Every year, breweries around the country have about a week or so in July or August to mail, ship, carry or drag their Great American Beer Festival entries to the Brewers Association, which then stores them in a warehouse before bringing in more than a hundred volunteer judges to put those beers to the test
This year, that week ends Friday, July 30, and although there will be no public festival as part of GABF this year — that party returns in 2022
— there will be a competition, with the results announced on September 10 during the Craft Beer Conference, an annual trade show. And it means that many breweries in Colorado
will quietly, and with fingers crossed, tap the beers that they brewed for entry. That's great news for us, as some of the best, most true-to-style or most loved lagers and ales will be available for drinking over the next week or two.
"Best time of year to drink at a brewery is this weekend," says David Lin, owner of Comrade Brewing
, which taps More Dodge Less Ram, its 2019 gold medal-winning IPA, on July 28. Comrade also has its tried-and-true IPA, Super Power, on tap in all of its GABF glory, as well as a variation brewed by the Bull & Bush.
Where else will you find GABF-worthy brews? Lin suggests Cannonball Creek Brewing
in Golden, which has won thirteen GABF medals in just eight years and has at least five of them on its menu board
right now, including Vladimir Brutin Brut IPA (GABF silver and bronze), Trump Hands Session IPA (silver and gold), Netflix and Pils (gold), Featherweight Pale Ale (bronze, silver and gold), and Black 28 Black IPA (gold and silver).
But there are plenty of others. Here's a rundown of some of the fun:
Baere Brewing just keeps swimming.
has five GABF entries on tap or in cans starting on July 30: Less Talk, More Hops Double IPA, Just Keep Swimming New Zealand IPA, Totes Hops, Totes Pops Hazy Strong Pale, Melt-Banana Hefe and Baere-liner Weisse.
Fiction Beer Company
will have three GABF entries available in cans on July 30 as well: Nipped in the Bud Imperial Hazy, Hive Swarm Rye Pale Ale, and Lion's Ransom Doppelbock. The brewery also plans to enter its unusual Talk Song Barrel Aged Cold Brew IPA, which is still on tap at the brewery.
in Golden unveils its Angier’s Box Czech dark lager.
Long Table Brewhouse
has its Czech-style Super Pils on tap.
Denver Beer Co.
will have a lightly smoked Helles, a GABF entry, pouring at its Arvada taproom.
Dry Dock Brewing
, which has been rolling out its excellent lagers in cans, tapped its Helles several weeks ago. The beer is a silver-medal winner at GABF.
has remade and tapped its GABF medal-winning Poblano Pils.
Jade Mountain Brewery & Teahouse
Comrade Brewing has won many awards at many competitions.
debuts a new beer this weekend that will also make an appearance at GABF: Monkey King Double Sour IPA, which was brewed with peach, vanilla and lactose. The brewery is also pouring Nezha Pineapple, Sichuan Chili Gose, and its Sichuan Chili Chocolate Stout.
is currently pouring Pitchman’s Porter, Mad Monkey Mojo IPA and Dark Side of the Malt dark lager, all of which it has submitted to the GABF judges.
Liquid Mechanics Brewing
in Lafayette, which is coming off the high of scoring a 94/100 from Craft Beer & Brewing for its Jiggle Juice Hazy IPA, is tapping the beer, which will also be judged at GABF.
The year-old Ska Street Brewstillery
will enter its own beers at GABF separately from Ska's World Headquarters in Durango this year, including Casual Pilsner and Two Tickets to Pali-dise, which are both on tap.
in Boulder has Deep Dark Depths and Barrel Aged Big Mole going, and it will begin pouring Lager Down, a pale lager with Citra, Amarillo and El Dorado hops; the beer got a 91/100 from Craft Beer & Brewing.