Western New York breweries put in a strong showing at the third annual New York State Craft Beer Competition, nearly matching the total medal count from last year’s competition. This year, nine area breweries took home 11 medals (seven breweries won 12 medals in nine categories last year), though two, Resurgence Brewing and Big Ditch Brewing, took home gold medals. Last year no Buffalo brewery won gold.

Resurgence grabbed Gold in the Amber and Dark Lagers category for Ice Boom Bock, while Big Ditch brought a Gold medal back to the Queen City for Cannon Call Double IPA, the latest entry into their Lock IPA Series (American DIPA). Resurgence also won Bronze in Hazy IPA for CitMo IPA, an admirable feat considering there were a whopping 82 entries in the category. Big Ditch also won Silver in Amber and Dark Lagers for Fall Black.

“Another year of the New York State Governor’s Cup competition, and two more awards for Big Ditch!!! Gold Medal for Cannon Call as best DIPA in NYS, and a Silver for Fall Black in the Amber/Dark Lager category! This six awards for six different beers in two years! Super humbled to win these awards!” Big Ditch said.

Additionally, Flying Bison’s venerable flagship Aviator Red won Bronze in Amber/Red Ale, Southern Tier Brewing’s 3XIPA was awarded Bronze in American DIPA, Pressure Drop Brewing won Bronze in American IPA for their Sticky Trees IPA, New York Beer Project’s Superfunk won Silver in Barrel-Aged Sour, Thin Man Brewery’s highly underrated Tender Moments Farmhouse Saison won Bronze in Belgian Farmhouse, Rusty Nickel Brewing took home a Silver in the Fruit and Spice Beer (Non-sour) category for their Chai Tea Milk Stout and Community Beer Works was awarded a Bronze medal in Kettle and Simple Sours for their house sour, Pun Intended.

“Congrats—and thank you—to our brewers: Ryan, Robert, Jeannie, and Vandra! We’re so proud to showcase your hard work in our portfolio of award winning beers!” CBW said after their win.

Overall, Auburn’s Prison City Brewing took home the coveted Governor’s Cup for the best beer in the state, stopping Brooklyn’s Threes Brewing from a three peat, for their Barrel-Aged Wham Whams, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with coconut. Threes won the Governor’s Cup in 2017 and 2018 for their Vliet Pilsner and Passing Time Grisette, respectively.

Last year, Big Ditch were the big winners locally, tallying four medals, one of only two breweries to do so. They took home four bronze medals – Deep Cut DIPA in American DIPA, Hayburner in American IPA, Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale in Fruit and Spice Beer – over 6.0% ABV and Towpath in Imperial Stout and Porter. Resurgence, CBW, Hamburg Brewing, Rusty Nickel, NYBP and 12 Gates Brewing also medaled.

The statewide competition, now in its third year, featured 813 beers entered, 53 medal-winning breweries with 74 total medals awarded, 25 style categories judged by 56 judges from all across NYS. The number of beers entered was up from 642 from last year. Out of this year’s 813 entries, 353 entries qualified as NYS labeled beer under the current law of at least 20% NYS hops and 20% NYS malt.

The competition was organized by the New York State Brewers Association and Raise A Glass Foundation. Proceeds benefit InterVol, a Rochester-based non-profit that donates medical supplies worldwide, and the Rochester Rotary. The competition was held on February 22 in Henrietta.

I said it last year, and after this showing for local beer on a statewide level, it bears repeating – there’s something special brewing here in the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, 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 buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.