Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great American Beer Festival

Ok. Another GABF has come and gone. This one was a bit different for me (and others) as compared to previous ones. It had a record number of beers entered into competition, the fastest sell-out period, and saw me at volunteering at a very well know craft brewer's booth.  On Thursday, I poured at the Boston Beer Company's table (aka Sam Adams) where they had a 1/2 keg of Utopias. This beer is the strongest, naturally fermented, beer in the world (other beers are stronger but they go through 'freezing distillation' to attain higher abv).  Once word got out that the Utopias was being offered at the beginning of the fest instead of sometime in the middle, people clamored to try it. At ~$150/bottle this beer shouldn't be taken lightly, even though some attendees did just that, forgoing any opportunity to appreciate it.

Unfortunately, my co-volunteer, wearing a chicken hat of all things, was completely worthless. I'm glad he wore that hat, because I know what to look for next year, and will stay clear of him.

On Saturday I poured for Vino's Pizza Pub out of Little Rock, Arkansas. A very small brewery that produced a nice Schwarzbier and Imperial Red. Will and Tony (brewer and his wife) were great people, and she LOVED her beer. This booth was quite a bit less hectic than SAdams. I enjoyed it because I got a chance to mingle with co-volunteers and was afforded more time to "tour" the fest..of course I did. This year's fest seemed more relaxed, I think because it expanded physically and the volunteers given their own restrooms. Although, I think the ball was dropped on preparedness, either by the Brewer's Association or the brewers themselves, because some beers were not labeled on the tap handles or the pitchers, or both. This seems like a small detail, and it is I guess, but becomes quite major when attendees show up.  It just created a bit more confusion on the part of the volunteers as to which beer come out of which tap.  And if the kegs are labeled.....

All in all, though, it was a great event. I'll post my reviews of the best beers I had at the Fest, and some I had outside the fest in the Denver beer scene.