Ohio breweries had an impressive showing Saturday at the Great American Beer Festival, with a Buckeye State-record 13 brewers winning medals and one taking home a brewery of the year honor.
Northeast Ohio fared especially well with 10 winners — including new breweries Ignite Brewing Co. in Barberton and Paradigm Shift Brewing in Massillon.
"It was a huge win for the area," Paradigm Shift founder and brewer Mike Malinowski said. "We pulled in the hardware."
One of the biggest Ohio-related wins went to Brink Brewing Co., a neighborhood brewery in Cincinnati that received two medals and took home the Very Small Brewing Company of the Year award. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who follows Brink, because the brewery, which opened last year, has now medaled twice at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival and once at the World Beer Cup in its short life span.
"Unbelievable!!! To say we are VERY excited would be an understatement," the brewery posted on social media.
The festival, organized by the Brewers Association and held each year in Denver, is the premiere beer competition held in the U.S. Overall, there were 8,496 beers entered this year from 2,404 breweries, with 280 breweries winning medals.
Here's a rundown of the Ohio winners (in alphabetical order by brewery):
• The Brew Kettle Babee Bock: A bronze in the Munich-style Dunkel or European-style dark lager category.
• Brink Moozie, a gold in the sweet stout or cream stout category.
• Brink Hold the Reins, a silver in the English-style mild ale category.
• Columbus Melk Stout, a bronze in the sweet stout or cream stout category.
• Fat Head's Midnight Moonlight, a bronze in the American-style black ale category.
• Ignite Cherry Blonde, a silver in the American-style fruit beer category.
• Lager Heads Oktoberfest, a bronze in the American-style amber lager category.
• Lockport Gateway Cream Ale, a gold in the American-style cream ale category.
• Market Garden Nano - OG Lager, a silver in the international-style pilsener category.
• Masthead Midwest Red IPA, a gold in the double hoppy red ale category.
• MadTree Happy Amber, a gold in the extra special bitter category.
• Maize Valley Lock, Stock and Brandy Barrel, a silver in the aged beer category.
• Paradigm Shift Neighbor Girl, a bronze in the Belgian-style tripel category.
• Royal Docks Pendragon, a gold in the herb and spice beer category.
“This record-setting year for Ohio breweries at the GABF competition goes to show that we’re making world-class beers here in the Buckeye State,” Ohio Craft Brewers Association Executive Director Mary MacDonald said in a prepared statement. “Some of the best beers in the country are made here, both in our big cities and small towns, by established powerhouses and new startup breweries. It’s never been a better time to be a beer drinker in Ohio.”
Since 2009, 27 Ohio craft breweries have combined to win 66 medals — 22 golds — at the Great American Beer Festival.
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 has won at least one medal at the Great American Beer Festival every year since.
Welcome to the stage
Five Ohio breweries won their first medals: Ignite, Lockport from Bolivar, MadTree from Cincinnati, Paradigm Shift and Royal Docks from Jackson Township.
"We just feel blessed to be part of that crowd," said Jason Slater, co-founder and brewer at Ignite.
Midnight wins again
Fat Head's Midnight Moonlight is no slouch when it comes to medals. The beer has now won a gold, two silvers and two bronze awards at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup since 2015.
Don't I know you from somewhere?
Besides Midnight Moonlight, you may recognize a couple of the winning beers from previous competitions:
• Brink Hold the Reins won a gold medal at last year's festival.
• Brink Moozie took home a bronze at the World Beer Cup earlier this year.
• Masthead Midwest Red IPA won a bronze at last year's festival.
"It's definitely a great feeling," Masthead brewer Mike Pelechaty said. "The goal in anything for me is replicating success. It's awesome that we continue to be consistent."
'From whole cloth'
Royal Docks brewmaster Dave Sutula was excited to see Pendragon — a witbier — receive a medal.
"I've always been passionate about brewing with spices and what excites me most about the gold for Pendragon is that it's a beer that we made up from whole cloth — it belongs to no particular style category yet it has become one of our most loved seasonal beers," he said.
To see all the winners, go to www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com. Read his daily beer blog at www.ohio.com/lifestyle/beer. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.