For the past 22 years, on the Monday before the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), one of the country’s most iconic beer bars has helped usher in the event with a celebratory kick-off tapping at 5 p.m.
However this year, on September 21, when Falling Rock Tap House’s GABF countdown timer would normally have ticked down to all zeros, there will be little pomp and circumstance as the festival transitions to a virtual format in response to the pandemic.
The writing has been on the wall for some time, but this morning the Brewers Association officially confirmed that this year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) will not take place in the form that beer fans know and love. Instead, …
Being a fan of spicy food, I’ve tried to like chili beers. Some are too mild, some blast out my taste buds; I rarely finish a full pint before tapping out. But when I heard that the GABF Gold Medal Winner for Chili Beer was a quick drive away in Omaha, Nebraska, I knew I had to try it.
When you take your first sip of Brickway Brewery & Distillery’s Jalapeno Pineapple Pils, you will set down your glass and say, “Oh, I get it. That’s what a chili beer is supposed to taste like.”
The GABF Gold Medal awarded to Begyle Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas validated what many already knew: in a town abound in exceptional bourbon-barrel-aged beer, Begyle’s has risen to become one of the best. The 2019 release on Friday, November 15, will be the first for the Community Supported Brewery (CSB) since winning the medal. They graciously hosted PorchDrinking a couple of days early, offering to provide us with a few tastes and plenty of discussion about its barreling program.
Market Garden Brewery in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, has made a name for itself on the success of an unlikely flagship beer for a modern craft brewery. Prosperity Wheat is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen, and it won the gold medal for the style at the Great American Beer Festival last month.
Denver’s Comrade Brewing Company showed its true superpower at this year’s Great American Beer Festival: winning medals. Comrade took home golds for SuperPower IPA and More Dodge Less RAM and was also named Small Brewing Company of the Year.
Superpower IPA beat out 130 other entries to win the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category to prove why it has been a taproom staple since Comrade opened five years ago.
When we speak about the 1990’s Chicago Bulls, John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins from the mid 60’s through 70’s, the 1950’s Yankees with Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra, or more contemporary examples like Geno Auriemma’s UConn Women’s Basketball teams from the mid 90’s to today, and from 2001 to today, the New England Patriots, we’re talking about iconic programs that have achieved greatness for such a sustained period of time and consistency, that they transcend normal recognition. They become spoken about in rarified air, as dynasties.
Brink Brewing in the College Hill neighborhood of northern Cincinnati just opened in 2017, but they already have seven medals and awards from the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, they’ve never failed to medal in the three GABFs since their founding. Last week they brought home gold medals for their Hold the Reins English Mild and Moozie Milk Stout, as well as top honors for Very Small Brewing Company of the Year, which is awarded to a brewery producing fewer than 1,000 barrels of beer annually.
For the second year, Jameson Whiskey sponsored and participated in the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Twenty-two brewing partners used Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels to age beer and then pour the finished product for fans in the energetic, music-filled Caskmates Barrel Aged Beer Garden. For this Irish (craft beer loving) American writer, it was my (pleasurable) task to drink as many of the 45-plus creations and provide my feedback.
Non-alcoholic beers were an emerging category of beer at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival with several breweries participating in both the festival and the competition. While they played a small part in the overall event, their addition to the competition this year may be a harbinger of things to come if this trends continue in the right direction.
Pastry stouts, hazy IPAs and rare sours tend to command most of the buzz at the Great American Beer Festival; the lines at brewery booths pouring those beers last week in Denver certainly attested to that. However, I chose a different tasting route for my festival experience. As I wandered the festival floor, I didn’t so much choose “the road less traveled” as much as an overgrown path forgotten by time: I wanted to taste as many obscure, historical beer styles as I could.
GABF offers a wonderful educational opportunity for anyone who wants to taste styles largely lost to history. Want to know what a gruit tastes like? Want to compare multiple export stouts or Dortmunder lagers beside each other? You’ll never have a better chance to do it than at GABF.
