Thanks to the thousands of you who voted in the group stages of the Colorado Brewery Cup. Now the real fun begins in our single-elimination knockout stage.
That’s right, it’s win or go home time.
Above, you’ll see a bracket of the remaining 32 breweries after four days of group-stage voting. Each of the 32 breweries above finished in the top two from one of the 16 groups that we put together, encompassing each one of the state’s over 200 breweries.
Those final 32 breweries have been seeded in the knockout stage based on the average number of votes they received per 12-hour period during the group stages, seeing as how some of the breweries went up for voting last Friday, while others went up just this Monday.
To say the state is well-represented might be an understatement.
We have massive breweries like New Belgium as well as breweries like Revolution Brewing, which calls the tiny town of Paonia home. We have long-established breweries like Avery Brewing Company and breweries like Chain Reaction, which just opened last week.
Over the course of the next five days, we’ll commence in a single-elimination tournament featuring all 32 remaining breweries. We’ll start today by offering up the first 8 matchups in the round of 32 in the morning and the remaining 8 matchups in a different story this afternoon.
From there, we’ll commence to the round of 16 on Wednesday, the round of 8 on Thursday, the semifinals on Friday and finally, the championship on Saturday.
Without further adieu, let the voting commence!
NOTE: Voting in both the AM & PM Round of 32 Knockout Stages ends at 10:30 PM Tuesday
1. City Star Brewing (Berthoud) vs. 8. Upslope Brewing Company (Boulder): We called these upstarts from Berthoud a darkhose in the Agriculture Group, and City Star proved to be every bit of that, winning the knockout stage’s No. 1 overall seed. And for their efforts, they’re rewarded with Upslope, one of Boulder’s favorite breweries. Sure, Upslope didn’t garner their typical support in the group stage, but they may gain some steam with new life in the knockout stage.
1. Wiley Roots Brewing (Greeley) vs. 8. Telluride Brewing Company (Telluride): Wiley Roots is barely over a year old, but they appear primed to take a lead in Greeley’s craft beer industry as another strong performer in the Agriculture Group. Telluride Brewing Company advanced as the No. 2 seed out of the Campground Ground, but like Wiley Roots, they are carrying the torch for their town. Both are known for signature beers: Wiley for their Super 77 Wheat and Telluride for their Face Down Brown.
1. Elevation Beer Co. (Poncha Springs) vs. 8. Mountain Toad Brewing (Golden): Elevation came out of nowhere to win the Falling Rock group in the final stage of group voting Monday. They’re also part of the booming three-town brewers paradise that includes Salida and Buena Vista, and they just went through their second expansion in 18 months. They’ll face stiff competition in Mountain Toad, which has sprung up equally quickly and gained a foothold in another brewery stronghold known as Golden — no small task.
1. Oskar Blues Brewery (Lyons) vs. 8. Two22 Brew (Aurora): After a year in which they were devastated by floods, it’s great to hear comeback stories coming out of Lyons. Oskar Blues becoming the first food and beverage vendor to open its doors after those floods was one of those stories. If anyone can top such a tale, it might be Two22, where charity runs deep — so deep, in fact, that the brewery got its name from its effort to donate $2.22 of every $10 of profits to local charities.
2. Ska Brewing Company (Durango) vs. 7. Odyssey Beerwerks (Arvada): Want to keep seeing great breweries pop up in Colorado, especially in the Denver Metro area? Then you better thank Josh Van Riper at Odyssey, who partnered with Regis University to help form the state’s second craft brewing degree program. The 19-year-old Ska is much more steeped in tradition than Odyssey, but it’s invested in its neighborhood’s future as well, by converting its brewery into a wind-powered fortress.
2. Big Choice Brewing (Broomfield) vs. 7. Strange Craft Beer Co. (Denver): Is it strange that it has taken this long for a Denver brewery to come up for voting? Yes. Is it even stranger that Strange is that brewery? Not necessarily. Strange has made a name for itself with its award-winning fruit beer and barleywine. But there’s a reason Big Choice is the higher seed here: It’s the hands-down, standalone favorite in the growing city of Broomfield — in large part thanks to its inventive Disconnected Red, an amber ale hopped like an IPA.
2. Industrial Revolution Brewing (Erie) vs. 7. Black Shirt Brewing Company (Denver): The father-son team of Tim Suttman and Nate Cervantes seem to have really started something in Erie. Industrial Revolution came first, then came five more breweries to the East Boulder area. But they’ll face a tough test in Black Shirt, which has just plain expanded since the end of 2013. They now have a 15-barrel brewhouse and the ability to can their product, helping them take both the RiNo district and a good deal of Denver by storm.
2. J Wells Brewery (Boulder) vs. 7. Chain Reaction Brewing Company (Denver): Interestingly enough, this showdown features a pair of newer breweries that both focus on small batch brewing. When they started back in 2012, J Wells only brewed one and a half barrels at a time, creating unique beers such as their Honey Biscuit Amber. And at Chain Reaction, which just opened last week in Denver, the one barrel system may be small, but the brewers boast that they’re capable of brewing 45 different varieties of beer, including a Pink Peppercorn Saison.