This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Zymurgy Magazine
By Kristen Kuchar
AHA Members Win Big at 2023 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am
Competition is a big part of homebrewing. It’s an opportunity for critical and valuable feedback from experts that helps homebrewers learn and improve their beloved craft. And, of course, it’s fun to win a medal.
But one competition is unlike any other. The Pro-Am competition is part of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one of the largest and best-known beer celebrations and competitions in the world. Every beer competing in the Pro-Am has already medaled at an AHA/BJCP-sanctioned competition; from these winning beers, professional brewers have selected homebrew recipes to brew commercially in partnership with homebrewers who created the,.
“Homebrewers get really excited to team up to create these beers,” says Chris Williams, Brewers Association competition director.
Entries are judged in the same manner as all other beers at GABF, Williams explains, by the same expert panel. He points out it is a difficult category to judge because it isn’t like others in the competition in which entries go head to head in a single style category. Instead, the Pro-Am is a best-of-show style competition featuring a wide variety of styles. In 2023 there were 50 Pro-Am entries.
Pro-Am beers are available on tap at the respective breweries, which is a fantastic opportunity to showcase homebrewing to customers who likely already have an appreciation of well-made craft beer. But it doesn’t stop there. The beers are also available in the festival hall at GABF in Denver, allowing approximately 40,000 attendees to give them a try and experience the excellence homebrewers are capable of.
The Pro-Am brings more attention to homebrewing and showcases it in a different light, Williams says. He receives positive feedback from participating professional brewers as well, with many appreciating the unique opportunity to engage with the homebrewing community that launched many of their careers.
Access the full article in the January/February 2024 Zymurgy magazine.
This article includes:
- Interviews with the Gold-, Silver-, and Bronze-medalists.
- Gold Beer Recipe: She Fancies Herself a Little Bit French Saison
- Silver Beer Recipe: Nacht Out Baltic Porter
- Bronze Beer Recipe: What Is That? Piwo Grodziskie