Awards Can Point to Breweries That Have Process, Knowledge in Product

Having your brewery given recognition with an award at the Great American Beer Fest is a way to acknowledge that the recipe, process and brewing knowledge put into the product made a truly great beer.

It’s also nice to be able to get some hardware and a possible sales bump in the products that win.

“At the end of the day, a lot of folks are competitive and brewers will generally tell you that winning an award absolutely matters to them on a personal level,” said Upslope Brewing Head Brewer Sam Scruby. “In some categories (Barrel Aged Beer, IPA, Sours), a gold medal could put your brewery on the map.”

The beer leading the way for the Boulder, Colorado brewery is its Brown Ale. The beer captured silver at this year’s GABF, which is the third award in the last five years, making it the most awarded beer in Upslope’s portfolio. In 2012, the beer was awarded a silver medal, and in 2014 secured the bronze medal — both in the American-Style Brown Ale category. In addition to the GABF win this year, Brown Ale won a silver medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup.


“It’s a great achievement as a brewery to take home a GABF or World Beer Cup medal,” Scruby said. “It really affirms that you have a solid process in place to make great beer. I’m not sure where our Brown Ale would be in terms of sales had it not had such great success with medals, but it surely doesn’t hurt to have hardware.”

Scruby added that he is very proud that Brown Ale has won a medal while being produced at both of the brewery’s facilities, starting in Lee Hill in 2012 and Flatiron Park in 2014 and this year).

“I feel that this represents our commitment to quality and being able to hone in on what our beers should taste like and executing on the brew deck and in the cellar,” he said. “Folks would probably be surprised, but we had to make tweaks to our recipe when we moved locations. Beer styles are continuously evolving; you should never get dogmatic about your award-winning recipe.”

Brown Ale was developed by the brewery’s current Taproom Manager, Chad Pieper, off of his homebrew recipe. Originally called “Bitter Brown Ale” the beer was piloted five gallons at a time.

“We really wanted to develop a complimentary beer to go with our Pale Ale and IPA, and Chad’s brew was the perfect fit,” Scruby said. “Not everyone likes lupulin bombs, and the smooth coffee and chocolate notes of the Brown Ale are hard to beat — especially when the weather cools off.”

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