The Great American Beer Festival

Today we have a guest writer who has sent us in a nice piece on the art that is, beer.  The article is in response to a previously written article on J Norman Post.  Enjoy the feud:

The author starts off with “1. Beer gets boring”

He continues, “Most of my friends are beer drinkers.  I like beer okay.  It’s cheap, convenient and it satisfies most guests.  It works for the beach or the ballgame.  Still, it’s needlessly filling, overly carbonated and usually bland.  Even the less bland brews are overpriced and possess names that appeal to the lowest common denominator.  No self-respecting gentleman should purchase Triple X Ale or Large-Breasted Blonde (get it?).  There must be a better way to expand our horizons!”

Well my friend, have you ever heard of GABF?

The GABF is less than 2 weeks away!   What is the GABF you ask?  It is the Great American Beer Festival http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com, which is held in Denver Colorado over 3 days every year in late September or early October. This year’s GABF is October 11-13, which is already sold out.  You may be able to get tickets on CraigsList still.

The GABF consists of 4 tasting sessions Thursday Night, Friday Night, Saturday Afternoon, and Saturday Night, as well as a Brewers competition of 84 categories of beer styles and sub styles click here http://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com/the-competition/beer-styles/ to view all of the styles that will be judged at this year’s competition.

Yes, 84 Styles of Beer – that doesn’t sound too boring to me, and if I counted right there are over 80 total sub styles.  These beers are Ales, Lagers or Hybrid/Mixed styles.  If the author of the previous post only drinks light macro lagers such as Budweiser, or Labatt then I can say yes, those beers are boring, but my money is on he is a Michelob Ultra kind of guy.

With so many vastly different styles of beer how is one neophyte going to learn what styles he likes, and what are just too boring?  I would suggest going to the Mecca of all beer festivals, the GABF.  These you can sample as many of these beers as your heart desires for the cost of one ticket to enter the festival.

A Light American Wheat beer certainly is different than a Pumpkin beer (which is one of the nice seasonal varieties that is out this time of year).  A Bamberg-Style Rauchbier will certainly keep your taste buds from getting bored, just as a Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale will be like nothing most Bud drinkers will have ever tasted.  There are so many different and exciting styles of beer there is just no way you can get bored of trying them all.

There are now over 2000 craft breweries in the United States and most of them make at least 10 different styles over the course of a year.  There are popular styles like IPA that many Breweries make, and each taste a little different.  You could spend a lifetime trying each style and learning the subtle differences from one brewer’s version to another.

Where do you start on this amazing adventure of beer?  I would start at a beer fest, and why not start at the largest the GABF!

So you been to a beer festival or two in your local town, why would you want to travel all the way to Denver to go to another festival?  My answer to that is why would you want to go see a Stanley Cup Game, or the Super Bowl?  The GABF is the biggest event in the USA.  With over 2,200 beers to sample at the GABF, that is a lot more than your local Brew Fest that might have 30-40 breweries with 2-3 beers each, so maybe you will sample up to 120 different beers at a local beer event vs. 2,200.  There are a lot of breweries you may have never heard of that make amazing beers but they have limited distribution, so they might not be available in your market – but you can try them at the GABF.

Now you are in Denver what else is there to do?  Well Denver is one of the hotbeds for Craft Beer, you could tour many of the local breweries, one of my favorite breweries is a short drive down to Ft. Collins, CO.  The New Belgium Brewery http://www.newbelgium.com is a fantastic Breweries that offers tours and their beer is not available in my home town of Buffalo, NY – so I try to drink it whenever I see it if I am traveling.

You can also visit the Estes Park in Colorado, and climb to the peak at 12,005 feet above sea level.

Once you get there – have a beer – you worked hard for it!

If walking to the peak is not your style stay in town that holds an Elk festival around the same time as GAFB.  The Elk come down out of the mountains and invade the town; it is a sight to see.

Can’t make it to the GABF then try to make it out to one of the “Local Beer Weeks” across the country.  These events are designed to promote your local brewery as well as bars and restaurants that offer good selections of craft beers.

September 21-29 – Louisville Craft Beer Week  http://louisvillecraftbeerweek.blogspot.com/

October 3-7 Yakama Beer Week http://www.facebook.com/events/165190443536220/

October 11-21 Baltimore Beer Week http://www.baltimorebeerweek.com/

October 13-23 Detroit Beer Week http://www.detbeerweek.com/

October 26- November 4 Buffalo Beer Week http://buffalobeerweek.com/

November 2-11 San Diego Beer Week http://sdbw.org/

November 10-17 Dallas Beer Week, http://dallasbeerweek.com/

November 10-17Houston Beer Week http://houstonbeerweek.com/

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One thought on “The Great American Beer Festival

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