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Free State brings home hardware from Great American Beer Festival

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Instagram photo courtesy of Free State Brewing Co.

Instagram photo courtesy of Free State Brewing Co. by Sara Shepherd

Free State Brewing Co. calls it a beer fit for a blacksmith — and apparently beer festival judges.

Free State’s Iron Man Imperial Stout nabbed a bronze medal in the American-Style Stout category at this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, touted as the world’s largest commercial beer competition.

“It’s kind of a testament to the craft of brewing,” brewer Geoff Deman said of the beer, named in honor of a local blacksmith who frequents the brew pub.

With ten malts and five hop varieties, Iron Man starts with deep roasty flavors and finishes with a slight malty sweetness, according to Free State’s description. The beer tips its hat to history, as Imperial Stout was a key British export in the Baltic trade that elevated art and industry in Russia and England during the 18th century.

Two other area breweries joined Free State on the medal list, according to results from greatamericanbeerfestival.com. Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City, Mo., got two gold medals — one in the Belgian-Style Witbier category for its ZON, and the other in the Other Strong Beer category for its Reverb Imperial Pilsner. Topeka’s Blind Tiger Brewery and Restaurant took gold in the German-Style Kolsch category for its Capital City Kolsch.

This year’s festival, which ran from Thursday through Saturday, drew its largest competition field to date, with 4,338 entries from 666 breweries across the United States and Guam. The festival awarded a total of 254 medals for the best examples of each style beer.

Free State's Iron Man — a small batch brew — is not on tap at the brew pub, 636 Mass. However, bottles are expected to be shipped to select area liquor stores at the end of this month.

In other crafty beer news, 23rd Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway, just tapped a 2010 Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout, according to their Twitter account. And Free State is playing host to its first-ever happy hour Thursday night (it's only been legal for, oh, almost four months now, so I'm sure Free State fans will be glad the brewery's finally on board!). The pub is advertising $2 select pints from 9 p.m. to midnight, plus chances to win Free State stuff.

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