(FRIDAY, Denver.) Breweries visited : 57  Beer tasted : 114 Root Beer : 3 Grape Soda : 1 Mood: relaxed and underachieving
What do you


GABF : Friday Night, Now! With 20% More Frat!

Highlights from last night's session

(FRIDAY, Denver.) Breweries visited: 57  Beer tasted: 114 Root Beer: 3 Grape Soda: 1 Mood: relaxed and underachieving
What do you suppose this thing is? No, it's not a giant catheter allowing you to go Around the Festival Without a Whiz. It's a contraption to help you homebrew. Whatever there, Phineas Fogg.

Things went a little smoother last night once I realized I could get rock star treatment, skipping lines to go behind the pouring tables. Thanks to Jeff Sparrow of American Brewer for that little tidbit. I spent more time shooting the poo about beer, with brewers from different regions in the country, meeting some awfully nice people all along the way. And I'm done tasting IPAs unless I'm told they're exceptional. They just fatigue my palate, and I don't really care about them anyway.

I sat in on the Extreme! Brewing! talk in the studio last night. Extremely un-enlightening. How can you have three of the biggest names in craft on stage (Tomme Arthur, Vinnie Cilurzo, Sam Calagione) and lob such wuss questions?? The interviewer reminded me of that guy from KCTS Cooks! Not exactly a tool, just a bumbler. Vinnie of Russian River Brewing started it off as best he could, when asked why he makes such "wacky beer." (Yes, interview dude said wacky.) "Because I like to drink it myself," Vinnie said. Duh. Sam Calagione was there, getting his highly quotable licks in (He's everywhere, every party, every event. Sam, take a nap.)

But we did learn Dogfish Head is trying to create an alcoholic chocolate beverage, based on this obscure area for chocolate the Aztecs used to fight over, naturally. Sam will use the same archaeologist that helped with Chateau Jiahu. Russian River, which focused on barrel aging, is flirting with a beer blended with black currents and aged in all cabernet sauvignon barrels.

Afterwards, I headed to the Lost Abbey booth. Do you think Tomme Arthur thinks I'm stalking him? Ah, who cares. It's his fault Lost Abbey beers are perfection. He had a secret stash of the very last bits of Cable Car Ale behind the booth (it had run out fast). This was one of the times I heard, "Michael would be proud" from a Brit judge. Cable Car is a beer he brewed for the Toronado 20th anniversary and is a blend of three barrels from the brewery, one being Red Barn. People were calling it a Flemish sour ale, but... It just wasn't anywhere near that simple. Incredible.

I tasted entirely on recommendations last night. I have to thank Jeff Sparrow for pointing out that Rock Bottom Chicago should be an exception to my no corps rule. It was. Their A Mash Made in Heaven was a slightly sour saison style whose flavor stuck with me. Jeff also recommended Chicago's Piece Brewery, and their <eye roll>Camel-Toe Egyptian Ale</eye roll> was one of my favs last night. He also told me I couldn't miss Flossmoor Station Brewing Company, which I had passed on because Homewood-Flossmoor always treated my high school like shit. Their Killer Kowalski Baltic porter was outrageous, another beer with huge buzz at GABF. I will remember every beer on that table, might even truck out to the brewpub next time I'm home.

Jim Mitchell of Rocky Mountain Brewing News also gave me some great recommendations. He turned me on to Nodding Head (Philly, PA), Backcountry Brewery (Frisco, CO), and Southampton Public House (Long Island, NY). Backcountry's Maybock was one of the most correct I've tasted so far, and I loved Nodding Head's distinct molasses finish on their Wee Heavier, and Backcountry's beer is all solid.

Both men said to not miss Fifty Fifty (Truckee, CA) and were very approving that I had found it on my own. As a girl, I know I get special treatment, but not in the way you'd think. I'm getting the vibe that people are excited to see more women taking an interest in the beer business. Not one person has talked down to me. That's huge.  You have no idea. Do you know how often I get talked down to, being a young female in the wine biz? And have you noticed I manage to work a dig on wine into every GABF post so far?...Huh, I hadn't.

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