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Bucky’s 5th Quarter Barrel: Great American Beer Festival recap

Some Wisconsin breweries showed out on the nation’s biggest beer stage.

Great american beer festival Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

I have never been to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. It is on my list of things to do someday, so until I get there I like to scour the list of winners to see if any of the beers I’ve had over the past year made the cut. That usually means checking out which Minnesota, Illinois or Wisconsin breweries came away with medals and this year there were quite a few!

This year’s event took place from Oct. 3rd to Oct. 5th and Wisconsin ended up winning seven medals:

  • Low pHunk, MobCraft Beer, Milwaukee, American-style sour ale, gold
  • Dedication, Vintage Brewing Co., Madison, Belgian-style Dubbel, gold
  • Duluth Coffee Pale Ale, Earth Rider Brewery, Superior, Coffee beer, gold
  • Rhine Heights ALT, Vintage Brewing Co., Madison, German-style Altbier
  • Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale, Stevens Point Brewery, Stevens Point, Pumpkin/Squash beer or Pumpkin Spice beer, gold
  • Hazy IPA, City Lights Brewing Co., Milwaukee, Juicy or Hazy IPA, silver
  • Unite the Clans, Third Space Brewing, Milwaukee, Rye beer, silver

Five golds and two silvers ain’t too shabby! Illinois only had four golds (10 medals overall) and Minnesota had two golds (four medals overall), so I’d say Wisconsin wins again. I haven’t even tried any of the Minnesota beers that won a medal, so who knows how good they even are tbqh.

The even bigger news out of the GABF was that Madison’s own Vintage Brewing Co., besides winning two gold medals, was named the best Large Brewpub (producing more than 1,500 barrels of beer in a year) in the whole danged country.

One of my favorite breweries in the state, Third Space, continued their great run at GABF by winning a medal for the third straight year in the the Rye Beer category.

I am so pumped that they expanded their distribution to Madison and I brought a bunch back to Minnesota when I was in town for the Michigan game.

The brewery of my forefathers (my dad is from Stevens Point), Point Brewing, took home a medal for their Whole Hog Pumpkin beer, and deservedly so. It is an excellent expression of a style that is often looked down upon by beer influencer types. It’s October, drink a pumpkin beer and shut up!

Anyways, since most of our readers are from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota here is the list of beers that won from Minnesota:

  • Tackle Bock, Bobbing Bobber Brewing Co., Hutchinson, Bock, gold
  • Midwestern Exotic, Barrel Theory Beer Co., St. Paul, gold
  • False Hope, Spilled Grain Brewhouse, Annandale, Other strong beer, silver
  • Thistle Dew, Ursa Minor Brewing, Duluth, Scottish-style ale, bronze

And Illinois:

  • Lite Reading, Pollyanna Brewing Co., Lemont, American-style lager or pilsener, gold
  • Beezer, Old Irving Brewing Co., Chicago, Juicy or Hazy IPA, gold
  • Very, Very Far, Off Color Brewing, Chicago, Other Belgian-style ale, gold
  • Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas, Begyle Brewing, Chicago, Wood and Barrel-Aged strong stout, gold
  • Swingin’ Single, Piece Brewery, Chicago, Belgian and French-style ale, silver
  • Dopplebock, Scorched Earth Brewing Co., Algonquin, German-style Dopplebock or Eisbock, silver
  • Lite It!, Light the Lamp Brewery, Grayslake, Session beer, silver
  • Gold Style, Ballast Point Brewing Co. Chicago, Chicago, American-style cream ale, bronze (tough name for a bronze medal winner)
  • Goofy Boots, Penrose Brewing Co., Geneva, Juicy or Hazy IPA
  • Leisel Weapon, Noon Whistle Brewing Co., Lombard, South German-style Hefeweizen, bronze