Saturday, October 12, 2013

2013 #GABF Friday Night

I survived my first night of GABF. Not only did I survive, but I think I did pretty well in regards to My Friday Night #GABF Plan. Surprisingly, my wife (aka the SheppyBrew Beer Model) agreed to go separately to the Convention Center. She dropped off the kids and I got into the festival line before the place opened. Now I owe her one.

I think this is actually the first time I got into line before the doors opened. I got sort of antsy not moving. I think it is better just to get there after the line starts to move. You get in a little later, but you don't have to wait as much.

This was not part of the original plan, but my first stop was AC Golden. I know that being owned by Coors, they are not technically considered a Craft Brewery but I like their beers generally and I keep hearing about how wonderful their sours are. There, I had American Wild Ale, which I thought was a fantastic sour ale; Peche, which was a great peach flavored sour; and their IPL, which was also awesome. I also hit Asher Brewing Company, which was right there.

My wife's niece had suggested we try (512) Brewing Company out of Austin, TX. I tried their Pecan Porter, and thought it was the best porter I had of the night. Their Wit was very good ... not too funky but crisp and refreshing without overpowering spice. I also tried their Stingo, which was a wood-aged strong ale of some sort. It was not my favorite, but pretty good.

Next, I stopped by DESTIHL. Ever since I discovered them a couple years ago, they are a must stop for me. They make awesome sours, and every year the beers they have there are different. Unfortunately, it seems that others are discovering them, because they actually had a pretty good line, and I only tasted 3 of their beers. I'll have to stop by again today. I had Saint Dekkera Reserve Belgian Style Lambic from a year I didn't write down, Saint Dekkera Reserve Flanders, and Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Raspberry/Strawberry Ale. The Raspberry/Strawberry was my favorite. The Flanders was the best Flanders Red I had all night.

I went to Sun King Brewing Company. I had three beers that I though were pretty good, but not spectacular. Afternoon Delight, Batch 666, and Stupid Sexy Flanders. I didn't really write anything down about any of these and nothing about them stuck out in my mind.

Then, I hit Three Floyds Brewing Company. Of course, their "Zombie Dust" is on Zymurgy's Best Beers in America List. You may remember I thought I was going to get to try this when I went to South Dakota . It was awesome. I know they don't call this an IPA, but it was the best IPA I had all night. It was bright and hoppy, and I think well worth the spot on the Zymurgy list. Unfortunately, the line was long and I didn't want to get in the way of other people, so this is the only beer I had there. I am going to have to go back today.

Then, since I was by the food, I had supper. A brat and a pretzel. Yummy.

The best beer name I think I saw all night.

After dinner, I headed over to the Beer and Food Pavilion, for West Coast Brew meets Rocky Mountain Burgers. On the way, I made point of stopping by G17 - Firestone Walker Brewing Company, because I wanted to try Parabola for my list. I was disappointed to find that they did not have it there. Bummer. Instead I had myself a Wookey Jack.

At West Coast Brew meets Rocky Mountain Burgers . My wife ended up joining me half way through this. El Segundo Brewing Co (who I had never heard of) teamed up with Chef Troy Guard, of TAG Restaurant Group (who is pretty well-known in Denver). I thought their pairings were awesome. First, they came out with a fruity Ceviche dish, which they paired with a "Blue House Citra Pale". The beer was awesome with that wonderful citra flavor. The ceviche had pineapple juice, lime juice, mangos, and a bit of chilli pepper and cilantro. Wonderful. Next, they gave us a White Dog IPA with Brown Lamb Sausage. The beer was not quite as good, but I wrote down that the Lamb was F*$&ing awesome. This pair was even better. The last dish they brought out  was an Angus Slider on a toasted bun with a citra hop sauce and beer brazed onions. My notes say this is F*$&ing awesome +. Really good. The beer they paired with that was Two 5 Left Double IPA. Again, a great pairing.

Since the Beer Model had not had dinner, we wandered back over to the food, sampling along the way. We had some good beers, but nothing I took notes on.

After the wife ate, we headed to the "Brewers Studio Pavilion" for what I thought was going to be Big Beers from Little Breweries, but which turned out to be Barrel Aging with Jim Koch. The wife is not really a fan of sour or barrel aged beers, so I gave her the opportunity to have us get out of there, but she didn't take it. This was a good talk by Jim Koch of Boston Beer Company. We got to try KMF. (Kosmic Mother Funk), which is basically their base sour. They use that to blend in most of their other sours. We also got to try Tetravis, their Belgium Quad, and their Story Brook Red. Both of the last two had various amounts of the KMF in them. My favorite was the KMF. The wife's favorite was the Tetravis, which had the least amount of KMF.

My wife had posted on facebook asking for suggestions of breweries to try. She wanted to "cheers" people at these breweries, so after the Barrel Aging talk, we hit:

J26 RAM Restaurant and Brewery from Illinois.
A4 Asher Brewing Company from Boulder, CO
B2 (512) Brewing Company Austin, TX (the same one I hit on my way in)

We wandered around some more. I hit a couple more breweries suggested from my game plan:

R27 - Blackberry Farm Brewery. Classic Saison was good. Screaming Cock Dubbel had a band-aid flavor which was not good.

R28 - Blackstone Brewing Company. Adam Bomb, Chaser Pale, Nut Brown Ale ... all were good.

We discovered a place called Squatters, which shared a booth with Wasatch. Both are Salt Lake City breweries. The person at the booth told us that Squatters is opening a new brewery in the Denver area. The wife and I really liked Wasatch Pumpkin Ale, and the couple of other beers we tried there were really good.

We also "discovered" St. Patrick's Brewery. This one is actually very close to where we live. I had actually seen that they had opened, but had sort of forgotten about them with all the other breweries opening in and around the Denver area. Plus, their tap room hours are only Tuesday 3 -6:30 and Thursday 3 - 9:30, which are not convenient hours for me.

We slowed down and pretty much switched to water a little after 9.

We left. Got home. And are ready for today.

More later.


  1. And here I thought the Toronto Beer Fest was big. GABF makes ours look like a miniature scale model.
    I have to go to this next year! Maybe you should come to Toronto next year to compare.

    btw.. what exactly does "band-aid" flavour taste like?

  2. I would love to go to Toronto for a beer fest. Not sure how we would work out the child care, but I'll have to think about trying it. Yes, GABF is big, but it is almost too big. There is almost no way you can do justice to each of the over 600 breweries. It is really sort of amazing to even think about what it takes to pull this massive event together.

    Hmmmm... "Band-aid" flavor tastes like .... well ... a band-aid. I guess the implied question there is how do I know what a band-aid taste like? I'm not sure, but I have a particular flavor in mind when I think of it. It was actually my wife who said band-aid first. I agreed with her once she said it.
    I guess you could say Medicinal or highly phenolic. Sort of takes the Belgium funk to an unpleasant level.

  3. Sorry to hear about the band-aid at Blackberry Farm. I suppose with a nano like that you can get inconsistent results (just like at home). When I had both they were both quite good. Sounds like a good outing... I need to make the trip to the GABF one year...

  4. No problem, Chuck. Yes, that happens sometimes. As always, your suggestions were appreciated.