2014 NTX Beer Week Events

Here’s a little bit of what you can expect from the craft beer scene in D-FW next week during The North Texas Beer Week. For a full & extensive list of craft beer happenings during NTX Beer Week check out NTX Beer Week’s calendar: http://ntxbeerweek.com/#/events

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 1
-Untapped Fest!! Cake, Deltron 3030, local and national rare and special brews…do we need to say more?!
-Four Corners Brewing is releasing their Smore Stout at 2:30 at their All Day Alehouse.
-Grab your costume and get over to FireWheel Brewing from 11am-3pm for their Halloween Costume Party. You’ll get a free beer if you’re wearing a costume.
-Armadillo Ale Works will be at Square One Cafe in Lewisville for a tap takeover and glass night with four Armadillo Brews and cook off. Tappings start at 7:00 PM with The Thieves of Sunrise taking the stage at 8:00 PM.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3
-The Bearded Lady BEER BINGO with Erik Ogershok
Enjoy a flight of 8 Real Ale beers, have a chance to win a Real Ale prize package and hang out with the Master Brewer! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/real-ale-bingo-night-a-the-bearded-lady-tickets-13441827869
-Get over to LUCK to try 4 super limited releases from Peticolas Brewing (starts at 5pm)
-The chaps of Rabbit Hole Brewing will be at Flying Saucer The Lake with a special firkin at 5pm
-6pm at The Common Table is Lakewood Love-In: Come hang with the Lakewood crew and enjoy some psychedelic tunes and beers. Featuring Manimal, La Dame du Bois, Lion’s Share II, French Quarter Temptress
-East Side Denton Tx is having a Community Beer Company Pint Night at 7pm. Keep the glass!!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4
-Four Corners is tapping their American Lime Wheat at their All Day Alehouse (taproom) at 7pm
-Flying Saucer Fort Worth MYSTERY FLIGHT VERSUS Erik Ogershok
Can you pick out a beer style blind? Can you guess 5 Real Ale beers? Put yourself to the test with a flight of Real Ale Brewing Beers, and have the chance to win a Real Ale YETI Cooler packed with goodies! (7:30pm)
-Ghost Stories with Brooklyn Brewery’s Garret Oliver at The Common Table: Join us for an evening of rare beers & stories w/ Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. Limit 35 people. $25/person. Reservations required – email corey@thecommontable.com to reserve a spot. (starts at 9:30pm)
-Franconia Beer Dinner at Copelands of Southlake from 7-9pm. To make reservations, please call 214-457-7507.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5
– Flying Saucer Addison Happy Hour with Erik Ogershok (4-7pm)
-Hang out with the Braindead Brewing team at The Common Table (6-10pm). “We will have Printed Threads out live screening T Shirts and of course Jeff, Sam, Drew and David will be on hand dishing out all the free hi fives you can handle!”
– Magnolia Motor Lounge Live music with special Tapping (9pm)
Come tap a keg of Scots Gone Wild and enjoy live music by Dirty Pool. Keep a special Glass!
-“Remember, Remember Deschutes in November” is a Guy Fawkes themed tap takeover at The Bottle Shop that start at 6pm.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6
-Lakewood Growler Mysterium Verum Vol. XVII Tapping and Tap Takeover
Come fill your growlers with a variety of Real Ale Beers and have your first taste of our NEWEST MV Release!
-Try Four Corners’ Belgian Waffel Trippel at their All Day Alehouse taproom at 6pm.
-Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel 1-7 vertical tasting at Flying Saucer Fort Worth (starts at 7pm)
-Pub Quiz and Peticolas prizes at The Common Table. Email corey@thecommontable.com to reserve your limited spot.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7
-Inaugural Brewer’s Ball

