Friday, October 11, 2013

Notes From GABF Thursday Session

Memo to the Brewers Association: don't ever go cheap on us and get rid of the bagpipers. They are as much of a mainstay as attendees in costumes, and much more welcome. As loud and crazy as the festival floor gets, people quiet down and make a path to watch the pipers come through.
Started off the evening with Duck Gooze, as did the 25 or so people lined up ahead of us and million behind us. Wasn't blown away but that often happens with a beer of its hype. Wish I could try it in a blind tasting.
Had a ticket to the Farm to Table Pavilion, where chefs pair dishes with beers. Fancy chefs (recognized a former Top Chef contestant), fancy beers, fancy food. Surly Darkness, Bruery White Chocolate, Cigar City Lacto Guava Grove, etc. Great beers, but I'm an unadventurous eater so the food is kind of lost on me. Chicken liver mousse and raw oysters make me queasy. The fried reuben cheese curd things were great though. And each table had a dessert as well. A nice addition to the fest for people with stronger stomachs than me.
Tried about 55 samples at the fest...that's about the usual for me. 1 oz. of beer goes a long way when so many of the beers are high in alcohol. Standouts were Almanac Pumpkin Barleywine, Alesmith Vietnamese Speedway Stout, Boneyard Hop Venom DIPA, Kuhnhenn Double Rice IPA, Captain Lawrence Rosso E Marrone, and Desthil Sour Strawberry. Award for most ambitious beer goes to Short's Pig Pen, "intensely hopped IPA aged in bourbon barrels with brettanomyces".
Best beer of the night was Three Floyds Permanent Funeral, I'm kind of sorry to say. Sorry, because one of the festival veteran and most popular breweries was ill-prepared to serve its fans. How do you run out of Zombie Dust by 7:30 at a festival that goes till 9:45??? And they were out of everything and their booth empty by around 9. I don't like the trend of breweries tapping certain beers at special times during the fest (Bourbon County Stout at 6, Bourbon County Coffee at 8, Parabola at 6:45, Chocolate Rain at 7:15), but maybe Three Floyds should follow those examples. Or bring more beer. And speaking of Chocolate Rain, The Bruery gets the award for longest line, as people must have started lining up for a taste of the beer 20 minutes before they started pouring, and there were probably 150 people in line.
The night ended with me following people who were following/stalking Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione, who was able to disappear during a diversion created by two guys peeing barely ten feet from the festival exit. Oh, how I love the GABF! Still two more sessions to go.

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