D9 Brewing Company, a Lake Norman brewery, recently took home its second Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medal for Brewer’s Day Off, a cucumber and melon Gose. In 2016, the brewery took home its first medal for its Dry Hopped Systema Naturae—scuppernong & lily, a wild sour ale. Taking home two medals in four years is no small feat since judging standards are set by the Brewer’s Association’s guidelines for each beer category.


In case you’re not familiar, GABF is the largest ticketed festival in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. This was the 37th year of the festival with approximately 62,000 attendees, 4,000 beers, and 800 breweries spread out over 584,000 sq. ft. in The Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO. This enormous three-day conference includes sampling a smattering of beers, a chance to meet your favorite brewers, opportunities for people in the beer industry to network, and last but not least, one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world.


The first time you attend the festival the roar of fellow beer enthusiasts makes you feel as if you’re part of a large, crazy dysfunctional family. After several one-ounce pours from over a variety of 800 breweries, you know you are in independent craft beer heaven. This year Charlotte resident Kelly Catalano, Great Lakes Brewing’s Western NC Field Sales Rep, attended the fest for the first time. Catalano remembers, “There was so much to do at GABF, between talks and brewery features, to Stein hoists (I set the record at one point for the women and won a hat!). And working the Great Lakes Brewing booth … I loved it.” Every time you attend this festival you experience something new.

Gordgeous Pumpkin Ale by NODA Brewing Co.


At this year’s competition, Charlotte brewers took home 5 medals out of the total of 13 won for the state. This is the highest number of medals won by the city in the history of this competition. This city needs to take a victory lap as these winnings have put this city on the national beer map.


NoDa Brewing Company and Triple C Brewing also added medals to their past winnings. Wooden Robot Brewery andDivine Barrel Brewing won their first medals in the competition, taking their place among the list of distinguished breweries.


This could not be a better time to geek out in the city of Charlotte and the Lake Norman area at our local breweries. Take some time to check out some of these breweries, enjoy their brews, and feel their vibe. The number of options in the beer world to get the full experience of craft beer are endless.