Colorado has 284 craft breweries and cities like Denver, Fort Collins, Boulder and Longmont have been on the map of craft beer aficionados nationwide for decades now.
But after three local breweries took home medals at the Denver International Beer Competition last month, some beer lovers may take a closer look at the south suburbs.
Locavore Beer Works and 38 State Brewing Co., both in Littleton, and Living the Dream Brewing Co. in northern Douglas County, near Highlands Ranch, were recognized.
“We've got good beer coming out of here," said 38 State co-owner Brett Blazek. "We've got award-winning beer.”
The brewery's 38 State IPA was awarded a gold medal in the American IPA category, while its Half Mowed Lawn Saison won a silver in the saison category and its 38 State Brown won bronze in the English Brown Ale category.
For Locavore co-founders Jason Reinhardt and Andy Nelson, the awards lend an air of legitimacy to the young brewery.
“We don't just like them, these are good beers,” Reinhardt said.
Locavore won a gold medal in the Imperial and Double IPA category for its Lightning Hopkiss, two silver medals in the American Light Lager and Witbier categories for its Loggerhead and Sugar Magnolia and a bronze in American Pale Ale for 5 Season.
Living the Dream was awarded a gold medal in the flavored and specialty beers category for its High Class Horchata and silver medals in the Schwarzbier, International Lager, Belgian Strong Ale categories for Deutsch Vader, Schüss Bomber and Stubborn Monk, as well as bronze in the Sweet and Milk Stout, Dry Stout and Imperial and Double IPA categories for Helluva Caucasian Stout, Plaid Pants and Hop EM DBL IPA.
And DIBC is not some small local competition, as Blazek points out. Competition came from as far away as Hawaii and included some of the biggest names in craft brewing, including Boston Beer Company — better known as Samuel Adams.
“Boston Beer Company, two thousand miles away, decided this was important enough for them to enter,” Blazek said.
For Living the Dream co-owner Jason Bell, awards are nice, but making good beer is better.
“I would rather have a packed taproom of people who like what we do than a medal,” he said.
More exposure of local breweries is better for all of them, Blazek says.
“I think it's healthy competition, but at the end of the day we want everyone to succeed.”