Texas Brewers Win Big at Great American Beer Festival, including Peticolas and Rahr

Saturday was the conclusion of the 31st annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. This Super Bowl of beer competitions sold all 49,000 tickets in just 45 minutes when they went on sell back in July.

This past Thursday through Saturday, 580 breweries poured over 4,300 different beers that were judged by 185 beer experts from 11 different countries in over 84 categories covering 134 different styles of beers, including subcategories. (So, what time did the train arrive at the station?)

Dallas' very own Peticolas Brewing Company is walking away with their head held high after winning a rookie-year gold medal for their beer, Royal Scandal, in the classic English-style pale ale category.

Michael Peticolas opened this brewery just east of the Trinity River this summer and has, obviously, shot right out of the gate. Their Velvet Hammer, a smooth, subtle-caramel, luscious imperial red ale won the Observer's Best Beer award this year.

Royal Scandal pours light golden with a creamy head, and the "chosen yeast strain provides a distinctly European feel." Peticolas beers are on tap at almost forty restaurant and bars around the metroplex.

Michael Peticolas celebrated late into the night in the LoDo (lower downtown Denver).

"A massive feeling of disbelief overcame me when they announced the gold," Peticolas wrote in an email Sunday morning. "I can still hardly believe it and was certainly on cloud 9 all day and night yesterday."

Rahr & Sons Brewing won a silver medal for Iron Thistle in the Scotch ale category. Best enjoyed while sporting a kilt, this is the first GABF award for the Fort Worth brewer. Iron Thistle also won "National Grand Champion" in 2009 at the U.S. Beer Tasting Championships.

Founder Fritz Rahr said this award was payoff for eight years of blood, sweat and tears.

"We have won numerous awards over the years, but never from the GABF," wrote Rahr. "I am very proud of our brewery family, our volunteers and, of course, our loyal customers."

Amazingly, Rahr missed the event and announcement in Colorado to take care of a rescued dog. In a message at midnight Saturday, Fritz wrote, "I'm on the road driving to Canada; 2,200 miles to shuttle a rescue Brittany Spaniel from Texas to northern Saskatchewan, Canada."


Fritz's wife Erin, however, dropped everything Saturday and flew out to Denver to celebrate with employees who were already there.

Other Texas brewers who won awards this year include:

Humperdinks Uberbrau: Bronze in the American-style amber lager

Spoetzl Shiner Bock: Gold in American-style dark lager Shiner Oktoberfest: Gold in German-style Marzen Shiner Bohemian Black Lager: Gold in German-style Schwarzbier

Real Ale Brewing Company Hans' Pils: Silver in German-style Pilsner Firemans #4: Silver in Golden or Blonde Ale

Uncle Billy's Brew & Que Lake Travis Bottle Rocket: Gold in Kellerbier or Zwickelbier

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.