Colorado Brewers Honored at GABF 2017

Mike Laur & Rick Mazzola - October 11, 2017
Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Waverly Tulip earned Square Peg Brewers a gold medal in the Historical Beer category.
If you missed the 2017 edition of GABF, you missed a lot. Lots of beer, awards, more beer, a wedding proposal or two, beer. But you don't have to go to the festival itself to have a good time during GABF. With a bazillion tours, tap takeovers, tastings and special events, GABF and Denver Beer Week become All Things Beer, right here in Colorado. Lucky Us.

If you made it, then you may have attended Saturday's Award Ceremony, where 4000+ fellow beer brethren gathered inside and outside a cavernous hall at the Colorado Convention Center to discover who would win the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals for best beers in America. And would she say yes?

From the start, things were bright for Colorado beer makers. Awards for the Pro-Am competition were first, and Colorado brewers swept the Pro-Am competition, in which award-winning home brewers partner with a craft brewer to make a big batch of beer. Over 118 teams competed this year. Denver Beer Company and AHA member Doug Thiel earned Gold for Just Another Pretty Face - see their smiling faces in the headline photo above. Black Bottle Brewing Company and Daniel Tomkins brewed the Silver-worthy Lichenhainer, and Odell Brewing joined forces with homebrewer Mark Boelman to make Bronze-award-winning Eluxansis.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
I'm glad you love beer. Will you marry me?

Things were looking up for Ryan Wibby of Longmont, too. His Moondoor Dunkel won a Silver in the Munich Dunkel category, brewed at his two-year-old Wibby Brewing Company - most excellent for a young, German-focused brewer. But it got better, as he dropped to one knee and proposed during the award ceremony to his girlfriend Robin Brower. She said yes. It was a good day for everyone, and not yet noon. The crowd cheered, beer awaited, upstairs at the festival hall.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Hilltopper’s Pride Kentucky Common Ale won silver for Ironworks Brewery & Pub.


Boulder-based Brewers Association has run GABF for 36 years, and for the past 31 years has conducted the world's largest beer competition here in Colorado. From humble hotel-ballroom beginnings to this years' half-a-million-square-foot venue, GABF is the Super Bowl, Academy Awards, and Nobel Prize of beer making, all rolled into one. Of course, 2017 was the biggest ever. 276 judges from 13 different countries sampled 7,923 beers from 2,217 breweries, and awarded 293 medals to 266 winning breweries. That's a lotta beer. For brewers, winning at GABF is huge.

Photo by Mike Laur © DG2C
A packed house - overflowing into the hallways - eagerly awaits word whether their brews will be honored at the GABF 2017 Awards Ceremony.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Cellar West wins silver for their specialty saison.
For beer drinkers, it's beyond huge. GABF represents the largest collection of beer taps on Earth. Most attendees can't walk the entire hall in a four-hour session, let alone sample all the beers. Had you the time and massively-sized liver to handle it all, however, you could have tasted 3,900, one ounce pours served by more than 800 breweries at this one festival. Figure to drink one pint per hour, 16 one-ounce pours every 60 minutes: that's over10 continuous days of non-stop beer tasting. Cheers!

If you were lucky, you could have sampled one of the truly great award winners from an out-of-the-way brewery you never heard of. Such as Hailstorm Brewing Company of Tinley Park, Illinois. Their Prairie Madness American-Style IPA overcame the longest of odds, beating 407 other IPA's to earn Gold in this year's most competitive GABF category. Good stuff, so we heard -

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Dry Dock – South Dock won silver for their German-Style Pilsener.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Jessup Farm's Fancy Pants took gold in the Brett Beer category.

Colorado Craft Kicks Ass

Besides all three of the Pro-Am awards, Colorado brewers collected 35 medals for ass-kicking beer. We've listed them all here, so that if you missed them at GABF you can go visit these award-winning brewers and sample their award-winning beers. Go on. We've included a few photos below, to help you identify the brewers and serve as an archive of what they look like before their heads get big. Do go find them, before the rest of the world finds them first.

If you're in luck, they'll have their medal-winning beer on-tap and ready to enjoy. But even if they run out of Woods Monk, Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch, So long and thanks for all the (smoked) fish!, or Razz Against the Machine, there's sure to be something to delight and enjoy. Use the Drinker's Guide to Colorado to find your way, and you'll never be lost for a great beer again.

