Best-selling beer equally popular at competitions

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Lands End Amber represents not only a popular choice among customers at Kannah Creek Brewing Co., but also judges at some of the biggest beer competitions in the world.

Lands End Amber won a silver medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, an event conducted in October in Denver that attracted a total of more than 4,300 entries in 84 categories. Lands End Amber also won a gold medal at the 2010 World Beer Cup.

The significance of winning medals is as big as the events themselves, says Eric Ross, co-owner and general manager at Kannah Creek. β€œIt’s a lot like winning a medal at the Olympics.”

At the Great American Beer Festival, Lands End Amber competed against 34 entries in a category for German-style alt biers β€” ales fermented in the old style of breweries in Dusseldorf, Ross says. Lands End Amber offers a medium-bodied beer with the sweetness of roasted malt balanced with a light hop bitterness, he says.

While the Great American Beer Festival features only American-made beers, the World Beer Cup features beers from around the world. In the international competition, Lands End Amber beat out beers crafted in Germany, Ross says.

Brew pubs such as Kannah Creek that craft beers in smaller batches are at a disadvantage against larger operations in that brew pubs must use a difference process in bottling beers for competitions, Ross says. Larger operations that already bottle beer need only pull their entries off a shelf.

Winning efforts reflect the accuracy of the recipe, the quality of the ingredients that go into the beer and the way ingredients are blended and brewed, he says.

Lands End Amber ranks among the best-selling beers at the Kannah Creek brew pub, Ross says. Standing Wave Pale Ale, also a medal-winner at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, constitutes another popular choice.

Consequently, those two beers will be brewed on a commercial scale when Kannah Creek opens a production facility.

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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