Who is the Master of the Brewniverse?

Sometimes brewing is all about fashion (Photo ©Betty Wang)

Sometimes brewing is all about fashion (Photo ©Betty Wang)

It’s almost here, the biggest and most important beer festival to end all beer festivals. No, we aren’t talking about the World Beer Cup or the GABF, but the Masters of the Brewniverse!

Over 15 local breweries will compete for the inaugural title of “Master” on Thursday during a beer pageant (yes we said pageant), presented by Wynkoop Brewing Company, at the Oriental Theater, 6:30-10:30 p.m., in front of a panel of industry big wigs: Steve Kurowski of the Colorado Brewers Guild; Marty Jones, a legendary beer man; Emily Hutto of Eater Denver and author of Colorado’s Top Brewers; Eric Gorski of the Denver Post; and Chad Hatlestad of the Brewers Supply Group.

The esteemed panel will monitor the sure-to-be-awkward competition and judge contestants in three rounds of “beer pageantry” including fashion, talent, and interview. The winner will receive a one-of-a-kind sash to display at their brewery or wear as a daily symbol of pride until next year’s competition. The Master will also receive numerous high-fives and of course, loads of street cred.

During the pageant, guests will enjoy unlimited tastings from the participating breweries, but heckling will be kept to a minimum. Well, not really, heckle away.

Tickets to the Masters of the Brewniverse are still available for $25 at Imbibe, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Mile High United Way.

We caught up with some of the contestants to see how they are preparing for the Masters and to find out what tricks they have up their sleeves.

Epic Brewing Company

Contestants: David Cole (founder); Kim Collins (brewer), Brian Arnold (brewer), and John Turk (CO Sales Rep).

Beers: Brainless on Peaches, 825 Stout, Imperial IPA, and Utah Sage Saison.

How are you preparing for the Masters?

We have an extremely difficult regimen in preparation for this event. As many 12-16 oz curls you can do per day followed by ab crunches and running 7 miles on the elliptical. We are the new kids in town so we want to make sure we are ready!

What will you be wearing for the fashion portion of the pageant?

We are converting an old Big Bad Baptist used barrel into an outfit.

Why does Epic deserve the title of Master of the Brewniverse?

We deserve the title because who else is crazy enough to package 40-45 different brands of beer? All the while getting over 90 points by RateBeer on most of them.

Caution Brewing Company

Contestants: Danny & Betty Wang (owners & brewers)

Beers: “Hippity Hop” Chrysanthemum IPA and “Card Your Mom” Cardamom Saison

What will you be wearing during the event?

The wife of our beertender, Devin, is helping design and sew the costume I will be wearing in the pageant. It’s a CAUTION themed avant-garde costume based off a Cyndi Lauper video from the 80s.

Sneak peek of CAUTION's outfit. (Photo ©Betty Wang)

Sneak peek of CAUTION’s outfit. (Photo ©Betty Wang)

What will be your talent for the competition?

Our beertenders, Devin & Larry, with the assistance of Danny, will be performing an interpretive dance of the fermentation process – should be a riot!

Why do you think CAUTION is the Master of the Brewniverse?

We feel we are masters of Geekdom who are not afraid to make utter asses of ourselves for the love of beer and this pageant. Also, the costume we designed and spent late nights busting our fingers over deserves an award.

Renegade Brewing Company

Contestants: Laura Vande Zande (marketing manager), Ali Benetka (head brewer), Brett Zharte (assistant brewer), Max Filter (assistant brewer), Morgan Churchill (taproom manager)

Beers: 5:00 Afternoon Ale and Imperial Sunday Morning

How is Renegade preparing for the Masters?

We’ve had a few meetings to talk strategy and plan for the event. This weekend I finalized my outfit for the fashion competition. Ali, as the lead in our talent has been practicing at home. I imagine Brett and Max have been doing some stretches to prepare for their roles. I am sure Max has been watching pageant competitions for “research.”

Can you give us a sneak peak into what you will be wearing for the fashion portion of the pageant?

Well that will just be giving it away. I will say that I got out my sewing machine.

Why does Renegade deserve the title of Master?

Hm… not sure if we do. What I do know is that this will be fantastic material to use to make fun of our competitors/friends in the industry for the next few months. I’m interested to see what the competition brings, and then we’ll talk about why we deserve the title. I will tell you this – we’re bringing our game.



About Sarah Haughey

Editor, Denver off the Wagon. Sarah is a native of the "Napa Valley of beer," but her beer-drinking roots stretch all the way back to the Emerald Isle where Haughey (Haw-hee) is famous. Sure, our name may have got it's rap from the corrupt prime minister, but we like to think it stands strong due to our long-standing ability to pound a few too many pints. After stints on the East Coast and in San Francisco, Sarah came running back to Denver where her full-time job is exploring all the city's new craft breweries one sip at a time. Follow me @sarahhaughey4 to see where I'm grabbing a beer or for news about local breweries. Like to cook? Me too, check out: Lifewithalittlespice.com