It’s Friday. Day #2 of GABF. For some, it will be night number two of fun and merriment. For others it is a day of rest and exploration at the many fine brewpubs in the Denver area. Some venture further out – to Boulder, Fort Collins, and other homes of great Colorado breweries. If the Rockies were still in the playoff hunt as they were a couple years ago, it is a good day to take in a baseball game, or a bus trip into the great Rocky Mountains to commune with nature. Some – gasp – use Friday to simply go shopping (shudder).
This is a three day shindig – and the AHA Members session on Saturday morning is perhaps the most pleasant of the four. Award winners are announced for gold, silver and bronze medals in 84 different beer style categories. Saturday evening’s session is popular with people who can’t get time off from work or are meeting up with out of town friends. Some brewers save some styles for the last session. Others may have only limited supplies on hand.
9:00 AM Time for breakfast. Sam’s #3 here I come. Oops! It’s packed and 20 people waiting outside on a chilly Denver sidewalk. Like an oasis in the desert, I see a sign. STARBUCKS! In I go and now I have a steady internet connection I could not seem to get in my hotel room. But that is another story – places NOT to stay in Denver.
10:00 PM – Sam Adams Luncheon Event Honoring Jack McAuliffe
Brewers and the media were invited to a luncheon hosted by Samuel Adams and the Boston Beer company honoring Jack McAuliffe, a pioneer of craft brewing and founder of The New Albion Brewing Company back in 1976. Sam Adams is now producing McAuliffe’s original New Albion Ale, some 30 years after its last production, using the original recipe – and the original yeast, which has been preserved at the University of California since 1977. Guests were given a bottle of the new brew to sample at their leisure.
12:00 PM – Lunch at Marlowe’s
Since I was already at Marlowe’s for the Sam Adams event, I pulled up a stool at the bar and ordered a pint of Odell’s Cutthroat Porter on nitro. I felt like eating something light, so I ordered the Fliet Mignon salad. Both were delightful.
2:00 PM – I wandered up 16th Ave on the free shuttle and decided to see how the crowds at Falling Rock, Wynkoop, Breckenridge and Great Divide were doing. Very well as it turned out with long lines and full tables at each place. These are four of the most popular pubs in the Coors Field neighborhood. Since the Rockies are done for the season, I wasn’t expecting to see much of a crowd but oh was I wrong. Brewers and GABFers were out in force. The line to get in at Wynkoop was halfway up the street, so I just kept walking.
Breckenridge Brewery is probably my favorite place to go and they sported a nice remodel of their front area. i enjoyed a pint of their Vanilla Porter while working on my blog and chatting with the folks from Weasel Boy Brewing. I told them I really wanted a shirt. They said I would have to come to Zanesville, Ohio to get one. They don’t sell them online and would lose money selling them at the GABF store.
Next on the walking tour was Great Divide Brewing Company. It seems every year I go they have doubled capacity. Last year they also expanded seating in their taproom. This year they added – well just look at the pictures – a humongous number of brew tanks – and seating – and it was STILL jam packed.
4:00 PM I headed back to the hotel to work on the blog and change clothes for tonight’s round two of GABF and charge up the batteries on my equipment. Stay tuned for more updates as time – and a decent, reliable network connection – permits.I will be attending the session this evening, having scouted out a few “wish list” beers that I passed on last night.
5:300 PM The second evening of GABF was much like the first; long lines cuing up well in advance of the scheduled opening time, joyous revelers storming the stairs with the drone of Scotland the Brave from the HIghland pipe band.
The crowd enjoyed their tastes from the 2,700 choices and generally behaved themselves.
Photography and content by Bob Shoemaker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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