I am happy to announce that once again, our brewers had a great year at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Not only did Iron Hill , for the 16th year in a row, bring home medals, but it was also a great showing for Philadelphia area and Pennsylvania brewers.
Iron Hill was awarded four medals this year: a bronze for “Black IPA” in the American-Style Black Ale category which was brewed in Wilmington by brewer Brian Finn (who is also my brother) and a bronze for “Roggenbier” in the Rye Beer category which was brewed by Tim Stumpf in Phoenixville. Our Lancaster brewer Kevin Walter also brought home his first GABF award, a silver for “Rauchtoberfest” in the Smoked Beer category. Our final medal was a bronze for “Russian Imperial Stout” which was brewed by Bob Barrar in Media who continued his 11 year winning streak with a total of 15 medals at the GABF. To know Bob is to love him, he is great brewer but a truly wonderful person. I think the medals represent his passion and love for his craft.
Our brewers continue to amaze me, with our GABF medal count now at 39.
But at Iron Hill, the GABF is more than just medals, it is our celebration of being a part of something wonderful, the craft brewing industry. This year almost 80 people went to the GABF with Iron Hill and over 60 of them were employees and the rest where customers and friends of Iron Hill. Every year I get to walk the floor with one of our employees who have never attended the festival, and they are amazed at the variety and quality of beers there as well as how well our breweries are recognized throughout the craft brewing world.
For me, it is also a time to see friends in the industry. One of the things that makes the craft brewing world special is the camaraderie that is present with many of the brewers and breweries. I got to celebrate with Ric Hoffman from Stewarts, Tom Kehoe from Yards, and Gina Marsaglia of Lost Abbey/Pizza Port on the festival floor after each of them won medals.
Finally, I got to spend the day visiting three local breweries when our Maple Shade brewer Chris LaPierre put together a wonderful bus tour for about a dozen of our employees. We visited Left Hand, New Belgium and Odell’s breweries and each one rolled out the red carpet for us.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip on many fronts: our brewers won medals, our staff got to see what it means to be a part of the craft brewing industry and we all got to visit some of the wonderful Colorado craft breweries. I can’t wait for next year!