Texas at the Great American Beer Festival Recap 2022

The largest beer festival in the US is back, this year in person, for the first time since 2019! So, the Saturday morning award ceremony was back to the old format, in an auditorium, with all the usual excitement that surrounds it for the breweries. Along with that, the Great American Beer Festival brought in the usual masses of beer enthusiasts for the actual drinking part of the festival.

(Photo © Brewers Association)

While most articles locally will talk about how Texas did, I decided to take a deeper look into the numbers of all of this.

This year, there were the same number of categories as years past, bringing the total number to 98.  They did bring back the Collaboration category, along with the Pro-Am category, which has been absent from the two previous years (but these are not generally counted in the 98 beer style categories). The categories range from American Wheat Beer to Wood-and-Barrel-Aged Sour Beers. The number of entries per category ranges from just 25 (American Sour Ale) to 423 (American Style IPA).  The average entered per category came out to 99, staying the same as last year. Basically, the competition is not getting any easier each and every year.

The total number of competition entries submitted to the festival was 9,904 (up 224 from last year) coming from 2,154 breweries (down 38 from last year) from across the US. All 50 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., were represented this year.

(Photo © Brewers Association)

A total of 301 new breweries entered beer into the competition, while 18 were first-time winners.
One brewery had the largest medal haul from GABF with 4 medals –  North Park Beer Co (San Diego, CA).

The state of Texas brought home 21 total awards. They are as follows:

Gold (up 3 from last year):

Altstadt – Altstadt Lager (Munich-Style Helles)
Lazarus Brewing – Black Pearl (Herb and Spice Beer)
Pecan Street Brewing – Pecan Street Rye Beer (Rye Beer)
Real Ale Brewing Co – Firemans #4 (Golden or Blonde Ale)
Roadmap Brewing Company – Alright, Alright, Alright (International-Style Pilsner)
The ABGB – Industry Pils (German-Style Pilsener)
Windmills – Sonidero (American Amber Lager)

Silver (up 1 from last year):

3 Nations Brewing – Devoir Imperial Milk Stout: Milk Chocolate (Chocolate Beer)
Mad Pecker Brewing – Bitter Soul (Extra Special Bitter)
Meanwhile Brewing – Secret Beach (American-Style Strong Pale Ale)
New Magnolia Brewing – Heights Light Lager (Light Lager)
The ABGB – The Beeginning (Honey Beer)
White Rock Alehouse & Brewery – IPO IPA (Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale)

Bronze (up 3 from last year):

Community Beer Co – Nada IPA (Non-Alcohol Beer)
Edgewise Eight – First of his Name (Robust Porter)
Freetail Brewing – Bowie Bock (International Dark Lager)
Jester King – Atrial Rubicite (Belgian Fruit Beer)
Maple Branch Craft Brewery – Raspberry Fields (American Fruit Beer)
Pecan Street Brewing – Road Devil Amber (German-Style Altbier)
Pinthouse Pizza North – Fresh Hop Training Bines (Fresh Hop Beer)
Old 290 Brewery – Hell Raiser Bourbon Barrel Brown (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer)

This list includes 7 Texas first-time winners: Roadmap, Pecan Street, 3 Nations, Mad Pecker, Maple Branch, Old 290, Edgewise Eight.

Here is a quick breakdown of how Texas has done since 2010:

2010: 6
2011: 4
2012: 9
2013: 10
2014: 16
2015: 15
2016: 10
2017: 21
2018: 18
2019: 16
2020: 10
2021: 14
2022: 21

This year tied for the best year ever for Texas (with 2017). This has ended a “slump” that we have seen for the last 5 years, so it is great to see so many local breweries get awarded for their hard work.

Here are the numbers of gold over the same time period:

2010: 3
2011: 1
2012: 5
2013: 4
2014: 6
2015: 9
2016: 4
2017: 9
2018: 6
2019: 8
2020: 5
2021: 4
2022: 7

Not the highest number of golds, but nothing to be ashamed of.

(Photo © Brewers Association)

As far as where Texas placed as a state, they finished with the third-best haul of medals out of all states (big increase from the last two years, where they had the 7th best). While Texas’ increase was noticeable, California increased their haul from last year by 16 (taking them up to 76 medals). Traditionally, Colorado and California take the most medals, and that did not change this year. With that said, Texas closed the gap substantially on Colorado.

