Winter is coming. Snow and even tornados in the forecast for today and Saturday but Thursday was beautiful in Denver, crisp and fall-like, which we don’t see in Los Angeles.
And the Southland was representing at the Great American Beer Festival. Patrick Rue and The Bruery folk were at Great Divide Brewing, as was Martin Svab, who was coming off a successful BAM Fest. Great Divide is my new traditional first beer stop in Denver and it did not disappoint. They have expanded their tap room since my first visit to accommodate the increased traffic that comes with the festival and their Fresh Hop ale was a welcome pint for the first beer in Denver after getting off the plane at Denver International.
Brian Lenzo from Blue Palms and Jimmy Smith from Far Bar were on the flight with me and also in attendance at many festival stops. Who knows what beers they may come back with? I also was one booth over from Ryan Sweeney and the Surly Goat, Verdugo, Little Bear crew at the new LoDo gastropub Freshcraft.
The main event on the calendar was the opening session of GABF. 580 breweries and a staggering amount of beers on hand. Over 2,500 beers pouring and untold tons of ice to keep them cold. In this session, I sampled new brews from Alabama, Michigan and North Carolina while also delving into offerings from the local breweries. All told, I sampled 17 new beers before calling it a night.
Funkwerks and Crooked Stave are getting a lot of attention here but Dry Dock, Denver Beer and numerous others make for a healthy and growing beer scene. More on that in a later post.
And I also snuck in a trip to the governor’s brewery, Wynkoop’s, too! And speaking of the governor and former Mayor of Denver, he brought along Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack to the festival. And according to Governor Hickenlooper, the secretary was blown away by the output of America’s breweries.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.
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