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8
-DOUBLE EVENT with The Rustic TAP TAKEOVER and Pints for Pups @ Mutts Canine Cantina. Enjoy some delicious food and beer with Brad Farbstein, then grab your pup and head over to Mutts Canine Cantina for the Pints for Pups event benefiting Rockwall Pets! (12-4pm)
-Get the first sip of 2 collaboration brews from Four Corners Brewing and Braindead Brewing (Rye Scotch Ale) and Grapevine Craft Brewery (Imperial Golden Stout) at 2:30pm at the FCBC All Day Alehouse.
-The Meddlesome Moth is tapping Founders’ KBS at noon.
-Goodfriend Beer Garden is hosting “The End of All Endings”, a barrel aged extravaganza from Stone Brewing from 11am-2pm.
-Head over to The Flying Saucer in Addison at 5pm for some rare and cellared beer from Firestone Walker.

Jester King Colour Five: A Barrel-Aged Sour with Blueberries

Colour Five bottleFrom Jester King Brewery:
We’re very excited to introduce Jester King Colour Five — a blend of barrel-aged, sour beer refermented with Texas blueberries!

When we referment our sour, barrel-aged beer with fruit, our goal is to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts. We allow the fruit to become fundamentally transformed by native yeast and bacteria in our beer, resulting in new and interesting flavors. We’re particularly pleased with the way we have been able to achieve this with Colour Five, and we’re excited to release this beer, which has taken a very long time to create.

A previous attempt at refermenting sour, barrel-aged beer with blueberries was far less successful. Back in 2013, we added blueberries from east Texas to oak barrels containing sour red ale, and allowed the sugar in the fruit to referment. Unfortunately, the results did not meet our standards, and the beer was sent down the drain. The batch had become acetic or vinegary, a characteristic that we detest in sour beers, but unfortunately encounter far too frequently throughout the beer world.

On the whole, we’re quite willing to sit back and allow fermentation with native yeasts and bacteria to take our beer in all sorts of interesting directions. But one part of our process that we do control very carefully is temperature. We keep our barrel room right around sixty degrees Fahrenheit year-round in order to keep acetobacter (the bacteria that produces acetic acid) at bay. At extremely low levels, acetobacter can add some pleasant complexity and depth of flavor, but if allowed to grow, it can easily take over. Unfortunately, our first attempt at blueberry refermentation became overly acetic and was dumped. Jester King is a very experimental brewery, and part of what this means is that some of our experiments fail. Never dumping any of our beer would mean that we were selling you our failed experiments. This is not something we will do.

There were several things we decided to do differently this time, as compared with our failed blueberry refermentation in 2013. First, we used a different base beer. The blueberries were refermented with a blend of 89% Das Überkind — our “old” saison aged for months in oak barrels with native yeasts and bacteria, and 11% RU55, our barrel-aged sour red ale. The base for the 2013 batch was 100% RU55. Second, the base beer and the blueberries were blended and allowed to referment in a stainless steel tank, which allowed us to keep a constant blanket of carbon dioxide over the beer, in order to stave off oxygen, which can lead to the growth of acetobacter. Finally, we froze the blueberries for this batch prior to refermentation, in order to decrease the population of acetobacter on the skins of the fruit. There were also some elements that we did not change, including the sourcing of blueberries from east Texas, and the use of carbonic maceration to burst open the skins of the berries, rather than crushing them.

Colour Five was brewed with Hill Country well water, barley, wheat, and hops. It was fermented with our unique mixed culture of Jester King Blueberriesmicroorganisms, which includes farmhouse yeasts, naturally occurring wild yeasts harvested from our land in the Texas Hill Country, and native souring bacteria. After extended fermentation and maturation in oak barrels, Colour Five was refermented with Texas blueberries over the course of several weeks. The final refermentation of the beer occurred in bottles, kegs, and casks. Colour Five is 7.1% alcohol by volume, 3.2 pH, and has a finishing gravity of 1.000 (0 degrees Plato). It is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and 100% naturally conditioned.

