A GABF Sweep for Colorado Reinvigorates Boring Old Brown Ales

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Upslope Brewing Facebook page
Brown. It's not a sexy word or a sexy color, and to most craft-beer drinkers, brown ales typically signify a boring beverage. But brown turned into gold, silver and bronze earlier this month when Colorado breweries swept the American-style Brown category at the Great American Beer Festival.

In other words, brown is on the rebound.

Telluride Brewing, which already owns gold medals for its Face Down Brown at both the 2012 World Beer Cup and GABF, won another gold this year. Diebolt Brewing, which opened in September 2013, took silver. And Upslope Brewing in Boulder, which won a 2012 silver at GABF for its Brown Ale, took bronze.

See also: Hats and Beards and the People of the 33rd Annual Great American Beer Festival

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Beer Calendar: New Brews, a GABF Winner and Pumpkins

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Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the third annual Denver Bacon and Beer Festival, which will run from 2:30 to 5 p.m. November 16 at the Curtis Hotel. This year's event will feature eighteen breweries and more than 25 restaurants; one beer-bacon team will be crowned Best in Show win $750 to donate to the local charity of its choice. Presented by EatBoston and Denver Off The Wagon, the fest has raised almost $40,000 for Project Angel Heart and Metro CareRing in the past. For tickets, $46.50, more info and a list of participants, go to the Denver Bacon and Beer Festival's website.

Read on to see all of this week's craft-beer events.

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Colorado's Brand-New Breweries Bring Home the Bling at GABF

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Coda Brewing Facebook page
Five-month-old Coda Brewing won a silver medal for Silver Sleepyhead Passion Fruit Kolsch.
For the past couple of years, industry veterans have expressed concerns about the quality of the beer being made by new craft breweries, especially as the number of new breweries -- they are now opening at a rate of 1.5 per day across the country -- increases exponentially. But the newbies fought back over the weekend: Nine Colorado breweries that didn't exist at this time last year brought home ten medals from the 33rd annual Great American Beer Festival.

"I think we heard what they were saying and wanted to make sure we were doing quality beers," says Luke Smith of Aurora's Coda Brewing, which opened in May and just won a silver medal for Sleepyhead Passion Fruit Kolsch. "The new breweries are heeding that advice."

All told, Colorado claimed forty medals at the festival, ten of them gold and one for an amateur entry. That number was down from 46 last year.

See also: Barrel Man: After Plenty of Blood, Sweat and Beers, Skyler Weekes Is on a Roll

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Photos: The Great American Beer Festival Brings Joy to Denver

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All photos by Danielle Lirette

The Great American Beer Festival returned to Denver on Thursday night and continues today and tomorrow. Thousands of lucky ticket-holders invaded the Colorado Convention Center for the first night, sampling more than 3,500 beers from over 750 breweries. We were there and took these photos.


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TRVE and The Bruery's Patrick Rue Collaborate During GABF week

Categories: Beer Man

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The TRVE crew and The Bruery's Patrick Rue.

One of the benefits of having the Great American Beer Festival in Denver is that innovative brewers and craft-beer royalty make their way to town at least once a year, where they interact with Colorado's movers and shakers. The result are friendships, collaborations and other connections that usually end up benefiting local beer drinkers in the long run.

The latest collaboration took place on Tuesday when Patrick Rue of The Bruery -- the highly acclaimed Orange County beer=maker -- made his way to TRVE Brewing to cook up an unusual sour ale that will be aged in Chardonnay barrels and served at next year's Collaboration Fest in Denver.

See also: Barrel Man: After Plenty of Blood, Sweat and Beers, Skyler Weekes Is on a Roll


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Thirty Non-Colorado Breweries to Try at the Great American Beer Festival

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Melvin Brewing Facebook page
The Brewers Association made this year's app for the Great American Beer Festival available on Wednesday, and although the beer list won't go live until today, the app will be more necessary than ever in 2014. That's because there are about 730 breweries at the festival this year, pouring upward of 3,500 beers. Which is a whole lot. Although I've never been one to focus on a certain style, I do like to have a strategy at the festival.

