For the second consecutive year, Benchtop Brewing Company took home Veer Magazine’s annual Golden Tap Local Beer Awards trophy, the award given to the brewery with the most overall cumulative points.

In the individual beer style categories such as IPA and American Wild Ale, three points are given to gold medalists, two points for silver and one point for bronze. 

A combination of online popular votes and a select committee of tasters weighed in. With more than 30 local breweries, this year’s competition was especially exciting, and one thing is abundantly clear — there’s a lot of great beer being produced in the 757 region. In fact, it has never been this good for local consumers. 

In addition to medals presented in the beer style categories, awards were also given for a variety of brewery categories as well as for restaurants, festivals, food trucks, and retail outlets. 

On an evening where the entire 757 craft beer community was in the house — host O’Connor Brewing Co — a particularly heartwarming moment arose when Coelacanth Brewing Company one it first of two medals. A great and sustained roar erupted from the community of brewers. The brewery recently announced it would close by year’s end.

The top 5 points earning breweries are as follows:

1. Benchtop Brewing Company: 25 Points

2. Big Ugly Brewing Company: 18 points

3. O’Connor Brewing Company: 16 Points

4. (tie) Alewerks: 15 points

4. (tie) Precarious Beer Project: 15 points

Following are the medalists representing the 2019 Best in Beer.



Amber & Brown American Beer

GOLD: Paul’s Favorite, Big Ugly Brewing

SILVER: Tavern Brown Ale, Alewerks Brewing Company

BRONZE: Red Ale, Caiseal Beer & Spirits Co


Amber Malty & Bitter European Lager

GOLD: Frogman Lager, The Bold Mariner Brewing Co

SILVER: Imperial O’Ctoberfest, O’Connor Brewing Company 

BRONZE: Oktoberfest, Alewerks Brewing Company


American Porter & Stout

GOLD: Walter’s Brunch, Benchtop

SILVER: Elbow Patches Oatmeal Stout, The Virginia Beer Company 

BRONZE: Ghost Rider, Big Ugly Brewing 


American Wild Ale

GOLD: Reaver’s Damnation, Reaver Beach Brewing Co 

SILVER: Cellar Circus Brett Farmhouse Ale Blend No. 001, The Virginia Beer Company 

BRONZE: Land of Sleeping Eagles Barrel Aged Sour Petit Saison, The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery


Belgian Ale

GOLD: Alter Ego Saison, Smartmouth Brewing

SILVER: Apricot Tripel, Back Bay’s Farmhouse

BRONZE: The Wealth Blonde Saison, Commonwealth Brewing Co


British & Scottish Ale

GOLD: P.O.E.T.S. Day (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday) ESB, MoMac Brewing Company

SILVER: Porter, St George Brewing Co 

BRONZE: Bilgewater Coffee Stout, Rip Rap Brewing Co.


Czech Lager

GOLD: Fortune & Glory, Precarious Beer Project 

SILVER: Larchmont Lager, Elation Brewing

BRONZE: Steamboat Jack Pilsner, Rip Rap Brewing Co 


Dark & Strong British Beer

GOLD: Wicked Walter, Benchtop

SILVER: Russian Imperial Stout, St George Brewing Co 

BRONZE: PorterHorse Baltic Porter, New Realm Brewing Co 


European Dark & Strong Lager

GOLD: Accelerator Doppelbock, Big Ugly Brewing

SILVER: Munich Dunkel, New Realm Brewing 

BRONZE: Schwaz, Elation Brewing


European Sour Beer

GOLD: Mattayogi – Blackberry Raspberry Gose,  Smartmouth Brewing

SILVER: Boss Lady Triple Berry Gose, The Garage Brewery 

BRONZE: Lime of the Party Key Lime Gose, New Realm Brewing Co 


Fruit Beer

GOLD: POG Gose, Big Ugly Brewing

SILVER: Teredo Blend #2 w/Sour Cherries & Blackberries, Reaver Beach Brewing Co

BRONZE: The Purple Lady, MoMac Brewing Company 


German Wheat Beer

GOLD: German Shepheweizen, Wasserhund Brewing Company

SILVER: Hefeweizen, Gordon Biersch

BRONZE: Lady in White Hefeweizen, The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery


