Our first Great American Beer Fest is in the books and while we were only able to attend the Thursday session I think we got a good feel for it. We were also able to to participate in many of the activities that surround the event and even help out a good cause. So with out further ado here are the highlights of our GABF week:
Wednesday night we attended the Ignite Denver event. it’s a monthly event that gives presenters five minutes and 10 slides to talk about a selected topic. This month’s topic was of course BEER. The types of presenters varied from brewers to writers to filmmakers. Some were quite amusing, a few of our favorites included Nick Nunns, starting off the night in spectacular fashion, by presenting the similarities between Beer and Death Metal. One of the more entertaining presenters (although we do not endorse kids) was Sara Downey’s presentation: “Beer makes me a better mommy. Wait. Who’s THAT baby?”. We also enjoyed Chris Rippe’s “Hey Prohibition, Suck It!” and Dave Thibodeau, President of Ska Brewing, presentation: “Beer, Career, and Fate in 5”. Not to be outdone, Greg Koch from Stone Brewing attempted a sermon like presentation, calling out the sinners in his “Environmental Righteousness” speech. Fortunately the event was sponsored by Great Divide and Ska Brewing Company, featuring endless pours of Barrel Aged Yeti, Samurai and Modus Hoperandi. Thank you sir, may I have another! Here’s hoping that The Roaming Pint can be a presenter next year!
Welcome to the Big Show
Moving onto the Thursday night event. Despite the fantastic recommendations that our friend, Angela Arp gave us for our First Timer’s Guide to GABFthe one we absolutely wanted to follow but didn’t end up doing was “GET IN LINE EARLY!”. Angela stated the importance of getting to the Convention Center early to ensure a good spot in line, but unfortunately we ran late and showed up about 15 minutes before the doors were set to open at 5:30. Not a big deal you say… WRONG! It took us 15 minutes just to walk all the way to the end of the line. By the time we got to the end we had almost wrapped around the entire convention center all the way back to the front. Lucky for us this wasn’t the GABF’s first rodeo and when the line started moving it didn’t stop. We were able to get through security and have our first taster by 5:50. Whew!! That was almost a disaster!
Once you get inside you realize that this is a really HUGE venue. You would think this goes without saying but the pure enormity of the place makes you understand why there are four separate sessions. You could never hit every booth in one four hour period. I mean, what would you expect from an event that boasts 450+ breweries and 2,000+ beers? It truly is a sight to behold!
About an hour in we bumped into our new found friend Pat, from The Full Pint, and she informed us that Sam Adams was rumored to be pouring the Utopia. We politely made our way to the front of the line and were “lucky” enough sample a small 1 oz. pour. You see, $10, 000 for a keg is just too much and we certainly won’t be spending $150 on a bottle either, it was horrible. Our friend Chris thinks it tastes like soy sauce while Maria noted it had more of a port wine taste than beer. I guess there is reason 25% ABV beers are not commonly seen on the market.
Crazy, Fun, Drunk People – in costumes, eatings LOTS of pretzels
Another highlight of the night, it turns out beer drinker’s love costumes. Everything from crazy hats, to group attire to pretzel necklaces were adored with pride. Here are a few of our favs:
Silent Disco Party! Brought to us by Oskar Blues
And who could pass up the silent disco?! Surely not Maria or her buddies from the SOB’s!
Last Call – Say it ain’t so!
Now, the party doesn’t stop just because the event is over, there are tons of after parties, special tappings and even the midnight breakfast pairing at Euclid with Avery (at $70 a pop we decided to pass on that). As if drinking unlimited amount of beers for the past 4 hours wasn’t enough we wondered around downtown to several bars and restaurants that were featuring special events and special pourings.
Brunch for Boobs
Friday morning we managed to stumble our way out of bed, hop on a bus and head back downtown for the 2nd Annual Beer for Boobs Brunch brought to us by the Ladies of Craft Beer. We joined about 60 others at Freshcraft which featured a nice spread of chicken and waffles and breakfast burritos, perfect for post event recovery. As if that wasn’t fantastic enough we paired our breakfast with the famous Boulevard Chocolate Ale, which was available on Freshcraft’s rare beer list. Yum. With all the people bragging about it last fall, we never realized it was a light colored ale, had just assumed it was some sort of Stout or dark beer. Quite surprising and very tasty. The event raised just about $2,000 dollars towards breast cancer awareness, in which we all vowed to protect boobies! Hooray for beer and boobs.[box type=”info”]Curious who won this year at GABF? Download the 2011 Medal winners list here! (PDF) Or check out the Press Release from the Brewers Association.[/box]