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.
River North Brewery opened a little over six months ago, specializing in Belgian style ales. I happen to specialize in drinking Belgian style ales, so RiNo quickly became a favorite local brewery. Scratch that, a favorite anywhere brewery.
Tonight, the two men running for President will go head-to-head in Denver for a televised debate on domestic policy issues. According to the latest popular vote polling, it’s a dead heat (although according to the electoral vote, it’s already a landslide). While this campaign is not as exciting as the “Hope-And-Change,” “I-Can-See-Russia-From-My-House” quotes of 2008, the presidential debate tonight promises us a unique opportunity to see democracy in action and discern the ideological rifts between our candidates and our nation.
Pacific Northwest (AK, OR, WA)
The Pacific Northwest – land of salmon, mass-consumer coffee, towering evergreens, and rocky, rainy coast lines. And, not surprisingly, a rich craft beer community. From the rugged mountains of Alaska, to the coastline communities of the Puget Sound to fixie riding hipsters of West Burnside, the Pacific Northwest offers up some of the Nation’s most recognized craft beer names with new breweries continuing to pop up in small towns and large cities alike. Here are our favorites that we’ll be attending at the Great American Beer Festival.
One overcast September day, Odell Brewing harkened me to the Mecca of craft brewing, Fort Collins, for a few cozy tasters in their amazing taproom. As Lee Holliday and the Time Off crooned scintillating blues for the live music night, I admired the walls, embellished with huge rich oil paintings of their highly recognized and highly revered microbrews: Cut Throat Porter, Easy Street Wheat, Levity Amber, IPA, and of coarse 90 Shilling.
Starting today we’ll be bringing you a regional break down of breweries you should definitely stop by during the festival. In some cases we were also able to find out what specific beers they’ll be bringing. Today we kick off our coverage on the Great Lakes region. This includes breweries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
I recently discovered that I’m kinda a weird dude. My friend Paula recently called me out for being an “Asian, hipster, frat boy from Kentucky who also listens to bluegrass/country music.” I guess she has a point. Perhaps that’s why I find Strange Brewery in Denver, CO so endearing.