5 Minnesota craft breweries win medals at prestigious Great American Beer Festival

It was the most competitive year for the competition on record.
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Two local breweries won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Two local breweries won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

Five Minnesota breweries came home with medals from the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival over the weekend.

Summit Brewing and Surly Brewing brought home gold medals, while three smaller Minnesota craft breweries – Jack Pine Brewery, Bemidji Brewing, and Roundhouse Brewery – took home bronze medals at this year's competition. It was Roundhouse's first year entering a beer in the competition, Minnesota Beer Activists notes. (Read more on these winners below.)

The Great American Beer Festival, which is put on by the Brewers Association, represents the largest commercial beer competition in the world. And this was the most competitive year for the competition on record, the Brewers Association says.

A total of 1,752 U.S. breweries entered 7,227 different beers into this year's competition – that's up 9 percent from last year, and set the record for the most entries ever in the festival.

Plus, there was an average of 75 beers entered into each of the 161 different beer style categories (up from 72 last year), with judges awarding 286 medals to 254 breweries.

Minnesota's winners

  • St. Paul's Summit Brewing won the gold in the English-Style Pale Ale category for its Extra Pale Ale. There were 38 entries.
  • Surly Brewing in Minneapolis won gold in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category for its Barrel-Aged Darkness. There were 131 entries.
  • Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter took home the bronze medal in the Chili Beer category for its Vengeance! Jalapeno Cream Ale. There were 112 entries.
  • Bemidji Brewing in Bemidji won the bronze in the Golden or Blonde Ale category for its German Blonde Ale. There were 115 entries.
  • Roundhouse Brewery in Brainerd won the bronze in the Rye Beer category for its Runaround Rye Ale. There were 81 entries.

"It has become a tradition for Minnesota breweries to be honored at this prestigious competition," Tom Whisenand, President of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, said in a statement to Minnesota Beer Activists. "This recognition reinforces that Minnesota is a great state for beer. Minnesotans can be proud of these local businesses that are representing their communities."

Last year, seven Minnesota breweries took home awards, and in 2014 six local breweries were awarded. For information on previous medalists, click here.

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