To be honest, I didn’t even try to get a ticket. With sellout times estimated to be less than 15 minutes on a day where I had to be at my day-job, and Ken Weaver kicking wholesale amounts of ass on RateBeer Weekly, I knew the elusive media pass and general admission modes of entry were beyond my grasp. But since I live here in Denver, by God, I would make the best of it.
This is the tale of my GABF week, sans GABF.
My week begins by explaining to my co-workers, on a pre-vacation workday, why I’m taking 4 days off from work to drink beer. After a shift-full of well-wishers warning me not to drive drunk, I was off to World of Beer at Cherry Creek. For you non-Denverites reading this, WOB is like the ‘burbs version of Falling Rock, only the parking is free, it’s 154% less crowded, and you can get taster flights.
There, I met Todd Usry, brewmaster extraordinaire of a small little brewery you might have heard of called Breckenridge Brewery. We nerded out about beer, pilsners, the new Breckenridge destination brewery opening in 2015, and how cool GABF is. He was also kind enough to autograph my little brewery art project I got going on (seen here). Breckenridge beers were had, including the new Breckenridge Lager and 471 Over the Moon (a blend of 471 IPA and Oatmeal Stout, aged in Cabernet barrels.)
Then I was southbound to the Littleton location of Alamo Drafthouse for a special premiere screening of three Denver-centric episodes of The Beer Diaries. Following a sold-out run in Austin, TX, The Beer Diaries headed to Denver and the GABF to put their internet-tv show on the big screen for the GABF crowd. You can check out their content here. It’s fun stuff, as it basically features a dude chatting and sippin brews with small-time and big-time beer icons, which is kinda what we all wish we could do, right?
We were given some episode-centric beers to sample, with introductions from brewery reps in the audience. We watched as Dr. Greg Zeschuk, a medical doctor who later went on to form the video game company that made Mass Effect, hop from Breckenridge Brewery to TRVE, to Wynkoop, to Denver Beer Co, and Prost, sippin beers, talking industry, touring facilities and generally having an awesome beery time and putting it on the big screen.
Wednesday was a bit slow as far as ‘events’ were concerned. It was mostly special tappings throughout the city. Needless to say, many miles were driven, burritos were consumed, and taster flights were purchased.
Taster flights in particular worth mentioning were from Luckie Pie Pizza, who tapped 6 rare beers from Green Flash, and by rare I mean “they don’t put them in bottles”, or in the case of the Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine, I mean “only a couple of barrels were made for GABF, Colorado only got 2 kegs, and it won’t even be found in the Green Flash taproom”.
Star Bar and booze blog supersite Denver off the Wagon held a little get-together for beer bloggers visiting this fair town, and they felt it necessary to tap an unholy amount of Evil Twin and Stillwater brews with silly names, like Christmas Eve in a NYC Hotel, Why Can’t IBU, Justin Blaeber, and more. It felt like pretty much the whole lineup of those breweries. Freaking Star Bar, man…
Then Freshcraft tapped a beer, or series of beers, they made collaboratively with Upslope Brewing Co, which I feel were deviously made specifically to ruin me. Offered in a 4-glass taster flight, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Brown Ale was poured along with 3 variations, each aged on either Nicaraguan coffee beans, Colombian coffee beans, or Espresso coffee beans. Dumb. Stupid. Shut up. I mean, not only did that beer (and its variations) completely and perfectly represent what I love so dearly about the Craft Beer community, but the way those beers tasted…and the way each of those beans were highlighted on their own, so I could pick apart each one’s profile…let’s just say it’s been a good long while since a beer (or beers) have made me giggle with childlike glee. Big kudos to Upslope.
Next time on GABF Without Tickets: a bus, nitrogen gas, and polygamy.
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