In 2017, when Third Space won a gold medal at the massive, and prestigious, Great American Beer Fest, neither he nor brewer Kevin Wright made the trip to Denver for the awards ceremony. But Gehl was at GABF on Saturday this year when Third Space Brewing was honored with a pair of medals. The brewery took home silver in the Rye Beer category with Unite the Clans, last year’s gold medal winner in that category. Unbridled Enthusiasm claimed a bronze medal in the highly competitive Imperial India Pale Ale category.
Medaling at GABF is a pretty big deal. This year, 800 breweries participated and submitted nearly 8,500 different beers in the competition, which covers 102 different categories.
“After missing last year’s gold medal win, we weren’t going to miss the opportunity again,” said Gehl. “That said, you never expect you are going to win, so it was pretty cool to hear our name called, not once but twice. It was great to see Unite the Clans win a second medal this year but I think we were even more excited about Unbridled Enthusiasm. The Imperial IPA category is one of the most competitive categories, and there are so many innovative and flavorful IPAs out there.”
A pair of California brews took home the top two spots among the 157 imperial IPAs entered. Noble Ale Works Nobility won gold, and Moonraker Brewing Northern Lights earned the silver.
“From our review of the records, no Wisconsin beer has ever won a GABF medal in an IPA category,” added Gehl. “It was pretty cool to have our beer recognized as a top double IPA. An award like that shows that people appreciate the hoppy beers we are known for at Third Space and is a signal that beer lovers shouldn’t sleep on Wisconsin IPAs.”
Third Space wasn’t the only Wisconsin brewery to earn recognition. Tribute Brewing in Eagle River won a gold in the Chili Beer category with White Legs Jalapeño Wheat. Stevens Point Brewery’s Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale claimed a silver in the Pumpkin/Squash Beer or Pumpkin Spice Beer category.
“We think Wisconsin breweries should be winning more medals than they are — only two medals last year and four this year,” said Gehl. “I think our state deserves more credit. However, we’re happy that the GABF judges have seen something in our beers. To win three GABF medals in just two years of existence is pretty amazing.”