Docent Brewing Co's Brett and Bryan Giesen. Photo Credit: David Mulvihill

Every year since 1982 the Great American Beer Festival has taken place in Colorado. First starting in Boulder, Denver has been its home since year 3. Presented by the Brewers Association, it has become the Industry’s largest annual tasting event that brings together brewers and craft beer enthusiasts from all over the country. Coupled with mammoth tasting sessions and ancillary events is the festival’s Beer Competition. This year’s pandemic may have prevented the onsite festival, but with extra distancing and extended judging, the Beer Competition was able to go on. There were over 8,800 entries vying for medals in 91 categories. Courtesy of The Brewing Network, the Award Ceremony streamed online on the evening of Friday, October 16.

Orange County
12 Medals

Orange County had two multiple award winners.

Ian McCall and his brewing team at Riip Beer Co, Huntington Beach, garnered three medals: Gold for Tangible Passion (Belgian-Style Specialty) and Silver for The Riizzo (Coffee Stout) and Black the Riipper (Black IPA).

The brewing brothers, Bryan and Brett Giesen, and Docent Brewing in Dana Point received Gold medals for Hefty Fee (Session IPA) and Super Tonic (Coffee Stout).

OC Additional Awards:

Golden Road Brewing, Anaheim—Gold: Get Up Offa That Brown (English-style Brown).

Chihuahua Cerveza, Costa Mesa—Gold: Rico (Mexican-style Strong lager).

Karl Strauss Brewing, Anaheim—Silver: Golden Stout (Coffee Beer).

Stereo Brewing, Placentia—Bronze: Summer Sun (Fruited American Sour). 

TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, Tustin—Bronze: B.A.DUNKEL (Barrel Aged beer). 

Bootlegger’s Brewery, Fullerton—Bronze: Funfest (German-Style Oktoberfest).

GameCraft Brewing, Laguna Hills—Bronze: Umbeereon (German Dark Lager). 

Los Angeles County
10 Medals

Two Los Angeles County breweries received two medals apiece. 

Continuing its award winning run, Claremont Craft Ales received two GABF 2020 Gold medals. Its winning brews were Pepper & Peaches (Experimental IPA) and Happy Days (Strong Red). Claremont Craft Ales has taken home GABF awards every year since 2017. 

The team at El Segundo Brewing Co received Gold for its coveted Hammerland DIPA and Silver for Devil’s Path (Strong Red).

L.A. County Additional Awards:

Beachwood Blendery, Long Beach—Gold: Funk Yeah (Belgian-Style Lambic).

Three Weavers Brewing, Inglewood—Gold: Deep Roots (English Mild or Bitter).

Firestone Walker Brewing-The Propagator, Marina del Rey—Gold: Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA (American-Style Black Ale). 

Bravery Brewing, Lancaster—Silver: Bourbon B.A. Big Game (Barrel-Aged Strong). 

Ogopogo Brewing, San Gabriel—Silver: Boeman Belgian White (Belgian-Style Wit). 

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach—Bronze: Barrel-Aged Full Malted Jacket (Barrel-Aged Strong). 

Highland Park Brewery, Los Angeles—Bronze: Sugar on My Tongue (Juicy or Hazy Imperial IPA). 

San Diego County
13 medals

San Diego County’s multiple-awarded brewery was Second Chance Beer Co, located in the Carmel Mountain area of North San Diego. Marty Mendiola and the Second Chance brewing team once again scored Gold for Tabula Rasa Porter. This beer also received GABF gold in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Silver for Slightly Sour (German-style Sour) rounded out the brewery’s 2020 GABF bling.

SD County Additional Awards:

Wild Barrel Brewing, San Marcos—Gold: Vice Sans Fruit (American Sour).

Pizza Port Carlsbad—Gold: Locals Only (International Pale Ale).

Pizza Port Ocean Beach—Silver: Guillaume (Session or Non-Alcohol Beer). 

Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, San Marcos—Silver: Peach Afternoon (Fruited American Sour). 

Coronado Brewing, Coronado—Silver: Salty Crew (Blonde). 

Burgeon Beer Co, Carlsbad—Silver: Carlsbad Crush (International Pale Ale). 

Eppig Brewing, Vista—Silver: Glitz & Glam (Specialty Berliner-Style Weisse). 

Belching Beaver, Vista—Silver: Fresh Hop Ride the Pine (Fresh Hop Beer). 

Two Roots Brewing, San Diego—Bronze: Straight Drank (N/A IPA). 

Ocean Beach Brewery, San Diego—Bronze: Tres Tres (Bohemian-Style Pils). 

Dos Desperados Brewery, San Diego—Bronze: Hell Camino Belgian Quad (Belgian-Style Strong). 

Points North:
Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern

No strangers to GABF recognition, the brewing team at Kern River Brewing Co came through again this GABF season, earning three medals (gold and a pair of silvers)—Gold: Brown Claw (Brown Porter), Silver: Rioveza (Pilsener) and Silver: Side Hike (Strong Red). The team’s previous accomplishments in 2019 included two gold and two silver medals, and being named 2019 Brewery Group and Brewer of the Year. 

Camarillo’s Institution Ale Works received two medals, a Silver for Somewhere Golden (American-Style Pale Ale) and Bronze for On Pins & Needles (Session IPA). 

Additional Awards:

Ventura Coast Brewing, Ventura—Gold: Beachscape (American Pilsener). 

Topa Topa Brewing, Ventura—Silver: Dozer Line (German Dark Lager). 

Santa Maria Brewing, Atascadero—Silver: Holy Smokes! (Smoke Beer). 

Third Window Brewing, Santa Barbara—Bronze: III Belgian Blond (Belgian-Style Ale). 

Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Buellton—Bronze: Stagecoach Stout (Oatmeal Stout).