Saturday, October 01, 2011

2011 #GABF Session 2

Did I mention how much I love having access to the members only line? Well, I do. It might be worth the cost of admission to the AHA just because of that little perk.

Friday night I was lucky enough to be accompanied by the hottest brew babe in Denver (quite likely the hottest brew babe in the world). She had to drop off the kids and traffic sucked we didn't meet up at the light rail station until around 5:30 pm. When we got there around 6-ish or so, the general admission line was still extremely long, but we got to walk right in. It is cool how fast the general admission line moves, but walking right in is better.

SheppyBrew Beer Model at the members only door.

You may recognize the Beer Model's shirt as the Stone Brewery "You're not Worthy" shirt. My friend Eric from Escondido, CA told me via facebook that I should stop by Stone Brewery and try their 15th Anniversary Esconidian Imperial Black IPA. We stopped by there (A23 if you want to visit them today or tonight) and I grabbed a sample of their Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, which is a black IPA I've had before and absolutely love. I tried the Esconidian Ale as well. It was fantastic too. Of course the guy working the booth loved the Beer Model's shirt. I didn't get his name. I bet Eric knows him.

So, Friday, my list (other than the Stone beer) was full of sour beers. Until last year's GABF, I had never had a sour beer and didn't know what I was missing. You could say I fell in love with New Belgium's Eric's Ale (which ... if you are reading this guys at NB ... brew that again!)

The first booth I visited was that of DESTIHL, which is a brew pub with 2 locations in Normal and Champaign, Illinois. They had (and I tried every one) 5 sour beers: Flanders/Oud Bruin, St. Dekker's Reserve Sour Barely Wine, St. Dekker's Reserve Cerise Stout Imperiale, St. Dekker's Reserve Hawaii Five-Ale, Strawberry Ale. They were all great sour beers. I (of course) loved the Flanders and the Strawberry was fantastic. I am amazed that a couple of tiny brew pub locations would take the incredible time and effort to brew so many sours. The guy I talked to told me that really it is like a hobby for them. They are like big home-brewers. Very cool. They were at C9 and C10 if you are going today or tonight.

I assume Portmouth Brewery (D30) had a great Flander's Red. I had to assume it was great because it was out. Come to think of it, isn't saying "great" and "Flander's Red" redundant? I've never had a Flander's Red that I didn't like. I'm sure you can make a bad one ... I've probably just been lucky. They told me that they are tapping more today, so I need to stop by there to get me some.

Anyway, the next sour I tasted was at a booth for a brewery / restaurant out of Austin, TX called North by Northwest. They also had a wonderfully fantastic Flander's Red. If I were to pick a favorite of the night, I would have to say this was it. It is a hard call with all the great sours I had, but based on my notes and memory, this is what I picked as the best. While in line here, I overheard a guy say something like "Flander's Red ... I didn't realize it was a sour". That struck me as amusing. Sometimes I forget how little the general public knows about beer.

Random Crowd Shot
And, of course, I had to stop by New Belgium Brewery. There, I had Kick, which is a tart pumpkin and cranberry ale (and delicious). I had Clutch, which is a dark roasty sour. Clutch was very good, but I thought not as sour as the other sours I had. I also, of course, had La Folie which tasted awesome as always. I tried their Snowcap, which is their winter seasonal as well.

Isn't that a nice necklace?
Drake's Brewing Company (San Leandro, CA) was out of their Barrel House Sour. I'll be back to F8 tomorrow.

Inland Empire Brewing Company (Riverside, CA) had a Barrel Aged Sour which was fantastic.

I tried the Whiskey Sour at Shorts Brewing Company. That one tasted too much like whiskey to me. This was the only sour beer that I didn't like. I guess there had to be one.

I stopped by SanTan Brewing Company to try their Golden Sour. It turns out SanTan doesn't have a Golden Sour. I just looked at the Beers at the Festival page and it turns out, I should have written down Seabright Brewery F33, so now I have another place to go today. While at SanTan, though, I tried their HopShock IPA which was very good.

The last sour I had was at P5 Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant . They had crossed off their Sour Barrel Springtime Saison, but had saved half a pitcher just for me. Wasn't that sweet of them? This might have been the best Saison I've ever had. Even if not, it was a great beer too.

So, as you might imagine, the Beer Model is not really a fan of sour beers... and when I say not really a fan, you might say that she hates them. She tried other stuff at the breweries I visited. And, of course, I didn't have just sours.

Some of the other notable beers I had:

Summit Brewing Company's Summit Silver Anniversary Ale was probably the best IPA I had so far this weekend. The also had a Hoppy Wheat that I thought was very well done.

Circle Brewing Company had a beer called "Hop Bock", which I thought was an interesting idea. I also thought it was delicious.

The Sierra Nevada Kegger-Bus
We, of course, had some Sierra Nevada beers.

The only brewery that the Beer Model specifically wanted to visit was Blue Moon brewing company. Take a look at the sign below. Yes, that says Peanut Butter. I've never really been a fan of Peanut Butter in beer, but I tried it. I'm still not a fan, but now at least I can say I tried it.

We went back to Heretic Brewing Company to talk to my buddy Jamil and get a picture with him. Jamil is a really nice guy and I hope he does well with his brewery. If you are going today, get their early. He is out of Tafelbully and I imagine the home-brewing groupies are going to hit that booth pretty hard during the members-only session today.

And here is some random video of the crowd:


  1. Sorry I didn't spot you last night. I was volunteering at Thirsty Dog Brewing's booth last night right next to Three Floyds. I'll be there for both sessions again tonight. You going again today? If so - hope to see you there. I'll have my Denver Broncos hat on along with the volunteer shirt. Looks like you had a great time last night.

    The sour beer of the night for me was "Brain of the Turtle" from Trinity Brewing. That was the most sour brew of the fest! Awesome. That'll make your face pucker up for sure.

  2. I never thought I would be saying this, But thanks to GABF, I've become a big fan of sours! I've tried several you mentioned, but will have this handy today to hit more :). Thanks!

    Btw, IMO, best beer of the Fest is the Barton Kriek from North by Northwest. :)

  3. Hey guys ... thanks for chiming in. I'll try both those beers. Since they didn't have the word "sour" or "flanders" in them my sophisticated search didn't bring them up.

    I will be there for the noon session but not the night session. Dave, I'll stop by Thirsty Dog. Ken, I'll try to text you.