D.C. brewers to compete in national beer festival

The Great American Beer Festival kicks off Thursday in Denver. The event will feature a lot of tasting for craft beer fans, but also serious competition for hundreds of America\'s craft brewers including many from the D.C. area. (Courtesy of Great American Beer Festival)

WASHINGTON – The next Olympic games are still a way off, but that’s not stopping some local competitors from “going for the gold” this week.

The Great American Beer Festival kicks off Thursday in Denver. The event will feature not only a lot of tastings for craft beer fans, but also serious competition for hundreds of America’s craft brewers like Dave Coleman of D.C.’s 3 Stars Brewing Company.

“It’s kind of like the rock show of the year for us,” Coleman said before leaving the District for the Mile High City. “A great time when you get to meet a lot of other brewers from around the country. Basically all like-minded people with a passion for making great beer.”

And while this is not the first time he’s attended the show as a beer fan, it will be his first time as a competitor.

“There are some nerves, just ’cause you’re putting your product on the biggest stage for craft beer in America,” Coleman explains. “But, you know, there’s also confidence. And we’re pretty proud of our beers, so there are some high hopes we’re going to get good results and hopefully come back with some hardware.”

As for the beers 3 Stars is sending to Denver, Coleman says “it’s kind of a reflection of our whole portfolio.”

Also representing the D.C. area will be Falls Church-based Mad Fox Brewing Company, which won a Gold Medal at the festival in 2011 for its Kellerbier Kolsch. Not only is it fun to compete, but chief brewer Charlie Buettner says a brewer can learn a lot at the festival.

“There’s always something out there that’s completely wild and the brewers are standing right there and you can say, ‘Well, what the heck did you do here? And why did you do that and how did you do it? What was going through your head, and is that something I want to try, is that something I can do?’ So, that’s something I look forward to,” Buettner says.

Check out a complete list of all the brewers competing at the festival this year at www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.

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