Avid homebrewer Brian Giebel has made a name for himself in the Long Island craft beer scene. He’s collaborated with BrickHouse Brewery and had several recipes brewed at Great South Bay. But now he has won one of the highest honors in brewing: a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
For those who may not know, the Great American Beer Festival—also known as GABF—is an annual festival in Denver that celebrates all things beer. It draws everyone from large-scale professional brewers to aspiring nanobreweries to beer enthusiasts. In addition to tastings and events throughout the festival, there is also a competition that awards medals in more than 90 beer categories.
Giebel had his eye on the Pro Am, which is awarded to the best beer brewed by a homebrewer with a professional brewery. His locally award winning Belgian Tripel, Muscat Love, was brewed in collaboration with Great South Bay Brewery and entered into the competition. “Just having it chosen by Great South Bay is a rewarding thing,” says Giebel. “It makes me feel justified in the hobby that I have chosen and my ability to craft a brew that can be enjoyed outside my circle.”
“There’s some incredible beer out there from the homebrewers and it’s usually the most interesting,” says Rick Sobotka, owner of Great South Bay. His desire to stay connected to the homebrewing community led him to run a monthly contest with local club Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts. Several of the winners had their beer actually served in the tasting room but Giebel’s Muscat Love emerged at the top of the pack and was submitted to GABF.
Giebel was invited to join the Great South Bay team in Denver but he was unable to make it. However, Muscat Love took a gold medal and news quickly travelled back to Long Island. To celebrate the win, Muscat Love is now available in limited quantities on tap and in 500 ml. bottles at Great South Bay Brewery.