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Alaskan Bill Howell wins the Wynkoop's Beerdrinker of the Year contest

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Colorado wasn't able to claim its second consecutive Beerdrinker of the Year title on Saturday at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, but at least we lost to a qualified candidate from the well deserving state of Alaska.

Retired Navy officer and current college administrator Bill Howell took home the prize, which entitles him to free beer for life at the Wynkoop; $250 in free beer from his favorite pub, the Elias Brewing Company in Soldotna, Alaska; a t-shirt; bragging rights and the honor of brewing a beer at the Wynkoop for next year's contest.

Howell, of Sterling, Alaska, is also the creator of The Art and History of Brewing, a class that he teaches at Kenai Peninsula College.

He was one of three finalists who appeared at the Wynkoop on Saturday for two-plus hours of grueling questions from a robed and wigged panel of beer experts that included last year's victor, Cody Christman of Denver, and Rich Grant, communications director of Visit Denver and organizer of last fall's Denver Beer Week.

The other two contestants were Phil Farrell, a pilot and homebrewer from Cumming, Georgia, and Denver's Logan Perkins, who has tried nearly 5,000 beers in 45 states and more than 25 others countries.

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