Let's face it. With 1600 beers available for tasting, no way in hell was I going to attempt to taste all of them. Some were trying to accomplish that feat, but I wasn't one of them.
Decided that a tactical approach would be best. Hit my favorites first, then grab some food, hit some unknowns, break for an informational meeting session, then finish up with pix and a non-alcoholic beverage to prepare for the ride home.
First off the bat was my #1 favorite from last year :
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - Sampled the Punkin Ale, 90 Minute IPA, Festina Lente and a new mixture called Black and Blue..brewed with coriander, I wanna say blueberries and I forget what else but damn was it tasty!
Shipyard Brewing Company - Again started off with the Punkinhead Ale (excellent with bbq, I'll have you know!) then tried the Old Thumper Extra Special Ale.
After attending last year's GABF, it took me two weeks to find liquor stores in FL that carried both of the beers above. When I found them, snagged 3 sixers of each.
Of course, the next brewery holds a special place in my heart since they are hosting our Drinking Liberally party this Saturday night. None other than Flying Dog Brewery! Talked to several of the guys from Flying Dog, they are looking forward to Saturday night as well. I am looking forward to having more Dogtoberfest, Flying Dog Pale Ale and In-Heat Wheat.
Ran into Bryan from Great Divide ...hadn't seen him since I met him on the plane coming back from Lolla. For those of you going to the GABF tomorrow or Saturday, stop by the folks at Great Divide and try some Titan IPA, Hercules Double IPA and you gotta ask for seconds after you try the Wild Raspberry Ale...that was truly delish!
Tried a couple more samples from several breweries I had never heard before, then headed over to the 'Brewer's Studio' to listen to some of the top leaders in brewing talk about the future of beer and where it's headed.
On the panel were Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company, local Boulder brewer Adam Avery of Avery Brewing , the energetic Sam Calagione of previously mentioned Dogfish Head, Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing Company and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Company .
All of the guys are friends and they regaled the audience with anecdotes from their trip to Belgium to check out Belgian brewing methods. All 5 are collaborating on a beer that will be released when it's good and ready to be released is all they would say about it. Sam brought a pitcher of his Dogfish Head Festina Lente mixed with another beer (forget which one) which resulted in a tres yummy mixture...talk about a personally crafted brew!
The meeting cube was standing room only and the final thought they left us with is that we are determining the future of beer in the US by what we like and taste and share. They encouraged everyone to keep exploring, drinking and sharing good beer. It sorta felt like a patriotic mandate. So, being the patriot I am, went out and had more beer.
The Utah Brewers Cooperative had a really decent Squatter IPA, the Wasatch Evolution Amber Ale really kicked it, and the Wasatch Poligamy Porter was good but not as good as the matching t-shirt the pourers were wearing. My Utah pourer suggested I go over and visit a brewer he used to work for in Las Vegas. Being as I'm not one to overlook the power of networking, I hightailed it over to Chicago Brewing Company which as I said is in Las Vegas and omg, tried an elixir the likes of which I've never tasted. Sorted tasted like beer but within 4 seconds of tasting Hawaiin Honey my mouth and tastebuds didn't know what to think other than gimme more. So I had more. Then thirds. They used a special process of combining clover honey in the brewing process and all I could think about was pairing it with a nice Honeybaked Ham (the kosher kind, of course!!). The Hawaiin Honey was the best find of the show.
Saving the best for last, visited a booth that does not sell beer, but sells cheer. And if you are a Denver local and plan on visiting the GABF, you MUST MUST MUST stop by X-Communicated Mormon Drinking Team and buy something...anything...from them. Tell Bryce and the guys that Kath (that liberal chick) sent you. These guys are hilarious, their schwag is to die for and yes, they are all ex-Mormons.
OK, enough of the words. Wish I could share the beer with all of you, but alas, I cannot. But I do have pix to give you the feeling of being here...just without the plane ticket, the hotel room (or crashing at my house), the altitude and the $40 to gain entrance. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Dogfish Head Dudes
Bryan from Great Divide
Flying Dog Dudes
X-Communicated Mormon Drinking Team