Thursday, October 5, 2017

And It Hasn't Even Started Yet

Come to think of it, maybe I should just go up on Thursday from now on. You'd think, 10 years into my annual visits to the Great American Beer Festival, that I would have some clue by now on how to be prepared physically and mentally for the world's largest beer event. But sadly, I still feel like I have to participate in every event leading up to, during, and after GABF.

And so it was that I found myself in the sea of barely humans gathered in the parking lot of Falling Rock Tap House, where Melvin was hosting the IPA Throwdown, in which you throw down $40 for six 8 oz. pours from the list of 22 IPAs. The format differed from last year's free for all where you were waiting for 10+ minutes to get served and felt compelled to order 6 at a time. In the new format, you could only get one at a time poured into the glass that came with the admission fee. The new format allowed for shorter wait times but also made me feel like I had to drink them fast in case something else I wanted was about to run out. As it turns out, the only keg that kicked while I was still drinking was Other Half Double Dry Hopped Stacks on Stacks and I had gotten that one first. May as well go big. I got smart after the first couple of pours and started pouring them into plastic cups and going back for something else in order to compare and contrast the different beers. Yes, that meant drinking out of plastic cups, but comparing side by side was worth it. I recommend going to an event like this with at least one other person- that way you get to try many more samples, as long as that person isn't a selfish dick. I also ended up talking to guys from Great Heights Brewing out of Houston and shared some samples with them.

So, the list of beers I got to try:

Bissell Brothers The Substance: Looking forward to trying their beer for a long time. Tasted old school. Not impressed.

Cortez the Killer: Looked old school. Tasted new school. Perplexing like a blond stout but it was great.

Breakside What Rough Beast: Touted as PNW meets NE. Another really good one.

Cellarmaker Dank Williams: No haze here. Straight up dankness. Also good.

FieldworkPULP: One of the most talked about, from what I overheard. Loved.

Great Notion Juice Jr: Liked at first but had a strange aftertaste. Underripe.

Kane Mosaic Punch: Peaches and mangoes added during fermentation. It worked. Really good.

Lawson's Finest Mosaic IPA: Not Lawson's finest effort. Pass.

Modern Times Perfect Talon. Not perfect at all. Looked great, just too fruit heavy.

DDH Workers Are Going Home: I wanted to love it but I ended up dumping it.

The VeilIf You're Drinking This It's Too Late: One of the best. Back for seconds.

Other Half
DDH Stacks on Stacks DIPA: Also one of the top ones. Great beer.

WeldWerks Extra Extra Juicy Bits: takes the good Juicy Bits to immortal status. Possibly my favorite.

And the nightcap: I walked inside because I saw more than one person with a stout-like beer and thought, "Something good was tapped!" Just Fremont's Rusty Nail BA Imperial Stout. Just what I needed to end the night!

And so I sit here, a few hours before the first night of three sessions of the Great American Beer Festival. 800 breweries. 4000 beers. That's over 1,333 beers a night if I want to get to them all. Starting to come around now. Feeling alive. I'll let you know tomorrow how I did.

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