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Vote: Channel 2′s Colorado Brewery Cup, 3rd group stage

BrewCup 800x450 KWGN

With half of the group stages up and running, Day 3 of the Colorado Brewery Cup is upon us. Led by breweries from Fort Collins, this group is eager to show the rest of the state that it’s still a leader when it comes to craft brewing.

Voting was strong on Days 1 and 2, and you can still vote for those breweries from Denver and its suburbs along with Boulder and its suburbs up until Tuesday, when the knockout stages begin. If voting ended Sunday morning, these are the breweries that would advance to that knockout stage.

Day 1 Day 2
Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver) Dad’s and Dues’ Breweria (Aurora)
Black Shirt Brewing Company (Denver) Lone Tree Brewing Company (Lone Tree)
Wynkoop Brewing Company (Denver) Big Choice Brewing (Broomfield)
Strange Brewing Company (Denver) Odd13 Brewing (Lafayette)
Station 26 Brewing Company (Denver) Avery Brewing Company (Boulder)
Dry Dock Brewing Company (Aurora) Upslope Brewing Co. (Boulder)
Mountain Toad Brewing (Golden) J Wells Brewery (Boulder)
Caution: Brewing Company (Lakewood) Left Hand Brewing Company (Longmont)

For those of you just joining the party, you’ll see a map above 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 breweries advance? Based entirely on your votes!

We’ll release four groups per day over the first four days of the Cup. Up in today’s round: the Agriculture, Horseback, Sheriff and Ski Lift groups. Those groups include breweries from Brighton, Frederick, Berthoud, Arvada, Loveland, Windosr, Greeley, Fort Collins, Lyons, Idaho Springs, Central City, Nederland, Estes Park, Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Keystone, Dillion, Frisco, Breckenridge, Eagle, Edwards, Aspen Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

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.

Agriculture Group

The Skinny: The Agriculture Group, comprise of breweries along the I-25 corridor between Denver and Fort Collins, is an underdog group, to be sure. But breweries like Echo Brewing Company and City Star Brewing are fiercely supported by their smaller communities, and the brewing culture in the bigger cities of Greeley and Loveland are on the rise.

Favorites: Loveland Aleworks, Grimm Brother Brewhouse – Don’t sleep on Loveland. The town’s brewing industry is booming, and it’s led by these two mainstays.

Darkhorse: City Star Brewing – Few small breweries can say they offer two beers as good as City Star’s Bandit Brown and Mule Kick, a strong ale brewed with wildflower honey.

Newcomer: Wiley Roots Brewing Company – Though they barely opened in time to qualify, Wiley Roots Brewing took bronze at last year’s Great American Beer Fest for its Super 77 Wheat.

Horseback Group

The Skinny: Make no mistake, though Denver and Boulder may have the upper hand on Fort Collins in terms of quantity, the breweries in the Horseback Group will give the state’s top breweries all they can handle in terms of quality. New Belgium Brewing and Odell stand out in this bunch, but not as much as they once did.

Favorites: New Belgium Brewing Inc., Odell Brewing Company – This classic battle pits Fat Tire against 90 Schilling as two of the biggest names in U.S. brewing, let alone Colorado, face off.

Darkhorse: Funwerks – Named small brewery of the year in 2012 at the Great American Beer Fest, Funwerks has long been among Colorado’s best when it comes to saisons and Belgian-style ales.

Newcomer: Zwei Brüder Brewing – The tap room of the newest brewery in Fort Collins doesn’t actually open until July, but Zwei Brüder has already made a name for itself with a great line of German beers.

Sheriff Group

The Skinny: It will be a tall task for any members of the Sheriff Group to knock off a couple of longtime Colorado favorites in Tommyknocker Brewery and Oskar Blues Grill and Brewery. But this growing group has its share of darkhorses that are quietly gaining footholds in their mountain towns.

Favorites: Tommyknocker Brewery, Oskar Blues Grill and Brewery – Both Tommyknocker and Oskar Blues’ second location enjoy distribution throughout the state. But the breweries with the most local support tend to advance in this competition. Which one has more?

Darkhorse: Grand Lake Brewing Company – While this brewery will soon belong in a different category when its Arvada tap house opens this year, its roots in Grand Lake – and its Plaid Bastard Scotch Ale – seem more appropriate for this group.

Newcomer: Butcherknife Brewing – The torch for Steamboat Springs’ brewing culture has been solely and successfully carried by Mahogany Ridge Brewery up until this summer. Butcherknife plans to open its tap room in late June.

Ski Lift Group

The Skinny: Skiers from across the country have slowly found out what local ski bums have known for years: There are some outstanding breweries in the Ski Lift Group. Breckenridge Brewery leads the way, but Dillon Dam Brewery and Aspen Brewing Company aren’t far behind. And there are a few upstarts in Edwards and Eagle looking to join the fray, as well.

Favorites: Breckenridge Brewery & Pub, Dillon Dam Brewery – Not only do both produce a bevy of great beers, both have great two-story spaces to drink that are fun whether its snowy or sunny.

Darkhorse: Crazy Mountain Brewing Company – When beer connoisseurs finish their days on the slopes at Vail or Beaver Creek, they ditch the resort towns and head to Edwards, which has a great brewery scene. And the Crazy Mountain Amber Ale may be the best beer in town.

Newcomer: Broken Compass Brewing – Is there room for another brewery in Breckenridge? Broken Compass sure hopes so, and if nothing else, the brewery’s Chili Pepper Pale Ale and Coconut Porter will raise some eyebrows.

Past and on deck…

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