Photo courtesy of Cervecería Colorado

19 Colorado Breweries Bring Home 21 Medals at the World Beer Cup

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The World Beer Cup (WBC) recently announced the winning breweries of its annual contest. While scanning the list of winners across 50 countries and 110 beer styles, you’d likely notice one state popping up quite a lot. And that would be Colorado, in which 19 breweries took home 21 awards spanning all sorts of styles, from coffee stouts to light lagers.

 

Often referred to as the “Olympics of beer competitions,” WBC has been around since 1996. And it’s grown into the largest beer competition in the world. For instance, this year alone,  it received well over 9,000 entries. But this is certainly not the first year the Centennial State has received global accolades.

 

“We call ourselves a state of craft beer,” says Shawnee Adelson, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild. She goes on to explain that historically, Colorado normally takes home awards in the double digits from WBG.

 

This year, one of the gold medal winners was River North Brewery for its Nightmare Fuel, a coffee stout.

 

“We came up with the idea of creating a strong, coffee imperial stout when we opened back in 2015,” says Matt Hess, founder and brewer of River North. “And we’ve been honing the recipe ever since. We work with Logan House, a local coffee roaster in Denver. We’ve tried dozens of roasts over the years to get the right balance. You could say it’s a beer we’ve been improving ever since we started brewing it. So it was really exciting to get the gold medal at WBC.”

 

River North also took home a bronze for its Pumpkin Spice Bucket of Bolts.

 

But Hess also notes, medals or not, getting feedback from the judges is invaluable.

 

“That’s a lot of the reason we do it,” he says.

 

Similarly, Cervecería Colorado, a first-time winner, took the gold for Venga!, a Mexican-style lager. Cervecería, a sister brewery to Denver Beer Co., started as a passion project between Jason Buehler, the then-brewmaster of Denver Beer Co., and co-founders Charlie Berger and Patrick Crawford in 2018. The brewery concept was inspired by the trio’s various travels to Mexico and desire to bring Denver a little slice of the country’s culture.

 

“This was a way to meld their passion for beer with Mexican culture,” says Corey Dickinson, a spokesman for Cervecería.

 

Buehler tragically passed away in a climbing accident in 2020. And so bringing home the gold was more than a huge recognition for the brand’s staff.

 

“This award supports Jason and his original vision for Cervecería,” says Dickinson. “It was pretty awesome to celebrate that on his behalf.”

 

Something else of note? “There were breweries in Colorado that entered styles recognized as traditionally Belgian, German and such,” says Adelson. “And they took home medals for those, which shows they have been able to take those traditional styles and bring them here to Colorado”

 

One of those breweries is Prost Brewing Company, which brought home the gold for their Leichtbier, a traditional German-style light lager. Entering its 12th year of business, this is the first award Prost has brought back from the WBC.

 

 

“Historically, beers like this would have been brewed for workers in the field back when water wasn’t too reliable,” says David Deline, owner of Prost Brewing. “They are low in alcohol, and are very refreshing, especially in the summer months. Ours comes in at 4.2% alcohol-by-volume (ABV), is light, very crisp and very dry.”

 

As for winning the gold?

 

“It’s a dream come true,” he says. “I have to give tremendous credit to the entire brewery team. It’s a great example of the dedication they put in every day.”

 

Additionally, Adelson notes, the awards help bring more business to smaller brewers that may not have the marketing bandwidth or foot traffic depending on their location.

 

“I just spoke to Old 121 Brewhouse, a newer brewery that brought home the gold for their ESB,” says Adelson. “And they said they’ve seen many new customers excited to try their beer.”

Here’s the full list of Colorado winners from this year’s World Beer Cup: 

 

Gold Medal Winners:

  • River North Brewery, Nightmare Fuel (Coffee Stout or Porter)
  • Bull & Bush Brewery, Kauai Pie (Dessert Stout or Pastry)
  • Station 26 Brewing Company, Swift Half (Session or Belgian-Style Table Beer)
  • Prost Brewing Company, Leichtbier (International Light Lager) – first-time winner
  • Cerveceria Colorado, Venga! (International-Style Pilsener) – first-time winner
  • Old 121 Brewhouse, ESB (Extra Special Bitter) – first-time winner
  • 12Degree Brewing, Treachery (Belgian-Style Strong Blonde Ale)
  • Banded Oak Brewing Co., French Lager Bièr Ambrée (Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale) – first-time winner
  • Bent Barley Brewing Co., Dry Irish Stout (Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout) – first-time winner

 

Silver Medal Winners:

  • The Post Brewing Company, East County Fine Malt Liquor (Other Strong Beer) – first-time winner
  • Launch Pad Brewery, Fall-toberfest (German-Style Maerzen or Franconian-Style Robier)
  • Odell Brewing Company, Mountain Standard (Australian-Style Pale Ale)
  • Westbound & Down Brewing Company, Colorado Pale Ale (International Pale Ale)
  • Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project, Grow Old With You (Barley Wine-Style Ale)
  • Cellar West Brewery, Farmhouse Saison (Classic Saison) – first-time winner

 

Bronze Medal Winners:

  • River North Brewery – Pumpkin Spice Bucket of Bolts (Pumpkin Beer)
  • Denver Beer Co. – Smooth Exportations (Dortmunder/Export or German-Style Oktoberfest)
  • The Post Brewing Company – Top Rope (American-Style Cream Ale)
  • Goat Patch Brewing Company – Baaah-ley Wine (Barley Wine-Style Ale)
  • SweetWater Brewing Company – Green Flash: Hazy West Coast IPA (Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale)
  • Aspen Brewing Company – Aspen Hazy IPA (American-Style Strong Pale Ale)

 

 

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