The label art for Colour Five was created by our in-house artist Josh Cockrell. Josh’s inspiration for the label came from the realm of sacred geometry.

Colour Five will be available when our tasting room opens at 4pm on Friday, October 31st. It will be for sale by the glass, as well as in bottles to go (500ml x $16). Approximately 2,000 bottles are available with a limit of one bottle per customer per day. Aside from a few special events, Colour Five will be available exclusively at Jester King.

There’s No Better Way to Celebrate the Season than with Pumpkin Beer Cheesecake

Pumpkin Beer Cheesecake

 

If you’re like me, you love the hell outta Fall. The crisp cool air, leaves falling, sugar sweetness everywhere (even in our beers)! Finish a dinner or even your Thanksgiving meal with this Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe from Craft Beer & Brewing’s Cooking with Beer.

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (15-17 whole graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 24 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • One 15-oz can pumpkin puree (or fresh pumpkin puree, if you have it)
  • 3 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin beer
  • 4 Tbs all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Mix until it resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while you assemble the custard.

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, sugar,beer, and flour; mix well. Pour the custard into the chilled springform pan and bake 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4-6 hours before serving.

Ben Esely is a co-founder and brewer interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Founder’s Dark Penance Review

Founders Brewing's Dark Penance IPAOk, I’ll have to admit it: I’m not that into IPAs. I know some of our readers are yelling blasphemy, and even more have moved to grab pitchforks on their way to assemble a mob. Still I submit an unwavering “meh”. Not to say I dislike them, I just don’t get excited by them anymore, ergo “meh”. When I cracked open Founders Dark Penance, it was largely in the hope that I would have something new to look forward to on the hoppy side of things.

After popping off the cap, I get hit with this floral smell, and I start to get excited. I grab one of my snifters and begin to pour. The label does not lie, it does carry the appearance of black, but I catch some variation to chestnut brown at the bottom of the glass just above the stem before the minimal head dissipates. As I lift up the glass to the light I see more brown towards the edges of the glass. This is an excellent example of color density, and great indicator that I will be tasting something a little more sweet than roasty in the malt profile. I am intrigued, and of course move to smell it more in depth.

There is no mistaking it- this is most definitely an IPA, and with 100 Centennial and Chinook IBUs at that. I get the pine and citrus characteristic of the hop varieties used, but what I once thought of as floral, I now realize is the malty sweetness mixing with the hop aroma. Caramel and dark chocolate goodness mixed with Melon skin, Orange pith and Pine blend to make what I took to be floral. To be honest, it smelled kind of like spring despite its near black color and creepy Victorian portrait on the label.

A quick swirl in glass shows good alcohol legs and a viscosity that strikes me as a little thin. The taste was not a blend but a total shift. A shift from pleasantly sweet chocolate, molasses, and caramel, to those typical American IPA flavors of pine and citrus with a lot of bitterness. A complete flip-flop from sweet to citrus and bitter happens with every sip. The Crystal Malt and Midnight Wheat Malt do what is expected of them and thicken up the mouthfeel, but I am surprised the wheat malt did not help with the head retention a bit more. It’s not really important, as the combination of these malts is all about those caramel, chocolate, and mild coffee flavors without any bitterness. Remember, Founders set out to make a balanced IPA, so they needed the malt to be sweet. The hops can handle the bitter, and in a way that only comes from American hop varieties.

Dark Penance is a refreshing spin on the IPA genre. Pleasantly sweet up front and piney bitterness towards the end it makes for a unique showcase of hop flavor while still offering something else to look forward to each sip. It should be released soon this quarter, so be sure to pick up several over the quarter. At about $12.00 a four pack it seems it will be an excellent value, considering that a $12.00 four pack is roughly the equivalent to a $6.00 bomber. So with a price like that for an Imperial Black IPA, and one from Founders no less, where can you go wrong?

