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By Natalie Carpenter
Special to The SUN
A unique, handcrafted beer created by Pagosa brewer Tony Simmons has won a prestigious 2013 Good Food Award presented on Friday, Jan. 18, in San Francisco.
This is the second consecutive year that a beer brewed by Simmons has won at the event. The winning brew this year was the acclaimed Chili Verde Cerveza, which is crafted with fresh Hatch, N.M., green chiles. Accompanied by his wife, Julie, Simmons accepted the award on behalf of Pagosa Brewing and Grill at the formal ceremony from renowned restaurateur Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.
Based in San Francisco, the Good Food Awards were created through a collaboration of food producers, farmers, food journalists and independent grocers. The awards are meant to recognize products at American establishments that promote sustainability and environmental concern. Winners of a Good Food Award showcase the fact that truly good food is, “the kind that brings people together and builds strong, healthy communities.” In addition to great flavor, the foods eligible for an award “contain the ingredients of social and environmental responsibility.”
A beer category was added last year to the other eight that include producers of cheese, chocolate, coffee and confections. The beer category is intended to recognize breweries that, “aim to reshape supply chains and promote responsibility by sourcing ingredients locally and grown without synthetic inputs when possible.” Simmons met the criteria of practicing resource conservation and supporting local communities, which is exemplified by the brewery’s use of recycled material, use of local or sustainable food products, and Simmons’ work with Pagosa Springs non-profit organizations, where he often volunteers his time at events and donates his handcrafted beer at cost.
Other criteria to be eligible for a Good Food Award include water recycling and other resource conservation, no use of any artificial or genetically modified ingredients, seeking to know suppliers and customers in order to support and promote sustainability, choosing ingredients based on varietal, growing methods, and/or regional or farm-specific traceability. Simmons’ Chili Verde Cerveza beer was deemed not only tasty, but produced in a way that showed responsibility to both the environment and the community of Pagosa Springs.
The selection committee for a Good Food Award in the beer category included many preeminent food connoisseurs from the San Francisco area, including Wesley Anderson, a beer specialist at Whole Foods Market in San Francisco. A nine-member committee identified 16 beer finalists from over 1,350 entries and the final recipients were chosen by a panel of 15 judges. Simmons represented the only Colorado brewery to receive an award in 2013.
More information about the Good Food Awards and winners in all categories can be found at the event website, GoodFoodAwards.org.