Giving Background to Comrade Brewing’s Golden Victory

Two gold medals propelled Denver’s Comrade Brewing to the Small Brewing Company of the Year at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony recently.

The founder of Comrade Brewing, David Lin, shared with Brewer the backstory of the two winning entries — both coming in the ultra-competitive Pale Ale categories.

Superpower IPA was awarded gold in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category, which had 131 entries.

The year-round Superpower is loaded with Pacific Northwest hops that lend huge pine and grapefruit hop aroma and citrus flavors. Its bitterness is balanced with a crisp, light malt character as well and has become an important part of Colorado beer.

There hasn’t been one specific thing Lin said, but a combination of many different things that helped Superpower IPA be the success that it has. It starts with Brewmaster Marks Lanham, who has been brewing commercially for nearly two decades and brought a lot of experience to the facility.

“We had a lot of luck as well,” Lin said. “Having brewed and lived in Colorado for years, we’ve made a lot of connections with other brewers, brewery owners, and bar owners to help us get started.

“When the Denver Post did their annual Year in Review, we were picked as the No. 1 new brewery among other brewers and bar owners. That lead to a print article asking if our Superpower IPA is the best in the State. It’s never been the same since.”

More Dodge Less RAM, a triple-dry hopped sister of Superpower IPA, took gold in the second most-entered category, American-Style India Pale Ale, which had 342 entries. More Dodge Less RAM was the first beer that Comrade brewed after a Dodge Ram plowed into the brewery three years ago.

In October 2016, a driver intoxicated on painkillers and animal tranquilizers drove his lifted Dodge Ram truck into the brewery. Luckily​, Lin noted,​ no one was hurt but it did sever the gas and water line.

​”​We were also brewing more Superpower IPA at the time and had to dump the beer because the utilities weren’t restored for weeks​,” he recalled​.​ “​It was right after the Great American Beer Festival and we had a lot of beer in the tanks, so it didn’t impact our taproom operations. There was a lot of waiting and work to get the brewery back online, but we also wanted to make some light of the situation.​”

Since no one was hurt and ​they ​had a good chuckle when thinking about the crash.

​”​Superpower IPA is our most popular beer and ​[we] ​wanted to have something special for the first brew post-crash​​.​”

So the crew came up with a funny name and added a lot more hops and thus was born More Dodge Less RAM.

​Since 2014, Comrade has now won five medals at the GABF competitions.

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