Ben Webster is a co-founder and educational and beer review writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Armadillo Ale Works’ New Denton Location

Armadillo Ale Works Van I Heart DentonSince that first sip of Quakertown Stout nearly 4 years ago, many of us have dreamt about visiting a Denton-based Armadillo Ale Works brewery. Currently, Bobby Mullins and Yianni Arestis are brewing out of Deep Ellum Brewing Co’s facility in Dallas, TX. So the excellent and GABF Gold Medal Winning beers, like Quakertown Stout, are brewed and distributed from Dallas. But come late spring of 2015 expect their new Denton facility to house everything.  “I wanted to wait and announce the new location at the end of North Texas Beer Week, but the information slipped out a little early.” says Arestis.

Armadillo Ale Works Crew outside new brewery in Denton

Bobby Mullins, Will Sikora, Kyle Wilson and Yianni Arestis show off Armadillo’s new location and all their beers.

The 40,000 square foot building at 1512 Interstate 35W in Denton will house Armadillo Ale Works for years to come. Originally the pair was looking at properties near Denton’s Downtown District, but just couldn’t find anything large enough to handle future expansion.

What’s in store at the new location?
-A 5,000 square foot Special Events Room with bar and possible stage. You’ll be able to book this room for private parties, company gatherings and possibly catch some great music. The bar will serve the full line of Armadillo’s brews (flights included).

-A 5,000 sqft Taproom and Office Area.
The Taproom will be open daily from 5pm-10pm (Mon-Sat). You’ll be able to try all your Armadillo favorites and possibly firkins or limited batches that may never make it out to your favorite bars and bottle shops.

-The 10,000 sqft production area.
In this area will be; the 30 barrel brew house, the fermentation tanks, a giant cold house and packaging line. “We’ve ordered some of the equipment already and the rest shortly. Bobby is flying out to look at the canning line next Tuesday.” says Arestis. This size build out will give Armadillo a production of more than 10,000 barrels a year. Planning for the future and purchasing larger equipment now will allow Armadillo to expand easily and quickly in the future. Expect tours of this new brewing area to run every Saturday from noon-3pm.

-The remaining 20,000 sqft of this mammoth building will be available later when Armadillo is ready to expand beyond its beginning capacity.  “The current brew space could grow to 40,000 barrels a year. That’s at a Real Ale or Saint Arnold’s level,” Arestis. It may be a while before we see the brewery expand into this remaining area, but again, Mullins and Arestis have planned for the easiest future growth possible.

Wundermelon Brunch Money Quakertown and GreenBeltEverything is coming together for this outstanding brewery. Earlier this month Armadillo’s Quakertown Stout won a Gold Medal in The Stout Category at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival. Since that win and the demand increase, the Armadillo team has been rushing to keep our favorite DFW spots full of Quakertown, Greenbelt, Brunch Money and Wundermelon.

New Jester King and Live Oak Collaboration is a mouthful of German

KollaborationsbierFrom Jester King:

We’re very excited to introduce, Jester King / Live Oak:
Kollaborationsbiermittschechischemhopfenundwilderbakterienhefekombination

…(or Kollaborationsbier for short) — our collaboration with Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin, Texas! Live Oak is the oldest brewery in Austin, and the maker of some of the best German and Czech-style beers in the world. They are among the handful of breweries that inspired us to make beer in the first place, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have had the opportunity to work with them.
Kollaborationsbiermittschechischemhopfenundwilderbakterienhefekombination literally means “collaboration beer with Czech hops, wild yeast, and bacteria” in German. The inspiration for the beer came from two sources. First, we really wanted to make a beer with Live Oak, which again, is a brewery we love. Second, another hugely inspirational brewery for us, along with Live Oak, is Brasserie De La Senne in Brussels, Belgium. De La Senne makes one of our favorite beers called Taras Boulba, which embraces principles of subtlety, restraint, balance, and full attenuation. Its elegant combination of European malt character, hoppiness, dryness, and yeast aroma and flavor sets a benchmark for what beer can be. Coincidentally, one of the few American beers reminiscent of Taras Boulba in terms of its malt and hop character is Live Oak Pilz. We knew that to truly make a beer worthy of claiming inspiration from Taras Boulba, we’d need to turn to our friends at Live Oak for help!