California: 76 (up 16 medals from last year)
Colorado: 25 (up 4)
Texas: 14 (up 7)
Washington: 19 (down 5)
Oregon: 18 (up 3)
North Carolina: 13 (down 2)
Florida: 12 (even)
Illinois: 10 (down 6)
Ohio: 10 (down 3)
Virginia: 9 (down 1)

The top 10 states, this year, are the exact same as last year.

It is also interesting comparing the numbers of breweries in each state to the number of medals won. I generally use the Brewers Association numbers for this, but they may not be exact as they are only updated once a year.

California: 931 (down 27 from last year)
Colorado: 428 (down 5 from last year)
Texas: 406 (up 42 from last year)
Washington: 437 (up 9 from last year)
Oregon: 310 (down 2 from last year)
North Carolina: 364 (up 5 from last year)
Florida: 374 (up 6 from last year)
Illinois: 299 (up 4 from last year)
Ohio: 365 (up 26 from last year)
Virginia: 314 (up 17 from last year)

Based on this, you can look into the number of medals per brewery by state:

California: 1 medal for every 12.2 breweries (was at 16 last year)
Colorado: 1 medal for every 17.1 breweries (was at 20.6 last year)
Texas: 1 medal for every 19.3 breweries (was at 28 last year)
Washington: 1 medal for every 23 breweries (was at 19.5 last year)
Oregon: 1 medal for every 17.2 breweries (was at 20.8 last year)
North Carolina: 1 medal for every 28 breweries (was at 23.9 last year)
Florida: 1 medal for every 31.2 breweries (was at 30.7 last year)
Illinois: 1 medal for every 29.9 breweries (was at 18.4 last year)
Ohio: 1 medal for every 36.5 breweries (was at 26.1 last year)
Virginia: 1 medal for every 34.9 breweries (was at 29.7 last year)

These ratios should continue to go up as more and more breweries open (and not many categories are being added). Traditionally, Colorado always “led” when you looked at it this way. However, California clearly dominated the most medals per brewery this year. Texas improved significantly, with only California, Colorado, and Oregon in front of us.

(Photo © Brewers Association)

Other random bits of info:

– Medals by greater metro areas:

Austin: 11 medals (7 last year)
DFW: 6 medals (2 last year)
Houston: 1 medals (5 last year)
San Antonio: 3 medals (0 last year)

– Real Ale got another medal. They have received a medal every year since 2012, with the exception of 2020.

– The brewery with the longest winning streak in Texas belongs solely to Pinthouse Pizza (if you do not differentiate between the locations). They now have won a medal in 6 straight years of competition. Save The World was tied with them up until this year, when they did not receive one.

– If you are curious who are the top awarded breweries in Texas (if you take out macros and places that shut down), here they are:

Saint Arnold: 27 medals dating back to 1999
Spoetzl Brewery: 15 medals dating back to 1999
Real Ale: 14 medals dating back to 2010
Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co: 10 medals in the past 7 years.
Celis: Well, shut down but open again? I guess I can have it on here. 9 medals between 1992-98.
Pinthouse Pizza: 9 medals dating back to 2013 (if including all locations)
Austin Beerworks: 6 medals total going back through 2011.
Rahr & Sons: 6 medals total going back to 2012
Community Beer Co: 6 medals dating back to 2013
Save The World Brewing: 5 medals dating back to 2017
Fredericksburg Brewing Company: 5 medals between 2002-2008

Overall, the brewery with the biggest hauls to Texas is Pabst Brewing (San Antonio), which has brought in 41 medals from 1990 to 2005.

– Three beers from Texas, this year, had previously won a GABF medal before:

3rd Medal: Real Ale Firemans #4
2nd Medal: ABGB – Industry Pils
2nd Medal: Jester King – Atrial Rubicite
2nd Medal: Altstadt – Altstadt Lager

Shiner Bock, along with Saint Arnold Summer Pils and Real Ale Real Heavy, have been the biggest individual craft beer winners from Texas overall, with 6 medals each. Next up comes Celis White, with 5 medals,

– Congrats to Johnson City, Texas. This year, they pulled in 3 medals at GABF (between Old 290 Brewing and Pecan Street Brewing).

Here is to another great year for Texas beer!

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