It’s become a tradition at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Ohio brewers, as they walk onto the stage to receive their medals, carry an Ohio flag with the phrase “Drink Beer Made Here” written on it.
That flag is getting a lot of use.
Nine Ohio breweries took home a total of 10 medals Thursday night (May 3) at the Brewers Association’s biennial World Beer Cup in Nashville, Tenn. The awards ceremony concluded the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America.
The winners from the Buckeye State were:
• Fat Head’s AlpenGlow, a gold in the South German-style weizenbock category.
• Fat Head’s Midnight Moonlight, a silver in the American-style black ale category.
• Fifty West 10&2, a silver in the barley wine-style ale category.
• Fretboard Vlad the Impaler, a silver in the international-style pilsener category.
• Taft’s Gustav, a silver in the Vienna-style lager category.
• Columbus TBD Peach Sour, a bronze in the mixed culture brett beer category.
• Millersburg Pope’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, a bronze in the pumpkin beer category.
• Platform Panic Switch, a bronze in the rye beer category. The beer was a collaboration with Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Columbus.
• Brink Moozie, a bronze in the sweet stout or cream stout.
• Little Fish Petit Poisson, a bronze in the wood- and barrel-aged sour beer category.
The Brewers Association noted that 8,234 beers were entered this year — a 25 percent increase from the 2016 competition — from 2,515 breweries around the world.
“Standing on the world stage, Ohio craft breweries continue to prove their commitment to quality,” Ohio Craft Brewers Association Executive Director Mary MacDonald said in a prepared statement. “Our breweries are making world-class beer not just in our major cities, but in towns like Athens and Millersburg as well.”
Here are some Ohio-focused observations:
Fat Head’s Brewery — there’s a production brewery in Middleburg Heights and brewpubs in North Olmsted and Canton — continued its remarkable streak at major beer competitions.
The brewery opened in 2009. It’s won at least one medal at the Great American Beer Festival every year since. It’s also taken home medals at every World Beer Cup since 2012.
All hail, AlpenGlow
Fat Head’s is known for its award-winning Head Hunter IPA and Hop JuJu. But AlpenGlow is the beer that stands head and shoulders ahead of all others when it comes to capturing the fancy of beer judges.
With its latest gold medal, AlpenGlow now has won four golds and a silver at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup since 2012. Not bad.
Fat Head’s Midnight Moonlight is no slouch, either. It has won a gold, two silvers and a bronze at the two competitions since 2015.
Fretboard Brewing Co., which opened last year in Blue Ash, took home its first medal at a major competition.
The music-themed brewery won for its Vlad the Impaler, a pilsner. (Don’t confuse that the Vlad the Impaler Russian imperial stout from Royal Docks Brewing Co. in suburban Canton.)
Ohio’s best barley wine
Fifty West Brewing Co.'s 10&2 continues to rack up the awards.
The Cincinnati barley wine won a gold medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup and a gold at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. Now it has a World Beer Cup silver to its name.
Go for the hat trick!
Brink Brewing Co. is two for two.
The Cincinnati brewery, which opened in early 2017, won a gold medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival for its Hold the Reins mild. Now, it’s won bronze for Moozie at the World Beer Cup.
Can it go three for three at this year's Great American Beer Festival, which is set for Sept. 20-22?
New sour brewery?
Columbus Brewing Co. is adored for its Bodhi and Creeper — two aggressively hopped brews. But the Columbus brewery took home a bronze for TBD Peach Sour.
Brewery employee Tony Corder took note of the irony, remarking succinctly on Facebook “We a sour brewery now ...”
Don’t I know you from somewhere?
Taft’s Ale House in Cincinnati, Platform Beer Co. in Cleveland, Columbus and soon Cincinnati, Millersburg Brewing Co. in Millersburg and Little Fish Brewing Co. in Athens are no strangers to the medal stage:
• Taft’s Gustav won a gold medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival. It’s always impressive when the same beer can win at multiple events.
• Platform won a gold for its Black Eagle Gratzer at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
• Millersburg won a gold for its Doc’s Scotch Ale at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
• Little Fish won a gold for its Barrel Aged Woodthrush at the 2016 World Beer Cup.
Good for you, Cincinnati
Cincinnati beer drinkers are especially proud of their brewing history -- and their craft beer present, often wondering (sometimes complaining) why the Queen City doesn't get even more beer love.
Well, Cincinnati breweries performed admirably again at a major beer competition. With Brink, Fifty West, Fretboard and Taft's winning, the community once again proved that the craft beer scene is much more than MadTree Brewing and Rhinegeist Brewery -- which seem to garner the most media attention.
Comparing to two years ago
Two years ago, five Ohio breweries won medals at the World Beer Cup. Nine is more than five. Ergo, 2018 was an even better showing for Ohio breweries.
What? No IPA awards?
Ohio breweries have had a strong showing at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup when it comes to IPAs. But no Ohio-made IPAs won at this year’s World Beer Cup.
When was the last time that happened? Dig into the archives.
For the Great American Beer Festival, it was 2012. For the World Beer Cup, it was 2010.
Numbers, numbers and miscellaneous facts
The Brewers Association tossed out plenty of interesting numbers and miscellaneous facts following the competition. Here are some of them:
• The most entered category — go figure — was for American-style IPAs. There were 377 entries, nearly double the next categories which were imperial IPA — double, go figure — and wood- and barrel-aged strong beer categories with 196 entries each.
• The number of countries represented was 66, up 20 percent from two years earlier.
• U.S. breweries won the most medals with 242. Canada and Germany were second and third with 14 and nine, respectively.
• Belgium brewers had the highest winning rate at 10 percent.
• Panama won its first-ever World Beer Cup award. Casa Bruja Brewing of Panama City took home a silver for its Gose Frambuesa in the Leipzig-style gose or contemporary gose category.
Social media reactions
Here's how the winning breweries reacted to their wins:
Really proud of our crew for continuing their dedication to the craft. We’re bringing home more hardware from the 2018 World Beer Cup. Gold for Alpenglow and Silver for Midnight Moonlight. ???
— Fat Head's Brewery (@FatHeadsBeer) May 4, 2018
#Vlad just won a ?for International Lager Style #worldbeercup2018
?#S23 #drinklocal #cincymade #ohiobeer #worldbeercup2018 #Lager #Vlad #CzechPils #BrewAsh #? #musictoyourmouth #musictomybeers #fretboardbrewing pic.twitter.com/mzCCl3ZU2v
— Fretboard Brewing (@FretboardBrewCo) May 4, 2018
— Taft's Brewing Co. (@taftsalehouse) May 4, 2018