An editor’s work is never done. At least, it is rare for our minds to stop thinking of story ideas. The perfect example? I was sitting at home this summer and watching Michael Phelps crush it at the Olympics while brainstorming about story ideas for 5280‘s Great American Beer Fest coverage. Before Phelps could reach the podium one last time, I had a nagging question: Is there a Michael Phelps of GABF?

Thanks to a handy winner archive at, I was able to sort through the stouts and ales and find an answer. I decided to focus on Colorado breweries. (While Colorado enjoys home state advantage, that doesn’t ensure victory; just do a search for California and you’ll see what I mean.)

Not surprisingly, the older, established breweries can boast about earning the most medals. The SandLot Brewery has nearly 40 (In addition, Coors has at least 37 more). The Rock Bottom breweries have 27; New Belgium Brewing claims 25; and Denver-favorite Great Divide Brewing Co. has 17. Of note, New Belgium has the most gold medals (at least 13).

I couldn’t stop there: Here, the most award-winning Colorado beers at GABF.

Bristol Brewing Company’s Laughing Lab Scottish Ale (9 wins)

New Belgium Brewing’s Abbey Belgian Style Ale (8 wins)

Coors Brewing’s Coors Light (6 wins)

Steamworks Brewing Company’s Steam Engine Lager (6 wins)

Tommyknocker Brewery’s Butthead Bock (5 wins)

Walnut Brewery’s Old Elk Brown Ale (5 wins)

New Belgium Brewery’s La Folie (5 wins)

How many have you tried? Any predictions for how this year’s competition will impact the rankings?

*Breweries: We know that no dataset is perfect, so if we’re missing a medal, tell us! We’ll update this page. 

—Image: Randy Miramontez/

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.