Further cementing Durango’s place in the world of craft brewing, two local breweries brought home gold medals from this year’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Ska Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest won the gold medal in the Vienna-style lager category and Steamworks Brewing Co.’s Colorado Kolsch won the gold in the German-style Koelsch category. The winners were announced Saturday afternoon.
More than 2,404 breweries from 49 states entered more than 8,500 beers to the festival, including the four brews that Ska and Steamworks each entered, according to a news release from the Brewers Association, which hosts the festival.
“When you win something like that, it really validates what you do and everything you work so hard for” said Ska co-owner Dave Thibodeau.
He said Ska’s Oktoberfest beer is “a Vienna-style lager, so it’s got a little bit of darker malts in it. It’s not very hoppy.”
Brian McEachron, co-founder of Steamworks, said he appreciates having both Durango breweries win. “We were able to cheer for each other. ... It always feels good to have Durango, Colorado, on that Jumbotron in front of thousands of other quality brewers,” he said. “It’s so good for us and our town.”
Ken Martin, Steamwork’s director of brewing operations, described the Colorado Kolsch as “kind of a hybrid between a lager and an ale. It’s light in style and it’s got a little bit of wheat malt in there. It’s kind of got a subtle fruitiness to it and that’s pretty typical of the kolsch.”
“We were one of the first breweries to really take on that style,” McEachron said. “A lot of other breweries are finally getting what a beautiful style that beer is.”