Great American Beer Festival- Day One

Lucky for me, my flight was not delayed and I arrived in Denver on time.... to hit rush hour. By the time I reached the convention center, the members only entrance line must have been two blocks long! I will give credit to the event organizers, they really know how to move a line quickly. I was inside sampling beers within 20 minutes of the doors opening.

For this session, I tried to stay away from the stronger beers since I had to drive later that night. As far as IPAs, the standouts for me were Russian River Hopfather and Fat Heads Headhunter IPA. I also sought specialty beers and styles that I have never tried, such as the refreshing German style Gose from Portsmouth Brewing.

I finally sampled Triumph Brewing Jewish Rye after missing it several times at the brewpub, and it was outstanding. I don't know what brewing techniques were used to create it, but it tastes like a liquid artisan rye bread. Shorts Brewing was pouring their experimental brew Key Lime Pie, which was made with marshmallow, graham cracker, and lime. To be honest, it fell very short of matching the description.

Several outstanding coffee stouts were being poured. My favorites were Hopping Frog Cafe BORIS, Kuhnhenn Creme Brulee Java Stout, and Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout.

I did not have much time to venture in to the sour beers. Cascade Apricot Ale, Cascade Bourbonic Plaque, and New Belgium Imperial Berliner Style Weiss were the three standouts. A big disappointment was Sam Adams Kriek. It tasted artificial and was no where near the flavor or complexity of an authentic Kriek. As with Cherry Wheat and Cranberry Lambic, fruit beers are not their forte. I hope to try more sours during Saturday's session.

Today I am off to Fort Collins, Boulder, and Longmont for brewery tours and brewpubs.



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