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Where to Find Award-Winning Breweries Around Denver

Try last year’s best beers to prep for the 2017 Great American Beer Festival this weekend

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More than 60,000 beer drinkers this weekend will descend on Denver for the 36th annual Great American Beer Festival.

During three nights, festival attendees will have the chance to try nearly 4,000 beers from 800 breweries across the country. By Saturday winners of the world’s largest beer competition will be chosen from a boozy pool of some 8,000 entries. The GABF awards narrow down the country’s best beers in a given year across 160 styles.

For those gearing up for the weekend festivities, overwhelmed by the options, or just plain uninterested in that much beer tasting, last year’s medal winners are a good starting point for a self-guided tour of Denver-area breweries.

From Evergreen to Aurora, Fort Collins to Castle Rock, 26 Front Range breweries took home medals at the 2016 GABF. They range from Colorado classics, such as Coors, to startups, such as 14er, which has yet to open its brewhouse.

Seek them out while they’re still the reigning champions, and watch for an updated 2017 list to plan the next tour of GABF medal winners.

Breweries are listed from north to south.

The Hottest Breweries in Denver Right Now, Summer 2017 [EDEN]

The 38 Essential Breweries in Colorado, July 2017 [EDEN]

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Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing

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One of the state’s oldest craft breweries, CooperSmith’s won bronze in 2016 for Not Brown, an English-style brown ale.

CooperSmith’s

Black Bottle Brewery

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Fort Collins’ brewpub Black Bottle took home silver for PDA, a Belgian-style tripel.

Black Bottle

Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project

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Loveland-based Verboten took bronze for Little Nonsense, an oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Verboten

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse

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Grimm Brothers in Loveland won gold for its Little Red Cap, a German-style Altbier.

Grimm Brothers

Left Hand Brewing Co.

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Fade to Black, Volume 1 won medals four times in GABF’s foreign export stout category; most recently it took home silver.

Left Hand Brewing

Echo Brewing Co.

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Echo’s Erie location won gold for Tri-Town Brown, an English-style brown ale, while the original Frederick brewhouse won gold for Kirby Kölsch, a German golden ale.

Echo Brewing

Bootstrap Brewing Co.

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Bootstrap’s Stick’s Pale Ale earned a gold medal while a bronze went to Wreak Havoc imperial red.

Bootstrap Brewing

Upslope Brewing Co.

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Boulder’s Upslope won silver in 2016 for its American-style Upslope Brown Ale.

Upslope Brewing

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

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The Boulder BJ’s location won a bronze medal in the historical beer category for its version of a Finnish Sahti, Wild & Crazy Rye.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

The Post Brewing Co.

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At the original Lafayette location, or in Denver on South Broadway, try The Post’s gold-medaled Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale, a classic saison.

Front Range Brewing Co.

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Lafayett’e first brewery won silver for Piney Ridge, a medium-bodied, Munich-style Dunkel.

Front Range Brewing

12Degree Brewing

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Louisville’s 12Degree specializes in Belgian-inspired beers and took home bronze for Treachery, a Belgian-style strong specialty ale.

12Degree Brewing

4 Noses Brewing Co.

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In the pumpkin spice beer category, Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale reigns, with more than 10 pounds of pumpkin in each barrel and 7.7 percent alcohol in every glass.

4 Noses

Blue Moon Brewing Co.

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Blue Moon, which moved into its sprawling RiNo digs two years ago, garnered a silver medal for its fruit wheat beer Mango Wheat in 2016.

Blue Moon - RiNo Adam Larkey

Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.

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Two gold medals in 2016 went out to Golden’s Cannonball Creek for Solid Gold, a Belgian-style blonde ale, and Trump Hands, a session IPA.

Cannonball Creek

Coors Brewing Co.

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Coors Banquet lost only to Pabst Blue Ribbon in the American-style lager category, while Coors Light, an American-style light lager, secured the bronze.

Coors Brewing

Prost Brewing Co.

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At Prost’s LoHi brewhouse or in the Fort Collins taproom, the Weißbier, a south German-style hefeweizen, is a silver-medal winner.

Brewtography Project

14er Brewing Co.

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The RiNo-based brewery, which will open its brewhouse and taproom in early 2018, won gold in its first year of operation for Rocky Mtn Saison in the chili beer category.

