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Here’s where homebrewers and craft beer makers can vie for a blue ribbon this summer.

Mike Pomranz
June 27, 2017

State fairs are an American institution. (With some exceptions: Sorry, Pennsylvanians!) These annual events have it all: livestock, carnival rides, bands you didn’t realize were still touring, and, of course, foods that would kill you if you ate them more than once a year. Two other staples of a solid state fair are competitions and beer: Competitions because when you get together with people from halfway across the state, you want to prove that you’re better than them, and beer because these fairs tend to be held in warm months when a cold one (or two) is essential. But the best state fairs combine these two things into one: beer competitions!

The New York State Fair – billed as the nation’s first state fair – recently made headlines by announcing that, for the first time, it would be adding a craft beer competition to its lineup. Any craft brewer in the state can enter its brews into 20 different categories and a team of judges will pick the winners – awarding the overall beer the “Governor’s Excelsior Cup.”

But New York isn’t the only state fair with its own beer competition – and, in fact, instead of commercial beer contests, many state fairs instead focus on contests exclusively open to amateur homebrewers. We did a quick dig through all fifty states to figure out which state fairs offer up beer competitions as part of their events. See our list below. (And please note, though we tried to include every competition from every eponymous state fair, it’s certainly possible some slipped through the cracks.)