The Best Beer in New York State

On July 28th the New York State Brewers Association held its 2nd annual Governor’s Cup competition for the best beers produced in New York State. The Governor’s Excelsior Cup, which is given to the overall best beer of the competition, was awarded to Threes Brewing (Brooklyn) for the second consecutive year, this time for their Passing Time Grisette.  

Check out the winners below from each category. Congratulations to all the breweries and happy drinking! 

Overall Competition Highlights

Most medals won

  • (4) medals were won by Peekskill Brewing, Peeksill NY (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) and Big Ditch Brewing, Buffalo NY (4 bonze)
  • (3) medals were won by Saranac Brewing (3 golds), Lucky Hare Brewing, Hector NY (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze), Bottomless Brewing, Geneva NY (2 gold, 1 silver), and Glenmere Brewing, Florida NY (2 gold, 1 silver)
  • Two (2) medals were won by 8 breweries

Style Categories

This year the most-entered categories were New England Style India Pale Ale (IPA) and American Light Lager which each saw 58 entries. The top five entered categories were:

  • New England Style India Pale Ale (58 entries)
  • Light Lagers (58 entries)
  • American India Pale Ale (48 entries)
  • American Double India Pale Ale (40 entries)
  • Golden/Blonde Ale (American, Kolsch, Cream Ale) (39 entries)

Summary: 2018 New York Craft Brewers Competition and Governor’s Excelsior Cup

  • 420 Breweries in New York State
  • 642 beers entered
  • 45 medal-winning breweries
  • 72 total medals awarded
  • 24 style categories judged, plus Governor’s Excelsior Cup
  • 43 judges from across NYS
  • 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

Category Winners 

Category 1: Belgian Farmhouse – 24 Entries 

Gold: Passing Time Grisette, Threes Brewing, Brooklyn **(Governors Excelsior Cup Winner)

Silver: Summer White House, Oyster Bay Brewing Company, Oyster Bay

Bronze: Touch of Grey, Local 315 Brewing Company, Warners


Category 2: Amber and Dark Lagers – 22 Entries 

Gold: Toasted Lager, Blue Point Brewing Company, Patchogue

Silver: Live and Let Lager, Lost Borough Brewing, Rochester

Bronze: Great Flats Dunkel Bock, Great Flats Brewing, Schenectady


Category 3: Amber/Red Ale (British, American, Irish, Scottish) – 22 Entries 

Gold: Soda Bread Red, Bottomless Brewing, Geneva

Silver: Amber Waves of Grain, Erie Canal Brewing Company, Canastota

Bronze: Irish Red Ale, Seneca St Brew Pub, Manlius


Category 4: American DIPA – 40 Entries 

Gold: Too Kind DIPA, Three Heads Brewing, Rochester

Silver: Head in the Clouds DIPA, Resurgence Brewing Company, Buffalo

Bronze: Deep Cut, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Buffalo

Bronze: Whoopass DIPA, Roc Brewing Co, Rochester


Category 5: American IPA – 48 Entries 

Gold: IPW, Upstate Brewing Company, Elmira

Silver: Spring Fling, Seneca St Brew Pub, Canastota

Bronze: Hayburner American IPA, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Buffalo


