By Rick Scibelli, Jr.


In 2012, there were 164 microbreweries in Colorado. According to the Beer Institute (yes there is an institute for beer), when it comes to per-person beer consumption nationwide, Colorado ranks a paltry 24th. But when you consider that we average 30 gallons per year per person over the age of 21, it is nothing to hang our heads about. And according to The Institute, the economic impact for our state is substantial to say the least. Like close to 60,000 jobs directly or indirectly related to the industry totaling over $3 million in wages (all, in turn, spent on beer, no doubt).

About 350 microbreweries, brewpubs and regional craft breweries (there is a distinction) were established between 2011 and 2012 alone. Now, with approximately 2400 across the country, it isn’t easy to stand out, much less win a medal as coveted as those handed out at the annual Great American Beer Festival held in Denver every year since 1982. Yet five San Juan brewers managed to come home with four golds and one silver in October. Durango brewers Ska, Steamworks and Carver’s, along with Pagosa Brewing & Grill, all came home with gold while Colorado Boy, tucked away off the main drag in remote Ridgway, walked away with a very respectable silver.


Category 4: Fruit Wheat Beer

Gold: Peachy Peach, Pagosa Brewing & Grill, Pagosa Springs


Category 38: European-Style Dunkel

Gold: Munich Dunkel, Carver Brewing Co., Durango


Category 46: English-Style Summer Ale

Gold: True Blonde Ale, Ska Brewing, Durango


Category 60: Irish-Style Red Ale

Silver: Colorado Boy Irish Ale, Colorado Boy Brewing Co., Ridgway


Category 67: German-Style Wheat Ale

Gold: Slam Dunkel, Steamworks Brewing Co., Durango