Colorado is, objectively, a cool place to live. I don’t mean to go so far as to say it’s better than any particular place, or that it’s the best place for (fill in the blank). But unless you’re a fun hater who just can’t stand outdoorsy things, sports, crisp air, artisnal drinks of all kinds, a fanaticism of local business, and a virtual desktop wallpaper every time you look to the west, then it’s pretty safe to say Colorado is the shiz. Objectively, of course.
And this is particularly true given the subject matter of this particularly beery website, and this particular month (GABF in 11 days!). Colorado likes beer. A lot. Colorado is second only to California in all-time Great American Beer Fest medals won, and took home 41 gold medals just last year, including 13 golds. For comparison, the mighty Oregon claimed 19 medals, and California got a very respectable 39.
But there is a conundrum for us Colorado folk. Colorado makes a metric crapton of great beer, and a lot of it is available at GABF. But so is a metric crapton of other states’ good beer. From all around the country, brewers big and micro will bring their best. So while we could just drive an hour and get any number of medal winning brews, there is this pitfall of paying 15% of your paycheck to get into GABF and wind up drinking sour barrel aged Avery brews all night. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Well if you have the great fortune of living here, or you just so happen to find yourself in the Denver area a week before GABF, then lucky you. On September 24 between 1:00 and 4:30, Wynkoop Brewing Co. officially kicks off Denver Beer Week with “The Great COntenders”, a pre-Great American Beer Fest showcase of 20+ Colorado brewers, and 50+ beers. Think of it as a GABF warm up match. Or just think of it as a way of getting your Colorado beer fix out of the way before the big showcase. Do this event, and that’s about 35-40 long lines you don’t have to stand in.
Featuring a mix of previous 2011 winners and current 2011 entries, this is an awesome plan B for those unfortunate souls who tried too late to buy a ticket to the sold out megafest. But even better, online ticket buyers to The Great COntenders are automatically entered into a drawing for a pair of tickets to a GABF session.
So far, word is pretty mum on the beers that will be on hand, so nobody can promise anything crazy, like an Avery Margarete or a Great Divide Coconut Yeti. But expect awesome things nonetheless. It’s an all Colorado showcase piece, so somebody, if not everybody, is bringing their A Game. So remember that online pre-sale raffle I mentioned in the last paragraph? Click here. Tickets are only $25. See you at the ‘Koop!
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