Thursday the six of us toured The Source just outside of downtown Denver to sample some tasty pours of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project’s over lunch. We ran into some of our friends from Kamala Brewing as well as the brew team from Zilker Brewing and discussed the complexities of beers like Passion Party, an American wild ale with passion fruit, and Mama Bear’s Sour Cherry Pie ale. We then wandered past Lucky Pie Taphouse where a whole slew of familiar Texas faces were gathered for a brew. Shortly thereafter, we made a pitstop at the Beerliner, then hit the festival. And, man, did we hit it. You are sure to find many of our favorite beers below were sampled on the festival floor.
Friday kicked off with two epic brunch events with Samuel Adams and Magic Hat. The Samuel Adams crew announced the winner of this year’s LongShot American Homebrew competition; a robust porter crafted by Greg Rasmussen from California. Kerry Martin, another LongShot finalist, originates from our own Austin and is brother to Corey Martin, Austin Zealots current president. Magic Hat released their new Hop Drip coffee IPA that features coffee from Burlington, VT coffee roaster Speeder & Earl’s beans. Each event featured hangover-friendly brunch foods and coffee. It was clearly painted on the faces of tired attendees that hangover-friendly was the operative word.
Afterwards, we headed to the GABF media luncheon at the Grand Hyatt. Each year, the lunch is one of our most anticipated tickets of the festival, as it features a four-course meal with 2 award-winning beer pairings for each course. This year did not disappoint with beers from The Pelican Pub and Brewery, Wicked Weed Brewing, and Firestone Walker Brewing Company.
The team divided and conquered Denver breweries after lunch, splitting off into 3 groups. Ari and Jessica met up at Wynkoop Brewing Company downtown to check out the Denver leg of the Beers Made by Walking festival. Shaun and Kat toured Diebolt Brewing Company, Denver Beer Company, and Jagged Mountain Brewery as part of the GABF media bus tour. Caroline and Sarah went on a separate tour, hanging out at TRVE Brewing Co., an all metal brewery, Former Future Brewing Company that focuses on combining modern science and historic beer styles, and LowDown Brewery + Kitchen where the team is as focused on great food as it is on great brew.
The Friday night festival session was probably more frantic than the Thursday night session, but we were able to snag copious samples from breweries like Smog City Brewing, Societe Brewing, and our familiar friends at Ballast Point Brewing Company. The night culminated in a huge shotgun session at the Beerliner and many
slightly slurred conversations networking opportunities with other beer geeks.
Saturday marked the last sessions of the festival and the award ceremony. Texas took home 16 medals, the most we’ve brought back to the lone star state since 2002 (check out our breakdown of the Texas awards here), where Washington took home a commendable 9 medals. Not surprisingly, Oregon took an impressive 23 medals for the year. After many celebratory hugs and high fives at the session, we headed to Strange Craft Beer Company where we indulged upon their tasty, fruity beers.
Sunday, our Seattle writers departed for home, while the remaining Austin writers headed north for Boulder. We enjoyed a scrumptious (and much needed) brunch at Fate Brewing Company that left us happy and hangover-free and spent the evening at Upslope Brewing Company with our pal Courtney Cobb, producer of Crafting a Nation. She filled us in on her current project, a film following the past two years of the 1400 Miles bike journey lead by North by Northwest owner Davis Tucker to benefit prostate cancer research through the Pints for Prostates organization.
Monday will be filled with a couple more breweries, so be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see the trouble we get into as we finish up this marathon of beer drinking!
It’s been a blast, Colorado, it really has. But all good things must come to an end, and we fear this is ours for now. Check out our continuing coverage of the festival in coming days and look out for events and beer news out of Seattle and Austin when we are back home! Until then, check out our highlights from the last leg of our epic GABF adventure below and our huge gallery from the festival!
Bitch Beer Highlights:
Best 5 Beers: Fate’s Coffee Kolsch, Smog City Chip Shot Coffee Porter, Lost Abbey Framboise de Amorosa, Beer By Design’s Painted Black Pepper Porter, Hoppin Frog’s Frog Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale
Best Meal: Ribeye fillet with potato and horseradish galette and demi-glaze paired with Black Eagle Baltic Porter from Black Tooth Brewing and Old Tom Porter from Piney River Brewing at the media luncheon.
Best Moment: The near-continuous flow of music from a Pandora station based on The Shirelles and the resulting car ride sing alongs that indubitably follow.
Best 5 Beers: Paradox Salty Melons, Fremont Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star, TRiNiTY Sour IPA, New Belgium Odd Couple, Black Bottle Sparkles Shimmers Shines
Best Meal: Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza from Osteria Marco
Best Moment: Doing the twist at Star Bar to Runaround Sue with the ladies, Stay Hoppy, and the guys from Thirsty Planet and the Star Bar staff.
Best 5 Beers: Upslope Nitro Blonde Ale, Iron Hill Rye of the Tiger, Rare Barrel Cosmic Dust, TRiNiTY ElElektrick Cukumbahh, Dave Tollefson and NoDa Brewing Co.’s “Hot Pistol” in the pro-am competition
Best Meal: Wynkoop’s mac n cheese
Best Moment: The moment when 5 of the ladies all simultaneously thought Sarah was doing karaoke on the stage at GABF by herself, only to discover she has a curly-haired doppelganger running around. This moment was made even more glorious by You Stay Hoppy, Austin’s Carlos Arellano nonchalant waving at said curly-haired doppelganger. Because that’s a normal thing to do.
Best 5 Beers: Paradox – Skully #15, Salty Melons, TRiNiTY brewing – Farmhouse Red (aged with rhubarb and wild Colorado chokecherries), Avery Brewing Company – 10 lb. Strawberry Wit, Yak & Yeti – Chai Milk Stout,Bear Republic Brewing – Tartare Peche
Best Meal: Caprese wrap to-go from Mondo Market at The Source. It was a meal well-earned after we waited in line for (delicious!) Crooked Stave beers.
Best Moment: Tie between my impromptu trip to Boulder to visit Avery Brewing for the afternoon tapping of Avery Anniversary Twleve, and my out-of-left-field play for “craziest night” at GABF at the Cheba Hut. Thank goodness for good friends.
Best 5 Beers: TRiNiTY Elektrick Cukumbahh, Blind Tiger Cuvée De René,Creature Comforts Tropicália IPA, NXNW/ Wynkoop collaboration Prickly Pear Berliner Weisse and Freemont Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star.
Best Meal: Breakfast nachos at FATE Brewing in Boulder paired with their coffee kolsch.
Best Moment: Watching Texas breweries take home a record-setting 16 medals at the awards ceremony!
Best 5 Beers: Salty Melon by Paradox, Serenity by Wicked Weed, Yellow Car by Chuckanut, Loch by BRU, and Nightmare on Brett – Port Barrel by Crooked Stave.
Best Meal: brussels sprouts, kale salad, and truffle-mushroom-and arugula pizza at Tom’s Urban Market
Best Moment: Either when I ran into a glass wall in a rotating door at the Grand Hyatt Hotel or getting to wear Thirsty Planet’s medal outside of the Beerliner.