Chicagoland scores 10 medals at GABF 2017

The 36th Annual Great American Beer Festival

One day we will be able to tell our kids that were there the day Illinois brewers took home 10 medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Leading the charge was Very Small Brewer of the Year, On Tour Brewing. On Tour’s first festival appearance also featured a silver for Spectator Doppelbock and gold for Low Boy Bock.


Tinley Park’s Hailstorm Brewing returned to medal glory with another silver medal for Rock Out With Maibock Out. That beer took the same award in 2015. They proceeded to close out the ceremony with gold in American Style IPA, a category that set a GABF record with 408 entries his year.

Head Brewer, David Williams (right) Horse Thief Hollow, Beverly, Chicago

The legend of Piece Chicago Brewmaster Jonathan Cutler continued to grow at GABF. His silver medal for It’s Not Your Fault German Style Altbier is the 16th of his illustrious career at this competition.

The 31st annual awards ceremony kicked off with speeches from the only geologist to hold the offices of governor and mayor, Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper. John is also co founder of Colorado’s oldest brewpub, Wynkoop.

Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, Julia Herz delivered a passionate message about quality, entrepreneurship and celebration of American craft brewers. She also brought up some excellent points about how brewers and consumers cannot just be concerned about what’s in the glass. “Brewers both big and small need to work together to ensure that the illusion of choice does not become a marketplace reality.”

Winners were chosen out of 7,923 competition entries from 2,217 breweries

Colorado Convention Center Oct 5-7, 2017

Here’s a full rundown of Illinois Brewery winners this year.

Emmett’s Brewing Company Wheaton
Munich Style Helles
Bronze: Munich Light

On Tour Brewing, Chicago
2017 Very Small Brewer of The Year 
German Style Doppelbock or Eisbock
Silver: Spectator 
Gold: Low Boy

One of the most decorated brewers in GABF history, Jonathan Cutler, Piece Chicago

 Hailstorm Brewing, Tinley Park
American Style India Pale Ale
Gold: Prairie Madness
Silver: Rock Out With Maibock Out

Piece Brewery, Chicago
German Style Altbier
Silver: It’s Your Fault

Corridor Brewery & Provisions, Chicago
Belgian Style Tripel
Silver :Rapunzel

Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, On Tour Brewing, Chicago

Smylie Brothers Brewing Co, Evanston
Fruit Wheat Beer
Silver: Purple Line 

Maplewood Brewing Co, Chicago
Oatmeal Stout
Bronze :Fat Pug 

Horse Thief Hollow, Chicago
Belgian and French Style Ale
Silver: Biere De Voleur


final award of the day, American Style IPA, Gold for Hailstorm’s Prairie Madness

Other Notes:

– Smylie Brothers, Purple Line and Hailstorm, Rock Out With Maibock Out are repeat medal winners taking a silver and bronze in their respective categories back in 2015.   

-Favorite moment from the award ceremony was seeing Pete Crowley greet the On Tour Brewing crew with congratulatory hugs as they left the stage for Very Small Brewery of the Year.

-Since opening in 2013 Horse Thief Hollow in Beverly, Chicago has picked up 3 GABF medals – two bronzes, (‘14 & ’16) and a silver this year.

-Former Goose Island Head Brewer and 5 Rabbit Cerveceria Brewmaster, John J. Hall seems to be adjusting just fine to his role at Metazoa Brewing in Indianapolis. John took home a pair of silver medals for Klipspringer American Belgo Style Ale and Breton Blonde Belgian Style Blonde or Pale Ale. John, of course is the creator of GI’s flagship 312 Wheat.  

– The top two categories for entries for the 5th year in a row were American Style IPA (408 entries) and Imperial IPA (221 entries)

-This is the first of three GABF 2017 features we will be posting to the site. Be sure to check out  Part II and Part III of our annual coverage.



parts two and 3 of our GABF coverage coming soon


Beverage Consultant, Host of the Chicago Brew Bus, Co-Host of the Chicago Beer Pass Podcast, Co-Founder and heartbeat of the Chicago Beer Geeks..@nkosio on twitter

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