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Cincinnati Brewers Share Their GABF Experiences

Over thirty Cincinnati-brewed craft beers were recently entered in the country’s largest, and arguably most respected, beer competition at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.  In addition to the beers they submitted over for judging, they also brought many beers with them to serve during the multi-day beer tasting festival.  The entire experience provides an educational and social experience for the brewers as they interact with peers and fans from around the country (and world!).  I was able to hear from Jason Roeper of Rivertown, Jason Brewer of Listermann/Triple Digit, Richard Dube of Christian Moerlein, and Kenny McNutt & Brady Duncan of MadTree to get their impressions of the event.

Social Scene

Overwhelmingly, the best parts of the tasting session experience was interacting with beer fans from around the country, getting their immediate feedback, and introducing them to Cincinnati.  Most people didn’t know Cincinnati had one brewery let alone the five that made it out there!  The competition itself is extremely difficult and not to be taken lightly with the $300-$700 entry fees.  And while there are but a few winners (congrats to Christian Moerlein for their silver medal!) from the thousands of entries all felt it was important to showcase their hard work.  That being said, there were some concerns with politics interfering with the sanctity of the competition.  That is probably to be expected for such a large and important event for an industry exploding in popularity.

Some of the more memorable moments from the tasting floor included a homebrewer asking for Rivertown’s Roebling Porter recipe so he could clone it at home; Greg Koch, cofounder of Stone Brewing, having Chickow! shoved in his face (by Jason Brewer) during an interview and then finding it pleasant; MadTree was receiving props from New Belgium Brewing on their Twitter feed.

Another clear sign that their beers were well received was the fact that everyone ran out of beer (even when they brought the maximum amount allowed).

Also, the facial hair of our brewers also made an impression on festival-goers!

Favorite Beers

It wasn’t ALL business for the brew crews they headed out to explore the tasting room floor.  Some favorite beers included: Devil’s Backbone’s Berliner Weisse, The Lost Abbey Duck Duck Geuze, “anything” from Almanac Brewing, and Diestihll’s many wild ales.


One other by-product of all the nation’s brewers drinking together is the idea of collaboration beers.  Everyone I talked to said they definitely have plans in the works with out-of-town brewers but weren’t ready to share them publicly yet (or they would have to kill me immediately after disclosing and I’m not that dedicated to this blog).  I will tell you I heard some VERY interesting information.  I’ll be sure to stay on top these as they develop.

Next Year

There were a few pieces of advice given if you plan on attending in the future.  MadTree suggests, “don’t go hard on Wednesday night! It’s a long week.”  Listermann explains, “some Cincinnati Brewers don’t know how to find maps.”  Also,  “don’t follow women on roller skates.”  All in all, everyone had a blast and everyone plans to go back next year.  Hopefully, we send an even larger contingent next year!  Until then, check out some of the pictures pushed out by the brewers documenting their experience.

4,809 brews entered! #GABF
Our very own Jeff getting interviewed by some Ohioans at #GABF.
MadTree is taking over Denver. #GABF
#GABF'n #Kennybomb @madtreebrewing
Found a little zen up in Boulder pre #GABF day two...

Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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