Local breweries get their GABF competition entries ready early this year

Rio Bravo canned its cognac-barrel-aged Russian imperial stout for the trip to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival competition and awards ceremony, which will be earlier this year on September 10.

The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to have an effect on annual craft beer events around the country, whether pushing things back or postponing them outright until 2022. One big example is the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, which usually happens the first weekend of October ever year at the convention center.

Instead, the annual Craft Brewers Conference, the spring trade show for the industry that was canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021, is taking the spot of GABF this September. But, the GABF competition/awards ceremony will still happen at conclusion of CBC, and now it is time to hurry up and get those beers sent up to Denver.

The Crew might have missed the competition entry deadline were it not for Rio Bravo head brewer Ty Levis, who invited us over to the brewery to “sample” the cognac-barrel-aged version of their popular Russian imperial stout, Grab ’em by the Putin. So, off I went at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday to try what I thought would be a small (3 to 5 ounces) pour of this elixir.

Instead, they poured me an entire low-fill can. Yeeha!

It was, as one might expect, a truly decadent barrel-aged brew, combining the thick, robust stout flavor with the cognac and oak barrel notes to make a magnificent beer. Bravo to Ty, Austin Giorgetta, Lindsey Baker, and the rest of the Rio Bravo brew team.

Now, as for the rest of those entries from New Mexico breweries, here is what we have been sent so far. We will keep on updating this list of entries to better help everyone follow along when the awards ceremony is broadcast online (link TBA) on September 10 live from Denver. No, we are not going to be there this year, but rest assured, when the full GABF returns in 2022, we will apply for press passes once again to cover the event from top to bottom. And, as always, we will endure a glorious death at the hands of the fresh-from-the-barrel-pours from Avery Brewing. (Beers that are 17.9-percent ABV should not be legal, but they are, and they are delicious!)

The beers are listed by style, with the category number in parentheses, and then the beer name. For some, a category was not presented, but we will update that and any future entries sent our way in the weeks to come, right up until the ceremony itself.

Bosque (all categories unconfirmed)

  • Munich Helles (45) — The Wanderer (Helles)
  • Golden or Blonde Ale (53) — Pistol Pete’s 1888 Blonde Ale
  • Juicy or Hazy Strong Pale Ale (62) — Resto Hazy Pale Ale
  • American IPA (63) — Scale Tipper IPA
  • Contemporary Gose (78) — Pickle Down Economics Gose
  • Category unknown — Riverwalker IPA

Brew Lab 101

  • Golden/Blonde Ale (53) — Blonde Bombshell
  • Strong Red Ale (68) — Sienna Red
  • Belgian Wit (83) — Walter Wit
  • Brown Porter (90) — Lockdown Porter
  • Scotch Ale (96) — Ludicrous Speed


  • Coffee Stout or Porter (10) — Panama Joe
  • German Pilsner (43) — Pop’s Pilsner
  • Bohemian Pilsner (44) — High Plains Pilsner
  • Munich Helles (45) — Helles Awaits
  • Imperial Stout (95) — St. Bob’s Imperial Stout

Ex Novo

  • Bohemian Pilsner (44) — Easy Come, Easy Go
  • Munich Helles (45) — She Sells Seashelles
  • Golden/Blonde Ale (53) — Stay Goalden
  • American Strong Pale Ale (61) — Threat Level Turquoise
  • Scotch Ale (96) — Sons of Scotland

La Reforma

  • German Dark Lager (49) — Maximilian
  • Category unknown — La Ref Lager

Lava Rock

  • Fruited Wheat Beer (3) — Petroglyph Wit
  • American Lager (36) — Andesite Lager
  • International Lager (39) — Pinche Cerveza
  • American IPA (63) — NM TRU IPA
  • Oatmeal Stout (94) — Boca Negra Stout


  • Fruited Wheat Beer (3) — Trampled by Tangerines
  • Honey Beer (13) — Honey Chamomile Wheat
  • Category unknown (17) — Imperial Cream
  • Category Unknown (18) — Strawberry Milkshake IPA
  • Scotch Ale (96) — Scotch Ale
  • Scottish Wee Heavy (97) — Beam Me Up (Higher) Scotty


  • Other Hoppy Lager (41) — Italian Pilsner
  • American Amber/Red (67) — Ripsaw Red
  • Classic Saison (84) — Dry-Hopped Saison

Steel Bender

  • Wood-Aged Beer (28) — Saison de Luxe
  • Wood-Aged Fruited Sour Beer (32) — The Judy
  • Belgian Specialty Ale (87) — Amelia

Thirsty Eye

  • Herb/Spicer Beer (7) — Odin’s Eye
  • Honey Beer (13) — Citrus Buzz
  • American IPA (63) — El Drac
  • American Amber/Red (67) — El Ojo Rojo
  • American Black Ale or American Stout (75) — Bruiser The American Pitbull Stout

Turtle Mountain

  • International Lager (39) — Wooden Teeth
  • Hoppy Lager (41) — Hoperation Hanging Garden
  • American Amber/Red Lager (42) — Forward Standard Cali Common
  • Irish Dry Stout (92) — Metal Snake

Beer Creek

  • American Cream Ale (40) — Turquoise Trail Cream Ale
  • American Amber/Red (67) — Rowe Mesa Red Ale
  • Strong Red Ale (68) — Red Racer Imperial Red Ale
  • English Brown (73) — Pecos Brown
  • American Black Ale or American Stout (75) — Black Wedding
  • Sweet or Cream Stout (93) — Right Foot Milk Stout

Bathtub Row

  • Specialty Beer (11) — Campfire S’mores Stout
  • Rye Beer (12) — Canyon Rim Rye
  • Other Hoppy Lager (41) — Kiwi Lager
  • American Amber Lager (42) — Pajarito Red Lager
  • Imperial IPA (65) — DIPAcabra
  • Export Stout (92) — Extra Stout

Did not enter: Bow & Arrow, High and Dry, Palmer, Truth or Consequences

Let us all root on the New Mexico breweries in a little over a month to bring home even more medals from the Great American Beer Festival!

Keep supporting local!

— Stoutmeister

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