My first day in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival was quite full with a stop at Harry’s Bar for a double IPA, Euclid Hall for food and some excellent beer, a visit to Great Divide Brewing, GABF exhibit and tasting hall, and finally a post-party at Freshcraft for a late dinner and excellent beer.
I started off the day at Harry’s Bar (conveniently located in the hotel where I’m staying)where I met up with a few folks that I met on Twitter. Each day of GABF Harry’s plans to carry a new beer on draft. The beer that I sampled was Blue Moon Brewing at the Sand Lot Kneewalker Double IPA. It wasn’t as hoppy as I thought it would be but it also was not as sweet as I expected. Fairly well rounded.
The next stop was Euclid Hall, a great restaurant and beer bar that serves interesting and very tasty food, almost like comfort food. For lunch I had the chicken and sourdough waffles with maple syrup. The special event that I attended was a special tasting of Avery barrel aged beer. A representative from Avery brought over a few bottles of Dépuceleuse and Quinquepartite, both are sour ales aged in barrels. The were both quite sour and delicious and it was great to get a free sample.
The photographer at Beerlens.com caught me in action taking the photo below where I was experimenting using a wide-angle lens that I rented from BorrowLenses.com. I’m not sure I like being called a wannabe though ;-). Enthusiast, hobbyist, aspiring photographer, any of these would work.
Euclid Hall also has a great bottle selection in addition to the tap. It just so happened that while we were there, they had the last 12 bottles of Grat Divide Brewing’s Barrel Aged Old Ruffian aged in Stranahan’s barrels. It was an excellent aged barley wine beer. It was sweet, earthy, woody, slightly herbal, hints of old licorice candy, and the presence of whiskey flavor quite apparent. Quite an amazing beer.
The next stop was Great Divide Brewing Company’s tap room and brewery in Denver. This was a great spot because not only do they have their great beers on tap they were also letting folks wander around the brewery, so naturally I took a few photos. The beer that I sampled that I found quite interesting was the Samurai, an unfiltered beer made with rice. It was a medium bodied beer that had some flavor to it.
After meeting up with The Beer Wench and others at Great Divide we all headed over to the Convention Center for the festival. Even the member’s line was long (see photo below). Once inside the place was crowded but not uncomfortably so. You get as many 1 oz. tasting as you can handle. There is also an annoying tradition where if you drop your tasting glass and the people around you shout “oohhhhh!” and it echoes throughout the hall. Even though the tastes were only an ounce, you could still really get a good taste of the beer. After the photos below you can read through my raw, unedited notes.
- Enviuos, raspberry but only slightly sweet, bready & earthy, oaky
- El Mole Ocho, pepper and chocolate, smooth & sweet, peppery but not spicy, tomaco
- Final Push smells dead on like chocolate covered coffee beans, tastes like a dark espresso with a touch of cocao
- Dank Tank, Belgian quad. Sweet earthy clove, banana well crafted, more drinkable than Koenigshaven but nit as complex.
- IPA, hoppy nose like Dogfish Head, but dry not terribly sweet, nice and crisp, grapefruit, bitter, nice
Carolina Beer Company
- cottonwood moonrise rye, dirt and like a bin of pale malt barley, maybe like rye bread, taste is lighter and a hint of cola butane green tea
Alltech’s Lexington brewing co
- Bourbon barrel ale, like drinking bourbon w/out the alcohol sting
Maui, holy caw these guys rock
- smokeStack lager, very smoky, cherrywood, beechwood, beef jerky, wow
Main Street Brewery
- Old Woody, sour with a bit of sweetness, very nice, reminiscent of Cantillon. 18 months in the barrel, should be a contender. Inland Empire. Corona, CA
The Brew Kettle, OH
- Collaborative Evil Baltic Porter, good porter
- Trippel is good, expected & good
- Peachy something, sour peach, crisp
- Daisy Cutter Pale ale, smells like Simcoe hops, grassy & grapefruit. Squeaky clean taste & texture, a little bitter, dry
– Fest Beer, a little malty, mostly flat flavor