Monday, November 5, 2012

10 bests at the All Colorado Beer Festival

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 3:33 PM

As many of you know, the All Colorado Beer Festival was held again this past weekend.

And just like in 2010, and the crowd-swelling 2011, we were in attendance (this time thanks to an invite from sponsor Coaltrain Wine & Spirits).

You can see a complete list of this year's award winners here:
4543_001.pdf

As you can see, Ska Brewing Co. cleaned house, with two gold medals and the nod for Best of Show.

And following suit, below I have chosen 10 personal bests from my experience, each paired with a photo, that's not limited to the beer itself.

Before I get to that, some other observations: I heard the GABF mentioned throughout the night, and it's clear that the ACBF has become a great supplement a month later, or alternative for those who aren't able to obtain the quickly disappearing GABF tickets.

I met a couple from Denver who came down for just that reason, opting to attend this smaller but still worthwhile beer tasting event.

I also took part in a food-and-beer tasting inside the VIP area (worth the small upcharge, according to other attendees who appreciated access to additional, limited-release beers), where Coaltrain general manager Austin Sherwood told me they had devised the tasting very much in the image of GABF's farm-to-table pavilion.

Buffalo Gals provided the food component (selling an awesome beef tri tip barbecue sandwich I later devoured on the regular tasting floor for $8) and did a nice job pairing salty, savory and sweet flavors to a diverse handful of beers.

Here's a look at the menu:

Screen_shot_2012-11-05_at_12.19.02_PM.png

And Black Forest's Michelle Chocolate provided some outstanding truffles made with assorted Colorado beers.

Now, onto my personal Top 10, in no particular order:

Best beer label:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • With the current popularity of The Walking Dead and 2012 countdown underway, the timing couldn't be better at Rock Bottom.

Best hat:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs

Best can art:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Mountain Livin' Pale Ale's design is so inviting, you can't resist a six-pack in the stores.

Best beer display:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • So I didn't like Eddyline's candy-sweet pumpkin beer as much as my friends did, but the kayak as an ice bucket was classic.

Best brewer's outfit:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Rocky Mountain Brewery: known for great fruit beers and houndstooth in all the right places.

Best use of honey in beer:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Elevation Beer Co.'s 10.7 ABV Apis IV Quadrupel does great things with what the honeybees gathered.

Best reason to buy a VIP pass next year:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • As mentioned above, the beer and food tasting courtesy of Coaltrain and Buffalo Gals provided a study in proper pairing.

Best balance of chili heat:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Though Billy's Chilies from Twisted Pine is bully when it comes to overall heat and throat burn, Ska's Mole Stout nicely balances the burn with other spices and cocoa.

Best use of chocolate:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Great Divide's Raspberry Ale found a lovely home inside of a truffle from Michelle Chocolate. Three other beer-infused chocolates were available to sample inside the VIP area.

Best fish lip face:

All Colorado Beer Festival Colorado Springs
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Someone had to do it ... leave it to a Bristol Brewing Co. employee to bust out the fish lips.

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