Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

October 13, 2007

Beer Diary:

Midwest Medal Winners At The 2007 GABF

A rundown of Midwest brewery medal winners at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
The Great American Beer Fest in Denver, Colorado, organized by the Brewers Association, is a weird beast. On the one hand, it is the largest and probably most prestigous beer festival in the country with highly anticipated awards going to the world’s great beers, be they well-known national brands or offerings from tiny, otherwise unknown brewpubs.

But on the other hand, not only do they take the time to judge (and give medals to) shit beers like Hamm’s, but they somehow make a distinction of unbelievable minutiae between styles like “American-Style Cream Ale or Lager” (Old Style), “American Style Specialty Lager” (Icehouse), and “American-Style Lager” (Miller Genuine Draft). I’m not sure we really need to differentiate these beers from each other based on sub-sub-sub-style, but, hey, I’m not part of the Brewers Association.

Another aspect of the fest is that you have these incredibly influential awards—ones that can make the difference in a brewery’s survival—being decided upon by a handful of judges whose individual tastes can vary greatly. This process can yield some great diamond-out-of-the-rough picks like Surly Brewing’s gold medal for their Bender coffee stout or Great Lakes’ silver for their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, while others are absolutely inexplicable, even (and sometimes especially) when style guidelines are taken into account, like Goose Island’s gold for the gaggingly bland 312 Urban Wheat, or their silver for their IPA, which I think is too hoppy for an English-style IPA but not nearly hoppy enough for the American version.

Still, it’s greatly entertaining to see who won what. I’m glad to see small but great breweries like Dark Horse, Millstream and Surly get some recognition. The irony of Three Floyd’s winning for a non-hoppy, relatively uncomplex style like a helles is pretty heavy. I’ve been to the Piece brewpub in Chicago several times, and every time I must be getting the crap that went bad, because I’ve been completely underwhelmed by their stuff. And note Goose Island’s wins, two from their main brewery and two from their brewpub—how is that distinction made? Almost getting shut out was Capital Brewing, whose seemingly perennial winners Autumnal Fire and Blonde Doppelbock did not make the cut. Two Baltic-style porter medals come from the Midwest: Grumpy Troll in tiny Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and Flossmoor Station in south-suburban Chicago. Bell’s banged out two medals, one for their Batch 8000.

I could go on and on. So take a look at the list of Midwest winners below. The complete, sortable database of winners can be found at the fest’s web site, as well as an exhaustive explanation of all the judged beer styles.






Millstream Brewing Co. IA John’s Generations White Ale Silver Belgian-Style White (or Wit)/Belgian-Style Wheat
Bent River Brewing Co. IL Mississippi Blonde Bronze Golden or Blonde Ale
Emmett’s Tavern & Brewing Co. IL McCarthy Red Bronze American Style Amber/Red Ale
Flossmoor Station Brewing Co. IL Killer Kowalski Gold Baltic-Style Porter
Goose Island Beer Co. IL “312” Urban Wheat Ale Gold English-Style Summer Ale
Goose Island Beer Co. IL India Pale Ale Silver English-Style India Pale Ale
Goose Island Brewpub IL Bourbon Wheatmiser Gold Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Goose Island Brewpub IL Wheatmiser Bronze American-Style Wheat Wine Ale
Pabst Brewing Co. IL Lone Star Gold American-Style Cream Ale or Lager
Pabst Brewing Co. IL Old Milwaukee Light Gold American Style Light Lager
Pabst Brewing Co. IL Pabst Blue Ribbon Light Silver American Style Light Lager
Pabst Brewing Co. IL Old Style Silver American-Style Cream Ale or Lager
Piece Brewery IL Dark ’n’ Curvy Silver German-Style Wheat Ale
Piece Brewery IL Top Heavy Hefeweizen Bronze South German Style Hefeweizen/Hefeweissbier
Piece Brewery IL Full Frontal Pale Ale Bronze American Style Pale Ale
Rock Bottom Brewery Chicago IL Terminal Stout Bronze American-Style Stout
Two Brothers Brewing Co. IL Domaine Dupage Bronze Belgian and French-Style Ale
Ram Restaurant & Brewery (Indianapolis) IN Buffalo Bock Bronze Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
Three Floyds Brewing Co. IN Gorch Foch Silver Münchner (Munich) Style Helles
Arcadia Brewing Co. MI Cereal Killer Barley Wine Silver Barley Wine Style Ale
Beer Co’s - Detroit (The) MI Detroit Lager Bronze Bohemian Style Pilsener
Bell’s Brewery, Inc MI Batch 8000 Bronze Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale
Bell’s Brewery, Inc MI Double Cream Stout Silver Sweet Stout
Dark Horse Brewing Co. MI 3 Guy Off the Scale Barley Wine Bronze Barley Wine Style Ale
Dark Horse Brewing Co. MI Scotty Karate Scotch Ale Silver Strong Scotch Ale
Michigan Brewing Co. MI Celis Grand Cru Gold Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale
New Holland Brewing Co. MI 2003 Pilgrim’s Dole Silver Aged Beer (Ale or Lager)
Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant MI Bourbon Barrel Anniversary Ale Silver Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Herkimer Pub and Brewery MN Alt Gold German Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf Style Altbier
Pig’s Eye Brewing Co. MN Pig’s Eye Pilsner Beer Bronze International-Style Pilsener
Summit Brewing Co. MN Summit Extra Pale Ale Bronze Classic English Style Pale Ale
Surly Brewing Co. MN Coffee Bender Gold Coffee Flavored Beer
Elevator Brewing Co. OH Elevator Dark Horse Bronze American-Style Dark Lager
Great Lakes Brewing Co. OH Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Silver Robust Porter
Capital Brewery Co., Inc. WI Capital Munich Dark Silver European Style Dark/Münchner Dunkel
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. WI Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss Gold Fruit Beer or Vegetable Beer
Lakefront Brewery WI New Grist Silver Gluten Free Beer
Miller Brewing Co. WI Mickey’s Malt Liquor Bronze American Style Specialty Lager
Miller Brewing Co. WI Frederick Miller Classic Chocolate Lager Bronze Herb and Spice Beer
Miller Brewing Co. WI Henry Weinhard’s Classic Dark Silver American-Style Dark Lager
Miller Brewing Co. WI Mickey’s Ice Silver American Style Specialty Lager
Miller Brewing Co. WI Miller Genuine Draft Silver American-Style Lager
Miller Brewing Co. WI Hamm’s Gold American-Style Lager
Miller Brewing Co. WI Icehouse Gold American Style Specialty Lager
New Glarus Brewing Co. WI Raspberry Tart Bronze Fruit Beer or Vegetable Beer
Sprecher Brewing Co. WI Shakparo Ale Bronze Gluten Free Beer
The Grumpy Troll Restaurant & Brewery WI Amnesia Bronze Baltic-Style Porter

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...