Beer Man

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

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.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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