Breckenridge wasn't open yet when we walked by
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
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!
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!