buckhorn Saloon, Anderson Valley quickly outgrew its capacity. In 1996 they expanded to a 30-barrel facility, and by 1998, saw a whopping production increase to 15,000 barrels.

Stay tuned for another installment of GABF Winners!

Until next time,

Be happy, drink well, and remember, if you drink Craft beer, you are already a winner.


One Comment Add yours

  1. James W says:

    Thanks for the awesome GABF post. This is the most detailed beer-by-beer GABF post ive seen recently. For craft beer lovers, like myself, who cant make it to these events its nice when someone takes the time to write about specific, award-winning, brews from the fests as opposed to just a summary of the fest itself.

    I cant wait to read more GABF posts like this one. Well done!

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