Denver, Colorado is hopping all week long as the Great American Beer Festival 2017 rolls into town. Every brewery large and small will be competing for Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals across a record number of beer categories as judges evaluate the best beers in the land. But there will be another competition taking place as well- one that pits the Colorado House of Representatives against the Colorado Senate for brewing superiority. It’s called Hop the Vote and you, the Great American Beer Festival attendee, are asked to help select the best beer brewed by those responsible for passing laws that affect Colorado’s citizens every day.
How did this all get started? Well, the Colorado Brewers Guild is behind the competition, launching it at last years’ GABF and bringing it back this year for another run. To get the beer brewing started, a group of Colorado House members, including Alec Garnett (D-Denver), Representative Hugh McKean (R-Loveland), Kim Ransom (R-Littleton), Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village), and Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch) met in August at 4 Noses Brewing to try their hand at craft beer creation. Likewise, the Colorado Senate assembled together a brewing team of its own, including Tim Neville (R-Littleton), Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder), and Chris Holbert (R-Parker). These three met at Renegade Brewing to concoct their own craft beer, and the race was on.
4 Noses Brewing President and Brewmaster Tommy Bibliowicz says that, given the economic impact of craft beer on the Colorado economy and the role lawmakers play in the industry, it is important that everyone work together.
“As the beer business evolves, it is clear how crucial it is for us to work well with lawmakers locally and nationally,” said Bibliowicz. “Participating in an event like Hop the Vote really ties both aspects of this together and embraces the mutual passion and curiosity for great beer that many of us share.”
Renegade Brewing owner Brian O’Connell expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s an honor to represent members of the Colorado Brewers Guild by engaging our legislators in our industry in a fun and exciting way,” said O’Connell. “This program shows the importance of craft beer in our state and the commitment of the CBG to work with our legislators to keep our industry strong. We are a vital part of the state’s economy and business leaders and legislators alike can work together to keep it strong.”
The Colorado House- brewed beer has been named 4 Votes IPA, a beer that utilizes Munich malt, Amarillo hops, Simcoe hops, and other ingredients for a complex and mildly bitter profile. The Colorado Senate took a more blended approach with its beer, Upper Chamber Haze. This beer combines qualities of both west coast and east coast IPA’s to create a beer with a hazy body and juicy, fruity flavor profile.
Which beer is better? It will be up to the attendees at the Great American Beer Festival to decide. The beer will be available to try at the Colorado Brewers guild booth, located in the Guild Pavilion. Votes will be tallied and a winner will be announced on Saturday, October 7th at 3:45pm.
Beer is known for its ability to bring people together and given the extreme partisanship that inflicts much of the nation, it’s nice to see members of the Colorado legislature representing both political parties working together for the common good; namely, the craft beer industry and its millions of adoring fans. If you’re planning to attend the Great American Beer Festival this year like I am, be sure to sample each beer and cast your vote. It’s democracy in action at this year’s GABF and it’s your chance to help decide whether the Colorado House or Colorado Senate earns bragging rights as the best brewing lawmakers in the state.
For more information about the Colorado Brewers Guild, visit www.coloradobeer.org.