17 September 2010

2010 Great American Beer Festival - Day 1

The 29th Great American Beer Festival is now underway. This year the festival has grown to 49,000 and sold out in record time. The convention hall may be more packed, but the lines are still entirely reasonable and most breweries don't even have a line. We've already spotted good showings from Indiana favorites Mad Anthony, Upland, Barley Island and Brugge Brasserie. We'll be looking for more tomorrow. So far the most impressive beer of the festival for me as been The Flavor from Trinity, which is an amazing and robust sour cherry beer. Matt's favorite was Trinity's Old Growth. It looks like Trinity might be the HBG favorite this year!
Breckenridge wasn't open yet when we walked by

Great Divide

But I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself, since we had an entire day of beer drinking in Denver to prep ourselves for the GABF opening. Our first stop was Great Divide where I enjoyed samples of a Smoked Baltic Porter, Hoss, DPA and Rumble. The Smoked Baltic Porter was easily my favorite beer here, with the characteristic sweetness of the Baltic Porter style making a great compliment to the smoked malt. Matt had a Titan IPA which is a solid, floral IPA. The Great Divide tap room was packed within 10 minutes of opening, so we quickly turned over our seats to allow more patrons to enjoy the beers.

Smoked Baltic Porter and Rumble

Titan IPA

Our next stop was Falling Rock. We settled in before the big crowd hit, and quickly realized that our stay here would be much longer than anticipated. Russian River Supplication, Salvation, Hopfather and Pliny the Elder were all on tap. In retrospect, we're pretty sure the Salvation was actually Temptation. Supplication and Temptation were both solid sours, as we have come to expect from Russian River. Supplication carried lots of cranberry and cherry notes with tons of well balanced tartness. The dry oak created a nice finish on this quality beer. Hopfather was a hop bomb like no other, carrying imbalance reminiscent of Stone Ruination. Temptation was full of that farmhouse funk present in many Belgian beers that diverges from the common tart or acetic flavor of sours. Pliny the Elder is one of the definitive West Coast style IPAs and always pleases. While Matt focused on the Russian River beers, I moved on to a 2009 Sierra Nevada Imperial Smoked Porter after the Supplication. The Smoked Porter contained a huge amount of smoke that stood up to the thick chocolate, coffee and roasted notes of the porter. Something of an Americanized Schlenkerla on steroids. Falling Rock during the week of GABF might as well be its own beer festival.

Temptation and Supplication


GABF taps Thursday afternoon at Falling Rock

We stopped by Rock Bottom to pick up my pro-am brewer credentials and get some dinner before the festival and enjoyed a very to-style Brown Ale with a medium body and toasted malt and nut flavors. Below are a number of scenes from the beginning of the festival. We'll be back with more tomorrow!

Bagpipers arriving

Bagpipers arriving

Volunteers ready for the doors to open

VIP ticket holders begin to enter

The floodgates are released

Hey I'm a Pro-Am brewer!

Comedy Mr. Beer option for Mike

Matt found our hilarious friend from Great Taste fame!


1 comment:

  1. The guy that pissed himself at Great Taste of the Midwest is actually somewhat famous: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/setting-the-bar-for-smut/Content?oid=922941