|Sean Knoll led us through four stages of making sour beers|
|Adam Avery, Tomme Arthur, and Sam Knolls|
|Chris Bauweraerts of Brasserie d' Achouff|
|The beer tasting portion of the festival|
I'm not sure how to proceed from here, because once the festival started I tried to take notes, I tried to be careful, I tried to pace myself but it still didn't take long until I was just sampling without notes, trying to enjoy each beer, and making fun conversation in between. I'll tell you some of my highlights and lowlights at this point:
|Sam Calgione of Dogfish Head pouring me a My Antonia Pilsner|
|Crazy Mountain Brewery sticking their IPA through a hop-infused French Press|
- Boston Beer - I got to sample the Sam Adams Utopias and a 1995 Triple Bock. Both beers were super thick and boozy, but definitely tasty and fun.
- Redstone Meadery had a 50/50 blend of their Black Raspberry Mead and New Belgium's La Folie. This was one of my favorites of the night. The sweet honey taste mellowed out the extreme sour wonderfully.
- Funkwerks - their beer stood out to me at GABF, and once again I thought they were a stand out. I hope we will soon see this new brewery at local Colorado Springs drinking establishments
- Beer Celebrities - I had beer poured to me by Sam Calagione, Tomme Arthur, and Greg Koch
- Altitude Brewery - Both the Cocoa Pumpkin beer and the Mammon stood out to me. The Mammon was a Black IPA fermented with California Ale and Belgian yeasts.
- Dogfish Head My Antonia "continually hopped Imperial pilsner" collaboration with Birra del Borgo in Italy
- Uinta Brewing from Salt Lake City made the Labyrinth Imperial Black Ale, which I thought was awesome.
- Friendliness - I met a lot of really interesting people at this festival. It seems like the way the room was organized, and the "resting" room outside, allowed for conversation in a way that doesn't always work out at other festivals.
- Sierra Nevada Oak Aged Life and Limb - I had the original Life and Limb a year ago and I don't know why they had to age it with such ridiculously strong oak flavors. The base Life and Limb was practically not even existent
- Kona's Tahitian Vanilla coffee stout aged in bourbon barrels. All I could taste was the bourbon, with some all too subtle coffee stout coming through
- Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers in General - After tasting Kona's bourbon barrel aged beer I tried a few others. I've noticed in the past, but even more so now, that a beer aged in bourbon barrels can be easily overpowered by the bourbon, and the wonderful beer that you wanted is now gone. I would like brewers to be more careful here.
The whole experience was pretty amazing. I've never been to a festival with so many extra components to it and I was very happy that those components were not sweeping generalized overviews, but rather they were in-depth looks into a brewery or category of beer. It was quite fun, will probably be a major highlight of my year, and competes with the Holiday Ale Fest in Portland, Oregon for my favorite festival.