In 1982, only 20 breweries poured their craft suds for the very first Great American Beer Festival. Today, a ticket to the annual celebration sells out in just more than an hour, bringing nearly 60,000 attendees to the Colorado Convention Center for the three-day affair. The Boulder-based Brewer's Association handed out gold, silver and bronze medals in 96 beer categories, covering 161 different beer styles. In total 286 medals were presented, chosen from 7,227 competition entries from 1,752 different breweries.
Colorado brewers won 38 medals – including 13 gold – spread among 34 breweries, largely up-and-coming breweries. Here's a list of the local gold medal winners:
- Bootstrap Brewing Co. – The Niwot-based brewer took home a gold for its American-Style Pale Ale, Stick's Pale Ale.
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. – Earned a solid gold for its Belgian-style blond ale as well as their Trump Hands session IPA.
- 14er Brewing Co. – Presented a hot commodity with its chili beer called the Rocky Mtn Saison.
- The Post Brewing Co. – From Lafayette presented its Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale in the classic saison category.
- Echo Brewing Cask and Barrel – Won the English-style brown ale category for its Tri-Town Brown brew.
- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Got the gold for its Little Red Cap in the German-ale altbier category.
- Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co. – Won for its Warning Sign German-style doppelbock or Eisbock.
- Echo Brewing Co. – Their Kirby won for the golden or blonde ale category.
- El Rancho Brewing – The Evergreen-based brewery took home the gold for its Valhalla in the historic beer category.
- Copper Kettle Brewing Co. – Won for its blond in the other Belgian-style ale category.
- 4 Noses Brewing Co. – Got the gold for its Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale in the pumpkin spice category.
- Denver Beer Co. – Got a gold for its Drama Queen in the barrel-aged beer category.