Why is Lakewood Brewing Bothering with GABF?
We are a few weeks away from this year’s Great American Beer Festival. This is the moment where many of the craft breweries around the country gather under one roof to show the world what they’ve got. With several hundred breweries all boothed up, it begs the question, what makes any certain brewery stand out from the crowd? What goals will be set and met by entering into this festival and medal competition? We caught up with Lakewood Brewing from Garland Texas to find out why they have bothered making the trek and why you should care. Enjoy!
TFP: Why did you choose to attend the Great American Beer Festival?
Lakewood Brewing: Because it’s the Super Bowl of beer festivals! Even though we’re only distributed in the North Texas metroplex of DFW, it’s still great to get out of your little world and hangout with others in your industry, especially in a setting like Denver.
TFP: Why should GABF attendees visit your booth?
LB: Texas has seen a huge upswing in the amount of breweries opening, as well as the variety and quality of beers coming out of our state. We’re proud to be among those breweries, and we feel like we’re bringing a nice sampling of the kinds of beers we do, from barrel-aged to sessionable. We’ll be set up in the Southwest section, at booth K32.
Our beers include:
French Quarter Temptress – Imperial Milk Stout brewed w/ bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans, chicory, and vanilla
Brabo’s Reserve – Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed w/ wildflower honey, aged in Petit Syrah barrel
Hopochondria – Session IPA
Lakewood Lager – Vienna-style Lager
Zomer Pils – Bavarian-style Pilsner
TFP: Share your thoughts on whether you think this (the GABF) is the best way for small to medium sized craft breweries to shine and if not, what could be changed to make this more efficient.
LB: Obviously the big names draw the crowds and have the longest lines, but it really is a great place to explore regions and find a new favorite brewery. The best part is having attendees stop by your booth having never heard of you, and being completely surprised. We see folks stop back by and bring their friends to try, which is a great feeling. More than anything, it’s just fun to share your hard work with individuals who appreciate good beer.
TFP: Why did you choose to enter your beers into the GABF Medal competition?
LB: Why not? It’s a great competition to enter, and pretty much THE award each and every brewery is going after.
TFP: What are your expectations for your brewery in the GABF medal competition?
LB: We’re always confident in the beers we’ve chosen to enter, but we’ve never gone into the competition expecting to win. We’re always hopeful, but we try and keep our expectations in check. You almost have to. Each year more and more breweries are entering, and the competition gets tougher and tougher. We know our beers can hang with any in the country, but it all comes down to what the judge is looking for. It’s a crapshoot. To win a medal in the competition is a huge accomplishment for any brewery, but honestly just getting into the final round of medal contention (which we’ve done for two years straight now) feels like an accomplishment to us.
TFP: Even though you’ve entered the GABF Medal competition, what do you think could be done to make the competition more fair, and accurately portray the best beers in the industry?
LB: Getting to the final round of medal contention and being left out can sting. Judges don’t necessarily award a gold, silver, and bronze to the top three beers. There may be 3 beers up for gold, but the two beers that don’t get picked aren’t necessarily silver and bronze. Those may already be chosen. That seems a little odd to us. You would think the top three best examples would take the medals, but from what we know that’s not the case. Also, rather than allowing breweries that have multiple locations to each enter beers, it would be nice to just have one overall brewery enter. That way the field isn’t loaded with entries from the same parent brewery.
TFP: Besides the festival floor, where can fans meet up with you in the Denver area during GABF week?
LB: Aside from the festival floor, we’ll be hanging out by the Beerliner bus parked outside of the Convention Center at 14th & Stout throughout most of the weekend. It’s a craft beer bus that’s part of the 1400 Mile prostate cancer fundraiser leading up to GABF. They’ll be featuring a big lineup of Texas only breweries out there, and we’ll be pouring on Thursday, Sept. 24 from 1pm-3pm. We’ll also be taking part in the world’s largest Shotgun Friday out at the bus starting at 11pm on Fri. Sept. 25.