Live Oak Jester King CollaborationIn making Kollaborationsbier, we brewed a low gravity wort at Live Oak with Head Brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski. The wort was prepared using a traditional decoction mash, beginning with undermodified pilsner malt and then working it vigorously by separating out a portion of the mash, boiling it in the kettle, and then returning it to the mash tun. This creates some really tasty malt flavors in the wort that cannot be achieved through other methods. We then added a few hefty doses of Czech hops to the boil for a firm bitterness and floral, spicy hop aromas and flavors. After brewing and cooling the wort, we racked it into portable tanks and drove it from east Austin to the outskirts of town in the Texas Hill Country whereJester King Brewery is located, transferred it into one of our fermentation tanks, and inoculated it with our unique mixed culture of brewer’s yeast and naturally occurring wild yeast and bacteria. The beer fermented to complete dryness (0 degrees Plato or 1.000 specific gravity) and was naturally conditioned through refermentation in kegs, casks, and bottles. Kollaborationsbier is 4.2% alcohol by volume and 42 IBU. It was brewed using only City of Austin water, malted barley, and hops and fermented with brewer’s yeast, wild yeast, and bacteria.

Kollaborationsbier will be released at Jester King Brewery on Friday, October 24th when our tasting Kollaborationsbiermittschechischemhopfenundwilderbakterienhefekombinationroom opens at 4pm. We’re also excited to announce that onSaturday, October 25th at Noon, we’ll be joined by Live Oak owner Chip McElroy and Head Brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski. They’ll be bringing a cask of spund Helles Rauchlager with them for our tasting room! Kollaborationsbier will be available by the glass at Jester King Brewery. We’ll also have bottles available for sale (3,300 bottles available, 750ml, $12, limit 2 per customer per day). For the first weekend of bottle sales (October 24th through the 26th), only 1,000 bottles will be available. The art for Kollaborationsbier is by our own Josh Cockrell.

A 1st Timer’s View of America’s Biggest Beer Fest

GABF Taster CupI’ve been to my fair share of beer fests. Therefore, I thought I had an idea of what to expect from America’s largest craft beer event. But I didn’t truly understand the utter immensity of The Great American Beer Fest. Let me help explain it with stats. Big Texas Beer Fest, with its ruckus noise, staggering selection of beer and immense crowd had 106 breweries with 416 beers to serve to about 6,000 beer drinkers all in one day in 2014. GABF, in its 32nd year, had more than 3,500 different beers from 710 breweries that served 49,000 attendees in 3 days. That means our largest local festival, even with its colossal size, could fit 8 times into GABF based on beer selection and breweries in attendance!! Those of you who know and love Big Texas Beer Fest, like I do, hopefully now understand that if it is that large, Great American Beer Fest with its three decades of growth and non-hindering state laws is that much larger. (Side note: with time and participation from the Texas craft beer community, state laws on craft beer could be amended and Big Texas Beer Fest could be even better. Hell! It took GABF 10 years to achieve the numbers Big Texas Beer Fest reached in 3 years! But now I’m just rambling and preaching the needed changes in Texas alcohol legislation. Let’s move on.)

Thursday (Day 1)
On my first visit to the festival on Thursday, I entered and set off with a plan (Check out the GABF app. In it, a beer drinker can find his/her favorite breweries, the beers the brewery brought along and soo much more)…That plan was quickly dashed. Rocked by the noise of around 16,000 people, the large (almost 300,000 square foot) room and my excitement over every brewery that I hadn’t tried (and some I never knew existed), I began trying any beer in easy reach. The couple I tried were delightful and I realized a brewery invests in the time, travel and expenses to pour at GABF because their recipes are worth it.

