The 2020 Great American Beer Festival was unlike any other since its founding in 1982 thanks to the pandemic, which forced the country’s biggest beer extravaganza to be canceled. However, that didn’t keep the event’s signature beer competition, one of the most prestigious in the nation, from taking place virtually.
Colorado made an admirable showing, earning 26 medals, including eight gold. The state’s biggest winner was Cannonball Creek Brewing Co. of Golden, which garnered a gold for its Featherweight pale ale and two bronzes for Vladimir Brutin and Let’s Talk About Mex lager, which placed in the experimental India pale ale and international-style cream ale categories, respectively.
“Featherweight was the very first beer we ever medaled for, eight years ago,” said Jason Stengl, co-owner and general manager. “I’m proud of all of us, proud of my coworkers, my partner and our brewers. It’s something we all feel very proud of.”
RELATED: 35 Colorado breweries take home medals at 2019 Great American Beer Fest
Denver Beer Co. made out with two awards: a gold for Amburana Dream, a wood-aged imperial porter brewed at its Arvada location, and a silver for Amburana Graham Cracker Porter, another wood-aged beer.
Colorado also dominated the American-style sour category, where Golden’s New Terrain Brewing Co. won a silver medal for a beer called Mirage and Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing Co. won bronze for its Sour IPA.
“With everything going on in 2020, Colorado breweries were still able to show up and brew world-class beer,” said Shawnee Adelson, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “It’s also awesome to see some people who’ve never won an award before being able to step up — Sanitas, Seedstock, Living the Dream — that shows our diversity in terms of size and the ability to brew amazing beer.”
Over the course of three weeks, judges evaluated more than 8,800 beers from breweries nationwide while wearing face shields and physically distancing, but it was clear the pandemic played a role in which breweries participated. More than 1,700 beer makers entered this year’s competition, down from nearly 2,300 in 2019.
Last year, Colorado breweries raked in an impressive 40 medals from the competition.
Here are the other Colorado winners from Friday’s awards ceremony, listed by category, brewery, city and beer name.
- Fruit Wheat Beer — Avery Brewing Co., Boulder, Liliko’i Kepolo
- Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer — Denver Beer Co., Arvada, Amburana Dream
- American Amber Lager — Wibby Brewing, Longmont, Volksbier Vienna
- German-style Maerzen — Irwin Brewing Co., Crested Butte, Amber’s Lager-Amber Lager
- American-style Pale Ale — Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, Featherweight pale ale
- Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale — Blue Moon Brewing Co., Denver, Moon Haze
- Irish-style Red Ale — Mirror Image Brewing Co., Frederick, Balefire Irish red
- German-style Altbier — Red Leg Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Howitzer Amber
- Field Beer — Dry Dock Brewing Co.-North Dock, Aurora, Coconut Bligh’s Barleywine
- Chili Beer — Cervecería Colorado, Denver, Poblano Pills
- Historical Beer — Seedstock Brewery, Denver, Seedstock Gratzer
- American-Belgo-style Ale — Ratio Beerworks, Denver, Dear You
- American-style Sour Ale — New Terrain Brewing Co., Golden, Mirage
- Mixed-Culture Brett Beer — Sanitas Brewing Co., Boulder, Déluge
- Wood- and Barrel-Aged Beer — Denver Beer Co., Denver, Amburana Graham Cracker Porter
- German-style Pilsener — Prost Brewing Co., Denver, Prost Pils
- American-style Strong Pale Ale — Comrade Brewing Co., Denver, Superpower IPA
- American-style Amber/Red Ale — Zuni Street Brewing Co., Denver, Justin’s Easy Going Amber
- Scottish-style Ale — Goat Patch Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, It Takes a Tribe red ale
- Fruit Wheat Beer — Storm Peak Brewing Co., Steamboat Springs, Afternoon Delight
- Herb and Spice Beer — Living the Dream Brewing Co., Littleton, Powder Run
- Experimental India Pale Ale — Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, Vladimir Brutin
- American-style Sour Ale — New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Sour IPA
- American-style Cream Ale — Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Golden, Let’s Talk About Mex
- International Pale Ale — Our Mutual Friend Brewing Co., Denver, Inner Light
- Stout — The Post Brewing Co., Lafayette, Dry Stout
See the full list of 2020 GABF winners.
RELATED: You only have to spend $20 to “attend” GABF this year. Here’s how.
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