By Jeff Maisey
Virginia craft breweries scored 4 medals at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. The national beer competition is presented by the Brewers association. Winning the only gold medal for the Commonwealth was Norfolk’s Benchtop Brewing Company for its Mermaid’s Scorn in the Leipzig-style/Contemporary Gose category. Silver medals went to Wild Wolf Brewing Company of Nellyford for its American Stout in the American Stout category, and Bristol’s Studio Brew’s The Ferguson in the Oatmeal Stout category. Dulles-based Ocelot Brewing Company won a bronze medal for its Powers of Observation in the Baltic-style Porter category.
There were a total of 98 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country.
Winners were chosen out of 7,923 competition entries from 2,217 breweries in 50 states plus Washington, D.C. (a 15 percent and 24 percent increase respectively from the 7,301 entries and 1,783 breweries in 2016).
The competition took place in six sessions over a period of three days and was judged by 276 beer experts from 13 countries, including the U.S. In addition to commercial brewery entries, the judging panel also evaluated 118 Pro-Am entries. The competition was made possible with the help of 365 volunteers.