October 3, 2014

Thursday Night GABF Takeaways

It was a great first night for the Great American Beer Festival. I signed book for a spell in the Bookstore both and few people were crazy enough to step out of the land of ever-flowing beer into the book stop and chat with me. Here are a few of the things that stick in my mine about this year’s fest:

*The crowd seems even geekier this year. More beer discussion, more civilized, also more lines at the good breweries. This has slowly transformed back into a beer fest, versus a drunk fest. Jawesome.

*The only timed release I came across was for the Bruery’s Black Tuesday. It was at 7:29 and they said they anticipated doing it each night. Even though it requires some frantic running around the first hour ensure you get everything, I prefer it this way. I don’t like having to look at my watch all session.

*The Topplling Goliath Assassin was my beer of the night. Holy pajoles that is good. The TG guys were great as well.

*Lost Abbey had a longer line than I’ve ever seen at GABF. It still went incredibly fast though. 3 minutes or so tops.

*Almanac is still killing it. Just such impressive stuff across the board (though the Pumpkin Barleywine needs at least a year to mellow the booze a bit).

*Beachwood BBQ is my sleeper hit. OK, I know everyone has heard of them, but there was essentially no line, and every one of their beers was freakin fantastic.

*I suppose my real sleeper hit was Barley Browns. Small brewpub out of OR that bends hops to their will. Epic stuff, and really nice guys.

*There was an incredible amount of owners and/or brewers pouring beer. A real treat for geeks like myself. Additionally, the volunteers were very up on what they were pouring.

*Three Floyds apparently brought more than 3 growlers of beer this year as when I walked by 30 minutes in they were still pouring.

All I got for now. Here’s a couple of sweet pics. If you happen to be in tonight (Friday) swing into the bookstore from 6-6:30 to say hello

GABF 2014 Lost Abbey Line

GABF 2014 Lost Abbey Line

2014 GABF Book Sigining

MIrrela Amato (Beerology) and I signing books

 

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September 24, 2014

Gigantic Brewing & Wicked Weed GABF Pour Lists

And a couple more GABF pour lists that have trickled in…

Gigantic Brewing

  • Pipewrench – Ransom Old Tom Gin barrel aged IPA (Gold winner at 2014 World Beer Cup – Barrel Aged Category)
  • Most Premium Russian Imperial Stout
  • Too Much Coffee Man – Black Saison with Coava Coffee
  • Gigantic IPL – India Pale Lager
  • Firebird Smoked Hefeweizen

Wicked Weed Brewing

  • Freak Double IPA, 8% ABV
  • Tyrant Double Hopped Red Ale, 8.5% ABV
  • Ruffian Black IPA, 10% ABV
  • Serenity 100% Brett Saison, 5.5%
  • Oblivion Sour Red, 8.5%
  • Mampara, 9% ABV
  • Hopburgular, 6.5%
  • Coolcumber, 4.9 % ABV
  • Malice Wild Ale,
  • Mosaic Saison,  6.2%
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September 10, 2014

A Few More 2014 GABF Pour Lists…

Melvin Brewing (Thai Me Up Restaurant)

  • 2×4, Double IPA
  • 4×8, Triple IPA
  • Melvin, IPA
  • Ch,Ch,Ch Cherry Bomb, Fruit Ale
  • Ginger Ale, Imperial Red Ale

 

Almanac Beer Co

  • Golden Gate Gose
  • Cerise Sour Blond
  • Farmer’s Reserve Citrus
  • Heirloom Pumpkin
  • Dogpatch Strawberry

 

Boneyard Beer

  • RPM IPA, American-Style India Pale Ale, 7%
  • Bone-A-Fide Pale Ale, American-Style Pale Ale, 5.5%
  • Notorious Triple IPA, Imperial India Pale Ale, 11.5%
  • Armored Fist Cascadian Dark Ale, American-Style Black Ale, 10%
  • Bone Light ISA, Session Beer, 4%

 

Funky Buddha Brewery

  • No Crusts
  • Last Snow
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Nickolai Vorlauf Imperial Stout
  • Raspberry Berlinerweiss
  • Floridian Hefeweizen
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September 10, 2014

GABF 2104 Pour Lists

I’m working on my annual North Denver Tribune article on the can’t-miss breweries this year at the Great American Beer Festival. Decide to focus on some of the lesser known joints out there that I’ve been enjoying.

Here are some that I’ve gotten so far:

DC Brau Brewing

  •  The Penn Quarter Porter – Robust Porter – 5.5% abv
  •  The Tradition – Golden Ale – 5% abv
  •  The Citizen – Belgian Pale Ale – 7% abv
  •  El Hefe Speaks! – Traditional Hefeweizen – 5.3% abv
  •  On The Wings of Armageddon – Imperial IPA – 9.2% abv (yes, yes, yes)

 

Prairie Artisan Ales

  • Coolship Truck (Wild Ale collaboration with Evil Twin)
  • Tequila Barrel Branson (Branson is an imperial stout we do, this one aged in tequila barrels)
  • Rum Barrel Beer Wasteland (Beer Wasteland is a barley wine we’ve done.  This version is aged in rum barrels)
  • Funky Gold Mosaic (sour farmhouse ale dry-hopped with mosaic)
  • Ambassador Ale (English style brown)

