Guts, Glory and Grain Bags: 2nd Annual Brewer’s Olympics

By Andy Sparhawk

On a warm and sunny day in Denver, on September 15, the south end of 17th and Vine Street transformed into the site of the 2nd Annual Brewer’s Olympics hosted by Vine Street Pub and Brewery. Absent was the extended “Ales of Wonder” opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle, instead the torchbearers got down to business with events such as tricycle races, blind-folded grain stacking relay, moving keg obstacle course, and the always entertaining beer transfer race.

Competitors hailed from all over the Front Range including: Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, Upslope Brewery, Wynkoop Brewing Company, Boulder Beer, Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Avery Brewing, Great Divide, Odell Brewing Company, Oskar Blues and Renegade Brewing.

For a recap of all the events and winners, check out Sean Buchan (the Beertographer’s) recap and photos.

Photo courtesy of Sean Buchan, Beertographer

Spectators enjoyed craft beer offerings from many of the competitors, as well as food from Vine Street, proceeds of which went to benefit New Era Colorado, a bi-partisan advocacy group aimed at providing “resources and tools for young people to gain collective power in the political process.”

The Smell of Victory (and sun-bleached spent grain)

All of the events was not enough to decide gold, silver and bronze, thus a tie-breaking arm wrestling match was held on stage between representatives of Wynkoop Brewing and upstart, Cannonball Creek who was able to claim a decisive victory.

As left over spent grain from the obstacle course wafted over the crowd, and the block party’s musical acts began to set up, Mountain Sun’s Director of Brewing Operations, John Fiorilli announced the winners of the Brewer’s Olympics:

Congratulations to all who competed!

Andy SparhawkAndy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on