Sweet Stout or Cream Stout
Oatmeal Milk Stout
Finkel & Garf Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
Classic Saison
Fort Collins, CO
South German-Style Hefeweizen
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - Navy Yard
Broomfield, CO
American-Style Amber/Red Ale
F-Town Amber
Copper Club Brewing Co.
Fruita, CO
English-Style India Pale Ale
CooperSmith's Pub & Brewing
Fort Collins, CO
American-Style Lager or Malt Liquor
Mexican Lager
Lone Tree Brewing Co.
Lone Tree, CO
Smoke Beer
So long and thanks for all the (smoked) fish!
The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field
Denver, CO
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
Plum Creek Sour
Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co.
Castle Rock, CO
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
WeldWerks Brewing Co.
Greeley, CO
Mixed-Culture Brett Beer
Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch
Wiley Roots Brewing Co.
Greeley, CO
Brett Beer
Fancy Pants
Jessup Farm Barrel House
Fort Collins, CO
Historical Beer
Waverly Tulip
Square Peg Brewerks
Alamosa, CO
American-Style Fruit Beer
Razz Against the Machine
Little Machine
Denver, CO

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Finkel & Garf's Oatmeal Milk Stout won gold in the Sweet Stout or Cream Stout category.

Photo by Mike Laur © DG2C
Little Machine's appropriately named Razz Against the Machine took gold in the American-Style Fruit Beer category.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Rockyard's Plum Creek Sour won gold in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
WeldWerks Brewing's Medianoche barrel-aged strong stout won gold.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Wiley Roots' mixed-culture Brett Beer "Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch" lived up to its name and won them gold.

Photo by Mike Laur © DG2C
In what may be a GABF first, the brewery cat for New Terrain Brewing in Golden came along to help accept a Silver Medal for their Belgian Witbier Suntrip. Meow indeed.

Specialty Saison
Make Hay
Cellar West Artisan Ales
Boulder, CO
Belgian-Style Witbier
New Terrain Brewing Co.
Golden, CO
American-Style Black Ale
Black 28
Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.
Golden, CO
Imperial Red Ale
Hop Zombie
Lone Tree Brewing Co.
Lone Tree, CO
Munich-Style Dunkel or European-Style Dark Lager
Moondoor Dunkel
Wibby Brewing
Longmont, CO
German-Style Pilsener
Dry Dock Brewing Co. - South Dock
Aurora, CO
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer
Woods Monk
Odyssey Beerwerks
Arvada, CO
Brett Beer
Saison Trystero
Our Mutual Friend Brewing
Denver, CO
Historical Beer
Hilltopper's Pride Kentucky Common Ale
Ironworks Brewery & Pub
Lakewood, CO
Experimental Beer
Roswell: Grudge
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales
Denver, CO
Session India Pale Ale
Patio Pounder
Twisted Pine Brewing Co.
Boulder, CO
Session Beer
Launch Pad Brewery
Aurora, CO
American-Style Wheat Beer
Lemon Rye
105 West Brewing Co.
Castle Rock, CO

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Roswell: Grudge earned Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales silver in the Experimental Beer category.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Lone Tree took home gold for their Mexican Lager and silver for their Hop Zombie imperial red ale.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Odyssey went home with a silver medal for Woods Monk, their barrel-aged strong beer.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Our Mutual Friend Brewing won silver with their Saison Trystero Brett Beer.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Twisted Pine's Patio Pounder Session India Pale Ale won silver.

Specialty Saison
Farmhouse Saison
Denver, CO
German-Style Altbier
Little Red Cap
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse
Loveland, CO
Berliner-Style Weisse
Blackberry Table Sour
Baere Brewing Co.
Denver, CO
German-Style Koelsch
Downhill Klsch
Elk Mountain Brewing Co.
Parker, CO
Mountain Series: Maibock
Breckenridge Brewery
Littleton, CO
Munich-Style Dunkel or European-Style Dark Lager
Pug Ryans Brewing Co.
Dillon, CO
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer
5th Anniversary Tequila Sour
Loveland Aleworks
Loveland, CO
Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer
Woody Pils
Bull & Bush Brewery
Denver, CO
Herb and Spice Beer
India Spring Honey Cream Ale
Broken Plow Brewery
Greeley, CO

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Woody Pils wins the crew from Bull & Bush bronze.

Photo by Rick Mazzola © DG2C
Loveland Aleworks' 5th Anniversary Tequila Sour won bronze.

Photo by Mike Laur © DG2C
Wibby Brewing won a Silver for Moondoor Dunkel, and coworkers had more to celebrate when owner Ryan proposed to Robin, and she said yes.

Photo by Mike Laur © DG2C
Bull & Bush in Glendale always stands out for their beers, and for pushing the envelope with their pouring garb and tasting table displays.
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