Great American Beer Fest: Fun facts about Colorado's 46 medals in 2013

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Colorado returned to form at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, taking home a whopping 46 medals -- spread out across breweries of widely varying ages, sizes and locations. The medal count was also up significantly from 2012 -- when the state won only 35 medals as part of a four-year slide -- and capped by large awards for the Sandlot and Rock Bottom. The total number was so nice, in fact, that we thought we'd run down some interesting facts about the winning breweries.

See also: GABF will get much more space at the Colorado Convention Center in 2015

Colorado Boy Brewing in Ridgway won a silver medal for its Irish Red. It is the third GABF medal for that beer. The others were in 2009 and 2011.

Carver Brewing, which won gold for its Munich Dunkel, is Colorado's second-oldest brewpub, having been founded just a few months after the Wynkoop Brewing Co.

Pagosa Brewing won gold for its Peachy Peach wheat beer. The brewpub's only other GABF medal, a silver in 2010, was also a fruit beer, a stellar coconut porter.

Steamworks Brewing in Durango has won thirteen GABF medals since 1997, but only four, including its gold this year for Slam Dunkel, have been for ales. The rest were for lagers.

Ska's True Blonde won gold this year, the third GABF medal that that beer has taken home over the years. The victory means that three of Durango's four breweries medaled in 2013.

Great Divide's gold medal for its Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout was the brewery's eighteenth GABF medal, but its first since 2010.

The bronze medal that Renegade Brewing won for its Hammer and Sickle is the brewery's first medal -- and it's a fortuitous one: Renegade will release the Russian imperial stout later this month in cans. It is the brewery's fourth canned beer.

Rock Bottom's Colorado pubs won four medals this year -- helping the Colorado-based chain score the 2013 Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year awards. Amazingly, this was a down year for Rock Bottom, which hasn't won fewer than four awards since 2001, and often wins five, six or even seven.

The Sandlot at Coors Field, which won Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company Brewer of the Year along with two golds and a bronze, was already Colorado's most GABF-decorated brewery, with forty medals since 1995. It now has 43 and will hopefully find space to hang them in the stadium again (Sandlot was recently moved to make way for renovations there).

In just six years, Dry Dock Brewing has won eighteen GABF medals, five in this year alone. Although it seems somewhat shocking that Dry Dock didn't win Small Brewery of the Year because of that, the reason may be because it split its entries between its two locations (the older, south location won two, while the new, north location won three). Dry Dock won the designation in 2009, taking home three medals that year.

Prost Brewing won its first medal this year, a gold for Keller Pils. Prost's head brewer, Bill Eye, is responsible for several of Dry Dock's award-winning recipes.

Turn the page for more fun facts. Cannonball Creek won two silver medals, one for its Featherweight Pale and one for Battlecat Stout, which isn't a shock: Its owner is Brian Hutchinson, who won a number of medals previously with Mountain Sun.

Left Hand Brewing won a whopping three gold medals this year, for Fade to Black Volume 1, Milk Stout and Sawtooth Ale. And although the first two beers are sexier than Saw Tooth, the English-style ESB has won four medals for Left Hand over the years, including its very first piece of hardware in 1994.

Odell took home gold for its flagship 5 Barrel Pale Ale, which wasn't surprising. What is surprising is that it's only the second GABF medal the brewery has won since 2007.

The Yak and Yeti won its second-ever GABF medal this year, a silver for its Chai Milk Stout, but it was the first for head brewer Adam Draeger. The category, Herb and Spiced Beer, has the third highest number of total entries in 2013 with 134.

City Star Brewing in Berthoud was this year's big winner among the upstart young Colorado beer makers, winning two medals: a gold for Bandit Brown and a bronze for Mule Kick. One of last year's upstart winners was Echo Brewing -- and the company repeated the effort this year, winning bronze for its Echo Amber.

Blue Moon -- which is owned by MillerCoors, but is a separate company from the Sandlot -- won gold for its Golden Knot fruit beer. The brewery's most recent two GABF victories have also been for fruit beers.

Gordon Biersch Brewer's Colorado location won silver for its Czech Pilsner. It was one of nine German-style beers from Colorado to win awards.

Rockyard Brewing's bronze for Redhawk Ale is the fourth medal that the brewery has won over the years. The others came in 2003, 2007 and 2009.

Wiley Roots Brewing, which just opened in June, is only the second brewery from Greeley to win a GABF medal -- a bronze for its Super 77 Wheat. Its neighbor, Crabtree Brewing, has won two, both in 2011.

Colorado took two of the three medals awarded in the Pro-am competition, in which breweries team up with homebrewers on a beer. While the gold went to Florida's Cigar City, the silver was awarded to New Belgium Charlie's Brown, made in collaboration with Mike Formisan. Upslope Brewing and Derek Ordway of the Liquid Poets Society won the bronze medal for their Oatmeal Stout.

Release the Hounds Barley Wine, which took home a bronze for the Bull & Bush, was the second barley wine in a row to win the bronze at GABF. Last year it was Strange Brewing, which won the award for its Doctor Strangelove.

Turn the page for more fun facts. Colorado has won a medal in the Gluten-Free competition every year for the past four years. Three of them were by New Planet, which took bronze this year for its Brown Ale.

Trinity Brewing stuck it to pumpkin beers by winning the gold in the Field Beer/Pumpkin Beer category. Elektrick Cukumbah, made with cucumbers, is the first non-pumpkin beer to win gold in the category since 2009.

CB & Potts's Highlands Ranch location won gold for Big Horn Hefeweizen. It is the third medal for this location of the chain.

Glenwood Canyon Brewing won a silver for Hanging Lake, an English summer ale. The brewery is nothing if not consistent, having won at least one award almost every year since 2001 (it only missed out in 2004 and 2008).

Avery Brewing won bronze for its sublime Lilikoi Kepolo, a fruit beer made with passion fruit; the beer's base is White Rascal, which Avery won an award for last year.

Twisted Pine Brewing West Bound Braggot, which won bronze, was originally released as the fourth beer in the brewery's Artisan Ale series, with a label designed by local artist Lael Har. It is the second year in a row that the beer has won at GABF.

Crooked Stave won bronze for its Hop Savant, an unusual beer that combines the sour tang that can come from brettanomyes yeast with a serious dollop of hops.

This is the third year in a row that Loveland's Grimm Brothers Brewhouse has medaled at GABF, this time for Fearless Youth, a dunkel. The first two were for Little Red Cap.

AC Golden's IPL, which took bronze, first debuted in February 2011 at Colorado's Old Chicago locations as part of the chain's monthly mini tour. The style-busting India Pale Lager is made with four kinds of hops.



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

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