Historical and Smoked Beer

GOLD: Pancake House Stout, Alewerks Brewing Company 

SILVER: Mermaid’s Scorn, Benchtop

BRONZE: Rauch Bier, Makers Craft Brewery


International Lager

GOLD: Proper Lager, O’Connor Brewing Company 

SILVER: Juan’s Night Stand Cerveza, Billsburg Brewery

BRONZE: Señorita Vesa Mexican Golden Lager, Smartmouth Brewing



GOLD: Proven Theory, Benchtop 

SILVER: El Guapo Agave IPA, O’Connor Brewing Company

BRONZE: Free Verse India Pale Ale, The Virginia Beer Company


Juicy/Hazy IPA

GOLD: Robot Squirrel, Benchtop

SILVER: Kung Fu Kittens, Precarious Beer Project 

BRONZE: Imperial Leaf Peepers, Big Ugly Brewing 


Double IPA

GOLD: Why the Gong Face, Benchtop

SILVER: Deadbolt Double IPA, The Virginia Beer Company

BRONZE: Everything Is Lava But The Swings Are Base, Precarious Beer Project


Irish Beer

GOLD: Odis Dry Irish Stout, O’Connor Brewing Company 

SILVER: Roland’s Red,  Big Ugly Brewing 

BRONZE: Red Willie Irish Red Ale, Tradition Brewing Co


Pale American Ale

GOLD: Hazing Face, Benchtop

SILVER: Bold Dominion,The Bold Mariner Brewing Co

BRONZE: Golden Ale, St George Brewing Co


Pale Bitter European Beer

GOLD: Euphonia Pilsner, New Realm Brewing Co 

SILVER: Safety Dance Pilsner, Smartmouth Brewing 

BRONZE: Cribbage in the Square Pilsner, Billsburg Brewery 


Pale Malty European Lager

GOLD: Leicht, Precarious Beer Project

SILVER: Weekend Lager, Alewerks Brewing Company 

BRONZE: Festbier, Elation Brewing


Specialty Beer

GOLD: S’mores Brown Ale, Big Ugly Brewing

SILVER: Trial of Dmitri, Benchtop

BRONZE: Megalomaniac, Coelacanth Brewing Co


Spiced Beer

GOLD: Pumpkin Ale, Alewerks Brewing Company

SILVER: Oyster Jalapeño Porter, Bull Island Brewing Co

BRONZE: Hot Pursuit, Big Ugly Brewing


Standard American Beer

GOLD: Cheap Beer Premium, Precarious Beer Project 

SILVER: Breakwater Cream Ale, Rip Rap Brewing Co

BRONZE: Classic Lager, Billsburg Brewery 


Strong American Ale

GOLD: Mount Up Coffee & Maple Imperial Stout, Smartmouth Brewing 

SILVER: Rob Your Head Imperial Red Ale, The Virginia Beer Company 

BRONZE: Megalodon, Coelacanth Brewing Co


Strong Belgian Ale

GOLD: Golden Pear, O’Connor Brewing Company 

SILVER: Jubilee XIII, Alewerks Brewing Company 

BRONZE: Snatch You Baldheaded Quad, Pleasure House Brewing 


Trappist Ale

GOLD: Always a Ghost, Precarious Beer Project

SILVER: Laura’s Favorite Belgian Tripel, Bull Island Brewing Co

BRONZE: Liquid Communication Tripel, Pleasure House Brewing 


Wood Beer

GOLD: Bourbon Barrel Aged Ibrik, O’Connor Brewing Company 

SILVER: Café Royale, Alewerks Brewing Company 

BRONZE: Red, White &Blueberry, Saison aged in Red/White wine barrels, Big Ugly Brewing



