Great American Beer Festival: How are beers judged at GABF?

With Community taking home a gold this year and 10 Texas breweries receiving awards, you may be wondering how the judges decide who takes home the medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

It’s actually a very detailed process. This video from goes behind-the-scenes to show you how they judge a beer.

These judges really have it rough, don’t they? Five sessions with three flights each?

In all seriousness, they do have a lot on their shoulders as they have to be certain they give each beer the attention it deserves. You have to hand it to them, as it seems new breweries and small producers get a fair shake every year at GABF. This year alone, 24 first-time entering breweries won medals.

Just take a look at these stats via the GABF winner announcement press release:

Summary: 2013 Great American Beer Festival Statistics

  • 624 breweries in the festival hall
  • More than 3,100 beers served at the festival
  • 49,000 attendees
  • More than 2,800 volunteers
  • 745 breweries in the competition from 49 states, plus Washington, D.C.
  • 4,809 beers judged (includes 100 Pro-Am competition entries), a 12 percent increase over 2012
  • 84 style categories judged, plus the Pro-Am competition
  • 201 judges from 11 countries
  • Average number of competition beers entered in each category: 51
  • Category with highest number of entries: American-Style India Pale Ale: 252

For more info about this year’s competition, read the full press release on GABF 2013.

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