For the full recap on GABF, visit my post on The Wanderscapes!
Just when I think my adventures this year could not get any better, another event comes along and kicks the bar up one more notch. This past weekend was the Great American Beer Festival, also known as GABF, and it was epic. The summer was kicked off with the Colorado Wine Festival, a brew crawl thrown in there, another wine festival for Club W in July and Oktoberfest in Breckenridge. All of the drinking, all of the time. This was the pinnacle for me, the one event I have been wanting to go to since I have moved out here (ironic, since I used to hate–no, loathe–beer.) but an event that kept slipping away from me.
As I recounted on The Wanderscapes, GABF was a blast. One of the best festivals I’ve been to and I have discovered so many new beers! I have even planned to go to a couple breweries in San Fran and Seattle next week that I discovered thanks to GABF, like Seattle’s Pyramid and San Fran’s 21st Amendment Brewery.
GABF created an awesome app that allowed you to see all the breweries and the beers they had in their selection. Unfortunately my app hadn’t updated itself fully but it came in super handy–I could star my favorite beers, placing them in a favorites category so I could easily go back and find them again. There was no way I was going to remember all of the beer I drank so I am really thankful for this app. I just wish it had been updated because I know there are some that I didn’t catch because the brewery’s section didn’t have the beers listed. Here’s my list of beers that I loved, and I swear they are not all porters and stouts! I was proud of myself for how many dark beers I tried; it was a goal of mine to try this beer that I have put on the “gross” shelf and give it a fair shot. I am so glad I did because wow there were some amazing beers in this category. I’m only sorry I hadn’t discovered them sooner!
- Pyramid – Apricot Ale I’m not going to lie, I love fruit flavored beer. Not sweet, fruity beer, but well done, tastes like fresh fruit beer. This was one of those that made me wow. I will be having this again!
- Pyramid – Chai Wheat Anyone who is a fan of chai will like this one but it wasn’t my favorite chai…that award goes to…
- City Star Brewery – Chai Wallah Watchman. Amazing with just a kick of spice.
- 21st Amendment Brewery – Hell or High Watermelon. Yes, another beer made with fruit but this would be AMAZING on a hot summer day. You could taste the watermelon! So good.
- Dark Horse Brewing Co. – Scotty Karate Scotch Ale. I’ve had scotch ale before and this did not disappoint.
- Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. – Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin. I’m sorry, Blue Moon, but this one takes home the gold for best pumpkin beer EVER. I had quite a few at GABF and this was amazing.
- Ballast Point – Victory at Sea. Is it bad I don’t remember this one? I knew it was good, but it was overshadowed by their…
- Ballast Point – Indra Kunindra. This was one of my absolute favorites. It had paprika, cumin, curry and other spices in it so it smelled amazing and wow. The flavors! It had a spicy after-kick that wasn’t too harsh and it was delicious.
- Avery – Lilikoi Kepolo. OK now that I picked a favorite, I am having second thoughts. Avery is Boulder based so I have to show it some love and it is well deserved with this beer. It has PASSIONFRUIT. I know, I know. More fruity beer. But seriously.
- Brewery Ommegang – Three Philosophers.
- Goose Island – Nut Brown Ale. Mmmm nutty!
- Goose Island – Gingerbread Dream. Perfect for fall and winter. Such a good one!
- Rock Bottom Brewery – Cocoa-Motion Porter. Ok ok, this was my favorite. I went back for seconds! It was chocolate-y and rich and just…crazy good.
- Buffalo Bill – Blueberry Oatmeal Stout. I want an entire pint, or four, of this one. SO DELICIOUS. I’d even want it for breakfast. Too much?
- Hamburger Mary’s – Peanut Butter Porter. I don’t know if you know this, but I have an obsession with peanut butter. Delicious.
- Hanger 24 – Orange Wheat. ‘Nuff Said.
- Denver Beer Company – Graham Cracker Porter. I did not get to have this one but it is worthy of mention since I’ve had it before and it is the beer that got me into dark beers to begin with.
Favorite random moments from throughout the night: pretzel necklaces are LIFESAVERS and I finished mine off by the end of the night. That was a good thing because someone in our party decided to crush up the left over pretzel necklaces and a pretzel crumb war was started. He also crushed up my beer-can-turned-glass-holder and that was a sad moment. Which lead to me putting two crushed beer cans around my neck and sounding like a garbage can as we walked through downtown Denver. There was dancing, a lot of MORE BEER! being chanted after every round, and discovering the one event where the men’s lines to the bathroom are far longer than those to the women’s.
And finally: tweeting, drinking and walking (and trying to find the next brewery of choice) are next to impossible to do. Megan and I tried, but it became too hazardous so we made the boys wait for us to instagram and tweet it up.
And now I go forth with the mantra, MORE BEER!