It’s gold, silver and bronze for five New Mexico breweries with one named Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival.
Santa Fe’s Rowley Farmhouse Ales, which has been in operation three years, was named Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year and sweeped up three medals during the 2019 GABF awards ceremony on Oct. 4 held in Denver. It won gold for its Meier in the German-Style Sour Ale category that had 63 entries. It took silver for Agent Orange-Apple Brandy Barrel in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category, which had 82 entries. And was awarded bronze for its Côte d’Or-Double Cerise in the Mixed-Culture Brett Beer category that had 94 entries. Last year, Rowley received a silver medal for its Germophile in the Berliner-Style Weisse category.
“When we won the first medal we were pretty excited so we went up on stage and then they called us again and we were like holy (crap)!,” said John Rowley, Rowley Farmhouse Ales brewmaster and co-owner. “But we went up again and then a third time. It was just unbelievable. It was a lifetime kind of moment. You’ll never forget that.”
Rowley and his team are trying to wrap their heads around being recognized as Small Brewpub & Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year.
“It’s super intense,” Rowley said. “We didn’t expect any of that. We’re blown away by the whole thing. I really don’t know what to say about that other than it’s crazy. It’s a hell of a day. I don’t think that will ever happen again but we’ll keep trying, keep entering beers because it’s fun. We want to keep improving our processes and getting better.”
The rest of the country will get a peek at Rowley Farmhouse Ales’ food offerings on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It will air at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 on the Food Network. A watch party will be held at the brewery beginning at 7 p.m.
Albuquerque’s La Cumbre Brewing Co. won silver for its Acclimated APA in the American-Style Pale Ale category that had 169 entries. La Cumbre has won medals at previous GABF events including silver last year for its Malpais Stout.
“Obviously we’re all pretty excited over here,” said Jeff Erway, La Cumbre president. “The Acclimated is a staff favorite and probably my favorite beer of the past year and we are honored that the judges thought as highly of the beer as we do.”
Moriarty’s Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. also took silver for its Cherry Wheat in the Fruit Wheat Beer category, which had 109 entries. This is not the first time Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. has been recognized for its Cherry Wheat at GABF.
“It’s such an honor, of course,” said Rich Weber, SBBC owner and brewer. “The SBBC brew crew is calling the Cherry Wheat The Trifecta now – having won the Bronze last year and the Gold in 2017… It’s an incredible feeling when you hear your name called.”
Two new breweries were awarded bronze for their entries: Albuquerque’s Toltec Brewing and Santa Fe’s Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery.
Toltec received bronze for its Shaman Stout in the Oatmeal Stout category that had 69 entries. Toltec recently celebrated its first year of operation but its head brewer Kaylynn McKnight has received medals at GABF for craft beers she created at Nexus Brewery where she previously worked.
“It is such an honor to have won a medal for Toltec brewing, especially being as young as we are,” McKnight said. “We take pride in all of our beers, and are so excited to have one of the best oatmeal stouts in the country recognized by an international panel!”
Tumbleroot was awarded for its Double Brown Ale in the Other Strong Beer category, which had 29 entries. The Double Brown Ale was initially slated to be an IPA.
“I actually started out as a Brown IPA,” said Jason Kirkman, Tumbleroot brewery and distillery co-founder, director of brewing and employee operations. “We kind of kept increasing the malt especially the brown and toasted malts to make it this robust brown ale… It’s a beer we really love and yeah we’re excited… For being a brewery, we’ve only been in operation for a little over a year and a half. It’s been a great honor to get a medal this early on.”
New Mexico Brewers Guild Executive Director Leah Black is proud of the state’s booming brewery scene.
“New Mexico craft breweries continue to be one of the leaders in the industry,” Black said. “We are beyond proud of the rising force coming out of this state!”
The 2019 GABF was held Oct. 3-5 in Denver. It is one of the largest commercial beer competitions in the world. This year’s GABF competition received 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries representing all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands in 107 beer categories covering 174 different beer styles. This year’s GABF competition was the largest and most competitive to date, according to a GABF news release.