One of the best things about attending GABF is the ability to try a ton of rare, completely off the wall or just hard to get beers. As such we’ve got some solid takeaways. If you happen to cross paths with these beers, you should probably jump at the chance to give them a taste.
The Great American Beer Festival is the closest thing to a real-life, adult version of that “kid in a candy shop” moment. Experiencing the full gambit of everything beer related that surrounds the festival culminated in one of the more amazing weeks I’ve ever experienced.
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m not a Colorado native. I came up for school at Colorado State from New Mexico and only moved down to the capital a little over a year ago. That means, like so many other migrant Coloradans, I’m still discovering all that the Mile High City has to offer, and it’s a lot. So many pubs, clubs, breweries, hangouts, bars and so much more that this self-proclaimed beer snob is sure that funds will dry up well before my thirst for something new does.
Ever wonder what goes into setting up a major booth, or as the industry calls them, an endcap booth at the Great American Beer Festival? New Belgium Brewery out of Fort Collins, Colorado was nice enough to allow us to shadow their Thursday morning set up. We condensed that approximately two hour process into one and a half minutes. A big thanks to New Belgium Brewing!
The Great American Beer Festival has so much to offer. Below is a tasting from all over the country of exceptional beer. There’s just one problem: this route is a strong beer tasting. Though beer is poured one ounce at a time, these little droplets will mess you up. Honestly, I would not recommend tasting all of these in the same day but the options are available … well, maybe. I cannot guarantee these beers will be poured, but these are popular, so there’s a chance.
We are literally hours away from the opening bagpipes sounding at GABF so we decided to condense a brief round up of which Sour, Hoppy and Rare beers to look for at the event. Also be sure to follow us on Twitter at @PorchDrinkingCO or check back at 6 Mountain, 8 Eastern for a live blog from the event!
Sours- You know that kid that always had a steady cache of Warheads back in the 90s? This is exactly the kind of beers they’d be taking. You ready to pucker up?
Rocky Mountain (CO, ID, MT, NV, UT, WV)
And alas we have finally arrived at the Rocky Mountain Regional Breakdown! We’ll admit we’re a little biased as most of our staff is based in Denver or Boulder but the Rocky Mountain region boasts a tremendous assortment of fantastic brews. There are the big dogs like Avery, Great Divide, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Odell and there are also amazing up and comers like Copper Kettle, Elevation, Grimm Brothers, Renegade, and River North.
Hey there fellow porch dwellers new and old! So nice of you to join us once again. My friends and I started this site three months ago with the general interest in writing about beer, music, sports and pop culture. Long term, perhaps two or three years down the road we had the goal of building something influential enough to receive press passes to the Great American Beer Festival. Well that goal was kinda achieved two or three years early.
I walked into the largest room I’ve ever been in and it was empty. As the volunteer group started to move about the Convention Center floor, I just stopped to take it in. I made it to the Great American Beer Festival.
Contributed by Cori Flinchbaugh the Draft Wench
Ok, so you’re going to the Great American Beer Festival but there are now over 2,000 beers to choose from, what do you do? I usually suggest to first timers to pick a beer style or two (IPA, Belgian, Porters or Stouts, Fruit Beers, Sour Beers) and stick to it.
If you don’t know what style to choose or are looking for something fun and different, a friend and I came up with “Fancy Cork Night.” We go around and drink only beers that come in 750 ml bottles (Russian River has smaller ones too) usually with a fancy cork and cage. These beers are typically “Seasonal/Specialty or Sour.” It’s kind of like a delicious scavenger hunt.
New Belgium Brewery was where it all began. It was in those same recycled bike framed bar stools in New Belgium’s tap room that I first embarked on my own journey into craft beer.
Virtually every Friday afternoon my buddy Cody and I would duck out a bit early and delve into the wide world of brew. It was here that I discovered my first sour. What the hell?! This beer, La Folie tastes like liquefied shock tarts! How is this possible?!
Today we continue our regional coverage by breaking down the Mid-Atlantic and New England Regions. All of these are smaller regions which is why we decided to group them all together, however what they do have to offer packs a punch. With the likes of Ommegang, DogFish Head, Surly, Boston Beer and Allagash, these are can’t miss regions!
Pacific (CA, HI)
The Pacific region boasts one of the most impressive lineups of breweries at the fest. One could really spend an entire session in this region alone. We were able to find out what several of these breweries will be pouring!
Whether it’s your first time in Denver or you’re hosting friends from out of town, it’s not easy choosing from the bevy of amazing dining options available. We’re here to help. Continuing our Great American Beer Festival Preview, here’s our picks for the best food in Denver. There’s no shortage of options available, but we chose to highlight the top 5 spots for each category below.
I mentioned in a previous article that Wynkoop Brewery is essentially the antithesis of what people expect of a microbrewery. Large, sometimes cavernous confines that house much more than just a bar and gathering area. Well, if Wynkoop is on one edge of the spectrum, Oskar Blues Brewery is on the other.
Coming to town for the Great American Beer Festival is about more than just the festival itself. It involves local breweries, restaurants, the city of Denver, and beer bars. We decided to break down some of the local Denver beer bars that you may want to check out just in case you couldn’t already find enough beer.
Southeast (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN)
Don’t count out the southeast region just because it doesn’t boast a tremendous beer history. This region is an up and comer. With Cigar City anchoring the field and two solid showings out of Lexington, KY, the southeast has the opportunity to make major in roads in the brewing community in the near future.
Renegade Brewery could be one of the best breweries in the city of Denver that non-residents may have never heard of. Brian O’Connell’s brew laboratory specializes in taking traditional styles and adding one twist to completely differentiate their beers from the rest. Even their flagship Ryetous refuses to conform to the base line IPA category with it being a rye IPA. “There is no theme to our style other than being creative without going completely off the wall,” said O’Connell.
The Southwest – land of Mexican food, cactus, and hot weather. There is nothing more perfect than beer to cool the heat. With a growing craft beer scene, the southwest has been cranking out award winning beer. Here our a few breweries and what they will be pouring at the Great American Beer Festival.