Brewsday Tuesday: Louisiana breweries represent at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver

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At the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, Keith Pumila of Abita displays the brewery's silver medal in the bock beer category. - NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • NORA MCGUNNIGLE
  • At the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, Keith Pumila of Abita displays the brewery's silver medal in the bock beer category.


The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held in Denver each October, is the American beer industry’s most prestigious event. More than 49,000 ticketholders, media, judges, volunteers and brewery staff were in attendance over the course of the festival, which was held Oct. 10-12. This year, tickets sold out in only 20 minutes. Even the 624 breweries in attendance had to fight to be included — brewery slots were filled almost as fast as tickets were sold.

Abita and Bayou Teche Brewing were able to sign up for GABF right away, and NOLA Brewing joined them after a short stint on the waiting list. The Louisiana breweries took their responsibilities to represent the state seriously. As Derek Domingue, Bayou Teche’s sales and marketing representative, reported, “people were so intrigued to hear about how we involve our culture in everything we do from our beer, music, food, art and just simple good living.”


This was NOLA’s fifth year at the GABF, and president Kirk Coco notes that NOLA’s specialty beer Girl Stout Cookie — its Irish Channel Stout made with with mint leaves and cocoa nibs — was tremendously popular, resulting in long lines and positive comments. “Feedback from GABF influences how we produce our beers,” Coco said, adding that Girl Stout Cookie should be commercially available within the next year.

When the GABF winners were announced, Abita’s Andygator was awarded a silver medal in the bock beer category. This is Abita’s first GABF medal and the first one given to current Louisiana breweries (Tom Conklin of Gordon Biersch won a silver medal for Bohemian Pilsner in 2009). Abita recently began offering Andygator in six packs of 12-ounce bottles, making it even easier to try the region’s GABF-award winning beer.


“The true mark of the beer being well received is the returning customers,” said Keith Pumila, Abita’s draft specialist and former brewer. “We had people hang out in our area all night and kept coming back to drink Abita.”

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