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Posted: May 08, 2009

Drink up—American Craft Beer Week arrives

Boulder-based Brewers Association celebrates the brewing industry

Jay Dedrick

In case your calendar doesn’t mention it, let me alert you to the occasion of American Craft Beer Week, begins Monday, May 11. This might sound like nothing more than a self-congratulatory event pumped up by craft brewers and their trade group – in this case, the Boulder-based Brewers Association. But, hey, none other than Stephen Colbert gave a wry shout-out to the seven-day celebration last year, so let’s not treat it lightly, Nation.

In most cases, Colorado craft brewers are serving up unusual or new beers, and offering meet-the-brewer events and tours. You can find a rundown of what’s happening across the Centennial State here: http://www.beertown.org/apps/acbw/events.html And these days, it wouldn’t be an event without a Facebook page; you’ll find that here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Craft-Beer-Week/66117963840?ref=mf

Among the many ways the Brewers Association promotes American craft brewers is to track annual sales by volume, and issue a ranking of the top breweries in the country. The Top 50 list based on 2008 sales is out, and there's little change to the list compared to 2007. Fort Collins' New Belgium remains the top-ranked Colorado craft brewer, retaining its spot at No. 3, trailing only Sierra Nevada in California and the top-ranked Boston Beer Co., brewer of the Samuel Adams line of products. One new entry in the Top 10: Burlington, Vt.'s Magic Hat Brewing Co.

Odell in Fort Collins just barely slipped from 33 to 34, Denver's Breckenridge Brewery is up from 42 to 40, and Boulder Beer Co. eases from 45 to 46.

The BA also ranks overall brewing companies; the past year's merger of Miller and Coors means the Golden company joins its Miller brethren at the No. 2 spot this year. The new No. 3? Pabst, from Illinois. New Belgium retains its overall volume sales spot at No. 8.

Among the local participants of American Craft Beer Week is Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Co., which recently expanded its tap room and is becoming quite the NoCo hot spot thanks to live music on weekends. Look for a column on Thursday about Left Hand’s success introducing its beer in Europe.

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