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2 Minn. breweries take home awards from Great American Beer Festival

Two local breweries were among five Minnesota beers to take home medals from a field of more than 7,200 beers judged at this year's Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver.

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Two local breweries were among five Minnesota beers to take home medals from a field of more than 7,200 beers judged at this year's Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver. BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

Two local breweries were among five Minnesota beers to take home medals from a field of more than 7,200 beers judged at this year's Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver.

Jack Pine Brewery won a bronze medal for its Vengeance! Jalapeno Cream Ale in the Chili Beer category. Owner Patrick Sundberg said the award helps reaffirm what he hears from customers in the taproom who love the beer.

"I love the feedback I get on that beer, as well as the rest of our lineup, in the brewery taproom, but to get validation from an independent blind tasting at a national competition is great," Sundberg said. "Three out of five Minnesota GABF medals going to up north breweries shows that greater Minnesota is putting out some excellent brews."

Roundhouse Brewery also took home a bronze medal for its Runaround Rye Ale in the Rye Beer category. Mark Lelwica, co-owner and president, said the award represents brewer Chuck Martin's talent.

"Along with Jack Pine (Brewery), this area was very well represented at the GABF, and is on the map as a destination to go for some high quality craft beer," Lelwica said.

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According to the festival's website, the Great American Beer Festival invites industry professionals from around the world to sit together in small groups and, without knowing the brand name, taste beers in each specified style category. The ultimate goal of the Great American Beer Festival judge panel is to identify the three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the Great American Beer Festival.

Five different three-hour judging sessions take place over the three-day period during the week of the festival. Judges are assigned beers to evaluate in their specific area of expertise and never judge their own product or any product in which they have a concern.

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