Beer Man

The Colorado Brewers Guild is whipping up special beer for #GABF award winners

Award-winning brewers at the Great American Beer Festival will bring home something in addition to their medals this year: a bottle of a special beer made collaboratively just for the occasion by members of the Colorado Brewers Guild. The 22-ounce bottle of Porter's Pride, an imperial porter brewed with 200 pounds of dark chocolate from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, will be handed out to the medalist in each of 84 categories at the private awards ceremony on October 12.

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And if we're lucky -- and the thirsty brewers and brewery owners don't drink it all at the morning ceremony -- the beer will also be available on tap for a short time at the Colorado restaurants and breweries owned by the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group, says CBG spokesman Steve Kurowski.

"This is a never-before-brewed beer, and it will be the only beer served at the award ceremony," Kurowski adds. "The chocolate aspect comes from the fact that this is breakfast beer, something that can be served before noon. And the Brewers Association wants to pair it with doughnuts -- powdered or glazed or chocolate."

At least 22 brewers from fourteen Colorado breweries will be on hand at Breckenridge Brewery tomorrow morning, August 22, to help put the beer together. Breckenridge was selected because "they stepped up," when the BA suggested the idea, Kurowski says. The brewery also has the capacity to handle the fifty-barrel batch, which is too large for many smaller beer makers.

All ingredients, bottles and packaging will be donated, while the proceeds, if there are any, will be given to the CBG and the Danny Williams Fund.

Williams, who died in January, was the cellar master for the Brewers Association, organizing the thousands of beers that come in every year for GABF and the World Beer Cup, which takes place every other year. He also owned a former gold mine in Boulder County, which he had set up as a private cellar in which to age 2,500 beers.

"He took care of the beer and delivered the beer, and that's a loose interpretation of what a porter does," says Kurowski, explaining the double meaning of the beer's name. The fund was created to help Williams's family after they lost the mortgage on the property.

The Boulder-based Brewers Association, which hosts the festival, moved the private ceremony out of the Colorado Convention Center and into the Wells Fargo Theater this year to free up space on the convention center floor for 114 more breweries.

It is also being held a few hours earlier so that brewery staff can return to the festival for the special, members-only day session on Saturday, October 12, and because attendees at that session will know who the winners are early and can sample the beers.

Porter's Pride will also be poured at the festival after the brewers have tried it, but the bottles will be reserved for medalists, Kurowski says. "We want it to be special, so that if you get your hands on a bottle, it means you won an award."

The Great American Beer Festival takes place October 11-13.

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