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JUN/JUL 2006 | REGIONAL | ROCKIES

Rocky Mountain Brews : A World Of Beer Medals
By Marty Jones

A number of Colorado breweries are heading into the summer with extra mojo and momentum, thanks to their winnings in the recent World Beer Cup. The WBC awards ceremony took place on April 14 at the conclusion of the 2006 Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle. Colorado’s craft brewers claimed 12 medals in the competition, tying the state of Washington for third place for most medals per state.

The medals were brought home by some of the state’s biggest players and some much smaller outfits. Among the big dogs were Denver’s Flying Dog Brewery, which won a silver medal for Old Scratch in the American-Style Amber Lager category, and Left Hand Brewing, which won a gold medal for its delightful Milk Stout. (Left Hand Head Brewer Andy Brown won the unofficial honor for best-dressed winner, thanks to his snappy 1970s-era duds.) Boulder Beer’s Never Summer Ale landed a silver medal in the Strong Ale category.

On the smaller-scale side of things, Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, Colo., brought home a silver in the Herb and Spice category for its Jack Whacker Wheat. The brewpub also landed a gold medal in the German-Style Bock division for its Butthead Bock. Boulder’s Twisted Pine won a pair of medals, too: Northstar Imperial Porter won a silver in the Strong Ale/Lager bracket, and Big Daddy Espresso Stout won a silver in the Coffee-Flavored Beer category.

Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company (in Glenwood Springs, Colo.) won a gold in the Strong Ale category for its Sopris, and the brewpub’s Deep Lake won a gold in the Strong Scotch Ale slot. Bull & Bush (in Glendale, Colo.) won a bronze in the English-Style IPA category for its wonderfully hoppy Man Beer, a cult fave beer in the Denver area. The biggest thrill for a small Colorado brewery in the WBC ceremony belonged to Dry Dock Brewing Company. Dry Dock opened its tiny Aurora, Colo., brewery (attached to the founders’ homebrew shop) just a few months ago, and its HMS Victory ESB won a gold in the Special/Best Bitter bracket. Cheers to these impressive medalists!

Avery Brewing is completing some big expansion endeavors. The company is installing a new Italian-made bottling line and a pair of massive 240-barrel fermenters to help meet the booming demand for its beers. (Avery’s first quarter of 2006 saw growth of 48 percent.) June will see a second release of Avery’s Maharaja Double IPA and the release of the 2006 oak-aged Samael's Ale.

Great Divide is now releasing its Yeti Imperial Stout (9.5% abv and 75 IBUs) and Hercules Double IPA (9.1% abv, 85 IBUs) in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles. The four-packs will retail for $10.99 and give Great Divide fans the option to enjoy the company’s excellent big beers in smaller portions.

Stone Brewing’s Martin Saylor reports that Stone’s Ruination will be on draft at Denver’s Falling Rock Tap House and a few other select taprooms in Colorado in June. The company’s 2006 Vertical Epic (wickedly dubbed 6/6/6) will also be appearing on Colorado shelves that month. Also in June, Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company will crack kegs of a new Belgian-style tripel at its brewpub. Boulder Beer’s unfiltered Bavarian-style wheat beer, Sweaty Betty Blonde, is back on shelves for the summer, available in six-packs, bombers and half-barrel kegs.

The Pumphouse Brewery in Longmont released an organic kolsch in May, and in late June the brewpub will release Organic Saison, a beer made with all-organic malts, including some organic rye, and fermented with a blend of saison yeasts.

Redstone Meadery will celebrate its fifth anniversary throughout the month of June. As part of the celebration, Redstone’s tasting room (4700 Pearl Street, #2A, Boulder) will be offering mead specials all month. The highlight special is the re-release of the last 50 bottles of the company’s dreamy 2001 Black Raspberry Reserve. The half-liter 2006 Reserve bottles sell for $75. The company plans a late June anniversary bash. Get details at redstonemeadery.com.

Summer also brings on the brewfests. June 9–11 will see the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brewfest in Snowmass Village, Colo. The shindig features three days of craft beer, homebrewing competitions, spicy foods and live music from such national acts as Jonny Lang; Medeski, Martin & Wood; and Sean Costello. Find more info at stayaspensnowmass.com.

The 17th annual Colorado Brewers Festival hits Fort Collins on June 24–25. The fest takes place in Old Town Square and runs from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day. Local bands will provide the soundtrack to sampling of beers from all-Colorado breweries. Get details at downtownfortcollins.com.

July 1 is the date for the 10th annual Colorado Brewers Rendezvous in Salida. Presented each year by the Colorado Brewers Guild, the event takes place from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in Salida’s town park. It features loads of Colorado beer and fellowship and a dose of live music. For details, contact the Salida Chamber of Commerce at 877-772-5432 or salidachamber.org.

Brewpub hunter Roger Kirkpatrick reports that Crabtree Brewing Company (625-B Third Street, Greeley, Colo.) hopes to be serving its beer by press time. Get the skinny on this new entry into Colorado’s brewpub ranks at crabtreebrewing.com.

Marty Jones is the “Bard of Beer Songs,” Oskar Blues Brewery’s lead singer and a cheerleader for various gems in Colorado’s craft-beer culture. Got beery news? Reach him at martysjones@att.net. Hear his music at martyjones.net.

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