(Denver, Colorado) – Cody Christman, a Golden, Colorado electrical engineer, has achieved the dream of every brewpub beer nut: free beer for life at his favorite brewpub.
In Christman’s case that brewpub is Wynkoop Brewing Company, where he was awarded the Wynkoop-sponsored title of 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year, in the National Finals held at Wynkoop Brewing Company on Saturday, Feb 21st.
“This is unbelievable,” a happy Christman said after winning the crown. “The tension in the room was so thick and everyone was on their feet.”
In a 2-hour contest before a raucous, standing-room-only crowd packed with his supporters, Christman outlasted fellow National Finalists J Mark Angelus of Nehalem, OR and Phil Farrell of Cumming, GA.
(Starting February 23, video footage from the 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year finals will be available for viewing at www.BeerTapTV.com .)
Unlike any previous Beerdrinker winner, Christman (a Friday night regular at Wynkoop since 1991) can take advantage of the contest's key prize of free Wynkoop beer. “Oh, I’m going to enjoy that for the rest of my life,” he said.
“But winning,” he added, “is also a great validation of all the beer things I’ve done. And now I’m part of the very special group of those who have won the contest in the past. It’s a great honor.”
The judges deliberated for nearly 45 minutes (a contest record) before picking Christman. “I think it was tougher being a judge than a Finalist,” said Matt Venzke, the 2008 winner and a member of this year’s Finals judging panel.
Venzke was joined on the panel by Tom Ciccateri (2005 Beerdrinker of the Year), Dick Kreck (longtime Denver Post beer columnist) Alan Moen (editor of Northwest Brewing News), Julia Herz (director of craft beer marketing for the Brewers Association), Andy Brown (Wynkoop’s head brewer), and Jonathan Shikes (associate editor and beer writer for Westword.)
Christman is also the first Beerdrinker of the Year who is not from either the East or West coasts. In his closing statements at the Finals, he spoke of his desire to represent not only the nation’s beer lovers, but especially beer drinkers from Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
“I’ve attended the Finals before,” Christman says, “and wondered, ‘Why is
there nobody here from Colorado?’” Christman is a Billings, Montana native who
says he also hopes to get his home state some extra beer attention. “Montana has
a great beer culture and a brewery for every 43,000 people. But it doesn’t get
much credit for it. I hope to change that.”
Christman’s resume offered numerous details on his beeriness, including his authoring and teaching a “Beer 101” course in his home basement bar/brewery. The room features a 15’ wooden bar, seven taps, a handpump/beer engine and three refrigerators for beer.
Christman has visited 19 countries on four continents in search of beer history and culture, and visited over 200 breweries. He has been homebrewing for 18 years and been a member of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) since 1991.
Christman also wins a $250 beer tab at Wynkoop Brewing Company, and the opportunity to brew a special beer with Andy Brown for next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year event.
He also won clothing proclaiming him the 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year, a place on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy, and the glory that comes with the lofty title of Beerdrinker of the Year.
The resume review panel for the 2009 Beerdrinker of the Year search was comprised of the nation’s top beer writers and beer experts, and previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners.
Wynkoop Brewing Company was founded in 1988 by current Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper attended the event on Saturday. One of America’s first and most revered brewpubs, Wynkoop was a major catalyst in the revitalization of the previously neglected Lower Downtown section of Denver.
For interviews with Christman and more information on Beerdrinker of the
Year, contact Marty Jones at
For more details on the Beerdrinker of the Year search and Wynkoop Brewing Company, visit www.wynkoop.com.
(Denver, Colorado) – Matt Venzke, an avid beer lover from Yorktown, Virginia, has been crowned the winner of Wynkoop Brewing Company’s 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year contest.
Venzke, an aircraft maintenance manager, won the title in the hotly
contested National Finals on Saturday, February 23, at Wynkoop Brewing Company. This was his fourth time at entering the contest, he was a semifinalist last year.
“For four years,” Venzke said, “it’s been a dream of mine to win the Beerdrinker of the Year title. It’s great to now be recognized by the judges and previous winners. I’m proud to be among this very select group of beer lovers.”
“I feel like I’ve been given a flag to carry,” Venzke adds, “for all of the great things beer has to offer.”
Venzke’s home beer bar is The Taphouse on Queensway in Hampton, Virginia. He is the second straight Virginia resident to win the competition. (Diane Catanzaro of Norfolk, Virginia was the 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year.)
Venzke beat out finalists J Mark Angelus (of Nehalem, Oregon) and Richard Pedretti-Allen (McKinney, Texas). He landed the title with a combination of impressive beer drinking experiences, humor and beer ambassadorship.
Venzke’s resume boasted of many beer drinking experiences. Venzke has visited 454 breweries in 16 nations and 39 states. Over the past five years, he has recorded tasting notes on over 3200 different beers in 69 different styles.
He logged 3,000 miles in 2007 while traveling to breweries across North America. While stationed in alcohol-free Kuwait on a military deployment a few years ago, Venzke conducted a tasting of 17 non-alcohol beers.
Questions from the Finals judges elicited some revealing info from Venzke. When asked what he’s doing to get around the current ban on carry-on beer for US air travelers, Venzke winkingly cited an upcoming effort to petition US brewers to start packaging beer in 3-ounce portions.
His will, Venzke said, includes instructions for him to be cremated and his
ashes used in a beer brewed for his wake. (“I’ve instructed my wife,” Venzke
stated, “to tell people at the ceremony, ‘Matt is more a part of you than you
The finalists weathered two hours of difficult questions from the judge panel, which included five previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners, Oregon beer writer Lisa Morrison, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) beer columnist Jay Dedrick, and Wynkoop head brewer Thomas Larsen.
As the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year, Venzke wins free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewing Company, a $250 beer tab at the Taphouse on Queensway, and the opportunity to brew a special beer with Larsen for next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year event.
He also won clothing proclaiming him the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year, a place on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy, and the glory that comes with the lofty title of Beerdrinker of the Year.
The resume review panel for the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year search was comprised of the nation’s top beer writers and beer experts, and previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners.
Wynkoop Brewing Company was founded in 1988 by current Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. One of America’s first and most revered brewpubs, Wynkoop was a major catalyst in the revitalization of the previously neglected Lower Downtown section of Denver.