Dave Does Denver

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bigfridge

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As the title says I am about to jump on a plane to go to the Great American Beer Festival, in Denver Colorado. There are more than 1800 beers available for unlimited sampling from around 500 breweries.

I will be working as a volunteer for 2 or 3 sessions which involves pouring beers behind the bar and will be making frequent visits to the other booths in front of the bar.

For those interested I will be working with the South East team which includes the breweries around Atlanta. I will even be working on the Terapin stand so I can get re-aquainted with their Rye beers.

I am not saying that I will be up to Trent or Doc's standard for keeping you up to date, but I will try to post the odd photo or two.

Dave
 

Lachlan

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If you can i suggest you try the Extra Pale Ale and the Oatmeal stout from Summit Brewery in St Paul Minnesota, they are awesome.

Have Fun
 

bigfridge

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Just arrived in Denver - 6pm Wednesday local time = 11am Thursday Newcastle time. About to pop out and get a bite to eat and a glass or two of beer.

Spent 4 hrs at LA airport - only found a Boston Lager and Bass. The Bass was not like that in the 'ol country - since Coors bought Bass the US stuff is just another hoppy ale.

I shared the shuttle bus from the airport with a brewer from Oregon and a Homebrewer who's beer was one of those selected for the ProAm Competition. "The GABF Pro-Am entries are brewed by professional craft brewers based on award winning homebrew recipes from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members. Homebrew recipes are scaled up and brewed at a craft brewery for submission into the competition."

Paul (I think that was his name) had his IPA brewed by the Elliott Bay Brewery & Pub. His beer was based on Pliny and he was surprised that a hoppy IPA was selected due to the hop shortage over here.

I have also received the beer list that we will be pouring - 130 beers in all. Remember that there are about 15 other crews so the claim that there will be 1800 beers seems true. I have attached a copy for the curious.

Until next time (assuming you haven't added me to your kill-file by now)

Dave

View attachment GABF_Beers.pdf
 

Stuster

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Now, how does the Ignore function work. :huh:

Sounds great though. Do you get to try as you pour though? :eek:
 

bigfridge

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Just back from a bite to eat.

Walked one block from the hotel and right there next to the tatooist and the grocery store with the big sign outside advertising cheap prices on Marlbro fags - was the Cafe Berlin.

Paulaner beers on tap. :icon_chickcheers:

Started with a 0.5 litre of Oktoberfest (copper coloured malty goodness) and refreshed the palet with a tall, cloudy Hefeweizen. Finished with a tall deep copper coloured Salvator Doppelbock to go with my plate sized Schnitzel.

For the BJCP students out there if the Oktoberfest was malty, the Dopplebock was so intense that malty is an inadequate term - more like treacle.

Very nice ....... They ARE open for lunch so perhaps I will be continuing by 'bock & Schnitzel' education before my 5pm shifts start at the GABF. They also have a heap of bottled beer that I may have to research further.

The pilgrimage continues in the city of beer.

Wish you were here .....

Dave
 

bigfridge

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Ok, those of you who are jealous of me being in the best beer city of the best beer country in the world attending the biggest beer festival in the world ....... I am afraid that your bad wishes and curses have come true. It is very boring and ho-hum. You were right - I won't enjoy it.

Just let me explain how boring it is, so you may as well look away now.......


Ok now that they are gone let me say that it is FANTASTIC !

There is every beer style that you could imagine, but then some. :D

There is the 'normal' range of Pils, Amber and Pale Ales plus tounge blowing IPA's as well as mind blowing beers - try a double Imperial IPA 11% 100IBU plus and as smooth as silk. Then there is the 'out there' styles such as barrel conditioned Saisons, Imperial Porters and Brettanomyces Pale ale.

Last night I poured for about 6 breweries including an old favourite Terrapin Brewery in Atlanta Georgia. They are the Rye brewery with a Rye Pale Ale (10% Rye), Double Oaked Rye Pale Ale (Barrel matured and 20% Rye) and a delicious 50% Rye Black ale made as a joint venture with Left Handed Brewery in Denver. Top beers all of them.

The attendees are an attraction as much as the festival itself. So far I have observed:

- The beer geek that has a notebook and only samples one of the 6 beers on tap and then takes copious notes. They are usually unaccompanied.

- The beer loony. We have ours (Dr Kurtz) but the presence of excessive homulones leads to a unique brain reaction that forces them to wear a funny, beer related hat together with a loud, beer related shirt. They slowly and deliveratly taste everything, but don't say anything worth listening to.

- The beer evaluator. They are obvious by the 'pallet cleanser' around their neck. They usually have pretzels strung on a greasy string to nibble on between drinks. It is a particularly touching moments when you see two Beer Evaluators nibbling on each others pretzels. The trendy ones have soft, Sourdough pretzyls or even more 'earthy' is fruit sticks to provide a snack and cleanse after a bad or hoppy beer.

- The beer olympiad. These guys and gals keep a record of how many beers thay have tasted. The impromtu olympiad keeps track with ticks along there arm, but there was one particularly prepared couple that had white T shirts with 'beers that I have drunk' on the front and a number of ticks and crosses counting off the samples. When I saw them they had 40 ticks and it was a particlularly sought after task of all the male servers to have the pleasure of 'adding the mark' to the bumpy bits of the female taster :eek:

- The Beer drinker. These revellers are there just for the alcohol. They usually have an attractive wife/girlfriend on their arm and while they are skulling every beer on offer, the girlfriiend has a few sipps of whater wheat beer is on offer - particularly if it has some form of fruit in it. Abita's Blue Haze (Rasberry Wheat) was particularly popular.

- The beer official. These are people who have been told to pop by and taste a particular beer. I had someone that had been told by the head of the AHA that you 'must try this beer' to Chuck Hann who popped by to renew his tastebuds.

The festival is absolutely chaotic. There is the background noise of 10,000 tipsy patrons plus whenever anyone drops their glass there is a huge roar that goes up. When I asked what the roar was for I got 3 different answers.

- in the days when the glass was actually glass (they are plastic this year) it meant that the taster's session was over as they could not taste anything else in their smashed glass - hence the roar of anguish.

- when the dropped glass smashed another reason for the roar was the delight from the crowd that there was now more beer to go go around as there was one less taster - hence the roar of elation.

- but the best one was that the glass was a worthy worrior that had fought well and should be sent to valhalla (the vikings version of heaven) with a suitable war cry.

Finally, being a volunteer pourer gives you such power. For those you don't like you stop exactly at the 1 oz (ie 30ml) mark and say 'sorry, that's the rules'. For nice people you can slip and give them a double pour for which they offer you their first born.

Oh, and just to give you a non-beer prospective on the USA - I went to get a local SIM card for my phone and it was $25 for a SIM card or $20 for a G3 phone which includes the SIM. I put it on a 10c/min plan with a maximum charge of $1 for any day of use.

We certainly have a lot to catch up in the Beer (and phone) stakes.

Dave
 

Stuster

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:lol: Love the description of the different beer tasters. :lol:

Keep the reports up. Any other beers you've especially enjoyed?
 

grod5

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Dave is a bastard, a lucky one at that.

keep posting mate.

daniel
 

bigfridge

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:lol: Love the description of the different beer tasters. :lol:

Keep the reports up. Any other beers you've especially enjoyed?
I will take my good camera and get some photo's tomorrow so that you can see for your self.

There are so many good beers in this country. Most tend to be very hoppy, so get a bit 'same' after a while. This is tru of the IPA's, but the super versions ie the Imperial Pilsner, Amber and Porter all around 8-10 % afe very good sipping - but not for long. Most of the Pale Ales are very drinkable ie there are no bad beers - just some are better than others.

I particularly loved the RJ Rockers Brewing Company 'Bell Ringer Ale' so very smooth and balanced that I was surprised to see that it comes in at 8.5% Alc. Very deceptive - hence the name 'what hit me'.

What I realy enjoy is tasting the styles that you have only seen in the BJCP guidelines eg Milk and Oat stouts, American Browns, various porters etc. One favourite was a Stein bier where the wort is brought up to the boil by adding white hot rocks - gave a lovely caramelly background complexity.

The only thing that I haven't wanted to try is and beers who's name sounds like frogs croaking (bud, bud, bud) or any beer with 'Lite' in the name - but they have the biggest stands so they are easy to avoid. Although I do tell a lie - I actually drank 2 bottles of Bud today, but they were in the four hour Sensory Analysis Workshop. Here they had a Bud as the control and then we tasted about 20 other buds spiked with various compounds. The sad thing was that the best tasting beer was one spiked tot tase like a wheat beer - Bud Hefe it was called.

Anne Kruger who led the session used to be head of the QC department at South African breweries and she advised that you could drink water between samples to cleans your pallet, but as she NEVER drinks water - she used a beer !

The prize for the longest queues goes to Siera Nevada. All the other booths you just walk straight up to, but these guys had 2 queues snaking 30 metres long. I am not sure what the girls were dispensing but it was obviously satisfying. <_<


Yes, it has been lots of fun,

More to come tomorrow - 1 shift as a drinker and one as a server !

Dave
 

Doc

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Great, just great.
No only is my twitter account going off with Tweets and Twitpics from everyone else at the GABF, but now I have to read it on AHB.
Bring it strong Dave, and post some pics.

Doc
 

leeboy

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you are so lucky. Have you come across any Deschutes "the Abyss" I've heard amazing things about that beer. That said though more the beers there are going to be amazing. I love the Viking Cry option for when the worth and well conquered glass is broken.

Keep up the great work Dave!
 

bigfridge

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you are so lucky. Have you come across any Deschutes "the Abyss" I've heard amazing things about that beer. That said though more the beers there are going to be amazing. I love the Viking Cry option for when the worth and well conquered glass is broken.

Keep up the great work Dave!
Can't quite remember that one 'hic - but there are a hell of a lot of beers here. I cruised the floor today and served tonight. Took a lot of pics but I will have to get them off the camera as I didn't bring my card reader.

All the beers are great - when compared to what we get back home (With the exception of Potters and Murrays - Those guys are up there with the best).

Most of the pale Ales, IPA's and Brown ales are much the same. The really good beers such as Sierra nevada, Dog Fish Head, Rogue and Russian River have big queues. But I did wait in line for about 10 minutes to try Pliny the Elder - not bad as an IPA but there are plenty that are just as good.

I mainly focused on the lesser known styles and have tried a Berliner sweetened with Woodruff in the keg (very sweet & sour), A barrel condition Saison fermented with just about every bug that Wyeast makes and many Irish Reds, Stouts, Barley Wines, Oktoberfests etc etc.

Plus I have a few treats for my BJCP students and some refreshers for the existing BJCP crew.

The amazing thing that this is a festival devoted to great beer, and because it is held in a city with the most breweries per capita in America there is no problems with crowd control. Despite everyone (including the servers) drinking as much as they like there are no problems.

The quote of the festival came tonight when I asked a guy which one of the 3 beers that I was pouring he would like he answered "don't care, I am only here to get pissed" so I poured him a Barley wine and wished him well with his endeavour.

Oh, and just to prove that it is not all perfect the weather is around 5 deg C with drizzly rain.

More .... later ....

Dave
 

bigfridge

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Festival is over - time for work.

I drove from Denver to Colorado Springs today - was drizzly and cold when I left, but now it is just cold. I am staying up in the mountains at 6,000 ft and my hire car tells me that it is 30 F when I pulled up - that can't be good.

I stopped for lunch at a little Pizza Cafe just off the highway. It had four beers on tap from a local craft brewery - Jarre Creek Ranch Brewery. I ordered a pizza and had a pint of their Oktoberfest special and an Amber Ale - both were good. When I was approaching the on-ramp to get back onto the highway I had to slow the car to allow a Coyote to cross the road.

BTW the I-25 interstate highway starts out in Denver as 6 lanes each way but then narrows to only 3/4 lanes each way when you get out into the country. The speed limit is 75 mph which I think translates to 130 Km/hr. Gas is around 80 cents a litre.

Stopped at the local gas station that sell all sort of gear for hunt'n 'n fish'n - but it also has a liquor store on the side which is open 8am-10pm 7 days. Picked up a 6 pack of Flying Dog Golden ale to whet my whistle tonight.

Just y'all tell me to stop when ya have heard enough.

:p


Dave
 

THE DRUNK ARAB

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I hope that coyote bites you on the bum Dave! <_<

Sounds like you are having fun mate :beerbang:

C&B
TDA
 

bigfridge

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I hope that coyote bites you on the bum Dave! <_<

C&B
TDA
No I managed to avoid that fate - but there are plenty of Squirrels around and I hear that they have rabies.

Would that be better ? :lol:

Dave
 

Trent

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Although I should be least the last (or one of the last) to be jealous, jealous I am. Sounds like you are having a blast, watch out now for the work part of it - you should have organised it the other way around! Looking forward to sharing a beer with ya when ya get home.
All the best
Trent
 

bigfridge

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Hi Y'all,

I'm back from Colorado all safe and well.

When compared with the first week there was not much beer action - just 3 or 4 new beers each day with dinner. :D

Here's some random photos:

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bigfridge

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Nearly there:

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Note: This stand had magazines, NOT beer hence no queues !
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