Colorado's Winning GABF Team
In the days since the 29th Great American Beer Festival has ended, more than one person who attended has uttered the comment: "Wow, it was a strange year for medals." And certainly, many old favorites were pushed aside and new kids on the block went home with new jewelery.
How strange was it? AC Golden, the experimental brewing arm of Coors that specializes in refreshing but fairly unchallenging lagers, took home more medals (3) than the following four Colorado brewing giants combined: New Belgium (1); Great Divide (1); Avery (0); and Odell (0).
That said, surprise or not, it's time to salute the Colorado breweries that were recognized for their mastery of certain styles and type out that list of beers that need to be tried in the coming months.
AC Golden (Golden): Gold for its AC Dunkel, silver for its German Pilsner and bronze for its Schwarzbier in categories for those styles. Interesting that none of these have been bottled yet. Hopefully, that will change in the next year.
Blue Moon (Golden): Coors' craft-style brewing arm wins the biggest award that a Colorado brewer scored in the competition: Large Brewing Company of the Year. It also nabbed a gold in the specialty honey beer category for its Summer Honey Wheat Ale. And it grabbed gold in fruit beer for its Chardonnay Blonde, beating out New Glarus' legendary Raspberry Tart, which earned a bronze in the fruit beer category.
Boulder Beer: Gold in the English-style mild ale category for its easy-going Business Time Mild.
Bristol Brewing (Colorado Springs): Laughing Lab Scottish Ale wins a well-deserved medal yet again, a bronze in the Scottish-style ale category. And the Old #23 Barleywine takes silver in its namesake category.
C.B. Potts (Fort Collins): Dark Side Lager grabs bronze among European-style dunkels.
Dillon Dam (Dillon): McLuhr's Irish Stout garners silver in the classic Irish-style dry stout category.
Dry Dock (Aurora): Say hello to Colorado's most awarded brewery of 2010, which I'm told lost out on a second consecutive small brewer of the year award by a tie-breaker to California's Mad River Brewing. The haul: four silvers for Noble Stuff Export (dortmunder/Oktoberfest), Bismarck Altbier (German-style altbier), U-Boat Hefeweizen (south German-style Hefeweizen) and Whale Tale Wit (Belgian-style witbier).
Equinox (Fort Collins): Less than five months into its existence, this family-run brewery in downtown Fort Fun nabs a bronze for its Eclipse (English-style) Brown Ale.
Glenwood Canyon (Glenwood Springs): Carbonator - a big, sweet, alcoholic doppelbock - takes gold in that category.
Great Divide (Denver): Colette, arguably one of the big-beer maker's most understated creations, wins silver in the French- and Belgian-style saison category.
Left Hand (Longmont): Fade to Black, last year's wonderfully dark holiday beer, wins a gold for foreign-style stouts. It's a great beer, but the grumbling you hear from beer fans across Colorado is the realization that this award cements the fact that the former holiday beer, Snowbound Ale, is really never coming back.
Mountain Sun (Boulder): Illusion Dweller pulls in a silver for English-style IPAs.
New Belgium (Fort Collins): Move over, La Folie. Eric's Ale, the delightfully puckery peach beer, wins silver for American-style sour ale.
New Planet (Boulder): 3R Raspberry Ale takes bronze in the gluten-free beer category for the gluten-free brewery that is less than a year old.
Pagosa Brewing (Pagosa Springs): Coconut Porter wins a silver in the all-inclusive specialty beer category.
Pug Ryans (Dillon): Here's one the judges nailed: Hellats Good Beer wins gold in the bock category.
Rock Bottom: Old Elk Brown Ale, brewed in the Park Meadows location, wins gold in the English-style brown ale category. The Louisville-based chain won six other awards as well, but this was the only honored beer from one of its Colorado locations.
Rockyard (Castle Rock): Ryed Hard and Put Away Wet, which could have won another medal if there was a category for best beer names, earns silver in the pro-am competition for the collaboration between brewer Jim Stinson and homebrewer Adam Glaser.
Sandlot (Denver): It was another big year for the Coors Field brewery, with gold for Flor Hosen (German-style marzen) and silvers for Random Luck (American-style pilsner) and Clueless Beer Writer (Vienna-style lager). Now, um, when will these be on tap at games?
Ska Brewing (Durango): Bronze medal winners for Ska Special (classic English-style pale ale).
Steamworks Brewing (Durango): Two multiple-award winners return: What in the Helles? (Munich-style helles) takes gold and Colorado Kolsch (German-style kolsch) wins silver. And then a new favorite arises, as Backslide Stout earns a gold for oatmeal stouts.
Twisted Pine (Boulder): Big taste, big award. Big Shot Espresso Stout takes a bronze among coffee-flavored beers, a popular category this year.
Yak and Yeti (Arvada): The state's only Nepalese restaurant/brewery wins a gold in the American-style pale ale category for its Himalayan IPA.
Labels: Great American Beer Festival