Another Great American Beer Festival, another 4,000 beers in the books. Somehow breweries have yet to run out of beer puns for their beer names, so we searched high and low throughout the 2019 GABF to find the wittiest titles or otherwise amazing names. Though some were award winners and others were poured on the festival floor, all are hilarious.
Here are the best beer puns and names from GABF 2019.
This has been another great year for the home state of the Great American Beer Festival. Colorado breweries took home a whopping 40 medals and two brewery/brewer of the year awards at this year’s GABF. Of the 40 medals, 13 of them were gold medals, 21 silver and six bronze. Without further ado, let’s deep dive into this some of this year’s winners.
Chicago is once again home to Great American Beer Festival’s gold medal-winning Hazy IPA after Old Irving Brewing Co. took home top honors for Beezer. Last year, the first year with the Hazy IPA category, Alarmist won the inaugural gold for Le Jus. (And, in 2017, Hailstorm won for its Prairie Madness IPA which was the most-entered category by breweries that year.)
The 2019 Great American Beer Festival has crowned their newest batch of champions and standouts. This year, the competition portion of GABF saw 9,497 entries from 2,295 breweries across the country, not to mention an additional 113 Pro-Am entries.
In episode 63 of the PorchCast, the whole squad sat down with Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing, at the dawn of the Great American Beer Festival to talk about their 40th Anniversary.
As bagpipers marched into the Colorado Convention Center Thursday evening to officially usher in the 38th annual Great American Beer Festival the PorchDrinking team was feverishly sampling as many beers as possible, to discover hidden gems and standouts from night one.
Fans of Denver staple and craft beer OG Yeti from Great Divide already know the importance of starting with a quality base beer before throwing a bunch of variants out into the saturated market. With Yeti–one of the most recognizably branded beers in the country–there’s no shortage of variants, ranging from horchata and chai to the beloved barrel-aged chocolate and vanilla Stouts that have made their way onto store shelves at different points in time.
With so many solid variants available in stores, and even more available at Great Divide’s taphouse and RiNo Barrel Bar, how do you pick just one to review? And with so many other beers to choose from in the craft beer market at-large, how does a brewery stay relevant?
The Great American Beer Fest is an awe-inspiring menagerie of beer. Good beer, weird beers, surprising styles, and not nearly enough time to give them all a thoughtful pause. It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so we over at PorchDrinking have several different routes that we have planned out to make it easier for those who love specific styles. There isn’t really a wrong way to do GABF (except not drinking water, please drink water) so here is a way to dive in that is more musically inclined.
The Great American Beer Festival began in 1982 with 24 breweries serving 47 beers to fans for a single, five-hour session. Today, the number of external events exceed the beers poured at that first fest, and the convention hall will allow patrons to select from more than 3,500 beers. What do you drink? Where do you go? How can one possibly navigate such a colossal beer experience? We at PorchDrinking.com have tried to make the process simpler, writing more than a dozen stories on the event. And, to further simplify it, we have now put all those stories in one location.
First a few important notes on this year’s festival:
- A few tickets still remain for Thursday Night and Saturday Night sessions. Tickets available here.
- This year’s festival format returns to booths being arranged alphabetically by region.
- Attendees of ALL sessions will receive glass cups instead of plastic.
- Thursday Night, Friday Night and Saturday Night Sessions begin at 5:30, Saturday’s Day Session begins at Noon. For first time attendees, we recommend arriving at least an hour and a half before your session to wait in line.
- Don’t forget to check out other sections for hidden gem beers. The Brewers Guild section has guild representatives from several states that bring beers from breweries that aren’t otherwise pouring on the festival floor.
- The Heavy Medal section has beers pouring from past GABF medal winners.
- There’s a Fresh Hop booth with all fresh/wet-hopped beers.
- Several breweries will have special timed releases that aren’t otherwise listed on the pour list. Modern Times Beer, for example, will have a different special release each day of the fest.
Enjoy GABF. Enjoy Beer. Enjoy Craft in all it glory. And here are more tools to help you enjoy the week.