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Southern California breweries win big at this year's Great American Beer Festival

Southern California breweries win big at this year's Great American Beer Festival
Arts District Brewing was one of the Southern California winners at the recent Great American Beer Festival. (John Verive)

The Great American Beer Festival, craft beer's most prestigious event, was held over the weekend in Denver. California breweries took home nearly a quarter of the medals awarded, and craft brewers in Los Angeles and Orange counties scored a total of 15.

The annual awards ceremony is the culmination of three days of industry activities and beer festivals. Medals are awarded for 96 individual styles — from IPAs to more esoteric and experimental styles. More than 1m750 breweries from across the country entered brews in the competition, and it took a panel of 264 brewers and beer professionals acting as judges to taste and rate all 7,227 entries.

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Orange County's Bruery was one of the few breweries to take home multiple medals this year, scoring a gold for Mischief in the American-Belgo Style Ale category and a silver for its potent Wineification II — a hybrid of imperial stout and petite syrah — in the Experimental Beer category.

Two Los Angeles breweries were awarded gold medals this year: El Segundo Brewing Co. for Casa Azul, an amber Mexican-style lager, and Highland Park Brewery in the American Strong Pale Ale style for Good Green IPA. In the O.C., the Brea location of the BJ's Restaurant and Brewery chain grabbed gold in the Fruited Wood-aged Sour category with Razz-Jerry Tart, while the Corona location of the highly decorated Taps Fish House and Brewery won gold for Silent Warrior in the Wood-Aged Strong Beer group.

Beachwood Brewing did not medal in the competition for the first time in several years, but the new sister brand of the Long Beach brewpub, the Beachwood Blendery, took a silver in the Belgian-Style Lambic category with Chaos is a Friend of Mine. Riip Brewing in Huntington Beach scored a silver for Super Cali IPA in the highly competitive American-Style IPA field, and Anaheim's Noble Ale Works earned a silver medal for Nobility in the contentious Imperial IPA bracket.

The San Clemente location of the Pizza Port brewpub chain also scored a silver in a highly competitive category (coffee beer) for Dusk 'til Dawn imperial coffee porter. Rounding out the silver medals was Arts District Brewing's Cowboy Curtis in the Smoked Beer category.

Four bronze medals went to Southland breweries: Sabre-Toothed Squirrel from Smog City Brewing (American Style Amber/Red Ale), Jawbone from Iron Triangle Brewing (Imperial Stout),  4th Gear from Kinetic Brewing Co. (Chocolate Beer, and Figtoberfest from the Westlake Village outpost of Buellton's Figueroa Mountain Brewing (German-Style Oktoberfest).

You can view the full list of winners online.

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