The Great American Beer Festival is all about tradition and the present day festival lives up to the high standards set in the earlier years. For example, the first GABF steins were made completely out of glass (whose great idea it was to give a bunch of drunks glass, is beyond us). But, each time someone dropped their cup, the hall would erupt in laughter and shame the poor soul. So now, whenever you hear someone oooh, ahhh, laugh, point, gawk or squeal at someone who has just dropped their tasting cup, it is only the sweet sound of tradition rearing it’s devious head. And it is tradition in itself that has made the GABF the monumental event that it is today. It’s a bunch of easy-going beer lovers, getting together to nerd out and celebrate the artistry of craft beer. And hey, if they can laugh at a few drunk bozos who drop their glass, then it only adds to the fun.
We were honored and more than excited to cover this year’s festival. If something is going to get us up by noon on a Saturday, you can bet your ass it’s beer. The event was put together very nicely, with minimal to non-existent lines and an eager to help/knowledgeable staff, we were given the tools to explore and make the event our own. With that being said, even if we were sober (which we definitely were not) I still think we would have had a difficult time navigating the arena. The Mountain region was somehow everywhere and nowhere. First it was upper right then it somehow migrated towards the midwest? A thought for next year would be to map it out like America and have the Eastern breweries be on the East and the Western breweries on the West. But what do we know (seriously…) we’re just a couple drunks that were too lazy to open our directory. An added bonus of not knowing where we were was that we threw caution (our detailed and thought out lists) to the wind and followed our beer bellies to the next thrill. Which was everywhere.
Remember that scene in Family Guy where he gets locked in the brewery and drinks his way out? Well, that’s what the Great American Beer Festival is like, except you’re drinking rare, expensive craft beer and there is no bottom of the distilling vessel. With over 750 breweries in the brewery hall and 3,800 beers served there was no possible way to try them all… We don’t all have the tolerance of Peter Griffin.. But with that being said, there were a few that stood out to us.
Mcclain Morris (Lifestyle Editor)
1. Goose Island Beer Company: Lolita
2. Black Bottle: Cerealiously Count Chocula
3. Revolver Brewing: Sangre Y Miel
4. Deschutes: Zarabanda Saison
5. The Perch Pub & Brewery: Perch Belgian Peach
Matt Smith (Photographer)
1. Almanac Brewery: Valley of The Heart's Delight
2. All Rise Brewery: Three Orange Wit
3. The Collective Brewery: Petite Golden Sour
4. Santa Fe Brewery: Los Innovadores Kriek
5. Dry Dock Brewery: Apricot Blonde Sour
Robert Castro (Managing Editor)
1. Revolver Brewing: Blood and Honey
2. Avery Brewing Company: Rumpkin
3. Short's Brewing Company: Key Lime Pie
4. Boston Beer Co: Sam Adam's Utopias
5. 512 Brewery: Pecan Porter
Best Booth: Uintas Brewing
Best place to get this adorable glass mustaches: Squatters Brewing
Best use of a can for a necklace: Oskar Blue's
Best use of marketing: Bull and Bush photo cut-out.
"I think this was made with real blood"-random white dude
"I don't understand all the pretzel necklaces"-random white girl
"Do they have a happy hour here?"-Anonymous
"Where is the wine section?"-Kristal (I think that was her name)
"I could do this all day!"-Castro "sampling" Twin Peaks Brewing
From small to large, each brewery is just living out their own unique version of the American Dream. And it warms our heart and our cheeks to watch it all unfold during this one monumental event. From finding our new favorite beers, getting a fake tattoo sleeve and downing an entire bag of GF pretzels, we had the time of our life. And we owe it all to you… GABF. Until next year… Our livers could use a break.