That’s probably why I next found our local craft beer leaders; Community Beer Co,

Michael Peticolas just hangin' out at GABF 2014

Michael Peticolas just hangin’ out at GABF 2014

Peticolas Brewing, Armadillo, Four Corners Brewing, Lakewood, DEBC, Karbach, Buffalo Bayou, Real Ale, Oasis, 512, 903…(I apologize to our other local buddies not mentioned here. I have to stop because this list would engulf the entire article. Check out Lee Knox’s article on the amazing Texas turn out at GABF) My point is this, Texas has so many talented brewers and breweries that are willing to invest the time, manpower and money to pour at GABF because their beers are that well planned and brewed and sought after. (Again go read Lee’s article on Texas because I’m moving on.)

For the remaining 2 hours of that Thursday I meandered about with no real path. I saw some old friends (like David Walker of Firestone Walker, George Esquivel from Four Corners, Yianni at Armadillo, Jamie and Aric of Community, Bailey the #1 Real Ale peddler and Craig Bradley at Lakewood) and tried some great and new, but mainly familiar beers. I guess my evening spent sticking primarily with the beers and breweries I know and love, and venturing out only a couple of times to try new tastes, was my way of adjusting to this massive and wholly unknown sea of brewed delights. Despite my having an interactive map on my phone, the festival felt like a large black sea. I wasn’t sure which way to swim or what booth to approach.

With Thursday’s session over, I headed out to see Denver and try even more craft beer.
DSCF1075

Friday (Day 2)
DSCF1090I started Friday morning right, with some food. Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co), and founder Jim Koch, were hosting a brunch to announce the winners of their Longshot Homebrew Competition and showcase some of this year’s new beers all paired with an awesome meal at Marlowe’s in downtown Denver. (For the full rundown, check out Ben Webster’s article on the brunch.)
After a quick jaunt up to New Belgium Brewing, in Fort Collins, and my stomach full, I headed to The Denver Convention Center because I had a media pass! (I was like Charlie bounding down the street with his Golden Ticket!) I arrived early and beat many of the brewers and all the drinkers to the booths. Inside the fairly empty convention hall, I stopped at some manned booths, talked with a couple of brewers, but mainly got a visual for the entire festival’s layout. (Again check out the app so you, at least, have an idea of how the aisles were laid out.)

When the bagpipes sounded (as they did at the start of each session), I knew the flood was coming and I started in with the plan. I began on the East side of the room and tried cool beers from regional breweries with highlights from; Four Fathers, Hailstorm, Hamburger Mary’s (out of Chicago) and Hoppin’ Frog. Everything that tumbled down my gullet was great, as expected. Next I hit the brew pub area and drank samples from Apple Blossom, Black Sky, Fate, Black Star (out of Austin) and Yak & Teti (later I’d return to hit up the other side of this aisle because all the tastes in this area were so thrilling and Joe and the boys from Pinthouse Pizza were over there).

Trying more brew pub beers would come the following day for I had to head to the Mid-Atlantic area to finally drink some beer from a few chaps I met on my arrival night in Denver. Jailbreak Brewing sports 2 brewers from Dogfish Head (like our very own Jeremy Hunt at DEBC), Ryan and Clay led by a one of the largest wine nerds (of his own acclaim) not on the West Coast , Justin Bonner. The highlight of their beers was Dusk till Dawn, a stout with chocolaty coffee deliciousness that just floated across my tongue. I then dropped by DC Brau, a brewery that has much

DC Brau Co-Founders Hancock and Skall.

DC Brau Co-Founders Hancock and Skall.

social media buzz, to sample their top beers. Co-founders Brandon Skall and Jeff Hancock brought along some excellent brews, but their top was On the Wings of Armageddon, an imperial IPA. On the Wings of Armageddon was their dedication to the 12/21/12 end of the world fiasco. (I say fiasco because, clearly, this long planned event never happen.) I’m not a hophead by any means, but I would’ve seen the end of the world in 2012 with this beer in hand because the hop bitterness, while aggressive, wasn’t unpleasant.