GOLD: Galactic Detour Double IPA, Virginia Beer Company/Benchtop

SILVER: Tropical IPA, MoMac/Big Ugly 

BRONZE: Illemonati, Alewerks Brewing Company/Virginia Beer Co


Brewery Tasting Room

GOLD: Big Ugly Brewing Co 

SILVER: Elation Brewing Co

BRONZE: O’Connor Brewing Co


Brewery Outside Space

GOLD: Farmhouse Brewing by Back Bay

SILVER: New Realm Brewing Co 

BRONZE: Legend Brewing Depot



GOLD: The Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery

SILVER: Amber Ox Public House/Precarious Beer Lab

BRONZE: Wasserhund Brewing Company


Satellite Location 

GOLD: Back Bay’s Farmhouse

SILVER: Precarious Beer Lab

BRONZE: The Bunker by Young Veterans 


Brewery Event

GOLD: Field Dayz Fest, Precarious Beer Project

SILVER: Common Grounds Collaboration Fest, Commonwealth Brewing Co

BRONZE: O’Connoroo, O’Connor Brewing Co


Packaging Design

GOLD: Goat Locker Aged in Bourbon Barrels, Young Veterans

SILVER: Fun Old-Fashioned Family Christmas Ale, Alewerks Brewing Company

BRONZE: Good Vibes Gose, O’Connor Brewing Co

Can Design


GOLD: Saturday Morning IPA, Smartmouth Brewing

SILVER: Rockers IPA, Big Ugly Brewing Co

BRONZE: Pulped Fiction Blood Orange Berliner Weisse, O’Connor Brewing Co



Best Happy Hour

GOLD: Hank’s Filling Station

SILVER: Brick Anchor Brew-House

BRONZE: Taphouse Ghent


Best Quality Food & Beer Experience

GOLD: Esoteric 

SILVER: 1608 Crafthouse 

BRONZE: Norfolk Taproom


Best Overall Draft Selection (21+ Taps)

GOLD: Esoteric

SILVER: The Birch

BRONZE: Bier Garden


Best Overall Draft Selection (11-20 Taps)

GOLD: DoG Street Pub

SILVER: Tap It Local Chesapeake

BRONZE: 80/20 Burger Bar


Best Overall Draft Selection (10 or Less Taps)

GOLD: 1608 Crafthouse

SILVER: Lynnhaven Pub

BRONZE: Redwood Smoke Shack


Best Overall Bottle/Can Beer Selection

GOLD: The Birch

SILVER: The Bier Garden 

BRONZE: DoG Street Pub


Best Virginia Craft Beer Selection

GOLD: Tap It Local

SILVER: Hank’s Filling Station

BRONZE: Brick Anchor Brew-House


Best Selection of Local 757 Beer

GOLD: Hank’s Filling Station

SILVER: Tap It Local 

BRONZE: Brick Anchor Brew-House 


Best Beer with Outdoor View

GOLD: Grain 

SILVER: The Back Deck

BRONZE: DoG Street Pub


Best Beer with Interior Atmosphere 

GOLD: The Bier Garden Portsmouth

SILVER: Brick Anchor Brew-House 

BRONZE: Norfolk Taproom


Best Beer Event (Non-Festival/Non-Brewery)

GOLD: The Birch 43 Hours of Darkness

SILVER: Samichlaus Tapping at the Bier Garden

BRONZE: Taste Unlimited Summer Concert Series 


Bottle Shop/Growler Fill 

GOLD: Hair of the Dog Bottle Shop

SILVER: Total Wine & More (All locations) 

BRONZE: The Casual Pint


Best Outdoor Beer Festival

GOLD: 757 Battle of the Beers

SILVER: Whistle Belly Festival 

BRONZE: First Annual Coastal Brewers Alliance Festival


Best Food Truck

GOLD: Redwood Smoke Shack 

SILVER: Capt’n Crabby’s

BRONZE: Bros Fish Tacos