Hoppin' Frog Brewery and Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon are thrilled with their wins at last weekend's Great American Beer Festival. Brewers Fred Karm and Matt Cole aren't newbies when it comes to accepting medals for their beer recipes. Both have won national awards in past years so it's no surprise to see their impressive two-medal showings at this year's event.
Hoppin' Frog won a gold for its B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout and a bronze for its Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW, a barleywine. "It's nice to bring home hardware for all of us to celebrate," Karm said Monday. "We're ecstatic. I'm very happy because we work very hard."
It’s the second gold medal for B.O.R.I.S., which also won in 2008. "We truly have a gold medal winning recipe," Karm said. "For me, that's awesome." Hoppin’ Frog, a small production brewery in Akron, sells its beer in 22-ounce bottles.
Fat Head's, a brewpub in North Olmsted, won gold and bronze medals for its Battle Axe Baltic Porter and Head Hunter IPA, respectively. Cole said he was especially excited with the Head Hunter win because the American-style India pale ale category had the most entries at 176. Head Hunter also won a silver medal last year.
Cole said that brewers from the Pizza Port — a California brewery that often wins at the event — kept coming over to the Fat Head's booth to taste the Head Hunter. "When guys like that who've won consistently tell you that your beer is absolutely stunning, you might be onto something good," he said.
It's not easy to win at the Great American Beer Festival. The event, held each year in Denver, is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. This year, 526 breweries entered 3,930 beers in a variety of categories. Overall, 248 medals were handed out.
While the showing by Hoppin' Frog and Fat Head's is impressive, the rest of Ohio fell flat -- at least when it comes to medals. Last year, five Ohio breweries took home medals. That certainly doesn't mean Ohio isn't making terrific beer. "It's like football," Cole said. "On any given Sunday, one team can beat the next." For more details about the beer festival, including a list of all winners, go to: www.gabf.org.
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