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Sunday, October 12, 2008

More on the GABF

A few more observations on the GABF results. First, let's start with the brewery awards. The large brewer of the year is Anheuser-Busch, and Pyramid was the mid-sized brewery of the year. Both companies had watermark rocky years--Magic Hat picked up the ever-listing Pyramid (proud owner of the also ever-listing MacTarnahan's), while Bud, casting around for new products to shore up declining growth, got snatched by Belgian InBev. Weird.

On the awards. Let us begin by noting that the awards categories are really out of control. The current tally is 76, and in total, the fest doled out 225 medals. So, while Oregon took 19 medals, it's from a huge pool. Here are a few of the major brewing states and their medals:
39: California
34: Colorado
19: Oregon
15: Wisconsin
10: Pennsylvania
7: Washington
I know I complain about this every year, but Colorado once again vastly over-performed, picking up almost as many as California. In any blind tasting, there's always going to be variability--Washington's showing this year isn't evidence of a drop-off in quality, just one of those weird years. But Colorado never has a weird year. They always over-perform. By way of demonstrating just how much they dominate, have a look at the medal-per-brewery percentage of the top states:
35%: Colorado
23%: Wisconsin
21%: Oregon
18%: California
15% Pennsylvania
8%: Washington
There are many possible explanations for this, the most obvious being that Colorado has the best beer in the nation. Since taste is subjective, there's no way to effectively refute this explanation (and I'm sure Coloradans would heartily endorse it). But leaving aside the home-state boosterism from Beervana, does anyone really believe that Colorado has twice the density of award-winning beers as California? Or four times the density of Washington?

It's another GABF and I'm chafing that Oregon hasn't completely dominated the procedings. What else is new?

[Update: read this post for a huge correction about these data.]

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