Buffalo beer was well represented on the medal podium at the second annual New York State Craft Beer Competition, quadrupling the total medal count from last year’s competition. This year, seven local breweries took home a whopping 12 medals in nine different categories, running the gamut of beer styles. Last year, only three breweries were awarded three medals.

Big Ditch were the big winners locally, tallying four medals, one of only two breweries to do so (the other being Peekskill Brewing from Peekskill, NY). Big Ditch built upon their lone medal win from last year by taking home four bronze medals – Deep Cut Double IPA in American DIPA, Hayburner in American IPA, Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale in Fruit and Spice Beer – over 6.0ABV and Towpath in Imperial Stout and Porter.

“Congratulations to our team of brewers who work hard every day to bring our region the highest quality of beers we are capable of,” Big Ditch said of the news.

Resurgence Brewing and Community Beer Works each took home a pair of medals. Resurgence won Silver in the American DIPA category for their Head in the Clouds DIPA and Silver in Imperial Stout and Porter for their Imperial Sponge Candy Milk Stout. CBW meanwhile won Silver in American IPA for That IPA and Silver in Brown Ale (American, British) for The Whale.

Elsewhere, Hamburg Brewing won Bronze in the Experimental category for Blackberry Sauce Imperial Blackberry Gose, Rusty Nickel Brewing took home Silver in Fruit and Spice Beer – over 6.0ABV for Slice O’ Havens, New York Beer Project repeated as medal winners with a Silver in Golden/Blonde Ale (American, Kolsch, Cream Ale) for Walter Kohlsch and 12 Gates Brewing got a Bronze in Light Lagers for their Festbier.

The statewide competition, now in its second year, featured 420 breweries and 642 beers entered, 45 medal-winning breweries with 72 total medals awarded, 24 style categories judged, plus Governor’s Excelsior Cup by 43 judges from across NYS, and out of the 642 entries, 264 entries qualified as NYS labeled beer under the current law of at least 20% NYS hops and 20% NYS malt.

For the second straight year, the Governor’s Excelsior Cup was awarded to Threes Brewing (Brooklyn), this time for their Passing Time Grisette. The brewery also took home the top prize in 2017 for their Vliet Pilsner.

Last year, Big Ditch, New York Beer Project and Thin Man Brewery all won medals at the first ever New York Craft Beer Competition, the second largest statewide competition in the country with 707 entries. Big Ditch was awarded Bronze in the American DIPA category for Deep Cut, Thin Man won Silver for Hyperballad in Belgian Other (Trappist, Strong, Etc.) and New York Beer Project was awarded Silver in Light Lager for their Lockport Lager.

The competition was organized by the New York State Brewers Association and Raise A Glass Foundation. The competition was held July 28 at the Radisson Hotel in Henrietta.

There’s something special brewing here in the Buffalo-Niagara region, and you don’t have to take my word for it. The proof is clearly in the pudding and people are starting to take notice.

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.