Oct 9, 2022 - Business

Left Hand and other Colorado brewers win big at GABF

Left Hand Brewing's crew accepts a GABF medal on stage at the awards ceremony in Denver. Photo: John Frank/Axios

Left Hand Brewing accepts a GABF medal on stage at the awards ceremony in Denver. Photo: John Frank/Axios

Left Hand Brewing won its first Great American Beer Festival medal in 1994, the year it opened. Five, in fact.

What's new: On Saturday — 28 years later — the Longmont brewery proved its still on top.

  • Left Hand won brewery of the year in the highly competitive large category (15,001-100,000 barrels produced) at the GABF awards ceremony in Denver.
  • It also took home a silver medal for its famous Milk Stout and a bronze for its St. Vrain Tripel — maintaining its status as the most decorated brewery in the state.

What they're saying: "It's unbelievable," head brewer Gary Glass told Axios seconds after he accepted the brewery of the year award. "I was just hoping to medal."

Why it matters: GABF is America's premier beer competition, and winning one of the 300-plus medals helps put a brewery on the map.

  • This year, the festival celebrated its 40th anniversary and a cheery return after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

By the numbers: The 2022 contest saw 2,154 breweries submitting more than 9,900 beers.

Details: In Colorado, 25 breweries won a collective 27 medals — second most of any state behind California's 77, per an Axios count.

  • The first-time winners were Bierstadt Lagerhaus, River North, Rock Cut and Resolute.
  • Cannonball Creek extended its winning streak to 10 consecutive years.

The other Colorado winners in this year's competition:

Gold medals:

  • The Post in Lafayette for El Corn in the international dark lager category
  • Comrade in Denver for More Dodge Less RAM in the American-style IPA category — the most competitive contest
  • Crooked Stave in Denver for Stay the Funk In in the Belgian-style sour ale category
  • Our Mutual Friend in Denver for Trystero in the brett beer category
  • Jessup Farm Barrel House in Fort Collins for Barrel-Aged Soft Skills in the wood- and barrel-aged beer category

Silver medals:

  • Our Mutual Friend for Biere Ovale in the mixed-culture brett beer category
  • Joyride in Edgewater for Black Razz Blonde in the American fruit beer category
  • Baere in Denver for Saison in the classic saison category
  • Launch Pad in Aurora for Citronaut in the English ale category
  • Westbound & Down in Idaho Springs for Spirit of the West in the English IPA or New Zealand IPA category
  • Westbound & Down and Denver's Bierstadt Lagerhaus for Chicago Peaks kölsch in the collaboration category
  • New Terrain in Golden for Mirage in the American sour ale category
  • Resolute in Centennial for Execrator in the German-style Doppelbock or Eisbock category
  • Dry Dock in Aurora for Docktoberfest in the German-style Maerzen category
  • Holidaily in Golden for BuckWit Belgian in the gluten-free beer category
  • River North in Denver for Hello Darkness in the other strong beer category
  • Twisted Pine in Boulder for Rockin' Roggen in the rye beer category
  • CooperSmith's Pub in Fort Collins for Sticky Fingers Saison in the Pro-Am competition with homebrewer Mark Pennick
  • Bristol in Colorado Springs for Laughing Lab in the Scottish ale category

Bronze medals:

  • Breckenridge in Littleton for Agave Wheat in the American wheat beer category
  • Cerebral in Denver for Fuego Reserva in the chili beer category
  • SandLot in Denver for Wild Pitch in the German wheat ale category
  • Odell in Denver for Dark Helmet in the imperial stout category
  • Cannonball Creek in Golden for Rosemary Sourdough in the specialty saison category
  • Rock Cut in Estes Park for Wooden Mayhem in the wood- and barrel-aged strong stout category

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