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Great American Beer Festival brings big boost to local economy

23 Colorado breweries awarded 26 medals in 2022 GABF
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Posted at 11:05 AM, Oct 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 09:56:11-04

DENVER— After a three-year hiatus, you can say this year's Great American Beer Festival was a success.

The event brought in more than 500 breweries from across the country, 2,000 beers to taste and 40,000 people over the last three days, which means a lot of money for the City and County of Denver.

The conversations inside the Colorado Convention Center were going, the beer was flowing, and the pretzel necklaces were everywhere to be seen.

Brenton Galas had enough pretzel necklaces for 16 people.

Great American Beer Festival Brings Big Boost to Local Economy

“This is the first year back after Covid. This is 16 years I've been doing it,” Galas said.

He said it was something he couldn't miss.

“Denver is the mecca, it's the Napa Valley of beer, so why would you not be here?” he said.

The Brewers Association said this year's festival brought in a lot of people.

“When people come in for the festival, they're coming in from all over the country, all over the world,” said Ann Obenchain, marketing and communications director for the Brewers Association.

Those crowds mean a lot of money for the local economy.

“It's estimated they are spending $15.2 million while they're here. They're spending their money on restaurants, shopping and staying in hotels,” Obenchain said.

Obenchain said they’re also staying in the metro area and trying out local breweries while they're in town, like Our Mutual Friend Brewery in Denver which took home two medals Saturday.

Head brewer Jan Chodkowski was wearing his gold and silver medal proudly when Denver7 talked to him.

"It’s just awesome to be recognized. We're making a high-quality beer here in Denver and especially these styles we're very passionate about making Saison and Brett style beers,” said Chodkowski.

Karen Hertz, founder of the gluten-free brewery Holidaily Brewing in Golden, is showing off her silver medal at GABF. Hertz is a two-time cancer survivor who turned her struggles into success.

“I was told I needed to be gluten-free, but I love beer so I created a gluten-free brewery in 2016,” said Hertz. “This year we won the silver for our Buckwit Belgian beer.”

The Brewers Association said next year's GABF will be bigger and better than ever as they will have even more space to use inside the Colorado Convention Center.

Here are the 2022 Colorado Craft Beer Award-Winning Winners:

  • Westbound & Down Brewing Company and Bierstadt Lagerhaus: Silver medal for Chicago Peaks Kolsch in Collaboration Competition
  • Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing (Fort Collins): Silver medal for Sticky Fingers Saison (AHA Member Mark Pennick) in the Pro-Am competition
  • Joyride Brewing Company (Edgewater): Silver medal for Black Razz Blonde in the American Fruit Beer category
  • Cerebral Brewing (Denver): Bronze medal for Fuego Reserva in the Chili Beer category
  • Twisted Pine Brewing Company (Boulder): Silver medal for Rockin’ Roggen in the Rye Beer category
  • River North Brewery (Denver): Silver medal for Hello Darkness in the Other Strong Beer category
  • Holidaily Brewing Company (Golden): Silver medal for Buckwit Belgian in the Gluten-Free beer category
  • New Terrain Brewing Company (Golden): Silver medal for Mirage in the American Sour Ale category
  • Our Mutual Friend (Denver): Gold medal for Trystero in the Brett Beer category and Silver medal for Biere Ovale in the Mixed-Culture Brett Beer category
  • Jessup Farm Barrel House (Fort Collins): Gold medal for Barrel-Aged Soft Skills in the Wood-and Barrel-Aged Beer category
  • Rock Cut Brewing Company (Estes Park): Bronze medal for Wooden Mayhem in the Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout category
  • Dry Dock Brewing Co. - North Dock (Aurora): Silver medal for Docktoberfest in the German-Style Märzen category
  • The Post Brewing Company (Lafayette): Gold medal for El Corn in the International Dark Lager category
  • Resolute Brewing Company (Centennial): Silver medal for Execrator in the German-Style Doppelbock or Eisbock category
  • Launch Pad Brewery (Aurora): Silver medal for Citronaut in the English Ale category
  • Westbound & Down Brewing Company (Idaho Springs): Silver medal for Spirit of the West in the English India Pale Ale or New Zealand India Pale Ale category
  • Comrade Brewing Company (Denver): Gold medal for More Dodge Less Ram in the American-Style India Pale Ale category
  • Bristol Brewing Company (Colorado Springs): Silver medal for Laughing Lab Scottish Ale in the Scottish-Style Ale category
  • Baere Brewing Company (Denver): Silver medal for Saison in the Classic Saison category
  • Cannonball Creek Brewing Company (Golden): Bronze medal Rosemary Sourdough Saison in the Specialty Saison category
  • Crooked Stave (Denver): Gold medal for Stay the Funk In in the Belgian-Style Sour Ale category
  • Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont): Bronze medal for St Vrain in the Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale category, silver medal for Milk Stout in the Oatmeal Stout category, and Brewery of the year 15,000-100,000 barrels
  • Odell Brewing Company - Sloan’s Lake (Denver): Bronze medal for Dark Helmet in the Imperial Stout category