"Beer in Colorado" is dedicated to that divine elixir born of the marriage of water, malt, hops, and yeast as interpreted
by those living in Colorado. Follow the author as he visits every brewery in the state, creates experimental homebrews,
attends beer festivals, tries interesting beers from around the world, and spreads the good word of beer. Prost!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Colorado/Massachusetts War

There’s scarcely any doubt that Colorado is at least among the best places in America to procure a fine, hand-crafted ale or lager.  The sheer number of breweries, the countless beer festivals (including the granddaddy of them all, Great American Beer Festival), and the overall beer-mindedness of the state’s citizens essentially proves that point.  Sure, Colorado has worthy competition in the Pacific Northwest where some of the first microbreweries popped up, in the San Diego-area where the biggest, boldest beers were conceived, in Wisconsin where an increasing number of small breweries seek to reclaim their state’s beer image after the corporate giants ruined it, and, hell, in light of the fact that it won the most medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (also the most gold medals), even Indiana can be considered a leader in the realm of craft beer.  As much competition as Colorado has, there is an even greater number of regions that are so un-evolved in beer culture that they’re just squishy bits of barely-multicellular mold compared to the highly advanced Homosapien of beer that is Colorado.  Among the slimy, unworthy throngs is the bean-eatin’, tax-hikin’, Matt Damon-lovin’, letter “R” un-pronouncin’, chowdah heads of Boston.

Okay, so what’s with the hostility towards the Bay State?  To put it simply and immaturely, they started it! 

NFL fans as well as all Americans not living under a rock know that the Denver Broncos will be taking on the New England Patriots in a playoff game this Saturday, January 14th.  It’s also no secret that, sometimes, the mayors from the opposing teams’ cities make non-monetary bets on the game.  For example, if the Chiefs and the Eagles were to play each other, the mayor of Kansas City would have to send the mayor of Philadelphia a plate of his city’s world-famous BBQ ribs if his team lost and the mayor of Philly would have to send KC some cheesesteaks if his team lost.  Just last week, the mayor of Pittsburgh was forced to “Tebow” in front of the city skyline and, depending on the outcome of the upcoming game, either Denver’s Mayor Hancock will have to wear a Patriots jersey and send Boston’s Mayor Menino a Colorado steak or Menino will have to adorn the Paul Revere statue with a Tebow jersey and send Hancock a lobster dinner.  That’s no problem with all of that; it’s fun, it’s silly, and it stays within the jurisdiction of professional sports.  But then Menino had to keep flapping his jaw.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Menino said, “I mean, you know, Colorado beer? It hasn't even made it east yet. Sam Adams has made it to the west and Harpoon has made it out there, but Colorado Rocky beer? Uck.

I’ve talked about warring beer factions before.  I’ve talked about Oregon breweries going to battle against Colorado breweries.  I’ve talked about the hubbub surrounding Funkwerks and their Māori King.  I’ve talked about how a brewery in Washington got its panties in a twist over Dry Dock’s Seven Seas.  This is different.  This is some uninformed dirt-bag that will say any rotten thing if it gets the public’s attention; Menino is the Kanye West of the political world.

Part of me hates that I’m giving in to his provocation but I have my reasons.  If the trash talking had been relegated to pro football things would have been peachy; pro sports were invented for that type of talk and, besides that, the worst player on the worst team still makes a butt-load of cash so, really, how badly do words hurt?  But no!  Menino attacked our brewers.  He attacked our small business owners.  He attacked those who help keep Colorado’s economy afloat.  By God, he attacked the very values—the idea that everybody has a right to high-quality beer—that make Colorado great.
Let’s dissect Menino’s quote piece by piece and reveal how much of a blowhard he really is, shall we?

“Colorado beer…hasn’t even made it east yet.”
Really?  New Belgium Brewing is coast-to-coast, Great Divide, despite having to pullout of a few distribution regions, still sends beers east, Breckenridge Brewery is just as widespread, and even little ol’ Tommyknocker goes to states that touch the Atlantic.  These are facts that I learned via five minutes of internet research.  True, I did find that none of the mentioned breweries distribute to Massachusetts but that doesn’t mean Colorado doesn’t share its world-class beer with the rest of America.  Maybe your state just isn’t good enough to have Colorado beer, Menino.  

“Sam Adams has made it to the west and Harpoon has made it out there.”
For this part of my argument, I’m going to contradict myself a bit but that’s inevitable when the original statement is, itself, contradictory.  Menino’s logic is that only good beer is available to the masses when, in fact, most people know that something made for the masses is inevitably terrible e.g. pop music, McDonald’s, sitcoms...etc.

Hancock also made a good rebuttal in the Denver Post: "First of all, we are the microbrew capital of the nation. Some of the best beer in the world is brewed here in Colorado. The moment Sam Adams sells more beer than Coors, then he can come talk to me. Otherwise, he needs to stay in Boston and not talk about our beer."

While I wish Hancock had emphasized the microbrewery aspect more, he makes a great point;  If widespread distribution is what makes a beer great—which Menino insinuates—then Coors beats the ever-living crap out of anything that comes out of Boston.
"Colorado Rocky beer? Uck."

You don’t hold a gigantic beer fest like Great American Beer Festival in a state that doesn’t already have a thriving beer scene.  Furthermore, who’s been winning more medals at said festival?  Eric Gorski, investigative reporter for the Denver Post writes on his Twitter account, “All time @GABF medals for Colorado beers: 491. Massachusetts: 94. @First_Drafts @BostonDotCom @SteveGreenlee @timhoover.”  Suck on that, Menino.

I see that certain Colorado breweries are making game-day bets with Massachusetts breweries.  As a long-time Patriots-hater, there’s nothing I’d like to see more than Tom Brady get pulverized like an overripe banana between two very large Bronco defenders but that really isn’t the point, is it?  A good football team does not equal a good beer scene.  I demand a beer taste-off!  I want my state’s breweries to throw down the gauntlet and challenge Massachusetts to a head-to-head competition.  Patriots win, Broncos win, it doesn’t matter because Colorado has the nation’s best beer no matter what some blabbermouth Masshole has to say.



  1. Well said! I hope you sent him a copy. :)

  2. With almost every Colorado Twitter-user disparaging Menino right about now, I'd say he's got the message.