Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Great American Beer Festival 2013 in broad brushstrokes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 9:22 AM

For a fourth fortunate year in a row, Bryce Crawford and I attended the Great American Beer Festival, held this last weekend in Denver. 

Each year, we've taken different looks at various aspects of the truly overwhelming spectacle, often reporting on special beers we've tried both at a media luncheon held by the Brewer's Association and on the expansive, intimidating tasting floor at the Colorado Convention Center. And there's always the colorful people to profile, plus looks around the city on an annually changing tour hosted by Visit Denver
click to enlarge A great costume paired with a great photobomb. Well done strangers. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A great costume paired with a great photobomb. Well done strangers.

Since the whole thing can only really be sampled, not consumed in full — with 745 breweries bringing 4,809 beers this year — please accept the following post as a totally scattershot summation of what we happened to experience in our guided and personal wanderings. 

First, let's all congratulate Trinity Brewing Company, the only Colorado Springs brewery to medal this year (not counting our Rock Bottom location, who appeared to have won more on the larger corporate banner than as any one location). Scroll through the following list of winners this year, and you'll see Trinity rewarded with a gold medal in the Field Beer or Pumpkin Beer category for its Elektrick Cukumbahh.   13_GABF_winners.pdf

Next, check out a few photos from Denver's hip new community market, The Source. Think of it as a bigger Ivywild and a good model for what the Colorado Springs Public Market could become, or outdo, even. We stopped by on our tour partially because Crooked Stave, who I recently mentioned here,  just opened its new taproom inside the collaboration. 
click to enlarge Cool things need cool entrances. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Cool things need cool entrances.
click to enlarge The main area of Denver's new The Source. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The main area of Denver's new The Source.
click to enlarge Crooked Stave brewer Chad Yakobson discusses his brewery's mission inside of the just-opened tasting room inside of The Source. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Crooked Stave brewer Chad Yakobson discusses his brewery's mission inside of the just-opened tasting room inside of The Source.

From the media luncheon —  which at times features beers that you can get ahold of locally and at other times beers you must purchase at a respective brewery or at least in or near that state — there were several memorable brews served, but two in particular caught my camera's attention. (Bryce will post some audio soon from Brewer's Association founder Charlie Papazian as a follow up to this post.)
click to enlarge Another fun beer served at our media lunch: Big Wood Brewery's Morning Wood Coffee Stout. They're out of White Bear Lake, Minn. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Another fun beer served at our media lunch: Big Wood Brewery's Morning Wood Coffee Stout. They're out of White Bear Lake, Minn.
click to enlarge Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company provided one of the greatest treats at our media lunch: The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company provided one of the greatest treats at our media lunch: The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

Also on our tour, we visited two newer breweries to the Denver area, Our Mutual Friend and Black Shirt Brewing Company

The first specializes in truly local ingredients, meaning they actually are able to source all their grain from in-state. They served us a wonderful IPA aged in a Deerhammer Distilling Company barrel. The latter, despite the name Black Shirt, actually brews only varieties of red ales. They served us a red saison and red porter, both quite good. 

click to enlarge The scene in the taproom at Denver's Our Mutual Friend. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The scene in the taproom at Denver's Our Mutual Friend.
click to enlarge Black Shirt Brewing Co., located in the RINo Art District, brews only varietals of red ales, an interesting niche. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Black Shirt Brewing Co., located in the RINo Art District, brews only varietals of red ales, an interesting niche.

Now, to the tasting room floor for the Friday evening session. 

As per my usual method of sampling, I skip everything that's a standard style (like amber, brown, porter, IPA, etc.) and try to find the most unique, odd and interesting beers available. The stuff with odd ingredients, as you'll see below. Here's just 10 of the fun beers I got to try, which in my opinion would make the fest's pricey and hard-to-come-by tickets worth the hassle. (We were comped as media, as in past years.) 

In no particular order:
Nodding Head's Lava (lavender and vanilla ale) 
Marley's Brewery & Grill's Pack Dog Peanut Butter Ale 
McCoy's Public House's Ginger Shandy 
Mad River Brewing Company's Super Chili Pepper Madness 
Wicked Weed Brewing's Coolcumber 
Fat Heads Brewery's Pumpkin Chucker (chocolate pumpkin porter) 
Right Brain Brewery's Empire Spear Beer (asparagus beer) 
Odd Sides Ales' Fire Fly (habanero and papaya pale ale) 
Redwood Brewing Co.'s Cin IPA (cinnamon IPA) 
Saucony Creek Brewing Company's Captain Pumpkin's Maple Mistress Ale 

And one more fun one, just 'cuz the cool label art. (I'm a sucker for monkey beers ...) 

click to enlarge They had me at Zombie Monkie. My favorite can of the evening, courtesy Manhattan, Kan.-based Tallgrass Brewing. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • They had me at Zombie Monkie. My favorite can of the evening, courtesy Manhattan, Kan.-based Tallgrass Brewing.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Commented On

Top Topics in IndyBlog

Food & Drink (17)


Local News (13)


City Gov (7)


Politics (7)


IndyVoices (5)


Most Shared Stories

Top Viewed Stories

All content © Copyright 2016, The Colorado Springs Independent   |   Website powered by Foundation