Texas breweries made an admirable showing of nine medals at the awards competition of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver over the weekend. The count was five gold, three silver, and a lone bronze, according to the Brewer's Association website for GABF.
The last time Texas craft brewers got that much love from judges was in 2002. (Before 2006, Texas-owned beer brands racked up even more awards, but most were contract brewed out of state for Pabst Brewing before the company moved its San Antonio headquarters to Chicago.)
Shiner beers from the Spoetzl Brewery owned by San Antonio's Gambrinus were the biggest winners with golds for Shiner Bock in the American-style Dark Lager category, Shiner Oktoberfest in the German-style Marzen column and Shiner Bohemian Black Lager in the German-style Schwarzbier category.
Real Ale Brewing Co's recent bout of luck in the awards after years of getting no love held up this year. Recognizing the brewers' skills in the making of Hans' Pils in the German-style Pilsener category brought a silver from GABF. The growing brewery in Blanco also took silver for it's best-selling brew, the Firemans #4, in the category of Golden or Blonde Ale.
Humperdink's Restaurant and Brewery from the Metroplex made a return to the stage this year with a silver for Uberbrau in the American-style Amber Lager category. The 2011 version of the brew won Texas' lone gold last year.
Uncle Billy's Brew & Que at Lake Travis won gold in the Kellerbier or Zwickelbier style category with Bottle Rocket, the brew's second GABF medal in two years. Fort Worth's Rahr & Sons Brewing won silver in the Scotch Ale category with their seasonal Iron Thistle. And newcomer Peticolas Brewing Co. of Dallas won gold with the classic English-style pale ale Royal Scandal.
Two weeks ago, Bottle & Tap talked about the name change of San Antonio's new Branchline Brewing from Old Boxcar because of a legal demand from Pennsylvania brewery Boxcar Brewing.
Boxcar co-founder James Robinson wrote from Pennsylvania to explain why he thinks it was necessary: "They have the same model as us and want to expand. It is inevitable we will cross paths in the market if we both have success. I have been in the professional brewing industry for a short time and let me tell you that (distributors) and bar owners don't want confusion. I guarantee 50 percent would not carry either brand to avoid the headaches and confusion," Robinson wrote.
Travis E. Poling is beer writer for the Current, co-author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State and managing editor of LOCAL Community News. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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