Tag Archives: Great American Beer Festival

Beer fridge….I knew thee well

23 Mar

photo 4We have all have been in situation where making small talk is just a requirement.  Inevitably the question, “well what do you do?”, will be asked.  Now, I like to believe my career is both interesting and important, but as person who works to live, this typical polite response is incomplete.  Some of this is may fault as I am not much for talk, small or otherwise, in such social situation.  If fact a walk through of my basement dose a better job of answering the question better than I so.  In one corner there are my bikes and tool, another fishing poles and tackle, but for most the center of the room will grab their attention first.  A homemade mash tun, kettle, carboys and a full sized beer fridge takes of more than their fair share of room in the basement. Continue reading

The Flavors of GABF: Day 1

29 Oct

Well, once again I have shown I type slower than a turtle in the arctic, so I am breaking the list of the beers down by day. Day one is about as complete a list of tasting notes as can be when faced with over 2200 beers in a room with 20,000 people. My notes are short and to the point but I took them seriously. I definitely plan to use this list on my next trip to Belmont Station or Bridgetown Beerhouse, and I hope it is useful to you as well. I know taste is very subjective and this represents my opinion only, so if you have tried one of the beers in the past, or take my advice and disagree with me, tell me. Let me know which beer and why in the comments.

Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn NY
Sorachi Ace
Light Belgian saison made with the Japanese hop Sorachi Ace. Complex, medium body beer with the mustiness of a saison. The beer had a very nice flavor but did lack a bit of the nice lemoniness the sorachi ace provides, which I was hoping for. Side note, Brian and I made a similar beer this year and while I can’t say it is better, we definitely stood our ground with a professional brewer.

Monocacy Brewing Company, Frederick MD
Riot Rye Pale
All citrus hop nose that carries through in flavor and finishing rye and dry. I like this beer very much. Note: Miranda tried this beer (and she offered it to me) toward the end of the GABF and it was not nearly as good with a strong diacetyl (buttery) flavor.

Sean Kelso spending a little bit of time at his old booth

Barley Brown’s Brew Pub, Baker City OR
Turmoil
A CDA or black IPA – whatever you want to call it – this is one fucking good beer!! Seek out this beer and drink 2 or 3 pints.
Disorder
Another damn good beer, hell just go to Barley Brown’s and taste all their beers.

Bend Brewing Co. Bend, OR
One Loudah
A slightly sweet nose but all hop flavor. This is not to say this beer was not balanced. Nice dry finish. Another good beer from Bend.

Goose Island Beer Company, Chicago IL
Matilda
Sweet and spicy, cloves, cinnamon?, but that all there is, generally a one dimensional beer. Generally unimpressive. I guess I expected more as I have had some good beer from Goose Island in the past, stouts especially, and this one does not stand up.

?
Christmas ale
Spicy, slightly sweet, and big bodied beer. Definitely a winter beer. I liked it but understand this beer will be too sweet for some.  So I didn’t write down the brewery, which I understand makes it impossible to find again, but give me a break, it is hard to hold a glass, write, and have 20 knuckleheads bump into you all at the same time.

Flat 12 Bierworks, Indianapolis, IN
Half cycle IPA
Light, crisp, hoppy and balanced.  Awesome beer.

Nola Brewing Company, New Orleans, LA
Mechahopzilla
This imperial IPA had a real nice and strong hop nose. This beer is notably dry for a double IPA. The beer is balanced and showed off a very good use of hops. With family in the south it is always good to find a good beer from this area of the country.  Now do they distribute to Arkansas?

Left Coast Brewery Co., San Clemente CA
Left Coast Rye IPA
Rye is very prominent in this beer, something I like. Nice hop bitter and finish, wrapped up in a large bodied beer. A very good rye.

Ska Brewing, Durango CO
Steel toe Stout
Strong tobacco nose, interesting. Rich, medium dry stout, a good beer.

I told you it was crowded

Strange Brewing Company, Denver CO
Farmhouse ale
I know this style of beer can be musty, but the nose on this beer was awful, like piss.  Was it poured into a dirty pitcher before it went into my glass?  The flavor was better, hoppier than most farmhouse, making a bit different. A good start, but then finished yeasty. I would not have two tastes.

Uncommon Brewers, Santa Cruz CA
Bacon Brown Ale
An unimpressive brown, I have no more to say.

Mad Fox Brewing Company, Falls Church VA
Pale Ale
Nice bright floral hop, a very drinkable pale ale.

