Greetings from the nations micro brewery capital. This weekend was Denver's turn to host the annual Great American Beer Festival at the Colorado Convention Center. It started Thursday night and went through Saturday night and every session was sold out.. Meg and I went with one of her co-teachers Carrie and her friend Chris. Later we met up with another co-teacher Lee-Ann and her husband Matt. I was extremely impressed with Carrie's knowledge of all types of beers and their history. She even volunteered at last year's gala.
There were breweries from all over the world here, each with their booths sampling some of their finest fermentations. Each "golden ticket" got the beholder a plastic 4oz glass and would go to each booth and get a 1oz sample from the volunteers. Each beer usually had a laminated description in front of it or the volunteer was knowledgeable about their menu. There was also a designated driver area with plush leather couches for the pregnant ladies, mothers/fathers with kids, or other sober people who needed a break. Meg and Lee-Ann were our DD's and really enjoyed the people watching. Groups of people dressed up with matching home-made beer slogan shirts and beer-themed outfits. There were plenty of pretzel necklaces for sale and more decorative ones people brought from home. I sampled some excellent stouts (really dark) and superb I.P.A.'s (stronger and lighter in color) from all over. The mid-west has a real strong showing and the south didn't have much that impressed me. There was one Hawaiian brewery that was medal winning and will be sold here soon....mmmmmm....beeeeeer. It was quite hilarious seeing the so-called judges stumbling around later as some of the booths were running out of beer.
This festival had record numbers and some of the breweries were not prepared, or the volunteers that got free drinks were giving out more than 1oz per pour. The cool thing was that you could have as much as you wanted at a booth, they could only give you 1oz at at time. Most people were like us and wanted to sample all different kinds. I had one beer that was espresso and jalepeno flavored and that took me by surprise. Sometimes even the witty names couldn't fully describe the wide variety of flavors and aromas. My favorite was a smooth vanilla stout that was so flavorful yet not too strong. I saw a lot of people wearing Bell's Brewery shirts from the great city of Kalamazoo, MI. Bell's is home of one of my favorite beers, Oberon (summer wheat). Its pretty hard to get too snochered off of 1oz of beer per sample, but some still managed. I was pretty good as one does get full from drinking some of the finer, darker, more filling beers.
Can't wait for next year festival, CHEERS!