Beer debate: Colorado versus Oregon at the Great American Beer Festival

A scene from this year's GABF
The debate between the beer scenes in Oregon and Colorado has overflowed for years, and word of mouth continues to fall short of an explanation as to which one is the best. That's because an open-minded alcoholic craves more than just hearsay, which may be why the Great American Beer Festival has become so epic. Continue reading for our take on the booze feud.

See also:
-People of Great American Beer Festival
-The beer of Great American Beer Festival
-Updated: The Great American Beer Festival 2012 calendar of awesome events

Personal bias: I'm from the south and moved to Colorado to work in the craft beer industry; and did so for five years; during which time I also visited friends in Oregon; and enjoyed myself quite a bit there beer-wise.

It's understandably difficult to maintain composure.
For an inquisitive beer drinker, GABF seems to be the perfect opportunity to resolve such matters. But upon entering the fest, you're immediately faced with an overwhelming conundrum -- how do you sip through it and still maintain the peace of mind to determine anything? I was told to have a plan, and mine was to tackle a long-standing argument between two well-established beer states. But after meandering through the westerrn region of the massive layout for, like, an hour (without a pour), I began to realize how counterproductive that is.

For those who have never witnessed GABF, know this: It's fucking nuts.

So, I had to rely on instinct and convenience for my assignment; which, in retrospect, is a pretty fair perspective. I decided to visit the most reputable (in my mind) booths from both Oregon and Colorado, as well as one from each state that I was unfamiliar with, and take notes on my findings. Herewith is my account...and conclusion.

Apologies for the random dude's head in this picture, but random dudes are hard to avoid at the festival.
First up was Deschutes from Oregon, because it was the closest station to quench my thirst. I've always loved this brewery, and I hoped it was pouring something special for the fest. (It wasn't, really.) But I grabbed a splash of the Chainbreaker: A "white" IPA brewed with wheat and spices that had a nice, fruity finish. The two-ounce analysis: interesting.

Portland's Bridgeport Brewery was close by and also not showcasing anything particularly intriguing. I settled on the Hop Harvest: a fresh-hopped pilsner that was a total let down -- watery, bland, with very little hop profile. At this point, Oregon was definitely losing the battle.

Location Info


Colorado Convention Center

700 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: General

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Why is this even a question?  It is Colorado, hands down.


Avery is my all time favorite, think of her as my wife. Ninkasi Brewery from Eugene is my hot mistress i bang only when im on that side of the country. Too tough to choose a "better" beer state, marijuana is tough too...

Bill Black
Bill Black

Why? The passage of Amendment 64.

Bill Black
Bill Black

Which is the better marijuana state: Colorado or Oregon?

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