GABF 2015: The Midwest Medal Winners

In Beer News by Karl

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First things first — unlike last year, we weren’t onhand in the big ol’ Convention Center hall full of 5,000 other beer dorks to watch the medals for GABF 2015 get handed out. Sorry about that. Other stuff came up. However, you can review all of our Great American Beer Fest coverage throughout the years here. Go ahead and pretend we wrote it last week instead of like 52 weeks ago.

However, we can still bring you a look at the winners from around the Third Coast area and some context to them as well (we hope). Illinois had an off year with zero golds awarded to the beer we spend so much time talking about; a couple silvers and bronze were the best this year’s entries could do and that includes the win from DESTIHL. That’s a third of what the state took home last year, when area breweries brought home nine medals.

Other takeaways: 

If you want a Belgian style Dubbel or Quad, the Midwest is the place to be — Indiana took Gold and Bronze in that category, while Michigan brought in the Silver.

Despite the constant conversation about Toppling Goliath and Three Floyds, neither won any medals, though to be fair, the GABF doesn’t discuss who sent in their beer as they “don’t disclose losers” as I’ve been told.  Other big guys like Bell’s and Lagunitas also didn’t take any medals home, and Founders took just one.

More From GDB:  The GABF 2018 Midwest Medal Roundup

It’s not a GABF if Short’s doesn’t win a medal in the Experimental Beer category, and this year is no different. Their “Melt My Brain” is “an experimental Golden Ale brewed with coriander, juniper berries, limes and blended with tonic water to create the tasting experience of drinking a gin and tonic cocktail.” So basically, par for the Short’s course.

If you consider Green Bay’s Titletown Brewing a Packers-centric kind of place, their wins add insult to the Illinois medal returns injury — with two medals and a win for Large Brewpub of the year, their single operation basically tied all of the Chicago area’s medals.

Otherwise, Indiana and Ohio really killed it. If you’re planning a road trip, we’d start in Indianapolis and end at one of the Fat Heads outposts.

Here are the winners from around the Midwest. Congrats to all, and we look forward to drinking all of your beer.


Gold: None.

Silver: Hailstorm’s “Rock Out With Maibock Out” (Bock)

Bronze: Smylie Bros. “Purple Line” (Fruit Wheat Beer), Piece’s “Take Back the Streets” (Other Strong Beer), DESTIHL’s Dosvidanya (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout)


Gold:  O’So’s “The Big O” (American Style Wheat Beer with Yeast)

More From GDB:  The 2019 GABF Midwest Medal Recap

Silver: Titletown’s “Johnny Blood Red” (Irish Style Red), Ahnapee Brewery’s “Long Goodbye” (Munich-style Helles), Titletown’s “S.S.A” (Smoke Beer)

Bronze: Red Eye Brewing’s “A Cart Ride to Mexico” (Bock), New Glarus’ “2015 Golden Ale” (Brett Beer), Lakefront Brewery’s “Eastside” (German-style Schwarzbier), Vintage Brewing’s “Scaredy Cat” (Oatmeal Stout)


Gold: Mad Anthony’s “Auburn Lager” (American-style Amber Lager), Bier Brewery and Taproom’s “Sanitarium” (Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadruple), Sun King’s “Sunlight Cream Ale” (Golden or Blonde Ale), Tap Beer Co.’s “Electric Stinger” (Honey Beer)

Silver: Flix Brewhouse’s “Generation Alt” (German-Style Altbier), Thr3e Wise Men’s “Antonius 1742 Oktoberfest” (German-style Marzen), Sun King’s “Batch 666: Sympathy For The Devil” (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer)

Bronze: Taxman Brewing’s “Qualified” (Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadruple), Sun King’s “Cherry Busey” (Belgian-Style Fruit Beer), Thr3e Wise Men’s Hot For Teacher Ms. Doppelbock (German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock)


Gold: Founders’ “reDANKulous” (Imperial Red Ale)

Silver: Rivers Edge Brewing Co’s “Dubbel Entendre” (Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadruple), Arcadia Brewing’s “India Pale Ale” (Classic English-Style Pale Ale), Short’s Brewing’s “Melt My Brain” (Experimental Beer), Right Brain’s “Concrete Dinosaur” (Rye Beer)

Bronze: Rockford Brewing’s “Rogue River Brown” (English-Style Brown Ale)


Gold: Fat Head’s “Midnight Moonlight” (American-style Black Ale), Fat Head’s “Imperial Red” (Double Red Ale) , Platform Beer Co.’s “Black Eagle Gratzer” (Historical Beer), Fat Head’s “Hop JuJu Imperial IPA” (Imperial IPA)

More From GDB:  Eater Chicago and Chicagoist Talk to Rick Bayless About Beer (Among Other Things)

Silver: Fat Head’s “Black Night” (German-Style Schwarzbier), JAFB Wooster Brewery’s “Rain Delay IPA” (International-Style Pale Ale), Rhinegeist’s “Sherry Ink” (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout)

Bronze: The Brew Kettle Taproom and Smokehouse’s “White Rajah” (American-style IPA) , Elevator Brewing’s “Mogabi” (American-Style Wheat Beer). Lager Heads Brewing Co. “Smokie Robbins” (Smoke Beer)


Gold: None (though no Gold was awarded in the Pumpkin Beer category, so Mankato’s medal is the highest this year)

Silver: Bemidji Brewing Co’s “Double Porter” (Baltic-style Porter), Bent Paddle Brewing’s “14° ESB” (Extra Special Bitter), Fitger’s Brewhouse’s “Procrastinator Doppelbock” (German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock), Mankato Brewery’s “Pumpkin Grinder” (Pumpkin Beer), Steel Toe Brewing’s “Size 4” (Session IPA)

Bronze: Fulton Beer’s “Lonely Blonde” (English-style Summer Ale), August Schell Brewing Co.’s “Firebrick” (Vienna-style Lager)

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers. If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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