Here are four local beers that won medals at the Great American Beer Festival

Hutchinson, Duluth, Annandale and St. Paul all represented with specialty beers

Lindsey Peterson
October 17, 2019 - 9:13 am

(Getty Images / Doug Pensinger / Staff)


The first week of October brings changing leaves, great football, and one of our favorite events nationally each year:  The Great American Beer Festival!

And each year, Minnesota breweries descend on the festival hoping to gtake home a prestigious Gold, Silver or Bronze medal in one of the many categories of beer.  This year, Minnesota took home four.  Here are those beers and where you can check them out!  

A bock-style beer is a strong lager of German origin. Originally a dark beer, a modern bock can range from light copper to brown in colour.  The style is very popular, with many examples brewed internationally.  

Bobbing Bobber Brewing (how about that for a Minnesota name?) took home the gold medall for their Tackle Bock.   It's a Maibock which is lighter in color, less malty, and presents a drier finish with its larger hop profile.  

You can visit Bobbing Bobber in Hutchinson, MN.  Their taproom is open afternoons and evenings Wednesday through Sunday.  Currently, the Tackle Bock is out of season but is traditionally a spring beer so it will likely be back in a few months.  

Other Strong Beer
Quite the vague description, isn't it?  What is an "Other Strong Beer"? 

According to the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines:
Within the framework of these guidelines, beers of any style intentionally brewed with higher alcohol content than defined within that style’s guidelines are categorized as Other Strong Beer. These beers should achieve a balance between the style's characteristics and the additional alcohol.

Basically, it's heavy alcohol brewed as an ale or a lager.  

The gold medal winner this year was False Hope, from Spilled Graing Brewhouse in Annandale, MN.  Like Bobbing Bobber, it's not currently on tap, but expect this silver medal winner to come back.  This is the second straight year False Hope has won a medal in this category.  

Spilled Grain is open afternoons and evenings Wednesday through Sunday.  

Scottish-Style Ale
Scottish-style ales vary depending on strength and flavor, but in general retain a malt-forward character with some degree of caramel-like malt flavors. Some will also feature a light smoked peat flavor (think Scotch).  These are very lightly hopped so you won't get that IPA bitterness at all. 

Thistle Dew of Ursa Minor Brewing in Duluth was this year's bronze medal winner.  It's not currently on-tap at Ursa Minor but you may be able to find it around the Northland in cans.  

Specialty Berliner Weisse
This category is normally low in alcohol, tart, and often served with a flavored syrup.  These beers are very pale in color, and may be cloudy as they are often unfiltered. Many brewers are now adding traditional and exotic fruits to the recipe, resulting in flavorful finishes with striking, colorful hues. 

The gold medal winner was Midwestern Exotic from Barrel Theory Beer in St. Paul. Midwestern Exotic is a gose (warm, fermented beer) brewed with calamansi (lime), blood orange, tangerine, and peach.  It comes in at only 4% so it is definitely easy-drinking for a craft beer.

You can visit Barrel Theory in Lowertown St. Paul any day of the week.  They're open all 7 days. 

Overall, it was a down year for Minnesota beers.  In 2018, Minnesota breweries took home 12 medals. 

See the entire list of winners here.


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