The annual Craft Brewers Conference wrapped up late last week in Nashville, Tennessee, where 14,000 brewing-industry professionals gathered to network, listen to seminars, attend the massive BrewExpo trade show, eat hot chicken and drink cold beer (next year's CBC is in Denver, by the way).
The conference was also the setting for the biennial World Beer Cup, considered to be one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world. This year, an elite panel of 295 judges from 33 countries — 72 percent of whom were from outside the United States — rated 8,234 beers (up 25 percent over 2016). The United States took home the most bling, winning 242 out of the 303 awards given out. But Canada, Germany and Belgium also showed well.
Colorado did quite well for itself, too, taking home 27 medals. And luckily for you, many of those stellar beers are easy to find on tap at their home breweries or in cans and bottles. Here's where you can find and drink the winners.
The Gold Medal Winners
Diebolt Brewing, Denver
Long one of Colorado's most underrated bourbon-barrel-aged Russian imperial stouts, Vladislav (formerly known as the Commodore) is on tap at the brewery and available here and there in bottles in liquor stores. The much-deserving beer took home gold in the Aged Beer division.
Cannonball Creek Brewing, Golden
This hilariously named IPA won gold at GABF in 2016 and pulled off the same feat this year at the World Beer Cup, winning top honors in the Session India Pale Ale category.
Funkwerks, Fort Collins
Funkwerks won gold in the Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale category. Its Oud Bruin is released once a year in 750ml bottles and on draft. The brewery currently has 2018 bottles available in the taproom (limit of two per person) and on draft.
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Call to Arms Brewing, Denver
Hoppy beers aren't a specialty of Call to Arms, which makes it all the more interesting that the brewery scored gold in the Fresh or Wet Hop Ale category. This style is a fall seasonal, when hops are harvested, and Call to Arms says it will make this one-off beer again if it can score some fresh hops when fall rolls around.
Rockyard American Grill & Brewing, Castle Rock
A brand-new beer in a brand-new can, Primadonna can be found year-round at the brewery on draft and in six-packs to go. This one grabbed gold in the German-Style Pilsener category.
Big Ben Brown Ale
Bull & Bush Brewery, Glendale
Big Ben is one of the Bull & Bush's oldest and most storied beers — and it still has chops, besting the field in the English-Style Brown Ale division.
Gueten Beer, Sleeping Giant Brewing, Denver
Sleeping Giant is a large contract brewer that primarily makes beers for other breweries. It won in the gluten-free division. The brewery doesn't have a taproom you can visit, so look for this one around Denver.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing, Denver
OMF has just a few bottles left of this once-a-year beer, which it will put up for sale on Saturday, May 12. Saison Trystero also scored silver at GABF for a rare double whammy in Brett Beers. Batch 3 will be out this year.
Steamworks Brewing, Durango
Steamworks took gold in the Dark Lager category for Night Train; the beer is now on tap at the Durango brewery.
Get ’Em While They're Hot
Bligh’s Barleywine Ale
Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora
A longstanding stellar yearly release, Bligh's (the 2017 vintage) got bronze in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category. The 2018 version is on shelves in bottles; the 2017 version might still be out there, too.
Fiction Beer Company, Denver
Fiction's smokey dark lager took home silver in the Dark Lager category; you can still get it on tap at the brewery. (FYI: You can also find it in Crowlers at Craft Alley in Washington Park.)
American Sour Ale with Guava
Loveland Aleworks, Loveland
This beer, brewed occasionally at Loveland Aleworks, took bronze in the Fruit Beer category. The brewery will have 22-ounce bottles for sale this Friday, May 11, at the taproom. It is also available in retail stores.
Hickory Peach Wee Heavy
The Intrepid Sojourner Beer Project, Denver
Oh, happy day! Hickory Peach, which debuted at the Beers Made by Walking festival last year, will be part of the Intrepid Sojourner's one-year anniversary bomber releases next week. A Westword favorite, it won silver at the World Beer Cup in the Experimental Beer category.
Launch Pad Brewery, Aurora
Peacekeeper, which scored a bronze in the Session Beer category, is on tap now, but the brewery says it won't last long. This beer also won a medal at GABF. (This is available in Crowlers at Craft Alley as well.)
C.B. & Potts
C.B. & Potts took home bronze in the Dortmunder/Export or German-Style Oktoberfest group and has decided to re-brew the beer after the medal. It will be available June 14 at the Highlands Ranch location and at other C.B. & Potts locations after that.
Razz Against the Machine
Little Machine Brewing, Denver
This beer, which took Silver for Fruit Beer, is available on draft and in four packs to go. It also medaled at GABF.
Avery Brewing, Boulder
This year-round beer is one of Avery's top sellers. It took home silver for Belgian-Style Witbier, and is available all the time in liquor stores and restaurants all over town.
Wreak Havoc Imperial Red Ale
Bootstrap Brewing, Niwot
A big, hoppy red, this beer is part of Bootstrap's regular canned lineup. It won bronze in its category.
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, Loveland
Taking bronze in the Munich-Style Dunkel or European-Style Dark Lager, this excellent lager is typically available year-round on tap and in cans.
Beehive Honey Wheat
Bristol Brewing, Colorado Springs
One of the flagships from this OG brewery, Beehive took silver in the American-style Wheat Beer With Yeast category and is available year-round in bottled six-packs.
Cerberus Brewing, Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs scored again with this beer, which won bronze for German-Style Koelsch.
Whacked Out Wheat
Telluride Brewing, Telluride
One of the best wheat beers in Colorado, Whacked Out Wheat scored a silver medal for an American-Style Wheat Beer; it's sold in canned six-packs year round.
Pete's Stash Pale and Gore Creek IPA
Vail Brewing, Vail
Vail Brewing hit it big twice, winning two bronze medals for two of its hoppy flagship beers. The first is Pete's Stash, which won in the Australian-Style Pale Ale or International-Style Pale Ale category. The second winner was Gore Creek IPA, which was entered in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale division.
Gone but Not Forgotten
WeldWerks Brewing, Greeley
This was the first sour beer from WeldWerks, and it sold out as soon as it was released. But the beer took home bronze in the Fruited Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category.
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The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field, Denver
The brewers like things smokey at the Sandlot; they won a medal at GABF for a different smoked beer last fall. This one took bronze, however, in the Smoke Beer division.
Beet Cream Ale
Cogstone Brewing, Colorado Springs
Taking bronze in the Field Beer category, the Beet Cream is part of a series of cream ales that Cogstone does.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Boulder
A silver winner in the Belgian-Style Dubbel or Belgian-Style Quadrupel category, the Quad doesn't currently appear to be on tap, according to the company website.