Ten biggest Colorado craft beer stories in 2012
Colorado craft breweries and their many fans enjoyed a spectacular year in 2012, as the options for consuming locally made beer continued to grow and fill our tastebuds with joy. If the state's 160-plus breweries weren't expanding, then they were adding new beers or welcoming friendly competitors. And there were plenty of those as small neighborhood breweries popped up all over the place. But a few cracks have started to show as well under the weight of craft beer's popularity. These took the form of everything from business disputes to trademark battles and politics.
Black Shirt Brewing Facebook page Nanobreweries were on the rise in 2012.
Here's our look at Colorado's ten biggest craft beer stories in 2012.
- The ten best new Colorado beers of 2012
- Coors, Miller, Bud will keep sponsoring GABF, despite craft vs. crafty controversy
- Oskar Blues goes big with its 19.2-ounce Royal Pints of Dale's Pale Ale
10) Oskar Blues celebrates a decade of canning with new cans
Eddie Clark Media
Oskar Blues kicked off the Canned Beer Apocalypse in 2002 by becoming the first U.S. craft brewer to squeeze big flavor into an aluminum can. Hundreds of other breweries across the country have since followed, but Oskar Blues is always trying to stay ahead of the pack. So in 2012, after a decade in the game, the Longmont company introduced two new can styles, a twist-off aluminum bottle (for Chaka and the Deuce) and a 19.2-ounce royal pint for Dale's Pale Ale. Here's to the next decade of good beer in a can.
9) Breckenridge Brewery makes waves
Like other Colorado beer-makers, Breckenridge Brewery, one of the state's largest and oldest, suffered growing pains in 2012. But they were particularly acute for Breck, which had a unique problem: Because it is classified by the state as a "brewpub," it isn't allowed to make more than 60,000 barrels of beer per year -- and Breckenridge is about to blow by that. To remedy the situation, the brewery's parent company, Breckenridge-Wynkoop LLC, floated a bill that would have upped that limit, but the proposal went nowhere thanks, in part, to opposition from some of Breck's fellow craft breweries. Shocked and angry, brewery management first said it would build a new brewery in another state -- rather than stick to its plan to spend $15 million on a new in-state facility -- before finally working out a complicated restructuring of its various sister brewpubs with the state. Breckenridge has yet to say where or when it will build that new Colorado campus (or whether it will try again to change the law), but we're hoping that 2013 will be the company's lucky number.
8) Crooked Stave Gets Funky
Chad Yakobson gets wild at Crooked Stave.
Chad Yakobson's Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project burst onto the Colorado craft-beer scene in 2011, producing wild and sour beers in Fort Collins. In 2012, Crooked Stave introduced a Cellar Reserve members-only club and moved its operations to Denver, where it brews at Prost and ferments in its new Barrel Cellar in north Denver. But Yakobson, who has a master's degree in yeast, has gained national fame because of his innovative style, his outstanding beers and his expertise, culminating in a Great American Beer Festival medal in October and some serious press in the New York Times in December. Later this year, Crooked Stave is scheduled to move into its own brewery and tap room in The Source, an equally forward-thinking project in RiNo that will be dedicated to local food and beverage artisans. That sounds wild.