Beer Buzzed 

The Results Are In: Two Florida Breweries Medal at Great American Beer Fest

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The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) concluded Saturday evening, October 8, at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver (see earlier story from October 3 here). This year’s event marked the 30th festival, featuring over 800 breweries and more than 3800 beers for attendees to sample.  Always a highlight of the colossal three-day event is the awards ceremony, held on Saturday morning of the fest.  The presentation is available via live-feed via the GABF website, and yesterday, this writer was perched at her desk watching the results and awaiting names of Florida breweries to be among the list of Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners!

This year, GABF awarded 286 medals to 254 breweries. And, in case  you’re wondering how tough of a competition this is, check out these numbers: Breweries — 1,752 of ‘em —  submitted an enormous 7,227 competition beers, an increase from last year’s total of 6,647 entries. That’s a lot of beer!  A record-setting beer judge panel consisted of 264 beer experts from 12 countries, and they judged entries in 96 competition beer categories, including sub-categories, for a total of 161 different beer styles. The American IPA category was once again the largest category, with 312 entries, just short of the record-setting 336 entries from 2015. American beer-drinkers sure do love their hops! Rounding out the top five categories in terms of entries were: Imperial IPA (211), American Style Strong Pale Ale (169), Coffee Beer (168), and Wood-and-Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (159).  Two Florida breweries earned medals.

Coppertail Brewing, located in Ybor City, Tampa, earned a Silver Medal in the Field Beer category (hybrid/mixedcoppertaillogo beer category) for its Slam Piece, a Berliner Weisse. Coppertail Brewing, founded in 2014, is a large-scale production brewery with a spacious tap room which spans two levels. In this writer’s opinion, the brewery is one not to miss when in the Tampa area, and it’s always on the to-do list when visiting the Florida west coast.


redcypressbreweryRed Cypress Brewery, of Winter Springs, in the Orlando area, was the second Florida brewery to bring back a medal, also a Silver, for its Deep Roots Amber, in the German Altbier category. Although I have not visited Red Cypress Brewery (yet), I have tasted a number of its beers at beer events – including its new medal winner – and the beers have been impressive. Red Cypress Brewery will celebrate its one-year anniversary on November 5.


Congratulations to all of the medal winners, especially Coppertail and Red Cypress in Florida! If you haven’t visited either brewery, be sure to put them on your “list.” If you’re like me,  you have a “brewery-visit list.”  You’ll be able to say that you visited a medal-winning brewery!

If you’re looking ahead to next year, mark the date now, because GABF will return October 5-7, 2017! Tickets will be on sale in early August.

Please be sure to take a look at my website,, for reviews of Florida breweries and information about Florida beer and beer events! Yes, I even attended GABF last year!


Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®