Six Ohio breweries won medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, with Fat Head's Brewery leading the way with three. The winners were announced Saturday.
It was Ohio’s best showing at the event since 1999, when six breweries also took home medals.
Fat Head’s, which has a brewpub in North Olmsted and a production brewery in Middleburg Heights, won a gold medal for its Hop JuJu, an imperial India pale ale; a silver for its Trail Head, a fresh hop ale; and a silver for its Black Knight, a German-style schwarzbier. Fat Head’s has now won eight medals at the event since 2009.
It wasn’t easy for Fat Head’s to win its gold this year. The imperial IPA category was the second-most entered, with 149 beers. The American-style IPA category was the most entered with 252 beers.
The other Ohio winners were:
• Samuel Adams Cincinnati brewery, a gold medal for its Samuel Adams Double Bock.
• Yellow Springs Brewery in Yellow Springs, a silver for its Smokin’ Handsome. Yellow Springs opened earlier this year and it was the brewery’s first appearance at the event. It was a good year for first-time entrants. Twenty-four first-timers won awards. During the registration process, 230 breweries self-identified as first-time entrants.
• Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. in Cincinnati, a silver for its Christian Moerlein Emancipator.
• Hoppin’ Frog Brewery in Akron, a bronze for its Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher. It is Hoppin’ Frog’s fifth medal at the event.
• Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland, a bronze for its Progress Pilsner.
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, which both have breweries in Ohio, also took home medals, including golds for Budweiser Select and Natural Ice, and a silver for Miller High Life.
Meanwhile, Rock Bottom Brewery, which has a location in Cincinnati, won the “Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year” award.
The Great American Beer Festival is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. More than 200 beer experts from 11 countries evaluated 4,809 entries.
Award-winning brewers received gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 beer categories covering 138 different beer styles. Overall, 745 breweries participated in the competition, hailing from 49 states and Washington, D.C.
Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont, Colo., and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, Calif., tied for winning the most gold medals, the Brewers Association said. They each won three. (EDIT:) Barley Brown's and Baker City Brewing in Baker City, Ore. -- which are the same company -- also won three golds.
New Jersey topped the list of ratio of medals to entries by state, with one medal won among seven entries, a 14.3 percent ratio. Delaware had a 13 percent winning ratio, with three medals won among 23 entries. California, the state with the highest number of beer entries — at 885 — won 52 medals for a 5.9 percent ratio of medals to entries.
To see all the winners, click here.