Does Colorado Make Better Beer than Massachusetts?

Tempers flared yesterday over what was supposed to be a friendly inter-city mayoral contest between Boston’s Tom Menino and Denver’s Michael Hancock. With the Patriots and Broncos facing off in the playoffs this weekend, the mayors made a bet: If Boston wins, Hancock has to wear a Brady jersey and treat Menino to a steak dinner; if Denver wins, Menino agreed to put a Tebow jersey on the Paul Revere statue and treat Hancock to a lobster dinner.

Menino, of course, couldn’t help but pour gas on the flames, and took a shot at Tebow: “We have a team; they have one player who wants to pray.” Fine, whatever. But what really got Denver fired up was when he attacked the Colorado beer industry: “We have the best. I mean, you know, Colorado beer? It hasn’t even made it east yet. Sam Adams has made it to the west and Harpoon has made it out there, but Colorado Rocky beer? Uck.” Wow.

Now, I lived in Denver for seven years and drank my way through just about every brewery in the state while working at 5280 Magazine. Colorado makes great beer. The whole state, in fact, prides itself on the brewery business. The largest beer festival in the world, the Great American Beer Festival, is held in Denver. Hell, Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, started Denver’s first brewpub.

So, I wasn’t surprised by the quick and vociferous response: the Denver Post chimed in, my friend Ed Sealover at Denver Business Journal catalogued Menino’s mistakes, and the Huffington Post pulled together opinions from breweries. Facebook and Twitter lit up.

A proposal: Let’s resolve this like gentlemen and drink beer. Boston magazine will host mayors Menino and Hancock for a blind tasting of Colorado and Massachusetts offerings. Oskar Blues versus Pretty Things. Odell against Boston Beer Company. New Belgium against Cambridge Brewing. Great Divide against Harpoon. It’ll be epic. And fun. Then, bellies full of beer, we can really start talking smack.