Raise a frosty mug to these 2 Utah brewers for earning gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rachel Bell Belton at Kiitos Brewing, a one-year-old Utah brewery that makes "green" or environmentally responsible beer. Kiitos is the only brewery in the state with a High-Efficiency Brewing System or HEBS, that uses 40 percent less water and 15-20 percent less grain. Thursday July 26, 2018 in Salt Lake City.

Utah’s Shades of Pale Brewing and Kiittos Brewing earned gold medals during the 2018 Great American Beer Festival competition, held recently in Denver.

Shades of Pale took top honors for its Kveik 1 in the American-style sour ale category — a group that had 53 entries.

Kiitos Brewing also took gold for its coffee cream ale, defeating 91 other entries in the coffee beer category.

Shades of Pale opened in 2010 in Park City but moved to a larger production facility in South Salt Lake in 2014. It is located at 154 W. Utopia Ave. and has a tap room and beer store where consumers can purchase products.

Kiitos, which opened in 2017, is the only Utah brewery to have a High Efficiency Brewing System, or HEBS, which uses 30 percent to 40 percent less water than traditional systems and 15 percent to 20 percent fewer grains. It’s tap room and beer store is at 608 W. 700 South in Salt Lake City.

The Great American Beer Fest, sponsored by the Brewers Association, is the largest commercial beer competition in the United States. In all, there were 102 beer categories.

As the number of independent brewers continues to mushroom across the nation, the festival competition gets tougher. This year, there were 8,300 entries — up from 7,923 in 2017 — and 2,200 breweries from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

Gold medals are awarded to beers that accurately reflect the specified style and display a proper balance of taste, aroma and appearance. For a full list of winners, visit: https://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/winners/.