3 Floyds Table at GABFNext I headed north to 3 Floyds and The Great Lakes Region. Patrick at 3 Floyds poured me out some tasters of fantasticness. The best of the bunch was 3 Floyd’s Blot Out the Sun, a black as night imperial stout that pays its homage to Charles Montgomery Burns and his fateful plot that almost ended in his death. I, of course, had to get a couple of tastes of Zombie Dust, their year round pale ale that is as complex in its hop tastes as any great IPA. Another tasty surprise on The Great Lakes aisle was Forbidden Root, a smaller brewery that touts its botanical ingredients as a return to an old way of brewing. Operations Manager BJ Pichman poured me some Forbidden Root, a 4.2% abv root beer that reminds you that it’s not just any old root beer soda with a little hop bite.

DSCF1231I finished the 2nd day of GABF watching Verboten Brewing (from Loveland, CO) battle 21st Amendment Brewing (from San Fransisco, CA) in The 2014 Brewers’ Feud. This game was an alcohol fueled take on the old Family Feud game show where each brewery’s team had to guess top rated answers from surveyed craft beer drinkers. As the game went on, the participants got more and more relaxed and funnier because the beer was definitely flowing. (Check out the highlight pics on our Facebook Page or go watch the entire, candid mess.) Day 2 finished with a bang and I again headed out into Denver to enjoy the city’s nightlife and…well….craft beer.

Saturday (Day 3)
DSCF1261Saturday began with an abrupt awakening that I had 30 minutes to get across downtown Denver, on foot, to make my way to The Award Ceremony. (To see the Texas highlights go to our Facebook Page or Twitter or check out GABF’s page of all winning medals.) Saturday was split into 3 sessions; The Awards Ceremony, The Midday Members Only Session and The Evening Session. GABF veterans kept telling me Saturday evening was the time to party. Brewers had won their medals and could relax, local Denverites were off of work and the party would be wild. Those veterans were correct. Here’s where I have a little advice in choosing your dayHopman and The Suits at GABF to attend GABF, Day 1 is the day to sample craft beer. Day 3 is the day to party! The costumes were donned and drinkers headed out to try some of America’s best craft beer. I tried some great new beers from highlights like Saucony Creek, Single Cut, Cigar City and Mother Road Brewing and visited with some old locals, like Joe from the 2014 medal winning Pinthouse Pizza out of Austin.

I ended Saturday, and my first adventure into GABF, at The Intersection of Brewing and Music discussion that culminated in a jam session with free-style rapping from Sam Calagione and Bryan Selders, of Dogfishhead Brewing, Isaac Hanson, eldest Hanson brother and colab brewer of Mmmhops, Bradley Latham of The Brewers Association, Matt Potts from Destihl Brewing and Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident. (Again see the pics on our Facebook Page or watch the entire discussion and listen to the music here.)

What I Learned:
-GABF is a long festival and you can’t try every beer offered. Build a list of the top breweries that friends have mentioned or you’ve heard about and find a couple lesser known breweries around each stop. Sampling some other breweries, along with those that you know, will expand your horizons.

-Stick to your plan. If you go meandering about you’ll miss some top rated beers, but you might, like us, find some interesting and off-the-beaten-path brewers that you may never have found. This suggestion is a toss-up for me. I’m not a strict and regimented person and therefore don’t lend well to planning, but following a plan will ensure you get some of those super rare beers before the brewers run out.

-Check out the extra events going on at GABF. They’re free, there will be beer to drink and you’ll get a hell of a good show.

-If you want an easier flow with less of a crowd, buy your tickets for the first day or even the second day. If you want to party and enjoy the festival as a full experience, be sure to grab tickets for the last day.