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Colorado breweries win impressive 33 medals at national beer competition

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Colorado beer makers made a remarkable showing at the 2023 U.S. Open Beer Championship, collecting 33 medals – more than double the state’s haul in 2022.

According to an announcement in early July, judges evaluated more than 9,000 beers submitted from breweries across North America and awarded medals in more than 100 different style categories.

The biggest winner from the Centennial State was Bull & Bush Brewery, which scored four medals and placed No. 5 overall in the competition. The Denver-based beer maker earned two gold medals for barrel-aged recipes – Royal Oil and its 49th Anniversary Ale – plus two silver medals for its 6 Hour Scotch Ale and Hucklesherry Hounds, a barrel-aged fruit beer.

Erik Peterson, co-owner of Bull & Bush Brewery, said it was the company’s first time to enter the U.S. Open Beer Championship and his team was shocked by the results. The competition reaffirmed the brewery’s ability to produce high-quality barrel-aged beers despite being a small outfit.

Bull & Bush Brewery produced about 1,300 barrels of beer in 2021, according to data from the Brewers Association. Comparatively, Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., which ranked as No. 1 brewery in the competition, produced more than 42,500 barrels of beer the same year.

“If they’re the Goliath, we’re definitely the David,” Peterson said. “It was super cool to see the top 10 list and be No. 5., and being the only one from Colorado was a shock, too. There’s so much great beer in Colorado, to be mentioned in the top 10 is truly an honor and humbling.”

The only local brewery to garner more accolades was Los Dos Potrillos Cerveceria, based in Parker, which earned five medals, including three silver and two bronze. Several others – including Denver Beer Co., Sanitas Brewing Co., Echo Brewing Cask & Barrel, New Terrain Brewing Co., Cellar West Artisan Ales, Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project and Living the Dream Brewing Co. – won more than one accolade.

Also of note, the brand new Kodiac Brewery Bar & Grill in Centennial earned a medal.

See a comprehensive list of local winners below and visit the U.S. Open Beer Championship website to see the full results.

Gold

American Fruit Beer (Tangerine) – Tangerine Yum Yum, Denver Beer Co., Denver

Barrel-Aged Strong Beer – Royal Oil, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver

Barrel-Aged Strong Stout/Porter – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Living the Dream Brewing Co., Littleton

Belgian Pale Ale – Belgian Pale Ale, Cellar West Artisan Ales, Lafayette

British Imperial Stout/Porter – Others in Darkness, Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project, Loveland

English Bitter – Jim’s English Bitter, Sanitas Brewing Co., Boulder

French and Belgian Saison – Farmhouse Saison, Cellar West Artisan Ales, Lafayette

Herb and Spice Beer – Horchata Powder Run, Living the Dream Brewing Co., Littleton

Pastry Stout – Peanut Butter Stout, Pumphouse Brewery, Longmont

Tea Beer – Earl’s Out!, Sanitas Brewing Co., Boulder

Wood/Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale – 49th Anniversary Ale, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver

Silver

American Fruit Beer (Strawberry) – Fresa Loca, Los Dos Potrillos Cerveceria, Parker

Australasian, Latin American or Tropical-style Light Lager – Aurora, Launch Pad Brewery, Aurora

Barrel-Aged Fruit Beer – Hucklesherry Hounds, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver

Belgian-style Strong Specialty Ale – Kiidk’yaas, Blue Spruce Brewing Co., Littleton/Centennial

Blended Barrel-Aged Beer – Grow in Darkness, Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project, Loveland

English Summer Ale – Yampa Valley Blonde, Yampa Valley Brewing Co., Hayden

German Kolsch – Rise N Climb, New Terrain Brewing Co., Golden

India Pale Lager – Gil’s Pils, Los Dos Potrillos Cerveceria, Parker

Kentucky Common Beer – Angry Banjo, Verboten Brewing and Barrel Project, Loveland

Mexican Lager/Pilsner – Mexican Lager, Los Dos Potrillos Cerveceria, Parker

Non-Alcoholic Beer (Fruit and Spices) – Grainwave, Ceria Brewing Co., Arvada

Scotch Ale – 6 Hour Scotch Ale, Bull & Bush Brewery, Denver

Bronze

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