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Vote: Channel 2′s Colorado Brewery Cup, 1st group stage

Is there better way to enjoy the World Cup than with a Colorado beer?

The thousands who skipped work to watch the U.S. men’s national soccer team qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup Thursday with a frosty adult beverage would likely have a hard time arguing with that suggestion.

With the nation’s following of the World Cup set to reach a fever pitch, we thought we’d try to marry two great things — the World Cup’s tournament format and Colorado breweries – in to one ultimate contest that we’re calling…

The Colorado Brewery Cup!

Over the next nine days, we’ll pit all 200-plus breweries across the state against each other in an effort to crown one champion.

Above, you’ll see a map of all the state’s breweries broken down into 16 groups, based primarily on region. Each group’s name is based on the icon that was given them through Google Maps (some are admittedly more appropriate than others).

The top two vote-getters from each group will advance to form a 32-brewery knockout round. From there, we’ll have a five-round tournament to crown a champion.

How do teams advance? Based entirely on your votes!

We’ll release four groups per day over the first for days of the Cup. Up first: the Museum, Skyscraper, Rail and Landmark groups, which are comprised entirely of Denver,  Aurora, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Arvada and Golden breweries.

Cast your votes below — you can vote once in each group. And at the bottom of the post, you can find a schedule listing which groups are on deck.

Museum Group

The Skinny: One of Denver’s groups of death, the Museum Group includes some storied breweries and some up-and-comers. Great Divide Brewing Company and its signature Yeti beers have long been a Colorado favorite, but don’t sleep on German-centric Prost Brewing or the slew of newer breweries in Five Points.

Favorites: Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Beer Co. – The Yeti meets the Graham Cracker Porter in an ultimate dark beer faceoff

Darkhorse: Prost Brewing – Their pilsner is revered, as is their view of the Denver skyline

Newcomer: Beryl’s Beer Company – Actual Beryl’s hasn’t officially opened yet. Watch for them in July.

Skyscraper Group

The Skinny: If it’s not as competitive as the Museum Group, the Skyscraper Group is a close second. Few breweries in the state produce as many beers as Wynkoop Brewing Company and the Vine Street Tavern. And as journalists, we love the story of Strange Brewing Company, which was founded by two former Rocky Mountain News staffers.

Favorites: Wynkoop Brewing Company, Vine Street Tavern – Colorado’s oldest brewery meets the founders of Stout Month.

Darkhorse: Renegade Brewing Company – The Ryeteous Rye IPA might be the best IPA in Denver, a city that loves its IPAs.

Newcomer: Lowdown Brewery + Kitchen – This is what happens when two former Rock Bottom brewers tired of the corporate grind strike out on their own.

Rail Group

The Skinny: A lot of these newer, smaller breweries will be thankful they don’t have to compete against the other stacked Denver groups. But there are still some great breweries in the Rail Group that could give Denver’s best a run, including Copper Kettle Brewing Company and Dry Dock Brewery.

Favorites: Copper Kettle Brewing Company, Dry Dock Brewery – Copper Kettle’s Mexican Chocolate Stout is marvelously unique, while Dry Dock’s Apricot Blonde is universally revered.

Darkhorse: Bull & Bush Pub and Brewery – It may not be the classiest joint in Denver, but it’s long been a Colorado staple.

Newcomer: Denver Pearl Brewing Company – The first brewery to hit Denver’ South Pearl neighborhood is trying to capitalize on a trend that’s blowing up: sour beers.

Landmark Group

The Skinny: The Landmark Group is appropriately titled, considering Golden is where Colorado brewing was born. Several great breweries like Golden City Brewery and Mountain Toad Brewing have since joined Coors in Golden, but it may be a west Denver brewery that takes home this group, with Hogshead Brewery and Hopes and Pie being a couple of the city’s favorites.

Favorites: Coors, Golden City Brewery – Big business meets backyard in this showdown, as Golden City is literally on ex-geologists’ Charlie and Janine Sturdavant’s own back porch.

Darkhorse: Hops and Pie – Denver’s Tennyson Street is perpetually underrated, and Hops and Pie is a highlight – one of the few spots in this competition where the food matches the suds.

Newcomer: Mountain Toad Brewing – Perhaps the only thing as feng shui as Mountain Toad’s back porch fire pit is its Pandan Porter, an Asian-style dark beer.

On deck…

  • Saturday: Donut, Sunshine, Photogenic and Hiking groups
  • Sunday: Agriculture, Horseback, Sheriff and Ski Lift groups
  • Monday: Peak, Campground, Falling Rock and Flag groups

NOTE: See a brewery we missed? Feel free to mention it in the comment section below or email it to will.holden@kdvr.com