 

Societe Brewing

  • The Harlot, 6.0% ABV Belgian Extra Ale
  • The Butcher, 9.8% ABV Imperial Stout
  • The Apprentice, 7.5% ABV American IPA with Amarillo and Simcoe hops
  • The Pupil, 7.5% ABV American IPA with Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops

 

Fat Heads Brewery

  • Head Hunter IPA
  • Hop Juju Imperial IPA
  • Bone Head Imperial Red
  • Trail Head Pale Ale
  • Battle Axe Baltic Porter
  • Black Knight Schwarzbier
  • Lagerfeuer Smoked Helles
  • One Night In Bangkok – This is and herb and spice beer made with citrus honey, Yuzu fruit, lemongrass, candied ginger, and kaffir lime leaf.
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October 1, 2013

2013 GABF Strategy Guide

It’s that magical time of year again. The days get shorter, the crisp air nips at your nose, and the trees begin to show off their brilliant colors. Most importantly though, it’s the time that all beer geeks look forward to most, the Great American Beer Festival; our Christmas in October. Tickets sold out in a ridiculous few seconds this year, so hopefully you are one of the lucky few to obtain them. I will note that if you got shut out, tickets can often be had at face value or less from disappointed scalpers, around 30 minutes or so after the festival begins. I’ve never actually done this, but have heard about it from multiple sources.

With over 3,000 different beers being poured, a game plan is a must and each year I spend the weeks leading up planning out my strategy. To me, the best thing about GABF is getting access to beers that aren’t available for purchase in CO. If you think about it, there’s not much point in paying $80 to drink beer you can buy at your local liquor store.  With that in mind, here are my choices for top breweries to seek out at the 2013 GABF:

Snake River Brewing: A perennial GABF favorite, their cherry-infused Flander’s red ale, Le Serpent Cerise (8% ABV), is a blend of cherry pie and vanilla, and finishes with a refreshing acidic tang.

La Cumbre: Located in nearby Albuquerque, their Elevated IPA (7.2% ABV), with its masterful balance of malty richness and hop intensity, wins my vote for best IPA in the world. No kidding.

Three Floyds: This brewery makes just about every style of beer and does them all excellently. I personally think their best beers are their hoppy ones though. Check out their citrus-intense pale ale, Zombie Dust (6.4% ABV), and their ultra bitter, tropical fruit-laced double IPA, Arctic Panzer Wolf (9.0% ABV). Be sure to take a look at their fantastic label art.

Pelican Brewery: Probably the best brewery in America you’ve never heard of. Their Mother of All Storms barley wine (14.0% ABV), is aged for a year in bourbon barrels and is an absolute legend in the beer world. It’s never been served at a festival before. A must try.

Lost Abbey: Ok, they do distribute in CO. However, there beers are none-too-cheap and they always bring tons of goodies to GABF that you can’t buy off the shelf. Founder Tomme Arthur is a genius when it comes to creating Belgian style ales.  Don’t leave until you’ve tried everything.

Russian River: Brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo, beer geek’s Golden Child, has the Midas touch. Like Lost Abbey, they too distribute in CO, but they are just so good you still have to check out everything they bring. Their Hoptime Harvest Ale (6.8% ABV), is made with this year’s fresh hop crop and will win over hop lover’s hearts; while their Framboise for a Cure (7.5% ABV), a Belgian blonde ale aged in chardonnay barrels with heaps of raspberries, is sublime.

Cambridge Brewing Company: Their Shadows & Light (10% ABV), is my most anticipated beer of the fest. Made from various vintages of barrel-aged barleywines that have been stressed to the max (temperature fluctuations, sun exposure, and more), the resultant blend resembles a fine Maderia or Amontillado more than it does beer. There is nothing else like it in the world.

The Brew Kettle: Best known for their White Rajah (6.8% ABV), a fruit-forward (mango, pineapple, grapefruit) yet still bitter IPA. Their booth is well worth seeking out.

Shorts Brewing: A mad-scientist sort of operation, famous for their creative, unusual ingredients. Check out Gone Commando (4.5 % ABV), a Vienna Lager brewed with black currants, and Bourbon Woodmaster (10.0% ABV), an imperial brown ale fermented with maple syrup and toasted pecans, then aged in bourbon barrels.

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery:  This Minnesotan brewpub serves world class beers of all styles. Be sure to ask for Cherry Eye of the Storm (10.0% ABV), a barleywine brewed with buckets of MN honey and aged on local cherries.

Live Oak Brewing Company: Their Hefeweizen (5.2% ABV), is better than most of the “authentic” ones being brewed in Germany. Seriously.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: David Logsdon, the original brewmaster at Full Sail, opened this little brewery in the midst of cherry orchards in the Hood River valley. The beers are Belgian-based and delectable. Try both the Seizoen (7.5% ABV) and Seizoen Bretta (8.0% ABV), the same beer but the latter spiked with brettanomyces (a la Crooked Stave).

Jack’s Abby: A lager-only brewery, their Hoponius Union IPL (India Plae Lager) shows just what those clean crisp lager notes can do when paired up with expertly selected hops. Unique and delicious.

Have fun, drink plenty of water, and be sure to thank the beer gods that the world’s greatest beer event happens every year right in our backyard.

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