Glenwood boasts the bronze of beers |

Glenwood boasts the bronze of beers

Stina Sieg
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Breweries from all over drank competitively during the World Beer Cup 2008 in San Diego. On the whole, Colorado brews faired well at the “Olympics” of beer fests, winning 22 medals out of 91 categories. The valley’s own Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. sprinted off with two bronze medals.

And brewmaster Ken Jones couldn’t be happier ” in his low-key way.

“We’re proud that this is the fourth time in a row we’ve got a medal at this competition,” he said. “That’s proof, I think, that it’s a gold recipe.”

An award in the English-Style Pale Ale category went to his Vapor Cave beer and his seasonal Sopris beer won in the Strong Beer slot.

Pub patrons will notice the accolades displayed on Glenwood Canyon’s walls, along with the 11 others they’ve won over the years.

Head of brewing since Glenwood Canyon opened its vats in 1996, Jones said he uses the competitions as learning experiences. At the world competition and Denver’s upcoming American Beer Festival, all judging is done by blind tasting. Each entry receives written feedback, which Jones and assistant Chip Holland have used to help tweak and hone their drafts. “It’s always a great feeling to know you’ve improved,” he said.

Specialty beers have gained a foothold in market in recent years, especially in Colorado. Jones said that he’s like many people: When traveling, he’s always wants to taste a town’s local brew. This is about the quality beer, of course, but it’s also about checking into that relaxed vibe that most breweries seem to have. He said he can walk into almost any of them and once he whips out his business card, it’s like he’s invited into a fraternity of folks who get the importance of handcrafted ale. Jones thinks it’s that communal feel that causes people flock to brew pubs.

“It’s kind of like, you’re not on the map unless you have one,” he said.

Jones admitted that the brew pub probably won’t drum up much extra business as a result of the awards. He feels most people come to Glenwood Canyon for the beer, the food, the central location ” not the plaques on the wall.

But for Jones, they speak of a large shift in beer drinking in general. He almost laughed as he remembered a time when “interesting beer” meant Michelob Dark.

“I think 20 years ago, if you had asked a consumer what an IPA or a porter was, they wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea,” he said. “It has come a long way.”

Microbrews may only account for 5 percent of the beer market, but their visibility seems massive to Jones. He guessed it all might be part of a larger cultural trend, where consumers are starting to take an elevated interest in all kinds of food and drink, from wine to chocolate to coffee.

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