I have several stories coming out of it that will be published either here or on my RoadTripsforBeer.com site (or if I can swing it, a publication that pays me), but I wanted to share an overview of how Florida fared.
If you’ve been keeping up, you know that only one Florida brewery brought back a medal from the competition: Cigar City Brewing with local homebrewer Jeff Gladish got the gold in the Pro-Am Competition for their Poblano Wit collaboration.
Florida was well-represented on the festival floor, with seven breweries from the state pouring samples for attendees: 7venth Sun, Cigar City, Darwin’s Brewing Company, Due South Brewing, Florida Beer Company, Funky Buddha, and Swamp Head.
The reputations of two Florida breweries preceded them; two of the longest lines at the festival were at the Cigar City and Funky Buddha booths.
Though medals are coveted, it’s a tough competition. But even without awards to show for it, some of our state’s brewers did not come home without other recognition.
- Even before the festival started, Heather Vandenengel of The Denver Post named 7venth Sun and Cigar City two of the must-visit GABF breweries from the Southeast U.S.
- On the Saturday of the festival, Draft Magazine gave a shout-out to Darwin’s Charapa Spiced Porter as one of four GABF beers (out of thousands!) that their writers recommended should be on everyone’s tasting list.
- Darwin’s Charapa garnered another mention from Elizabeth Miller of Boulder Weekly in a wrap-up of the staff’s favorite GABF finds.
- Sean M. Buchan of seriouseats.com said Funky Buddha’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was one of six GABF13 brews that blew his mind.
- Dunedin Brewery did not represent at the festival, but a group from the brewery was on hand for the release of a collaboration brew at Black Shirt Brewing Co. in Denver. BTW, if the Dunedin gang brings home some of the Sangre de la Carretea – Blood of the Road back to town, get some. It’s fantastic.
- Announced at an event outside the festival, Russ Brunner of Tamarac was named one of the Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew finalists. His American Stout will be available in the Longshot variety packs on store shelves soon.
- The Florida Brewers Guild had its own booth at the festival, grouped with other state guilds, to let the world know more about our thriving craft scene.
So though our breweries didn’t snag the hardware to decorate their walls, I’d have to say that for Florida craft beer, it was still a good show.
UPDATE: And then there’s this, via Brewbound.com.