As the beer induced hang-over lifts from the city and the GABF’ness gets scrubbed from the streets, Denver has slowly started to come down from its brew-mania. But for those awarded one of the 38 medals at this year’s festivities, the celebration has just started. This week, we will take a look at these winners as well as how Colorado stacked up against the competition. Also we check in with the spirits industry, a similarly exciting and quickly growing craft culture here in Colorado, by finding out how one of its newest champions will celebrate turning one.
Colorado Breweries Come Out on Top at GABF
The Low Down: For 2015, Great American Beer Festival promised a “bigger, better and beerier” event. With additions like a “Meet the Brewer” section, a revamped food-and-beer pairing wing called “Paired,” and a record-breaking amount of beer and breweries in attendance, the consensus is that it lived up to the hype. But the larger the event, the tougher the competition. More than 6,700 beers were entered and evaluated by 242 judges from 15 countries. So how did the “State of Craft Beer” fair in the ruling? 38 medals were awarded to Colorado breweries including ones as small as Our Mutual Friend in RiNo all the way to the Coors conglomerate. Other notable awards went to the recently opened Spangalang Brewery for its Table Beer in the Other-Belgian Style Ale category and Comrade for its Superpower IPA in the Fresh/Wet hop category. But how did Colorado measure up to other states?
California earned the most accolades, taking home more than 70 medals. Colorado came in second, Oregon in third with 19, Texas in fourth with 15, and Washington in fifth with 13. As far as trends, it seems pumpkin is on the decline, as no pumpkin beers were awarded a gold medal. Instead, it seems sours and spiced beers are the next big thing, with IPAs continuing to reign with the highest amount of entries: A whopping 336 beers in the American IPA category. So for the next year, don’t be surprised if you find yourself drinking an IPA made in California or a spiced beer instead of a pumpkin brew this fall. That is until the next GABF rolls into town, and a whole new batch of unknown beers start to fill our growlers.
Laws Whiskey House Celebrates First Anniversary with Re-Release of Batch One
The Low Down: Although Laws Whiskey House started over four years ago, this Sunday the Colorado distillery—known for its use of local ingredients and painstaking grain-to-bottle practices—will celebrate its official introduction to the market. The bash will be in honor of the of the first bottle ever sold of their now-highly coveted Four Grain Bourbon. “It’s been a long time coming. We waited until the whiskey was ready,” explained Al Laws, founder of Laws Whiskey. “We have been pretty patient.”
That patience seems to have paid off. Within the last 365 days, the distillery has seen rapid growth. Using only its distillery employees, Laws has self-distributed its product to more than 400 locations throughout Colorado. Also this past June, Laws Whiskey released its Secale Rye which sold out in a matter of weeks. “That was probably the biggest highlight of the summer,” said Laws.
This weekend, the distillery will release the second batch of its acclaimed rye during its anniversary party. Laws exclusively told 303 that he will re-release Batch One of their original Four Grain bourbon this Sunday. “We saved four barrels of it. So it’s Batch One aged entirely another year,” he said. The event will take place on October 4, at the distillery located at 1420 S. Acoma Street, Denver from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.. Food will be provided by Steuben’s Food Truck and attendees can enjoy tours of the facility as well as live music. For more event details, go here.
Denver Diner Re-Opens with New Look—Westword
New Belgium Expanding Beer Garden, Adding Clinic— 9 News
Session Kitchen to be Bought By Mexican Restaurant, Que Bueno—Westword
Backcountry Delicatessen Expands with DTC Location—Eater Denver
Go Now: Abejas in Golden—5280 Magazine
Oskar Blues will Open Burger Joint in River North—Westword
Ink! Coffee Ready to Open in Bonnie Brae—Eater Denver
Verboten Brewing Shutters Original Location in Loveland-Eater Denver
Pork Back in 90 Percent of Chipotle Locations—Denver Post
Colorado Barista Places Second in National Barista Competition—Eater Denver
Whole Foods will no longer sell fish produced by Colorado prisoners—Denver Post
Lance Barto Leaves Milk & Honey—Westword