Vail Brewing Company wins 2 medals at Great American Beer Festival
Have you had Deck Daze or Pete’s Stash?
With 107 beer-style categories, 15 hours of professional panel judging and industry members from across the country, the 38th annual Great American Beer Festival at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver Oct. 3-5 featured craft beers from coast to coast.
Vail Brewing Co. has been attending the festival since 2014, and while the local brewery has received recognition at other prestigious beer fests — including the World Beer Cup and North American Brewers awards — the Great American Beer Festival medals have always eluded the team at Vail Brewing Co. — until this year.
Pete’s Stash won the bronze medal for Australian-Style Pale Ale; and Deck Daze won the bronze medal for Herb and Spice Beer, a category with over 150 beers. According to the ranking criteria, bronze medals show “a fine example of the style that may vary slightly from style parameters and/or have minor deviations in taste, aroma or appearance.”
“This was the one we really wanted,” brewer Colton Rud said of the Great American Beer Festival awards. “Everyone in Colorado really knows Great American Beer Festival, so it’s really cool to give all of our locals a big thumbs up — thanks for drinking.”
Rud has been brewing beer with VBC for more than four years, shortly after it opened in EagleVail. It has since expanded with a second location in Vail Village. Rud brews alongside Garrett Scahill, co-owner and head brewer, and can also be found behind the bar from time to time.
“We’re super proud of what we do, and we love our locals,” Rud said, adding that he likes to listen to people, hear what they like and what they don’t like, and pointing out that the brewery didn’t win any medals its first couple of years.
“We needed that practice,” Rud said, “that experience and talking to everyone.”
The brewery focuses on making beer for the mountain lifestyle with nods to Vail — “We brew what we like to drink,” the VBC website reads.
Attending the festival in Denver, members of VBC enjoyed making connections on the Front Range.
“We want the people from Denver that make their way up to the mountains to come in and see that we welcome tourists and locals alike,” Rud said.
A nod to the Vail Valley
Great American Beer Festival featured brews with names like Mob Barley, Naked Sunbather, Three Ryes Men — but Vail Brewing Co.’s winning beers pay homage to the valley they come from — something most of the options at VBC do, such as Gourd Range and Aprés Rosé hard seltzer.
Rud said he came up with the Deck Daze name about two years ago, a “light, fruity beer you could crush on the deck.” The beer was made with springtime days spent on Vail Mountain’s decks in mind, rolling into the decks of summer. Deck Daze is made with a passion fruit tea from Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea.
Pete’s Stash is a tribute to Pete Seibert, one of Vail’s founders.
“We’re locals. We all live in Vail. We love all the same things,” Rud said. “So with our beers, we really try to center them around being outside around our valley.”
After winning seven medals at the 2019 Best of Vail Valley voting, with over 96,000 total votes cast, Vail Brewing Co. is looking to have a local’s appreciation party before the winter and create a trophy case for its awards that are stacking up.
“We don’t know 100% what we’re going to do this winter,” Rud said while sipping on a GABF award-winner at the EagleVail brewery. “We sit down and listen to our customers. We listen to people talk. We ask, ‘What do people want?’”
It sounds like more beer.
While policymakers are celebrating a big drop in Colorado’s individual health insurance prices for 2020, they’re also scrambling to combat the sharp decline in the number of carriers in rural parts of the state where 22 of 64 counties have just one option on the Obamacare marketplace.