14er Brewing

Denver Beer Co.

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On Platte Street or in Olde Town Arvada, try the current saison on tap. Denver Beer Co. took gold last year for Drama Queen, a red wine barrel-aged saison.

Denver Beer Co

Fiction Beer Co.

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These bookish Park Hill brewers took silver for Alternate Present, a German-Style Schwarzbier.

Fiction Beer Company

Cerebral Brewing

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Cerebral took home a silver medal in its first year brewing for Dreamy Thing, a Brettanomyces beer fermented with house-grown yeast.

Cerebral Brewing

Baere Brewing Co.

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Baker’s tiny Baere Brewing won bronze for its flagship Saison, a classic saison.

Baere Brewing

El Rancho Brewing Co.

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Evergreen’s El Rancho took home the gold in 2016 for a historical beer, the Finnish Sahti Valhalla. Evergreen brews this farmhouse ale with barley, oats, and rye, then flavors its with juniper berries and fermented with baker’s yeast.

El Rancho Brewing

Copper Kettle Brewing Co.

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Copper Kettle’s Blond, a sessionable Belgian-style ale, won gold last year. Also try the gold-medaled Mexican Chocolate Stout.

Copper Kettle

Dry Dock Brewing Co. — South Dock

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Decade-old Dry Dock took silver for its Aurora-brewed Munich-style Helles.

Dry Dock

Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co.

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Warning Sign, a 12 percent ABV German-style Eisbock, brought in a gold medal for this Castle Rock brewery, which collaborated on the project.

Rockyard Brewing

Coopersmith's Pub & Brewing

One of the state’s oldest craft breweries, CooperSmith’s won bronze in 2016 for Not Brown, an English-style brown ale.

CooperSmith’s

Black Bottle Brewery

Fort Collins’ brewpub Black Bottle took home silver for PDA, a Belgian-style tripel.

Black Bottle

Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project

Loveland-based Verboten took bronze for Little Nonsense, an oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Verboten

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse

Grimm Brothers in Loveland won gold for its Little Red Cap, a German-style Altbier.

Grimm Brothers

Left Hand Brewing Co.

Fade to Black, Volume 1 won medals four times in GABF’s foreign export stout category; most recently it took home silver.

Left Hand Brewing

Echo Brewing Co.

Echo’s Erie location won gold for Tri-Town Brown, an English-style brown ale, while the original Frederick brewhouse won gold for Kirby Kölsch, a German golden ale.

Echo Brewing

Bootstrap Brewing Co.

Bootstrap’s Stick’s Pale Ale earned a gold medal while a bronze went to Wreak Havoc imperial red.

Bootstrap Brewing

Upslope Brewing Co.

Boulder’s Upslope won silver in 2016 for its American-style Upslope Brown Ale.

Upslope Brewing

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse

The Boulder BJ’s location won a bronze medal in the historical beer category for its version of a Finnish Sahti, Wild & Crazy Rye.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

The Post Brewing Co.

At the original Lafayette location, or in Denver on South Broadway, try The Post’s gold-medaled Achtertuin Seizoen Farmhouse Ale, a classic saison.

Front Range Brewing Co.

Lafayett’e first brewery won silver for Piney Ridge, a medium-bodied, Munich-style Dunkel.

Front Range Brewing

12Degree Brewing

Louisville’s 12Degree specializes in Belgian-inspired beers and took home bronze for Treachery, a Belgian-style strong specialty ale.

12Degree Brewing

4 Noses Brewing Co.

In the pumpkin spice beer category, Pump Action Imperial Pumpkin Ale reigns, with more than 10 pounds of pumpkin in each barrel and 7.7 percent alcohol in every glass.

4 Noses

Blue Moon Brewing Co.

Blue Moon, which moved into its sprawling RiNo digs two years ago, garnered a silver medal for its fruit wheat beer Mango Wheat in 2016.

Blue Moon - RiNo Adam Larkey

Cannonball Creek Brewing Co.

Two gold medals in 2016 went out to Golden’s Cannonball Creek for Solid Gold, a Belgian-style blonde ale, and Trump Hands, a session IPA.

Cannonball Creek

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Coors Brewing Co.

Coors Banquet lost only to Pabst Blue Ribbon in the American-style lager category, while Coors Light, an American-style light lager, secured the bronze.

Coors Brewing