The Colorado Rockies' season came to a merciful end at the end of September, but the Sandlot brewery inside Coors Field plans to stay open to the public through the winter for the first time in more than a decade -- something that will allow it to showcase its recent designation as Large Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.
And to kick things off, the Sandlot -- officially called the Blue Moon Brewing Company at the Sandlot -- will host a party on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., offering $4 flights of its three 2013 GABF medal winners, along with an award-winning beer from Blue Moon. (Both the Sandlot and Blue Moon are owned by a subsidiary of MillerCoors.)
"Once the season is over, people tend to forget about us," says Sandlot head brewer John Legnard. "But they need to put us on the to-do list...It's not just about baseball."
That fact should be clear from the Sandlot's own trophy case, which was custom-built just before GABF out of beetle-kill wood to match the newly renovated interior of the brewery, which started its life in 1995 as Rounders. It holds the forty medals that the Sandlot has won over that time -- the most of any Colorado brewery.
The trophy case is already obsolete.
On October 12, the Sandlot won three more medals: golds for its Second Hand Smoke raushbier and its Move Back dortmunder, and a bronze for Goat Rancher bock. It also won the prestigious Large Brewing Company of the Year award.
"People don't realize how hard it is to win a medal. Less than 5 percent of the beers that enter GABF win one," says Legnard, who also served as a GABF judge this year with fellow Sandlot brewer Tom Hail. "It's hard to analyze a beer on its merits alone, and do it blind. That's why this is such a great competition.
"It's not a popularity contest," he adds, noting the fact that the Sandlot makes lighter beers that aren't considered to be exciting. "If it was, we'd never win."
The Sandlot will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays during the off-season, serving a lineup of beers made in-house and by Blue Moon.
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