Friday, October 7, 2016

GABF Thursday Session

Usually, when you're in bed by 11 pm after a GABF session, it's because you passed out. But I promised to take it easy, and, thanks to the breweries on the floor, it wasn't so hard to do.

You see, many of the breweries have adopted a practice that (I think) originated with Firestone Walker a few years ago, where they hold off on pouring their rarer beers until a certain time of evening. When Firestone Walker began doing it, it was with Parabola. I then noticed it at The Bruery, who had a certain time for Chocolate Rain. Avery also, pouring Tweak a one time, Rumpkin at another, and so on. It's become common practice, and I can understand the reasoning. Thousands of pours add up, even at one ounce at a time. But it's easy to lose track of the time when you're sampling, then you realize, "Oh shit! They're pouring XXX beer at such-and-such brewery at 7!" And it's in section O, and you're in section E now, and you have to trudge through the crowd, and you get there with ten minutes to spare, and there's already 100 people in line ahead of you. For a one ounce pour. Such is the modern craft beer world, right? But wait: now breweries are taking it to a new level by pouring rare beers on certain DAYS of the fest. Case in point Bottle Logic. This Anaheim, CA brewery makes one of the most sought after barrel aged Imperial Stouts in Fundamental Observation. And, tho their credit, they brought it to GABF. However, they are only pouring it on FRIDAY NIGHT at 7. That's it. Lucky enough to get tickets to the Thursday session? Sorry, pal!

Bashing the Bottle Logic pouring practices aside, they did bring (and pour!) one of the highlights of the fest for me, Stronger Than Fiction. A 14.3% barrel aged Strong Ale with coconut and coffee that had me going back for seconds and second seconds. Another highlight was Greeley, Colorado's Weldwerks and their Juicy Bits IPA. I was hoping for a showing from the hot New England breweries like Treehouse, Trillium, Hill Farmstead, or PA's Tired Hands, but none of them were at the fest. I guess when you're selling out of beer, there isn't a need to promote it more, but it would be nice to share with the rest of the country. I felt bad for the guy at the Cigar City booth, who didn't realize that the GABF app had Double Barrel Hunahpu listed as one of the beers they were pouring. I guess I was the first to ask when they would be pouring it, as it wasn't listed at their booth. He was dismayed when I showed him the listing, and walked off saying, "I need a captain here now to fix this!" Still isn't fixed in the app though. Poor guy must have been asked about that beer all night!
I love Columbus Brewing out of Ohio, but they didn't have any info about the beer they brought, and the volunteers were not any help. "And what is this beer?" "Oh this one? Uh, it's more pineapple than this other one." Well, thanks for that!

The NM breweries all seemed to draw a nice crowd, though it's a shame that we didn't have a brewers guild booth this year. I saw Taos Mesa with a decent line. Marble and Bosque also. La Cumbre represented well with an endcap booth, complete with La Cumbre label artist Chris McAfee there doing a live painting that would go to a lucky festival participant. An unlucky festival participant would have to let Chris crash in their room for the night.

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