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)