Friday, October 26, 2007
First, if you haven't seen my column on pumpkin beers that ran in today's Gazette but are interested, here's the link: http://www.gazette.com/entertainment/pumpkin_28937___article.html/taste_beers.html
That said, I apologize for taking so long to get back with another post about the Great American Beer Festival that ended two weeks ago. I half blame that on the amount of work I've been doing here at the Statehouse. But at least 50 percent of the reason also is that it's taken me this long to recover from the event.
Let's start by listing all of the Colorado beers that took home medals this year - and it would be an understatement to call it a lot. The big guys won. Very tiny breweries wore the jewelery. The biggest suprise was that Great Divide, possibly the state's best brewer, took home nothing. But that is the chance you take when judges are capturing the essence of the beer for just a brief moment in time.
Here's a look at the local winners, with commentary where I could (because I couldn't taste everything, I hope you understand):
*Avery Brewing: Almost as shocking as Great Divide's lack of medals was the fact that this Boulder landmark took home just one - a silver in the double red ale category for its Hog Heaven, a heavy but still smooth barleywine-style ale.
*Blue Moon Brewing: Gold in the specialty honey lager or ale category for its Honey Moon Summer Ale
*Boulder Beer Company: Bronze in the robust porter category for its Planet Porter.
*Bristol Brewing: In what has become an annual tradition, the Colorado Springs boys brought home a medal - specifically, a silver one - in the Scottish-style ale category for their chocolatey Laughing Lab. But in what was a long overdue recognition, they also brought home silver in the American-style sour ale category for their perenially exceptional Skull and Bones Cuvee, their ultra-acidic, cherry-soaked masterpiece.
*CB & Potts Restaurant and Brewery in Highlands Ranch: Gold among European-style darks for its Dunkelstilsken, a slightly chocolatey and smooth dunkel that is best sipped in summer.
*Coopersmith's Pub and Brewing of Fort Collins took a silver in the herb and spiced beer category for its Sigda's Green Chili, a beer with enough heat to seer your throat.
*Coors Brewing: Its lone medal was Coors Light's bronze for American-style light lager. Considering that Old Milwaukee Light took the gold in this category, you can decide for yourself whether the bronze is an honor.
*Durango Brewing: Gold in the other strong ale or lager category for its Derail Ale, which was not at the tasting booth.
*Flying Dog Brewery: The Denver brewery nabbed a bronze in the American-style amber lager category for its Old Scratch Amber Lager.
*Glenwood Canyon Brewing: Silver in Vienna-style lager for Dos Rios.
*Gunnison Brewery: Gold medal in the herb and spiced beer category for its Summertime 69.
*New Belgium Brewing: Two bronzes for the Fort Collins legend. The clean, fresh, suprisingly smooth Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer won in the Belgian white category. Meanwhile, the shockingly tart but complex La Terroir took it in the American-style sour category, the only disappointment being that New Belgium didn't have it on the floor at its booth.
*Odell Brewing: A huge year for Fort Collins' second best-known - but best - brewery, with three medals. Possibly no winner at the festival was as deserving as the delicious first-year IPA's gold in the American-style India pale ale category. It also snagged a silver in American-style hefeweizen category for its smooth Easy Street Wheat and a bronze in the double red ale category for its hopped-to-heaven Extra Special Red.
*Pug Ryan's Brewery: Dillon's own steakhouse grabbed the Bohemian-style pilsner silver medal for its Pallavicini Pilsner.
*Rock Bottom Brewery Westminster: Gold in the Irish-style red ale category for its Red Rocks Red.
*Rockyard American Grill and Brewing: The often-overlooked Castle Rock brewery nabbed a silver in the German-style strong bock category for Warning Sign, a 10.1 percent ABV concoction that was still very smooth, sweet and dark.
*Sand Lot Brewery at Coors Field: Denver's annual medal grabber took two this year, and both were in the same category: Oktoberfest beers. Move Back earned gold and Green Side Up a silver. Unfortunately, neither were at the tasting booth.
*Steamworks Brewing: A huge year for the Steamboat Springs brewery with three medals. The slightly smoky Steam Engine Lager took a well-deserved gold in the American-style amber lager category. Colorado Kolsch won silver among German-style kolsches. And What in the Helles, a Munich-style helles that delivers a very full, enveloping taste, snagged bronze.
*Tommyknocker Brewery: The Idaho Springs brewery tied for the state lead with three medals - its silver-winning Prospector Porter (brown porter), its bronze-winning Butthead Bock (bock) and its fellow bronze-winning Imperial Nut Brown Ale (old ale or strong ale). As a brewer at their booth told me: "You get the recipe right at the right time, you're good to go."
*Twisted Pine Brewing: The Boulder brewery took gold in the wood-and-barrel-aged beer category with its Oak Whiskey Red, an intense combo of slight sourness and hearty alcoholic oakiness.