Local GABF winners

San Diego brewing companies earn 18 medals at 2023’s edition of the Great American Beer Festival

Produced by trade organization, the Brewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is best known among craft consumers as the country’s largest annual public celebration of American ales and lagers. But it’s more than that for members of the brewing industry. Held at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center each fall, the three-day event includes the announcement of winners from GABF’s competition component. It’s the largest professional brewing competition in the world (receiving even more entries than its international sister event, spring’s World Beer Cup). As such, earning a gold, silver or bronze medal at GABF is a huge deal for American breweries and the craftspeople producing the winning beers.

This was the 41st running of GABF. It included roughly 9,300 entries in 100 style categories from 2,033 breweries, which were judged by more than 200 certified judges and experienced members of the brewing industry, including individuals from a number of San Diego County beer companies.

Results of this year’s GABF competition were announced earlier this morning. San Diego County breweries garnered 18 total medals. five of them were gold, seven were silver and six were bronze.

Local gold medal winners included Ballast Point Brewing’s Little Italy brewpub (Strong Porter), Belching Beaver Brewery (Experimental IPA), BNS Brewing & Distilling (Imperial Stout), East Village Brewing (Historical Beer) and TapRoom Beer Co. (Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale).

As they did in this year’s edition of the San Diego Beer News Awards, Modern Times Beer nearly swept a category with bronze and silver medals earned in Dessert Stout or Pastry Stout. Pizza Port’s Ocean Beach brewpub notched another GABF win for Guillaume (Session Beer or Belgian-style Table Beer), while Breakwater Brewing earned another medal for Rye Dawn (Rye Beer), Rip Current Brewing was recognized for Breakline Bock (Bock), Rouleur Brewing took its third medal in as many years with Domestique (Belgian-style Ale or French-style Ale) and Second Chance Beer Co.‘s Tabula Rasa earned additional hardware (Robust Porter).

Modern Times and Second Chance were the only San Diego County operations to win two awards.

San Diego brewers have historically performed well at GABF, with the county often outperforming entire states where total medals are concerned. Over the past seven years, local breweries combined to average 16 medals annually, with 15 in 2022, 18 in 2021, 13 in 2020, 18 in 2019, 16 in 2018, 14 in 2017 and 18 in 2016.

The following is a full list of this year’s winning beers hailing from San Diego County…


  • Experimental India Pale Ale: Tropical Terps IPA, Belching Beaver Brewery (Oceanside)
  • Historical Beer: Izola Kvass, East Village Brewing (East Village)
  • Imperial Stout: Gatling Gun, BNS Brewing & Distilling (Santee)
  • Juicy o Hazy Strong Pale Ale: PB Haze, TapRoom Beer Co. (North Park)
  • Strong Porter: Barometer Drop, Ballast Point Brewing (Little Italy)


  • Belgian-style Ale or French-style Ale: Domestique Blonde Ale, Rouleur Brewing (Carlsbad)
  • Bock: Breakline Bock, Rip Current Brewing (San Marcos)
  • Dessert Stout or Pastry Stout: Mega Devil’s Teeth: Double Dutch S’mores Edition, Modern Times Beer (Point Loma)
  • International-style Pale Ale: Carlsbad Crush, Burgeon Beer Co. (Carlsbad)
  • Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale: X-Raying Flowers, North Park Beer Co. (North Park)
  • Session Beer or Belgian-style Table Beer: Guillaume, Pizza Port (Ocean Beach)
  • Strong Porter: Herd of Turtles, Bagby Beer Co. (Oceanside)


  • Dessert Stout or Pastry Stout: Chaos Grid: The Final Final Course, Modern Times (Point Loma)
  • English-style Brown Ale: Nut Brown, AleSmith Brewing (Miramar)
  • Fruit Wheat Beer: Tuava Guava, Laguna Beach Beer Co. (Vista) *
  • Fruited American Sour Ale: Fistful of Gummies, Second Chance Beer Co. (Carmel Mountain)
  • International-style Pilsner: Tora!, Fall Brewing (Miramar)
  • Robust Porter: Tabula Rasa, Second Chance Beer Co. (Carmel Mountain)
  • Rye Beer: Rye Dawn, Breakwater Brewing (Oceanside)

* Laguna Beach Beer Co. operates a tasting room and barrel-aging operation at a brewing facility in Vista (CoLab Public House), but their winning beer was brewed in Laguna Beach, California.

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