Quick Thoughts About the 2010 GABF and Ideas for Next Time

Beer People are Amazing – It has been said before, but it bears repeating. Beer lovers are just good people. They have a zest for life and they want to experience everything that can with the limited time we have on the planet.

Next time: Do more crowd-sourcing – Talk to the people in the beer line with you. What beers have they enjoyed? Use the friendliness and expertise around you to your advantage.

Me and (In All Likelihood Harassing) Ron Jeffries From Jolly Pumpkin

The GABF does not favor modest, well-crafted beers – Like in a big family, the loudest voice is the one that gets heard at the dinner table. The GABF is no different. The convention center is filled with dozens and dozens of well-crafted pale ales and German lagers, but they get overshadowed by double IPAs, Russian imperial stouts and sour ales.

Next time: Consciously seek out these less extreme beers – They take just as much artistry to make, they are a great way to reset your palate, and they are lower in alcohol, which will extend your tasting day.

You’ll Want to Make Every Beer Like Saboteur

Food and Water is a chore at GABF – Keeping hydrated is a common and smart tip. I didn’t have a problem with this one in that I’ve done some judging and I realize the importance of water and crackers between beers to get you ready for the next. Water was easy. Food was my big problem. I guess I was in a permanent state of fullness with the absurd amounts of water and beer I was drinking.  It was hard work eating bready meals, but if I hadn’t I would have been in serious trouble.

Next time: Plan out your meals as well as you did your bars – Palate fatigue can hit you in a variety of ways.  Falling Rock, Cheeky Monk, etc. are mandatory beer stops, but make sure you know which restaurants you want to hit, as well.  Make your meals worth looking for to.

Break up the monotony – Wandering around the hall and getting samples of beers you can’t get at home from breweries you haven’t heard of is amazing, but you can only do that for so many hours. Running into amazing people at the bars around town, too, is great, but it is good to mix some quality in with the quantity.

Next time: Try to find key events to attend inside and outside of the convention hall – Seek out a food demonstration from Sean Paxton, or sit down for a minute and listen to some of the speakers. My favorite event during the GABF was the Pints for Prostates Denver Rare Beer Tasting (followed closely by the Ladies of Craft Beer Beer4Boobs charity event). This was quality time, with the actual brewers (!?!) and access to some extraordinary and experimental beer.

Falling Rock – Busy Day and Night

There are (almost) too many breweries at GABF– The number of breweries that attend the GABF is over whelming. There are too many to see and try even if you attended all 4 sessions.

Next time: Have a game plan of which breweries to visit – Obviously you should avoid any beers that you can get at home.  And you should plan to stand in line for a few minutes for the rockstar breweries like Dogfish Head, Russian River, Lost Abbey, etc. But watch out for smaller breweries that might run out of their beers quickly (New Glarus, Shorts, etc.)

The New Glarus Line BEFORE the Session Began

Extra Credit:

Memorable (New to Me) Breweries – Shorts, Cascade, New Glarus, Cigar City, Copper Canyon, Odell, Boulevard and Alaskan.

Memorable (New to Me) Beers – Many of my memorable beers were from the Pints for Prostates tasting. Brooklyn’s Reinschweinsgebot, Avery Quinquepartie, Sam Adam’s Kosmic Mother Funk, Upstream’s Farmhouse Surprise, Cascade Noyeaux Sour Ale, Cigar City White Oak-Aged Jai Alai IPA, Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord, and many others. In the Convention Center, New Belgium’s Eric’s Ale and Imperial Berliner Weisse, New Glarus’ Raspberry Tart and Moon Man, Odell’s Saboteur and DeConstruction, Boulevard’s Two Jokers Double-Wit, Flossmoor’s Pullman Brown, Shorts’ Key Lime Pie and Anniversary Ale, and a bunch of other beers I’m embarrassed to be forgetting right now.

Proud to be an “Amercian”


4 Responses to “Quick Thoughts About the 2010 GABF and Ideas for Next Time”

  • Robert French Says:

    I concure with many of your thoughts. Within walking distance to GABF there are so many great places to eat. Fresh Craft, Eucild Hall and Snooze to name a few. I made it a point to have at least one great meal in Denver everyday. As for pestering a brewer, I did that too. Sorry Vinnie from Russian River and Todd from Copper Canyon, but I could not help myself. I do have a few regrets for things I missed, but I will be back next year with a better plan of attack.

  • BarlowBrewing Says:

    Ha! I gave the Spanish Inquisition to Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn over his Reinschweinsgebot bacon beer (I’m still not completely clear on the science of fat washing) and Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin about his barrels. Apologies to both.

    And, yes, @BeerTodd from Copper Canyon, if you know him from Twitter, was just as amazing and cool as you’d expect.

  • Billy Broas Says:

    Great tips. As a first time GABFer (with many more in future), I need to have more of a plan for what beers/breweries to try. There’s just too many to wing it.

  • Clay Says:

    Looks like it was a blast.

Leave a Reply