John Simms is the latest brewer to join the ranks over at Wynkoop Brewery. He started brewing in Dallas in 1993, worked his way up and went on to work for several more breweries over the years. He also served as President of the Craft Brewers Association from 1999 – 2001.

October 6th – 8th, 2016 marked the 35th anniversary of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) here in Denver. And boy, has a lot changed over the past 35 years. When the first GABF took place in 1982, there were 24 breweries, 47 beers and 800 attendees. This year, there were more than 800 breweries, over 3800 beers and 60,000 attendees!

If you’ve never been to GABF, it is definitely worth the price of admission if you’re a beer lover. Even USA Today readers ranked it as the number one U.S. beer festival.

At Wynkoop Brewing, we’re fanatical beer lovers and we go every year. Since at least 1996 (maybe sooner, we’re not sure), we’ve racked up 4 gold medals with our Little Red Raspberry, Wixa Weiss, Somergras Citrus Ale and B3K Black Lager. We’ve also picked up a silver for Wixa Weiss and 3 bronzes for Patty’s Chile Beer, B3K Black Lager and Belgorado IPA.

This year we submitted 5 beers for the judges to consider: Flame Roasted Amber, Patty’s Chile Beer, Uber Lager, Colorojo and Rye Teo Stout.

This year at the festival, we featured the beers we’ve submitted as well as some that aren’t in the competition. And our booth was staffed by actual employees instead of volunteers, because we love to talk to you and answer questions about our beers, our processes and even our beer philosophy.

A great thing about GABF is that the festivities aren’t just at the convention center – we celebrated all week at our brewery.

For example, on Wednesday night, October 5th, we held our Beer Drinker of the Year award ceremony. This is a national competition we hold every year where we seek out the individual who truly enjoys, appreciates and knows a great deal about beer. The three finalists had to answer and act out different beer-focused questions from our three judges, and the winner earns free beer for life from Wynkoop Brewery. 2016’s Beer Drinker of the Year is Shawna Cormier from Denver!

If you couldn’t make it in 2016, I hope you’re as excited to make plans for next year’s GABF as I am. And just because the event is over doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels – I’ll be around the brewery if you want to talk beer!