So...finally have these things going...hopefully I'm using them correctly
A few thoughts on GABF….
October 8, 2014
In all honesty this post was intended to be written this past Sunday when the experiences of the day prior were fresh in my memory and easy to articulate. Without going into details, I will sum it up by admitting that I was not in a state to be very productive that day. Now that I’ve had a few days to recover and get back into my normal routine, I am able to properly reflect on the events of this past weekend’s Great American Beer Festival. This event represents many different interests and motivations to the myriad of attendees and participating brewers, many of which are not too far from my own.
Having waited an hour for my cab to arrive (hooray for not drinking and driving) and another significant sum of time in the line to redeem my ticket to the Saturday afternoon tasting session, I had my already high expectations for GABF exacerbated by the “This better be worth it” statements recurring in my inner monologue. For the most part it was, affording many beer experiences that I’m sure I will not have again. This would have been rewarding on its own but was supplemented by attending the festival with a group of friends who can rival if not surpass my level of beer nerdiness. So with tasting glasses and festival guides in hand we began our journey through this brewed Arcadia.
The tasting session started off strong as I went down the line of Michigan breweries. I found the “Kick Start my Arse” from Redwood Brewing Co to be particularly memorable, with the hazelnut and coffee perfectly balancing with the other flavors of the stout. As it turns out, coffee would be a recurring theme at this year’s GABF with more of the offerings I this realm being done well than I expected. Another trend at this year’s festival was a significant uptick in the amount of sours being offered which seemed to reinforce the argument I’ve heard from many that sours are the new IPAs (a statement that I think would be best said by a snooty teenager….I dare you not to have that in your brain now). I am as big a fan of sours as the next beer nerd but I found that for every good sour I tried at GABF, there were an equal number that had been poorly executed.
This interplay of good and mediocre beer was found in other beers at the festival, with the heavy Coors presence in both the medals and on the floor hard to ignore (I find the fact that MillerCoors won every medal in the “American Style Lager” category to be a little convenient…..just an observation). While several fellow festival goers had decided to be quite audible and redundant in their thoughts on this fact, I chose instead to focus on finding the breweries that I enjoy from town as well as making an effort to try beers from every other state I could. In stumbling by the tables for some of my local haunts I was elated to find that many of the places I had featured on the blog had won medals. I need to give particular recognition to Comrade Brewing for winning silver with the Fresh Hop Superpower IPA and to Former Future who took a bronze with their Salted Caramel Prim and Porter (both of which I believe are available at each of their respective taprooms….wink wink nudge nudge).
Ultimately, this year’s Great American Beer Festival was a great time and I truly enjoyed myself there (don’t let the minor bitching here and there in this post make you think otherwise). I found new breweries with great beer from states I wouldn’t have thought of in that regard. I loved seeing brewers that I have observed working hard to make great beer here in the Denver area get the recognition they deserve in medals and praise. And perhaps most importantly I enjoyed being at the session with a group of good people who love beer as much as I do. The takeaway from this article, if there is one to be had, is that good beer is everywhere. And where there is good beer, you are likely to find the kind of people with whom you’d like to share a pint. Cheers everyone!