Category 6: American IPA Variations – 25 Entries 

Gold: Great Flats Raspberry IPA, Great Flats Brewing, Schenectady

Silver: That IPA, Community Beer Works, Buffalo

Bronze: Sundae IPA, Fifth Frame, Rochester


Category 7: Barrel Aged (non-Sour) – 18 Entries 

Gold: Basking in Bourbon, Saranac Brewery, Utica

Silver: Bourbon Barrel Aged Barley Wine, Bottomless Brewing, Geneva

Bronze: Bourbon Barrel Aged Ubu, Big Slide Brewery & Public House, Lake Placid


Category 8: Barrel Aged Sour – 13 Entries 

Gold: Reprise, Brown’s Brewing Company, Troy

Silver: H6 Cherry Sour, Transmitter Brewing, Long Island City

Bronze: Drie Hoofden Flemish Red, Three Heads Brewing, Rochester


Category 9: Belgian Other (Trappist, Strong, etc.) – 17 Entries 

Gold: Belgian Golden Strong Anny #2, Lucky Hare Brewing Company, Hector

Silver: Biere des Chevaliers, Saint James Brewery, Holbrook

Bronze: Quad, Five Boroughs Brewing Co., Brooklyn


Category 10: Brown Ale (American , British) – 23 Entries 

Gold: Trout Town Brown Ale, Roscoe Beer Company, Roscoe

Silver: The Whale, Community Beer Works, Buffalo

Bronze: Bingtown Brown, Galaxy Brewing Co, Binghamton


Category 11: Experimental – 15 Entries 

Gold: Varick Street Stout, Saranac Brewery, Utica

Silver: Co-Pilot, War Horse Brewing Co., Geneva

Bronze: Blackberry Sauce, Hamburg Brewing Company, Hamburg


Category 12: Fruit and Spice Beer  – over 6.0ABV – 20 Entries 

Gold: Wicked With, Glenmere Brewing Company, Florida

Silver: Slice O’ Havens, Rusty Nickel Brewing Co., West Seneca

Bronze: Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Buffalo


Category 13: Fruit and Spice Beer – 6.0ABV and lower – 37 Entries 

Gold: Hidden Track, The Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill

Silver: Summer Fling, Oval Craft Brewing, Plattsburgh

Bronze: Purple Rain, Binghamton Brewing Co., Johnson City


Category 14: Golden/Blonde Ale (American, Kolsch, Cream Ale) – 39 Entries 

Gold: Lake Placid Golden Ubu, Lake Placid Brewery, Lake Placid 

Silver: Walter Kohlsch, New York Beer Project, Lockport

Bronze: Jetty, Great South Bay Brewery, Bay Shore


Category 15: Imperial Stout and Porter – 10 Entries 

Gold: Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout, Spider Bite Beer Co., Holbrook

Silver: Imperial Sponge Candy Milk Stout, Resurgence Brewing Company, Buffalo

Bronze: Towpath, Big Ditch Brewing Company, Buffalo


Category 16: Light Lagers – 58 Entries 

Gold: Bohemian Pilsner, Bottomless Brewing, Geneva

Silver: Skills Pils, The Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill

Bronze: Festbier, 12 Gates Brewing Co., Williamsville


Category 17: New England IPA  – 58 Entries 

Gold: Control For Smilers, Prison City Brewing, Auburn

Silver: Sparkled Up, Fifth Frame, Rochester

Bronze: Flashy Ways NEIPA, Braven Brewing Company, Brooklyn

 Category 18: Pale Ale – 39 Entries 

Gold: Whatsis Batch #2, Naked Dove Brewing Company, Canandaigua

Silver: Aussie Slang, The Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill

Bronze: Paramount Pale Ale, The Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill


Category 19: Porter (Non Imperial) – 18 Entries 

Gold: Box’d Smok’d Porter, Glenmere Brewing Company, Florida

Silver: Lock 9 Porter, Wolf Hollow Brewing Company, Schenectady

Bronze: Karass Porter, Rare Form Brewing Company, Troy


Category 20: Stout (Non Imperial) – 17 Entries 

Gold:  No gold awarded

Silver: Black Meadow Bog, Glenmere Brewing Company, Florida

Bronze: Whiteface Stout, Great Adirondack Brewing Company, Lake Placid


Category 21: Strong Ale (non-Belgian) – 12 Entries 

Gold: Barleywine, Naked Dove Brewing Company, Canandaigua

Silver: Doppelbock, Lucky Hare Brewing Co., Hector

Bronze: No bronze awarded


Category 22: Wheat Beer (American, Wit, Hefe) – 36 Entries 

Gold: Witte, Brewery Ommegang , Cooperstown

Silver: Honey Wit, Big Alice Brewing Company, Long Island City

Bronze: Electric Hefeweizen, Mad Jack Brewing Co., Schenectady


Category 23: Wild and Sour Ale – 31 Entries 

Gold: Kung Foeder Series – Jackie Batch 1, Good Nature Brewing, Hamilton

Silver: Fruit Salad, Lucky Hare Brewing Co., Hector

Bronze: Eternal Return: Sauv Blanc, Threes Brewing, Brooklyn


Category 24: New York State Beer (At least 20% NYS hops, NYS Malt and other NYS ingredients) – 264 Qualified Entries 

Gold: Trout Town Brown Ale, Roscoe Beer Company, Roscoe

Silver: Great Flats Raspberry IPA, Great Flats Brewing, Schenectady

Bronze: Sundae IPA, Fifth Frame, Rochester

Bronze: Summer Fling, Oval Craft Brewing, Plattsburgh

1 thought on “The Best Beer in New York State”

  1. Threes won for the second year! They are amazing. Would love to go visit them in Brooklyn someday.

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