Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some More GABF- Thursday

No, this isn't my thrown-up aftermath of a night of Pumpkin beers at Falling Rock. I actually felt pretty good for once after a Brewers Gathering/night of drinking special releases. This is a mishmash of Middle Eastern style food at a regional restaurant called Garbanzos, located in the Denver Highlands area. We took a cab over to the area since we didn't rent a car this year. Garbanzos is conveniently located near Mondo Vino, a great little beer and wine shop. We stopped in just for a "look around", since we weren't checking bags on our flight we weren't planning on buying any beer. But damn...They had the new Barrel Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and Avery Immitus Sour for sale- and the BA Yeti was only $30 a bottle. Glad that Garbanzos plate was only $7 bucks! Oh, and they were also selling beer from Short's, a small brewery out of Michigan that was only distributing their beers in Denver during GABF. Had to pick up some Dogfish Head Punkin too.

So with two bags full of beer, what would be a better idea than walking the 3.5 miles back to our hotel? Upon reflection- anything. I'm surprised I wanted anything more to do with beer that day, but the first session of GABF was starting at 5:30, and I had a job to do. And after seeing all the volunteers in this one section ready to pour for the soon to enter thousands, I was ready to start tasting! We camped out at Kern River for the initial tasting, where they were pouring their Citra DIPA, a beer that was bottled for the first time this year and sold out in many stores the day of the release. We moved on to Cigar City, who had thoughtfully brought Hunahpu Imperial Stout. Then Pizza Port for Pseudo IPA, last year's Gold medal winner. Ithaca Brute Sour. Jackie O's Oil of Aphrodite...wait.
I said I was going to go slower this year. I needed a break.

And this was just the distraction I needed: the Farm to Table Pavilion, a ticket-only affair in the convention center, where chefs were paired locally-sourced foods with world class beers. The foods were a little too sophisticated for me, though. I know people get weak in the knees over duck confit and pork bellies and raw oysters and whatnot, and I know the chefs are very talented and the food looked great- but I was happy just sampling the "beer" part of the pairings: Three Floyds Moloko, Nebraska Apricot, Allagash Black, Real Ale 15th Anniversary...
So much for going slow. Next year I'll take an intermezzo of pizza, please. I've got no class.

Knowing that we still had three more GABF sessions to work our way through, we moved on to Falling Rock for a nightcap. I was sooo happy to see that Falling Rock finally was using the parking lot out front to serve beer from a trailer lended to them by Left Hand Brewing. Here you see them setting up for the weekend. The trailer allowed for more people to be let in and at the same time eased the crush of people at the bar. The trailer served 12 taps with choices like 512 Pecan Porter and Pliny the Elder. We didn't get any beer from the trailer that night; instead we drank vintage Full Sail Barleywines, a 1998 Old Boilermaker (Barleywine aged in bourbon barrels) and older than dirt 1995 Old Boardhead Barleywine. The 98 was the clear winner, as I find I am becoming a sucker for any beer aged in liquor barrels. I don't even have a clue what I paid for the beers; I just hear that they are being tapped and I say, "Yes, please".
So after only about thirty samples at the first night of GABF and a couple beers at Falling Rock, we ended our Thursday night in Denver. Friday was going to be a day full of drinking, and I knew I would need my full 13 hours of sleep.

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