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Colorado 2010: The Beer

I’ll be honest. I have no idea how to organize this post. Basically we went to Denver to drink beer. True story. I mean, we hung out with Brent’s brother and stuff too, but our main purpose was to go to the Great American Beer Festival. Brent, Jon and I got tickets for the Friday night session. Beer has always been much more Brent’s thing, but in the past year or so, he’s gotten me really into it too! What’s interesting is that we don’t really like the same types of beer usually. I like malty beers – amber ales, abbey ales, stouts, barleywines and the occasional flavored beer. Brent is king of the hops and sours –  IPAs, double IPAs, wild beers – more stuff like that.

Anyway, I just wanted to record some of the awesome beers we tried on our trip for future reference – especially because so many of them are not available in Fort Wayne!

Although the beer festival wasn’t until Friday, we spent pretty much all week drinking craft beer. Our beer destinations included some of the restaurants listed in my previous posts, as well as:

  • Falling Rock Tap House: We went here last year after some baseball games and decided to make the trip again. Great draft beer lists, and special rotating taps of special beers.
  • Great Divide Brewery: We stopped into their tap room after a long day of walking. They had a special back patio bar area set up with tents and old couches. It was nice to hang out here for a while, and I really liked a few of their beers. I enjoyed Old Ruffian – their Barleywine and the Double Wit, which I think is just a special batch they brewed for GABF week and I loved it! It’s a shame I can’t find it anywhere else.
  • Avery Brewing Tap Room: This was the best tap room I have ever been too. They have a huge selection of beers, and you can get them in pints, 10oz, or 4oz tasters, and almost all the taster portions are $1. Only a few of the smaller batch, higher alcohol beer tasters are $5. It allows you to try so many of their beers! Worked out well since Brent was driving home.  🙂

Brent and I stopped by Avery on Thursday after our hike (after Oskar Blues) and had such a good time. I think my favorite beer from Avery was The Missionary – a Belgian style ale brewed with guava.

That’s a four ounce glass. I confirmed for the millionth time (why don’t I learn?!) that I do not like bourbon barrel aged stouts.

It felt like drinking 4oz of bourbon. Blech! Brent also felt drinking from the tiny glass made him look sophisticated. Three days worth of five o’clock shadow helped too, right?

Fun times. Definitely recommend Avery if you’re ever in the Boulder area.

Moving on to Friday – The beer festival was so much fun! And so incredibly packed! The line for the doors was crazy long (and hot)! It was held at the Colorado Convention Center – home to my favorite piece of public art:

I’m totally obsessed with the peeking beer. Brent does not understand this (and a lot of other things) about me. To prepare for the festival, Brent and I looked online at the breweries attending to decide which booths we wanted to make sure to hit. We wanted to make sure we spent most of our time tasting beers that weren’t available in Indiana. We also spent part of Friday afternoon making pretzel necklaces. Accessories you can eat are my favorite kind.

Please excuse our sweaty, sunburned faces and focus on the cool pretzel necklaces. This allowed us to nibble between beers. You know, to cleanse the palate and stuff. 😉

I have a few photos from the festival itself, but they are super blurry, taken-while-tipsy iPhone photos, so I won’t bother subjecting you to them. Brent and I went through the GABF program and marked the beers we tasted with grades A-F. Below are the beers we gave As.

  • AleSmith Brewing: AleSmith IPA – Brent’s pick.
  • Allagash Brewing: Four – An abt/quadrupel beer. Slightly sweet and super smooth. 10% ABV . Brent also liked their Currieux – aged in bourbon. Gag.
  • Avery Brewing The Missionary: Another Belgian-style quadrupel. One of the rare fruity beers that I love. I don’t know if I could drink a whole pint, but I loved my 4oz taste at the tap room.
  • Bear Republic Factory Five: Brent enjoyed Racer 5 – an IPA, and Racer X – double IPA.
  • Bell’s Brewery: We liked Bell’s a lot, but Brent really enjoyed their Wild One – a sour beer. Brent’s gotten himself onto a sour beer kick and we could not disagree more. Ick. I can’t do a sour beer.
  • Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale: I love Abbey-style ales. This is no exception. 8.5%ABV. I have a note in my program that says Brent also enjoyed their Three Philosophers as well.
  • Cascade Brewing: Vlad the Imp Aler – another sour for Brent.
  • Copper Canyon Brewery Apple Streudel Tripel: Probably not for everyone, but man – it totally tasted like apple streudel! I really liked it. I don’t think they bottle it though.
  • Firestone Walker Brewing: Union Jack – an IPA Brent liked.
  • Goose Island Sai-Shan-Tea: A Saison brewed with tea and citrus. Surprisingly awesome. Brent and I really love Goose Island’s saisons, and the tea was a very cool addition to this one. Saison season is winding down now. 😦
  • Great Divide Brewing: Old Ruffian and Double Wit, as mentioned above. Brent also enjoyed their Hercules.
  • Hollister Brewing: I didn’t try anything from here, but Brent loved their Hip Hop Double IPA. Defs not my thing.
  • Left Coast Brewing: Hop Juice  – an IPA that feels like a punch in the mouth. Brent’s pick.
  • Left Hand Brewing: Milk Stout – I had this on the nitro tap at Euclid Hall and I love it! So smooth and creamy.
  • Michigan Brewing: Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale: One of the only pumpkin ales I tried and liked. This was less spicy/perfumy and more dessert-like.
  • Minneapolis Town Hall Brewing: Twisted Reality – a tasty barleywine that I really liked.
  • New Glarus Brewing: Abt – I think this was a Brent pick.
  • Russian River Brewing: HopFather IPA – For Brent. He also liked their sour beers.
  • Short’s Brewing: Anniversary Ale – a wheat wine brewed with blood orange! Brent and I both loved it. Key Lime Pie fruit beer – so crazy good. The line for this one was the longest at the festival, and I got the last half ounce! I could not believe how much it tasted like key lie pie. It says it’s bottled with regional distribution (they’re in Michigan), and I really want to find it.
  • Trinity Brewing: Brent liked their sour beers, especially their Old Growth – a wild ale with sour cherries.

Keep in mind, I did not actually drink that much. The tasting pours were about an ounce, and if I didn’t like a beer (which was often), I would just toss the rest of my taste in a bucket, or give it to Brent or Jon. I was surprised how little I felt like I actually consumed. GABF was so much fun. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to go, and I hope we can make the trip again sometime!

Are you a beer drinker?


3 responses »

  1. I am not a beer drinker, but I want a pretzel necklace! Question: where do you put the peanut butter to dip them in? Earrings? Bracelet? Time to start inventing . . . !

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the Apple Streudel tripel. We are a brewpub in Southfield, MI (just NW of Detroit), and by Michigan state law, a brewpub cannot sell anything outside of their door. We do bottle small amounts for occasional in house vintage beer sales. Looked like you guys had a great trip. Cheers!


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