Independence important to craft beer drinkers and other facts gleaned from GABF

The Thirst Colorado Team

  Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

The Great American Beer Festival has come and gone, yet some key takeaways from the event are worth mentioning. While the news this year has noted the slow of growth for the craft beer community, this epic event has reinforced how strong this once indie-culture has become. The Brewers Association estimates 1,900 craft breweries will open in the next two years. Additionally, independent small-batch producers remain important. Nearly two-thirds of craft beer drinkers visit craft brewers because of their autonomy. Following are some facts worth noting about the state of craft beer and GABF. Colorado medal winners are presented at the bottom.

·  The largest ticketed beer festival in the world poured the most beers in GABF history (3,200 different beers).

·  The American IPA once again trumped all other entries (this category has been top-dog since 2002).

·  BA craft beer program director Julia Herz said 780 breweries participated in the GABF in 2016.

·  California and Colorado were the top two winners by volume. Colorado breweries totaled 13% of all medals while California accounted for 23% of all medals. As a percentage of breweries in the state to medal ratio, Colorado and California were close to even in their medal haul.

·  A collaboration between Boulder Beer Co., the state’s first craft brewery, and Charlie Papazian, who helped launch the Brewers Association and GABF, was served during the sessions in the Backyard, where games such as cornhole were setup for folks to have fun in between tastings.

  Photo: Neill Pieper

Photo: Neill Pieper

·  Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson said the craft beer industry accounted for 424,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. in 2014. Watson said that it’s “hard to grow at the same rate as we were growing” in the past several years. But he estimates another “1,900 breweries will open in the next year or two.”

·  Brewers Association statistics show that 1.6 million people around the country are visiting 10 or more breweries per year and 63 percent of those people said they visit small breweries because they are independently owned.

·  Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association credited BA founder Charlie Papazian with providing the leadership that led to the international expansion of the American craft-brewing scene. One example is the BA’s Export Development Program, which launched in 2004 with a grant from the Department of Agriculture. One of the goals is to turn on beer drinkers in other countries to U.S. craft products. Canada, Western Europe, parts of Asia and Brazil are markets where growth has been highest. “There’s an explosion of craft breweries in the United Kingdom,” Pease said, which bodes well for U.S. brewers. And when it comes to world beer competitions, it’s not just IPAs that are winning medals.

Colorado GABF Medal Winners

  • Silver Upslope Brown Ale Upslope Brewing Co. - Flatiron Park Boulder CO American-Style Brown Ale
  • Bronze Face Down Brown Telluride Brewing Co. Telluride CO American-Style Brown Ale
  • Silver Coors Banquet Coors Brewing Co. Golden CO American-Style Lager or Ice Lager or Malt Liquor
  • Silver Lightner Creek Lager Carver Brewing Co. Durango CO American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager
  • Bronze Coors Light Coors Brewing Co. Golden CO American-Style Light Lager or German-Style Light Lager
  • Bronze Mexican Logger SKA Brewing Durango CO American-Style or International-Style Pilsener
  • Gold Stick's Pale Ale Bootstrap Brewing Co. Niwot COAmerican-Style Pale Ale
  • Gold Solid Gold Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. Golden COBelgian-Style Blonde Ale or Pale Ale
  • Bronze Treachery 12Degree Brewing Louisville CO Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale
  • Silver PDA Black Bottle Brewery Fort Collins CO Belgian-Style Tripel
  • Silver Dreamy Thing Cerebral Brewing Denver CO Brett Beer
  • Gold Rocky Mtn Saison 14er Brewing Co.Denver CO Chili Beer
  • Gold Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale The Post Brewing Co. Lafayette CO Classic Saison
  • Bronze Saison Baere Brewing Co. Denver CO Classic Saison
  • Gold Tri-Town Brown Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel Erie CO English-Style Brown Ale
  • Bronze Not Brown Cooper Smith's Pub & Brewing Fort Collins CO English-Style Brown Ale
  • Silver Ridgway Blonde Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery Ridgway CO English-Style Summer Ale
  • Silver Piney Ridge Dunkel Front Range Brewing Co.Lafayette CO European-Style Dark Lager/Munich-Style Dunkel
  • Silver Fade to Black, Volume 1 Left Hand Brewing Co. Longmont CO Export Stout
  • Silver Mango Wheat Blue Moon Brewing Co. Denver CO Fruit Wheat Beer
  • Gold Little Red Cap Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Loveland CO German-Style Altbier
  • Gold Warning Sign Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co. Castle Rock CO German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock
  • Silver Alternate Present Fiction Beer Co.Denver CO German-Style Schwarzbier
  • Silver Slam Dunkel Steamworks Brewing Co. Durango CO German-Style Wheat Ale
  • Gold Kirby Echo Brewing Co. Frederick CO Golden or Blonde Ale
  • Silver Ginger American Ale Broken Compass Brewing Breckenridge CO Herb and Spice Beer
  • Gold Valhalla El Rancho Brewing Evergreen CO Historical Beer
  • Bronze Wild & Crazy Rye BJ's Restaurant & Brewery – Boulder Boulder CO Historical Beer
  • Bronze Wreak Havoc Bootstrap Brewing Co. Niwot CO Imperial Red Ale
  • Silver St. James Irish Red Ale Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. Glenwood Springs CO Irish-Style Red Ale
  • Silver Helles Dry Dock Brewing Co. - South Dock Aurora CO Munich-Style Helles
  • Silver Backside Stout Steamworks Brewing Co. Durango CO Oatmeal Stout
  • Gold Blond Copper Kettle Brewing Co. Denver CO Other Belgian-Style Ale
  • Gold Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale 4 Noses Brewing Co.Broomfield CO Pumpkin Spice Beer
  • Gold Trump Hands Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. Golden CO Session India Pale Ale
  • Silver Weißbier Prost Brewing Denver CO South German-Style Hefeweizen
  • Gold Drama Queen Denver Beer Co. - Canworks Denver CO Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
  • Bronze Little Nonsense Verboten Brewing Loveland CO Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout