Archives for posts with tag: gabf pro-am competition

During the week of GABF, restaurants and breweries around the city of Denver host other events outside of the festival. We definitely wanted to hit up some of these so prior to our trip, Nick, Kenneth, and I had a Google hangout to put together a tentative itinerary. And surprisingly, we managed to make it to most of the events we had scheduled.

Our first stop on Friday was Osteria Marco, a trendy Italian restaurant in Larimer Square, that had partnered with Mountain Sun Brewery for a tap takeover. Unfortunately, a couple of the beers  we wanted to have had already kicked and they were waiting on the brewery to deliver more kegs. I ended up having the Vagabond IPA, a tasty American-style IPA, and the guys had the Saison de la Strega, an interesting black saison brewed with basil. Although the beer was good, the food at Osteria Marco is what really blew us away — the menu starts with their house made and imported formaggi and salumi, so you know it’s going to be good! We ended up ordering calamari, a chef’s assortment of cheeses, and a prosciutto pizza topped with arugula, to split among the three of us. It was all molto delizioso, but the calamari was probably the best I’ve ever had — not too fried, topped with greens, and a pepper vinaigrette that gave it just the right amount of spicy.

osteria marco

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Larimer Square

Our next stop was Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing. Since we had already eaten, we popped in for a couple drinks before heading to our next destination. I was eager to try their Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, but unfortunately, it was tapped out. So instead, I ordered samplers of their Colorojo Imperial Red Ale, Patty’s Chile Beer, and Mile HIPA. After having my first chile beer last summer, I’ll almost always try it if one’s on the menu. It smelled more peppery than it actually tasted, but it was good.

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My three beer flight

The Anderson Valley Rare Tapping at Falling Rock Taphouse was next on the itinerary and I can see why so many people love that place — with 200+ beers on tap and in bottles, who wouldn’t? Beer list aside, the atmosphere was just great. There’s a nice, large outside patio and when you walk inside, you’re greeted with walls lined with nothing but beer bottles and tap handles. Rare beers consumed here were the Chardonnay barrel-aged Rosy Barl Sour Ale with raspberries and the Horse Tongue Wheat, a Belgian wheat aged in white wine barrels.

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Taps on taps on taps

"99 bottles of beer on the wall..."

“99 bottles of beer on the wall…”

After our day of bar/restaurant hopping, it was finally time for the second night of GABF. Once again, Nick entered early while Kenneth and I shuffled in with the rest of the herd. Even though we had just been there the night before, the shock and awe was still there. We took a more leisurely approach to this night, but this was also the night that Nick’s “Extracurricular Hoptivity” was being served so that was the first section we visited. Even though this version wasn’t the same (read: different hops and not dry-hopped) as the original recipe , it was still exciting to see it being served at the country’s largest beer fest and Nick’s name in the festival program.

"Extracurricular Hoptivity" ; Fal Allen and Kenneth

“Extracurricular Hoptivity” ; Fal Allen and Kenneth

The second highlight of the night came when we visited the Anderson Valley booth. The week before GABF, Kenneth attended Elysian Brewing’s 9th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival where he was able to meet Dick Cantwell, Elysian head brewer and co-author of Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes. Kenneth had the book with him for just that occasion and he was able to get Dick’s signature. Why am I telling you all this? Well, Anderson Valley’s brewmaster, Fal Allen, is the co-author of Barley Wine and Kenneth brought the book with him again in hopes of seeing Fal and getting him to sign the book also. And what do you know! Fal was at his booth and Kenneth was able to have a nice a chat with him and get his signature and a picture with him.

Day 3 is coming tomorrow — cheers!

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Two words to describe America’s largest beer festival: amazing and overwhelming.

Where do I even begin?

As you know, Nick won the local pro-am competition through Ghost River/Boscos and that is what took us to Denver last week to experience the awesomeness that is the Great American Beer Festival. Nick’s best friend and brewing buddy from college, Kenneth, was able to fly in from Seattle for the fest, so after meeting up with him at the airport Thursday morning, we immediately hopped on a bus to the first brewery on our list.

After navigating Denver’s public transit and Google maps, we finally made it to Copper Kettle. They were having a barrel-aged tap takeover and Nick had read about their award-winning Mexican Chocolate Stout, so we definitely couldn’t pass them up. It’s a smaller brewery/taproom, but they certainly weren’t lacking on beer variety. The bartender was also very friendly and super knowledgeable. The guys choose the tap takeover flight which included a Cabernet Sauvignon Saison, Port Barrel Belgian Dark Strong, Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout, Bourbon Barrel Double IPA, and Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. I opted for a traditional flight which included their Mexican Chocolate Stout, Black IPA, Tha Hoppa, Czech Pilsner, and Bavarian Helles. All were delicious, but my favorites were by far the Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout and the Mexican Chocolate Stout.

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Copper Kettle Barrel-Aged Flight

Kenneth & Nick

Kenneth and Nick

We checked into the hotel after Copper Kettle, freshened up, then headed to the Denver Convention Center for the first night of GABF. Nick was issued a brewer’s pass and was able to enter the fest early through his special entrance, so Kenneth and I were left to wait in line with the rest of the minions ;) Although the line wrapped all around the building, once the doors opened it was a steady moving line and we were in the building, wristband on, and tasting cup in hand within 15 minutes.

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Ghost River Brewery Rep ; 2013 GABF Tasting Cup

At this point, I’m pretty sure we hallucinated. Picture this:  about 25 different sections, with each section containing at least 100 beers. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt and any game plan we had come up with about what beers we wanted to try was immediately thrown out the window. Instead, we went section-to-section on one side of an aisle and then repeated on the next side. Also, kudos to anyone who was able to keep track of their tastings with the GABF app — between reading beer descriptions, chatting with brewery reps, taking pictures, and of course, drinking, there was no way that was happening. I remember all the breweries I visited and since the beer list is divided up by brewery, I can pretty much figure out what I did or did not have. With that being said, I vividly remember sampling beers at Trinity Brewing because their sour beers were excellent and sours are few and far between in Memphis. Another excellent I tried this night was ‘the dissident,’ a nice tart brown, from Deschutes Brewery.

Deschutes Brewery tap handles

Deschutes Brewery tap handles

Look at all that sweet lacing!

Look at all that sweet lacing!

We were also able to track down John Palmer, well-known homebrewer and author of brewing books like How to BrewBrewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew, and most recently, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers. Considering the guys eagerly awaited their pre-ordered copy of Water earlier this month, I’d say they were pretty excited to meet him. Fortunately, we caught him during some down time and he was able to chat with us for a little bit.

Kenneth, John Palmer, and Nick

Kenneth, John Palmer, and Nick

Stay tuned for GABF, Part 2 tomorrow — cheers!

I mentioned in an earlier post that Nick entered two beers for this year’s Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. Well, today he was declared the winner of our local competition and I couldn’t be happier/more excited for him! You can read about the details of his win over at local beer blog, FuzzyBrew, as well as read the details of last year’s winner’s experience.

This is the first time Nick’s won something for his homebrew, so needless to say, he’s very excited about what’s to come. I’m equally as excited for him and I will be there at Boscos to document the big brew day which will be quite a change from our little backyard brew sessions. I also can’t wait to see ‘Extracurricular Hoptivity‘ on the Boscos menu and order it from the bar! And lastly, I’m looking forward to accompanying Nick to the GABF in October — especially since we didn’t think we’d make it to that festival until we moved that way!

gabfDespite the pouring down rain last night, Nick and I were determined to make it to the monthly Bluff City Brewers meeting. Nick had two beers to enter for the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, and I wanted to go for the discussion about making your own wine (yes, this will be happening in the near future!) For those unfamiliar with the Pro-Am Competition, it’s the chance for homebrewers to have their beer brewed at a commercial brewery and have their beer served at the GABF!  The rules for homebrewers in this competition are as follows (as listed on the GABF website):

  1. The homebrewer entrant or entrants must be members of the AHA by the time the brewery registers the entry in the GABF Pro-Am competition (June 27, 2012), as well as when the Pro-Am entry is judged (October 2012). All brewery entrants must be members of the Brewers Association.
  2. Qualifying homebrew competitions may be, but are not required to be American Homebrewers Association (AHA)/Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned homebrew competitions held on or after January 1, 2011 and may use AHA/BJCP categories, as defined by the BJCP 2008 Style Guidelines for their entries, excluding those restricted by the competition. See our Events Calendar for a calendar of up-coming AHA/BJCP sanctioned competitions or BJCP to register a competition.
  3. Competitions must be timed to give the brewery adequate time to brew the beer to be ready for entry to the GABF.
  4. The nature of the competition is entirely up to the brewery, they may choose to work with an existing competition or create their own. Breweries may restrict the styles of the competition to styles they can reasonably brew.
  5. AHA membership of all homebrewer entrants will be verified by the AHA. AHA membership must be current at the time the brewery enters the GABF competition, and also at the time of the GABF judging.
  6. The homebrewer brewing their recipe with the professional brewery CANNOT be, or have ever been, an employee of that brewery or on the brewing staff at any brewery.
  7. All entrants, both professional and amateur brewers, must sign a Licensing Agreement prior to the submission of entries to the GABF. The Licensing Agreement limits and protects the way the GABF trademark is used.
  8. No more than one entry per brewery will be accepted in the GABF Pro-Am Competition. Individual AHA members may be associated with no more than one entry submitted into the GABF Pro-Am Competition judging at the GABF.
  9. GABF Pro-Am entries submitted by breweries will compete in a best-of-show style judging, during the regular GABF judging. The GABF Style Guidelines and GABF judge panel will be used for the judging. Entering breweries must provide the appropriate GABF category name and number along with any requested supplemental information for the entry to be judged correctly. Entries that do not include this information will not be accepted.
  10. Judges will determine the top three entries in the GABF Pro-Am Competition, which will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze GABF Pro-Am Competition medals during the GABF awards ceremony, held October 13, 2012. Medals will be issued to both the winning brewery and the winning homebrewer.

The winner from our club will get to brew his beer at Bosco’s with the head brewer, as well as have his beer served at Bsoco’s for a short time — how exciting is that?! Nick has entered his American IPA and breakfast stout, so we will see what our local judge thinks. Fingers crossed, y’all!

[Also, judging for the division of the AHA National Homebrew Competition that Nick entered starts today!]