Photo courtesy of the New York State Brewers Association

The Western New York region was well represented at the 2021 New York State Craft Beer Competition Awards Ceremony, which took place Thursday at Big Alice Brewing’s Finger Lakes location. Six local breweries combined to win 13 medals in 11 different categories, headlined by Eli Fish Brewing, who took home a pair of gold medals, as well as the highly coveted Governor’s Cup, awarded for the best beer in the state.

The competition, the largest state-level competition in the US, featured 1,143 entries from 182 breweries in 27 categories. A total of 87 medals were awarded to 50 breweries. Grimm Artisanal Ales won the most awards with 8 medals, taking home the 2021 Brewery of the Year award in the process.

Eli Fish was awarded the Governor’s Cup for Heavy Maple, which won gold in the Fruit and spice (non-sour) category. The brewery also won gold in Experimental for Tiga Queen, silver in Barrel-aged sour for Mixed Fermentation Pillow Talk and the award for the 2021 Best New York State Beer (At least 60% NYS hops & NYS Malt) for Tiga Queen.

Thin Man Brewery took home a pair of medals, a bronze for Lagerkoller in Imperial Stouts and Porters and a silver in Barrel-aged (non-sour) for Bourbon Barrel Aged Jenkins.

Woodcock Brothers Brewery won silver for Skydancer in the American IPA: Variations category and another silver in Brown Ale (American and British) for their Honey Brown Ale.

Rusty Nickel Brewing also doubled up on medal wins, grabbing a bronze for Live Edge Red Ale in Amber/Red Ales (British, American, Irish, Scottish) and another Bronze for Vanilla Chai Tea Milk Stout in Fruit and spice (non-sour).

Elsewhere, New York Beer Project nabbed a bronze medal for Chevy to the Levee in Barrel-aged (non-sour) and Pressure Drop Brewing scored a silver in in American IPA for Sticky Trees.

Last year, Thin Man, 42 North Brewing Company and Eli Fish took home medals at the competition.

There is remarkable beer being brewed on the daily right here in our backyard – all you have to do is look. These awards are simply further proof of that.

To see all of the winners from the 2021 NYS Craft Beer Competition, click here.

Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).