Weyerbacher Brewing Company, Easton PA
Black Sour
Holy shit this is a very good sour beer. Sour but very drinkable, rich for a sour. I could have multiple pints.
Double Simcoe
I smell pickles. Is this a funny smelling beer or did I not rinse well enough? This is clearly bittered with simcoe but I expect a 1000x more when someone is using the awesome, simcoe hop. This beer was thin and unimpressive.

Santa Fe brewing Co., Santa Fe NM
Happy Camper IPA
An all malt nose, I couldn’t detected any hop. The flavor is better, the hop is clearly there and good. A decent IPA.

Big Choice Brewing, Broomfield CO
Type III IPA
Huge body, sweet with some hop but just not balanced. Not my pint of beer.

Asher Brewing Company, Boulder CO
Funbarrel Monstah
Big 11% beer with aromas derived from the barrel, vanilla and fruit. The nose carried through to the flavor with the addition of bourbon to finish it out. A good barrel aged beer but I have high standards for this kind of beer, and it is not up with the best.

Marble Brewery, Albuquerque, NM
Cuvee d’Apricot
Dried apricot nose hides the sour and let me tell you this is a sour beer. A delicious summer time sour.
From the Wood
Sour nose. Rich and complex in flavor, yet less so than the apricot. Assuming From the Wood is a barrel aging reference, I did not detect any obvious flavors from the wood. But again, it was another delicious beer from Marble.
Imperial Red (Silver medal winner)
Hop nose (heavily dry hopped I suspect) and strong hop flavor, yet very balanced. One top-notch beer, I could have five pints (except the beer is 9%).  Across the board an excellent brewery. I will be looking for their beer to show up one day at my local bottle shop.

There was more to check out than just beer!

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que – Lake Travis, Austin, TX
Bitchin’ Camaro
Awesome name, shitty beer. Malty sweet, unbalanced. The first beer I poured out tonight.

Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, Austin, TX
Bride of Zombie
Light in color and bodied, very citrusy, tasty IPA
Hop zombie
Nice standard IPA.  For you Oregon beer drinkers, it reminds me of Double Mountain’s Hop Lava with bright hops, light body, and a dry finish.  A nice standard IPA. I am starting to believe tasting multiple beers from each brewery is the way to go at GABF. If I had stopped at Bichin’ Camaro I would have said stay away from Uncle Billy but what can I say his Zombies are tasty.

Stewart’s Brewing Company, Bear DE
Oyster stout (Silver medal winner)
Roast malt nose with a hint of coffee. Good stout with a slight briny note, lighter body and dry finish, like an Irish Stout. I have had a few oyster stouts and generally like them, and this is a tasty representative of the style.

Beer Valley Brewing, Ontario OR
Fresh hop Leafer Madness Imperial Pale Ale
A very good IPA but frankly not as good as the standard Leafer which is excellent.

10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend OR
Crosby Farm Fresh hop
Nice Pale Ale that showcases what fresh hop can bring to a beer. The flavors are hard to describe but if you have ever picked hops you know what I am talking about.

Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, WA
IPA
Nice standard IPA, now can we get them to be more creative with the name?

The flavors of day one as I recorded them.  I didn’t really put a dent in the larger list of beers at GABF but there is always day two.

Things to do in Denver when you’re drunk (aka: attending GABF)

19 Oct

Not even sure what beer was in the glass when this was taken…but who cares, right? GABF!!!

So…GABF.  Big beer festival.  Really big beer festival.  I returned Sunday from my first trip to this craft beer institution and it’s only now that I feel physically and mentally ready to write about what I saw and experienced.  That should tell you a little something about the amount of beer that was consumed on this trip.  What’s funny is that I ran into plenty of Oregon brewers and industry folk and they hit it twice as hard as I did.  I don’t know how people do it.  I thought of breaking this thing up into multiple posts, but I’m thinking now that I’ll just break the days out and cram the whole thing into one.  Hang on, folks! Continue reading

Drunken taphandle

11 Oct

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As promised, the drunk taphandle crew! Some winners, some losers, and a lot in the middle tonight!!! Details to follow tomorrow!!

Good times. Lots of fun!!!!

The final countdown

11 Oct

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Just got in line for the first session of GABF. They handed us an awesome program. 150 pages of reading to keep me busy over the next 2 hours before the doors open. An hour in and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Over 580 breweries, each pouring 1-10 beers! Let’s do the math…

580*5 (avg) = 2900 beers / 16 oz = 181 pints / 4 sessions = 45 pints / 3 of us = 15 pints per person per session!
Continue reading

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