As devised in previous years, it involves checking out a mixture of old favorites, recent discoveries and buzz breweries that I've never tried but heard a lot about, either from friends, other beer drinkers or online. None of them are from Colorado, since I can try those on the other 51 weeks of the year -- and only a few have ever had even limited distribution in Colorado. Here is a list of thirty or so breweries whose booths I plan to hit up at the GABF.

See also: Nearly 1,400 breweries register for GABF, 81 percent higher than last year

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Photos: Star Bar Kicked GABF Into Gear With Beer-Rep Karaoke on Tuesday

Categories: Beer Man

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All photos by Danielle Lirette
Being a part of the craft brewing industry puts a song in most people's hearts, but those weren't the songs that came out Tuesday night at Star Bar, which held its annual Great American Beer Festival orientation and Beer Rep Karaoke party.

Rather, it was pop, punk and metal classics that filled up the Larimer Street party spot as representatives of numerous breweries took the mic and belted out lyrics -- all to the tune of a crazy craft beer lineup on draft and in cans. Here are two photos, but you see all the rest in our full Beer Rep Karaoke at Star Bar slide show.

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Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan


Update: The Great American Beer Festival Week 2014 Calendar of Events

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The Great American Beer Festival will welcome nearly 50,000 people to the Colorado Convention Center October 2 through October 4, along with an astounding 3,500 beers from 726 breweries, making it the biggest and best sudstravaganza in the world. Tickets sold out months ago (although you can find them online if you're willing to spend some extra dough), but that doesn't mean you can't get your craft-beer vibe on in Denver and its environs. Starting on Saturday, September 27 and continuing for ten days, breweries, bars, restaurants and other venues up and down the Front Range will host beer dinners, concerts, parties, special tappings, bar crawls, meet-and-greets, smaller festivals and classes that should thrill every beer lover -- from near and far.

Here is our guide to GABF-related events, a list that we will be updating on a weekly -- and probably daily -- basis as new activities are planned and introduced. Cheers!

See also: Nearly 1,400 breweries register for GABF, 81 percent higher than last year

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Grandma's House, Denver's Newest Brewery, Opens Today in the Midst of GABF Week

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All photos courtesy of Grandma's House
"Grandma, what big eyes you have!" said Little Red Riding Hood.

"All the better to see you with, my dear."

"Grandma, what a big mouth you have!"

All the better to drink beer with, my dear. That's what Matthew Fuerst, the owner of Grandma's House, at 1710 South Broadway, will be saying when he opens the doors to Denver's newest brewery today at 2 p.m. -- right in the middle of one of the busiest weeks of the year for beer makers in Colorado.

See also: Grandma's House, a planned brewery, will knit crafting and craft beer together

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Barrel Man: After Plenty of Blood, Sweat and Beers, Skyler Weekes Is on a Roll

Categories: Beer Man

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Anthony Camera
Skyler Weekes

Sauvignon blanc has a crisp, dry mouthfeel and a grassy nose that typically gives way to hints of lemon drop, grapefruit, guava and peach. Because of that, this lighter white wine pairs particularly well with sea bass, goat cheese and even sushi.

Skyler Weekes also thought the wine, or at least the oak barrel in which it was fermented, would pair well with the funky rye saison that Brandon Jones was planning to make for Nashville's Yazoo Brewing last year. "I asked him if he wanted to focus on the dryness of the rye or if he wanted to complement it with something salty or sweet or tropical," Weekes recalls. "I said he could try chardonnay, which is buttery and caramel-y. But after I described the sauv blanc, he said, 'That sounds awesome.' So then I told him that I could find some fifteen-year-old casks that are soaked with the flavor of the wine, or that we could look at something only two to three years old that still had a little smoky oak."

See also: Five Top Tips for Surviving the Great American Beer Festival

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