The GABF 2020 Midwestern Medal Roundup

In Beer News by Karl

The view from last year’s ceremony. This didn’t happen this year. Sigh. Maybe in 2021?

Even though there was no Great American Beer Fest this year, there was still at least a GABF 2020 Medal Ceremony for us to recap, overthink and agonize over.

(We didn’t log on to watch the awards roll out as they took place this year, because it’s just not the same without a cup of coffee, a breakfast burrito and a couple beers in front of us at 10am in a convention center stadium. Forgive us.)

For starters — Indiana is now the leading medal winner around the Great Lakes. Hauling in ten medals for 2020, brewers in Indiana took home more hardware than any other state, though this high-water mark is lower than last year, when Ohio wrapped up a whopping 15 medals.

In fact, Sun King alone matches the number of medals won by the entire state of Minnesota.

Also, Illinois is no longer the gold-medal holder for the Juicy/Hazy IPA category for the first time ever — but at least the Chicago area can still boast one gold-medal winning hazy in the form of Penrose’s Juicy Boots (a medal winner in 2019 as well in the Juicy/Hazy Strong Pale category).

Another back-to-back medal winner is Pollyanna’s Lite Reading, while Light the Lamp took home a medal for the second year in a row, though for a different category as last year. Big news for Midwest Coast as well, bringing in a Bronze just over one year since their opening day.

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Here’s a look at how the Midwestern medals from GABF 2020 were distributed.

Illinois: 6 Medals

  • Gold: Penrose “Juicy Boots” (Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale)
  • Silver: n/a
  • Bronze: Pollyanna Brewing Co. “Lite Thinking” (American Lager); Light the Lamp Brewing “Still Single” (American-Belgo-Style Ale); Alarmist’s “Pantsless” (American-Style Pale Ale); Midwest Coast’s “English Sporting Beer” (Extra Special Bitter); Horse Thief Hollow’s “Little Wing” (International Pilsener)

Indiana: 10 Medals

  • Gold: Moontown Brewing Co.’s “Moonlite” (American-Style Cream Ale); Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis’s “Afternoon Delight” (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer)
  • Silver: Taxman Brewing Co.’s “Qualified” (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale)
  • Bronze: Moontown Brewing Co.’s “Skool House Bock” (Bock); Flix Brewhouse’s “Saison de Walt” (Brett Beer); Metazoa Brewing Co.’s “Meadowlark” (Classic Saison); Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis’s “Cherry Busey” (Fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer); Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis’s “Sunlight Cream Ale” (Golden or Blonde Ale); Metazoa Brewing Co. ‘s “Wicked Pawesome” (Juicy or Hazy India Pale Ale); Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis’s “Pachanga” (Light Lager)

Michigan: 6 Medals

  • Gold: n/a
  • Silver: Founders Brewing Co.’s “Oktoberfest” (American Amber Lager); Stormcloud Brewing Co.’s “228 Tripel” (Belgian-Style Abbey Ale); Silver Harbor Brewing Co. “Grandma’s Favorite Recipe” (Fruit Wheat Beer); Founders Brewing Co.’s “Porter” (Robust Porter)
  • Bronze: Territorial Brewing Co.’s “Berry, Berry, Quite Contrary” (American-Style Fruit Beer); Perrin Brewing Co.’s “No Rules” (Field Beer)

Minnesota: 4 Medals

  • Gold: Hoops Brewing’s “325 Pineapple Chili” (Chili Beer); The Freehouse’s “No. 17 Scotch Ale” (Scotch Ale)
  • Silver: Waconia Brewing Co.’s “Cookies & Cream Milk Stout” (Specialty Beer)
  • Bronze: Lupulin Brewing’s “Doppelbock” (German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock)

The Freehouse also took home the “Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year” designation as well.

More From GDB:  The GABF 2018 Midwest Medal Roundup

Ohio: 9 Medals

  • Gold: Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s “Daybreak” (Coffee Beer); Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon’s “Goggle Fogger Hefeweizen” (German-Style Wheat Ale); Masthead Brewing Co.’s “Augenblick Light Lager” (Munich-Style Helles); Brink Brewing Co.’s “Moozie Milk Stout” (Sweet Stout or Cream Stout)
  • Silver: Fretboard Brewing Co.’s “Crazy Train” (Belgian-Style Ale or French-Style Ale); Little Fish Brewing Co.’s “Cleft” (Fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer); Noble Beast Brewing Co.’s “Murder Ballads” (International Dark Lager)
  • Bronze: Lock 27 Brewing’s “Wolk” (Belgian-Style Witbier); Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s “Buchenrauch” (Smoke Beer)

Wisconsin: 5 Medals

  • Gold: n/a
  • Silver: BrewMadison’s “1808ALT” (Gluten-Free Beer); Earth Rider Brewery’s “Royal Bohemian Pilsner” (Kellerbier or Zwickelbier); Earth Rider Brewery’s “North Tower Stout” (Oatmeal Stout)
  • Bronze: McFleshman’s Brewing Co.’s “MSB (McFleshman’s Special Bitter)” (English Mild or Bitter); H.H. Hinder Brewing Co.’s “Wee Heavy HINDER” (Scotch Ale)

All of the GABF 2020 medal winners are here. You can find our previous recaps below:

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GABF 2020 Medals
Image via the GABF Website.

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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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