The Great American Beer Festival took place in Denver over the weekend. It’s the largest beer festival in the country, with the most widely respected competitions in the world. Breweries from coast to coast converge on the Mile High City to see who has the best IPA, best amber, best fruit beer…And the Southern Appalachians had a strong showing in that competition.

Hi-Wire Brewing, out of Asheville, pulled down gold for their Zirkusfest Oktoberfest, a malt-forward lager with a crisp finish. NoDa won a medal for their Nodajito, an herbal/spiced beer, and there was plenty of hardware to pass around for the Virginia breweries too, with Devils Backbone landing two golds, and Ornery and Ocelot Brewing each winning a gold.zirkusfest-oktoberfest-lager-pBut the biggest winner from our region has to be the tiny Brown Truck Brewing out of High Point, which won a gold for their #10 American Lager and two silvers in the saison categories. They even walked away with the honor of being Champion Brewery in the “Very Small Brewing Company” category.

You can see the full list of winners here.

You’re going to have to make the trip to High Point to drink one of Brown Truck’s lagers or saisons, but bottles and cans of Hi-Wire’s marzen and Devils Backbone are around. And it just so happens to be prime marzen season, so Zirkusfest should be at the top of your beer hunting list. The beer is rich without being heavy, and packs all kinds of biscuit notes before finishing rather dry. Consider this a “bridge beer” to get your palate warmed up for the maltier, heavier beers of winter.