Great American Beer Festival Preview: Snake River Brewing


This weekend, Thursday-Saturday, marks the annual Great American Beer Festival, held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Since 1982, this three day event has become the premier beer festival and competition in the United States. Today, the event has grown to represent more than 4,000 different beers from more than 800 of the nation’s breweries. Attendees enjoy the opportunity to taste these beers, from across the country, amidst other craft beer enthusiasts. In preparation for this event, we take a look at the Jackson breweries that will be representing our valley of delicious craft beer. Today’s feature: Snake River Brewing. snake river brewing

GABF was formed and is presented by the Brewers Association. According to the GABF website, the Brewers Association “promotes and protects American craft beer, American craft brewers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts.” The Brewers Association has played a large role in spreading the popularity of craft beer, and is thus part of the reason we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great range and variety of craft brews today. The two most recognized competitions in this realm are GABF and the World Beer Cup, but the World Beer Cup is an international competition. It’s organization like the Brewers Association who develop guidelines, expectations and standards for the different styles of beer.snake river brewing

So what does Wyoming’s oldest craft brewery have to say about the Great American Beer Festival? They’re excited! When SRBP opened in 1994, there were considerably less microbreweries. Since then, SRBP has become the most awarded small brewery in the country. “We really do have some of the best liquid out there,” says Derek Beardsley, Director of Sales. Their Zonker stout is one of the most awarded beers of all time. This beer has been so well praised, Beardsley says they don’t even enter it in competitions anymore.

Instead, these days, SRBP aims to demonstrate its diversity in these competitions. Which is why they’ve submitted the following this year:

  • Speargun Coffee Milk Stout
  • La Cerveza, “The beer” is a light lager
  • Electric Kool-aid, a grapefruit sour
  • Keller Kolsch, an unfiltered German lager

Snake River Brewery sees this event as an opportunity to go out and win an award for a different style of beer than they’ve won for previously. This goes to show that they brew a large range of beers very well, rather than brewing one specific style very well. Always excited to see what styles they add to their taps next, for now, we’ll wish them luck with this week’s.snake river brewing

Snake River Brewery’s GABF Awards:

1994: Silver – Zonker Stout

1995: Silver – Snake River Pale Ale

1996: Silver – Snake River Pale Ale

1997: Silver – Zonker

1999: Silver – Snake River Lager; Gold – Zonker

2000: Gold – Snake River Lager; Gold – Custer’s Last Ale; Small Brewing Company of the Year

2001: Gold – Snake River Lager; Gold – Custer’s Last Ale; Small Brewing Company of the Year

2002: Silver – Zonker

2003: Gold – Snake River Lager; Bronze – Custer’s Last Ale

2004: Gold – Guido’s Konerbrau

2007: Bronze – Snake River Pale; Gold – Zonker

2008: Gold – Rolling Thunder Dortmunder; Bronze – Guido’s Konerbrau; Bronze – OB-1

2009: Silver – AK Session

2010: Gold – Le Serpent Cerise; Bronze – Rolling Thunder Dortmunder; Gold – Berliner Weisse; Bronze – Le Serpent

2011: Bronze – Le Serpent Cerise; Gold – Pako’s IPA

2012: Bronze – Paintbrush Pilsner; Silver – Rolling Thunder Dortmunder

2014: Silver – Rolling Thunder Dortmunder

2016: Silver – Kelly At

2017: Gold – Speargun Coffee Milk Stout



About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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