This past weekend nearly 60,000 people packed into the Colorado Convention Center over the course of 4 sessions for the annual craft beer pilgrimage that is The Great American Beer Festival (aka GABF). Here’s my dispatches from the biggest beer festival in America….(READ MORE)
This week the Reinheitsgebot turns 500 years old. If you’ve ever been on ANY brewery tour, the Reinheistsgebot always comes up but most of us refer to it as the German Beer Purity Law. By this law, beer legally could be made only with 4 ingredients: Water, Barley and Hops (Yeast would be added later once it was understood). Back then, beer was actually safer to drink than water (maybe still is). In fact, way back around 1080 an Abbot by the name of Arnold of Soissons saved many would-be-plague victims by having them drink the beer he made instead of water (the water used for the beer would be boiled and the harmful pathogens would be killed) as a result many people that followed his instructions survived and he would later become Saint Arnold- patron saint of hop pickers and brewers (I also learned on a tour in Belgium that his statue is in every brewery in the country). Several years later in 1516, to make sure beer remained safe the Reinheitsgebot was adopted and any brewer that violated the purity law would be punished by being arrested and their beer confiscated and destroyed.
Today many of your favorite beers are made following this law. Pilsners, lagers, stouts, porters, bocks, ambers, IPAs, ect all use water, barley, hops and yeast. However, in this day and age innovation is the name of the game and you can only do so much with base grains and hop varieties. So this Saturday when this law becomes 500 years old, by all means have a glass of beer (most German beers strictly follow the Reinheitsgebot and are stellar) but also if you want to raise the devils horns and make Judas Priest proud and “Break the law” here’s a few to check out: (READ MORE)
Another year, another GABF (Great American Beer Festival) in the books and another taster cup added to the collection (my 4th year in a row!). Another tradition of mine when it comes to GABF is that after my mild hangover is subdued with sleep and a big breakfast, I like to go back and rate some of my favorite beers from the festival. This year was pretty cool because it so happened to work out with ticket buying that a lot of my friends had the same session. I enjoyed the member session quite a bit last year in its more intimate setting (and glass tasting glasses) but it was pretty fun to run into many friends, meeting up to plan attacks and then separating only to run into other people we knew for Saturday Night’s session. My number 1 goal this year was to stretch across the entire floor as I felt like I hung out in the Great Lakes region far too much last year and was already swaying by the time I started hitting the breweries of the southwest. I also stuck to my carefully planned list for the most part and I felt that it gave me a better experience. In addition I wasn’t too worried about pouring out the “meh” beers or being worried if I separated from my crew.
This year I wasn’t really feeling the hops. I’ve made strides in adapting to drinking hoppy beers in recent years. Especially, if we were to time travel and meet 2009 Brad, whom just survived his first Colorado Winter, after living in the desert meets plains landscape of Abilene, Texas for his first 24 years of existence. 2009 Brad was in the shallow end of craft beer and was dogpaddling to the deep end…actually that’s a pretty spot-on analogy because I’m absolute rubbish with swimming. Six years later, I’m proud to say that I’ve embraced the hops and drink IPAs quite regularly…still a shit swimmer though. However this year I drank only a few IPAs and focused largely on Sours and Barrel Aged Beers at the festival. It also would seem that this was the focus for several brewers as well, so I had lots to choose from. (CLICK FOR FULL RECAP)
Whether you like it or not, Autumn is here once again. While it may be a few more weeks before the leaves change colors and the air grows colder, if you visit your local beer store you’ll probably notice that the pumpkin beers are already starting to take up some prime real estate in the coolers and on a few tap walls as well. While I’m more of a fan of sunshine, flip-flops and nice biking weather, Autumn usually heralds the arrival of some of my favorite beers. In addition, being somewhat spoiled by living in Denver, One of America’s biggest beer cities, Autumn also brings the Great American Beer Festival (aka my personal “SuperBowl”). So it’s usually this time of year that my love for beer becomes somewhat annoying to my non-beer drinking friends as I gush about various breweries, beers, and tap takeovers leading up to the event.
I decided that since Autumn is once again upon us, that it’s time to do another Craft on Tap entry (apologies for not doing one for Spring/Summer, I was dealing with job things). I didn’t really get any correspondents this time around but maybe I’ll have a few for my Winter installment. To make this entry interesting I’ve added a new rule to this series: Your picks cannot be repeated if they showed up on a previous year’s picks that you have made. This keeps it fresh and more challenging. Here’s last year’s picks. So call this “Ultimate Autumn Six-Pack Vol. II” if you will. If you need a refresher here’s the other rules for this series:
- The beers have been tasted (there’s so much beer, so little time/body limitations to try them all…plus it’d be bullshit to rattle off beers that haven’t been tried first). So in other words “duh!”
- The beers can be found in stores (there’s plenty of breweries that are “on-tap only” that I’m fiercely loyal to, but unless you live near us, this list won’t help you out much, plus it isn’t designed to provoke a “I have better places to drink than you” pissing contest), so these can hopefully be found in your local stores as well.
- The beer is distributed to Colorado. That’s where I’m located currently. This stipulation also obviously mirrors stipulation number 1. There’s plenty that I tried at the Great American Beer Festival and wish that came this way (I’m looking at you 3 Floyds, Sun King, Cigar City, Jester King, Heavy Seas and Brooklyn Brewery!!) Needless to say, I’m sure there are possibly some blasphemous omissions from the following lists, but there’s also a very good chance that it hasn’t been tried or made available out here. Plus you can sound off below in the comments!
Without further adieu, here’s my picks for Autumn 2014 (FULL STORY)
You may be familiar with the name Four Loko. This is an 12% abv, 23oz alcoholic drink that allegedly gives you the effect of drinking 4 beers or glasses of wine or even 4 1/2 shots of vodka, but has enough of an energy kick that’s equal to 3 cups of coffee. Naturally this mix of uppers and downers made the FDA pretty angry and as a result the drink has been banned in several states, with others not wanting to even bother selling it. So naturally, I’ve decided to make Four Loko part of our random reviews.