Well, you might think Day 2 would be just more of the same as Day 1 at the Great American Beer Festival. And at 30,000 feet, you may be right. Another day of sampling beers you never had before and likely never will again. Another day of elbowing through crowds of people who think walkways are great places to stand and yak, blocking everyone else, who they seem to not even acknowledge as existing in this world.
But you would be wrong.
Day 2 started out with a breakfast sponsored by the Boston Beer Company, aka Samuel Adams. Owner, founder, guru, mentor, sage, pundit Jim Koch greeted us with a brief history and status of the craft beer industry, and his company’s place in it. He noted that craft beer now makes up 8% of the total beer market and Sam Adams has finally reached 1%, “… after working my ass off for 30 years.” He then introduced us to Rebel Rouser, a new 8.4% ABV Double IPA they have added to the more than 60 different beer styles they make.
Sam Adams sponsors a Longshot program giving homebrewers a chance to have their homebrew made and distributed by the Boston Beer Company. Sam Adams also sponsors a mentoring program for breweries just getting started, now helping some 400+ breweries become more successful.
This year’s Longshot winners included Forestville, California resident Greg Rasmussen’s Robust Porter, Smithtown, New York resident Matthew Knott’s Classic Rauchbier and Samuel Adams employee John Marra’s Dunkelweiss. The three winners will now be able to share their homebrewed creations with craft beer lovers across the country when these winning brews are bottled and made available nationwide next spring as part of the 2015 Samuel Adams LongShot variety six-pack.
Then there was the media lunch with a ton of industry information that will appear in future blogs and stories in craft beer magazines in coming months. Finally we took a bus tour of three Denver breweries, Denver Beer Company, Diebolt Brewing and Jagged Mountain, guided by Denver beer writer Ed Sealover.
All this BEFORE the Friday night public session. Four more hours of scouring the craft beer landscape for brews by region or style, or pure randomness, based on the length of the line or appeal of the people pouring.
More coming soon – and more pictures. Come back. You know you want to.