So after a 5 day trip and 1 day of rest to Denver for GABF, I decided that there was quite a bit to say. GABF was everything it was made out to be. From the festival itself to all the other events around the city, it never disappointed. I met up with my friend Marek and also ran into other friends and new ones along the way as well.
The festival ran a smoothly, scratch that, smoother than any festival I have ever attended and on a much larger scale. You could see brewers at their booths and could easily mingle with some of the industry’s finest. Notables such as Rob Todd, Garrett Oliver and Sam Cagalione were very accessible to all festival goers. The lines moved fast and orderly, we were in awe how smoothly Thursday’s session went and how we were able to get to any beer we tried to get our hands on. It was great seeing Beer Advocate’s Alstrom brothers just walking around and drinking beer, because as Todd said, he was there to enjoy himself too. On Thursday night we toasted the new big boy cans of Dale’s Pale Ale w/ Dale himself at the release party following GABF and caught up with CNN”s Nathan Berrong.
The highlight in my eyes were two of the local brewers at GABF. I’ll start with FunkWerks; having had traded for some of their beers in the past (specifically the Saison) I knew I want to try the entire lineup. Deceit was outstanding as was Tropic King. Next up was Crooked Stave. Another brewery I had traded for in the past I was eager to try their offerings. Not a single let down. We even decided to make the trek to the outskirts of Denver to visit the Barrel Room and enjoyed some of the offerings on tap as well as a bottle of WWBO. Both Marek and I left convinced that we should join their Cellar Reserve Membership. I also really enjoyed introducing some other breweries that we don’t get out here to my friend. Texas had two of my other favorite breweries in Jester King and FreeTail. The entire Freetail lineup was a hit.
Friday had one of the best, or more like THE best event I’ve ever attended. It was Pints For Prostates and All About Beer Magazine’s Denver Rare Beer Tasting. If you thought you got great rare beers at GABF (which you did), it really didn’t compare to this limited event. I ran into both Win Bassett of All About Beer and Rick Lyke and had to express how great of a job they did. From having Jim Koch of Sam Adams there with the 10th Anniversary Utopias and the new revival of New Albion Pale Ale with the pioneer himself Jack McAuliffe, to Ivan the Terrible back to back with Kate the Great. This event was a beer geek’s dream, Sam of Dogfish, Greg from Stone, Rob from Allagash… it was a who’s who of the industry. Always great to see friendly NJ faces like John of Beertography.com fame and noted author John Holl just made us feel that much more at home.
All in all, I just have to say that Denver rocks. You can hit one of the many craft-centric bars and run into people you know or meet new beer lovers enjoying some fantastic beer. From Falling Rock where I met twitter friends from PA and Texas to Fresh Craft where I hung for a bit with our local NJ rep for Firestone Walker (hello Cam)… it’s a never ending, never want to leave adventure.
Until next year GABF! Keep up the good work!