PHOTOS COURTESY OF BREWERS ASSOCIATION
The 2018 Great American Beer Festival convened in Denver September 20-22, which included judging of 8,496 entries submitted by 2,404 breweries in the annual competition. The GABF is the largest competition in the world and this year a total of 306 medals to 280 breweries were awarded, with four of those medals going to three Northern Nevada breweries. Taking home the honors were Reno’s Great Basin Brewing and IMBĪB Custom Brews, and Carson City’s Shoe Tree Brewing.
Winning a GABF medal was nothing new for Great Basin Brewing, which in 1993 was Nevada’s first brewery to open in modern times; this year’s award was its 14th time posing on the GABF awards stage, as it claimed a silver for its Blood-Orange Wit in the Belgian-Style Fruit category that garnered 65 entries. This win cements Great Basin’s firm hold as Nevada’s winningest brewery as it has racked up 14 GABF medals and 9 WBC awards (two of which were earned in 2018), more than any brewery in the Silver State. Co-Founder/Owner Tom Young said, “There are lots of brewers making great beer, but the awards that we have won in the past and continue to win reinforces our drive and passion to brew to the highest standards. We have a dedicated team who take pride in their ability to innovate and work to perfect well-established styles. Our brewery team makes it happen!” Regarding the making of the silver medal-winning brew Young added, “Brewing with real blood oranges was a challenge as they (the brewers) sought to impart just the right flavors since the fruit can sometimes give unwanted bitterness from the rind if not used deftly. Once they honed their technique, they delicately adjusted the recipe to find the perfect amount of coriander to elevate both flavors on the palate as well as aromatically.”
This win cements Great Basin’s firm hold as Nevada’s winningest brewery as it has racked up 14 GABF medals and 9 WBC awards
At this year’s GABF there were 31 first-time winners including IMBĪB Custom Brews and Shoe Tree Brewing. IMBĪB snagged two medals: a silver for its Triad in the Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Beer category with 78 entries and bronze for Nevada Weisse in the Berliner-Style Weisse category with 115 entries. Remarking on his brewery’s first GABF wins Co-founder/Brewer Matt Johnson said, “We are honored to have won two medals in traditional sour beer categories at GABF. This honor validates the traditional brewing techniques that we use and puts us on the map as a great American brewery.”
Shoe Tree Brewing, a 7-barrel microbrewery that opened in spring of 2017, was rewarded with a bronze for its Wicked Shifty in the American-Style Sour Ale category with 53 entries. The medal-winning beer is a cloudy pale Sour New England IPA that is kettle soured to give a tart, refreshing flavor and an added level of complexity. “It has always been our goal to prove that world-class beer can be brewed in Carson City, NV and it is a great honor to win this award for our hometown!” said Shoe Tree Brewing Co. Brewmaster/Owner Jeff Young.
While winning four medals is dwarfed by those brought home by states with a bevy of breweries, considering the fact that Nevada only has 39 breweries, it’s a quite respectable showing. Congrats to our state’s first and most award-winning brewery: Great Basin Brewing, and to two first-time GABF winners: IMBĪB Custom Brews and Shoe Tree Brewing!