GABF award-winning Sandlot brewery will stay open all winter at Coors Field

Thumbnail image for BlueMoonBrewing1.jpg
The Colorado Rockies' season came to a merciful end at the end of September, but the Sandlot brewery inside Coors Field plans to stay open to the public through the winter for the first time in more than a decade -- something that will allow it to showcase its recent designation as Large Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

And to kick things off, the Sandlot -- officially called the Blue Moon Brewing Company at the Sandlot -- will host a party on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., offering $4 flights of its three 2013 GABF medal winners, along with an award-winning beer from Blue Moon. (Both the Sandlot and Blue Moon are owned by a subsidiary of MillerCoors.)

See also: Blue Moon Brewing at the Sandlot gets a facelift as the baseball season opens

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Great American Beer Fest: Fun facts about Colorado's 46 medals in 2013

Prost Brewing Facebook page
Prost brewer Ashleigh Carter tests her medal.
Colorado returned to form at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, taking home a whopping 46 medals -- spread out across breweries of widely varying ages, sizes and locations. The medal count was also up significantly from 2012 -- when the state won only 35 medals as part of a four-year slide -- and capped by large awards for the Sandlot and Rock Bottom. The total number was so nice, in fact, that we thought we'd run down some interesting facts about the winning breweries.

See also: GABF will get much more space at the Colorado Convention Center in 2015

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Photos: Fuh-can Beer and Guitars was a blast, but where were all the people?

All photos by Nate Hemmert
Oskar Blues's Fuh-can Beer and Guitars event was vacant compared to the beer halls at the Great American Beer Festival.
There may have been a few too many beer events this past weekend as part of the Great American Beer Festival. And Oskar Blues may have suffered from the excess, given that its two-day concert, Fuh-can Beer and Guitars, benefiting the Love, Hope, Strength Foundation and victims of the recent Colorado floods, was fuh-can empty -- a sad break for the charities involved. Nonetheless, we were everywhere this weekend, including here, and brought back photos of the event.

See Also: 2013 Great American Beer Fest: The final night

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Photos: GABF ping-pong tournament takes over Ace

Philip Poston
With around 2,700 beers to taste, Great American Beer Fest attendees have to burn off the calories somehow. One great, alcohol-friendly way to do it: play some table tennis. On Wednesday night, representatives of 32 breweries gathered at Ace for a Left Hand tap takeover and ping-pong tournament. If the pictures below inspire you to pick up a paddle, Ace is holding a Brewers vs. Consumers tourney for GABF's final day on October 12.

See also: The ultimate calendar to the Great American Beer Festival 2013

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Left Hand Brewing bottles two more nitro beers, settles lawsuit over the word "Nitro"

Left Hand Brewing altered the beer-drinking landscape two years ago when it announced during the Great American Beer Festival that it had come up with a way to inject nitrogen into its bottled Milk Stout so that it pours smooth and creamy, like a draft beer.

Milk Stout Nitro quickly became the Longmont company's best-selling beer brand, and today, the brewery announced that it will begin selling two more nitrogenated beers: Sawtooth, a version of its flagship ESB, and Wake Up Dead, a Russian Imperial Stout.

See also: Left Hand brews throwback beers to celebrate its twentieth anniversary

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GABF will get much more space at the Colorado Convention Center in 2015

The city's convention and visitor's bureau has finally answered some beery prayers -- agreeing after several years of negotiations to allow the Great American Beer Festival to significantly expand the amount of space it uses at the Colorado Convention Center.

Beginning in 2015, GABF will add 90,000 to 100,000 additional square feet, bringing its total amount of floor space up to around 380,000. The agreement will continue through 2020, says Brewers Association spokeswoman Barbara Fusco.

See also: Some GABF collaboration beers to try in Denver this week

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Some GABF collaboration beers to try in Denver this week

TRVE Brewing Facebook page
Ninkasi's Jamie Floyd brews at TRVE.
The Great American Beer Festival, which starts tomorrow and runs through October 12, is dominating Colorado this week, as locals and out-of-town visitors fill up breweries, restaurants and bars all along the Front Range. But GABF doesn't just fill up the Colorado Convention Center. The days around it are a time for brewers from other states to cozy up to the locals, hang out -- and try some of the collaborative efforts they've put together.

Oregon's Ninkasi Brewing, for instance, came to Denver last month to create an IPA, Hell Patrol, with its brothers in heavy metal, TRVE Brewing.

See also: The ultimate calendar to the Great American Beer Festival 2013

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Tonight: Beers Made by Walking at the Wynkoop injects nature into your brews

Beers Made by Walking
Barley, hops, water and yeast. And wild sage and dandelion greens, yarrow and golden currants. Oh, and rabbit brush. These are some of the ingredients that were used by seventeen Colorado breweries as part of this year's Beers Made by Walking.

The festival, today at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, is one of the most unusual events that takes place during Great American Beer Festival week in Denver. All of the beers were made using some plant that the brewers discovered on a local walk.

See also: The Great American Beer Festival 2013: Do this, not that

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Photos: Falling Rock Tap House kicked off GABF week with its annual party on Monday

Danielle Lirette
As it has done for many years now, the Falling Rock Tap House kicked off the week leading up to the Great American Beer Festival with a beer lovers' party. The granddaddy of Denver craft-beer bars counted down the seconds on its digital GABF clock before tapping numerous beers from owner Chris Black's cellar.

Westword's Danielle Lirette was there taking photos. You can see them all in our full GABF Week Kickoff at the Falling Rock slide show.

See also: The ultimate calendar to the Great American Beer Festival 2013

Danielle Lirette

Winner announced: Win two tickets to the Saturday night GABF session, courtesy of Westword and Visit Denver

Courtesy of the Brewers Association
UPDATE: Congratulations to Jordenroman, who won the contest by telling a tale of a beer so delicious it had to be taken into the shower. Thanks to everyone else for your stories of beer love. Cheers.

Tickets to the Great American Beer Festival, which takes place October 10-12 at the Colorado Convention Center, sold out within minutes earlier this year, leaving many would-be attendees high and dry -- very dry. But you can win two to Saturday night's session (October 12 at 5:30 p.m.), courtesy of Westword and Visit Denver, which organizes the annual Denver Beer Fest, which takes place before and during GABF.

To win the tickets (along with two Denver Beer Trail Guide booklets from Visit Denver), you need to tell us what you think the best Colorado beer has been so far this year -- and why (please provide your e-mail address as well so that we can contact you). We'll pick a winner and based on the answers and announce the results 48 hours from now.

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