Despite a forced hiatus (which we don't need to talk about), the Great American Beer Festival returned in a big way in 2022 -- and gave top honors to a surprising San Diego brewery.
San Diego Dominated The 2022 Great American Beer Festival
This Year Was The Festival's 40th Anniversary
As part of the Great American Beer Festival's 40th Anniversary, judges reviewed nearly 10,000 beers from 2,154 breweries and awarded 300 medals overall. There were 98 main categories, plus two bonus categories. Additionally, there were two new categories: International-Style Pilsener, and Australasian, Latin American, or Tropical-Style Light Lager.
But San Diego, and one brewery, in particular, dominated the competition.
North Park Rouleur Brewing Has Only Been Around For A Year
Despite only recently celebrating its one-year anniversary, North Park Beer Co. in San Diego, CA won four medals at GABF, including one gold in the English India Pale Ale or New Zealand India Pale Ale category.
But North Park wasn't the only San Diego brewery to win big. Overall, 15 breweries from the beachside city managed to win medals, including two gold medal winners: BNS Brewing & Distilling and Rouleur Brewing Company.
"One of the reason this is an excellent beer is it's a perfectly styled blonde ale," said Rouleur Brewing Company Tasting Manager Sean Hale about his brewery's entry. "It's sweeter with little bit of wheat with dry finish. It is a bit honey-like with notes of banana and clove."
"I'm stoked for our brewers. They work so hard. I just pour the beer," said Preston Bewley, a Rouleur Brewing Company bartender, upon hearing the news.
The Other Winners Of The Day
A handful of other breweries managed to nab three medals, including Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR), Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR), Ghost Town Brewing (Oakland, CA), and Wild Fields Brewhouse (Atascadero, CA). On top of that, all three of Wild Fields' medals were gold. Plus, the Nose Goblin beer from Ghost Town has now won gold medals twice in a row.
California Is A Perennial Winner
This isn't the first year that a Californian city has dominated the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, the state as a whole has been a consistent winner at GABF. This year, the Golden State continued its streak with 79 medals total. Colorado trailed behind with just 26 medals, whereas Texas eked out a close third with 21 medals. Other notable contenders included Washington (20 medals), Oregon (19), North Carolina (13), and Florida (12). But it remains yet to be seen if anyone can ever top California.