Great American Beer Festival- Day Three

After a good night of rest, my friend and I were dropped off in front of the convention center about 90 minutes prior to the AHA members Saturday session. Since I had time to kill standing in line, I carefully planned out my route to try the beers I missed on Thursday's session.

Once inside, I wasted no time following my route. I took a short break to watch the award ceremony for the Smoked beer category, because I was confident that the local Yazoo SUE would take a medal. Sure enough, I was right and they won a silver! Congrats to Linus and crew! Let's not forget Blackstone Brewery, who also received a Silver medal for the St Charles Porter.

There were so many excellent beers that I don't think I can mention them all, but I can give you the highlights. New Glarus is always a staple for fruit beers, but Rocky Mountain Brewery was a pleasant new discovery. Da Yoopers (cherry), Tathonha Blueberry Ale, and Eat A Peach were excellent fruit dessert beers. The Tahonha tasted like liquid blueberry pie!

Some respected beer aficionado friend recommended Bellingham based Chuckanut Brewery. I sampled the Helles and the Pilsener, and they were outstanding. These folks know how to make a good lager, and I don't say that very often.

For Imperial Stouts, Goose Island Coffee Bourbon County Stout did not disappoint. It had a thick and oily mouthfeel with intense flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, and mild coffee. I think my favorite in that category was the Fifty Fifty Imperial Stout, brewed in Truckee, CA. It was perfectly balanced and had a more sessionable mouthfeel- just the way I like it. It sort of reminded me of North Coast Old Rasputin.

My favorite hoppy beer of the session goes to Bear Republic Ryevalry, which ended up getting a medal. The oddity goes to Short's Spruce Pilsener. Think of a hoppy pilsener with tons of spruce needles, or what I referred to as "Christmas tree in a glass."

Before the session ended, I had to swing over to the Russian River booth to get my fix of Pliny The Elder and Supplication. We then decided to leave early to beat the crowds at Falling Rock Taphouse. Once there, we were happy to get full servings of beer. We chose Russian River RedemptionPliny the Elder, and Oskar Blues Barrel Aged Old Chub with Cherries. It was also a great place to socialize with members of the craft beer industry. I had a nice chat with an Avery Brewing rep and discussed distribution in Nashville. Brewers and staff from 21st Amendment and Inland Empire joined our table for beers and fun conversation. We skipped out on the Dr Bill tasting in the basement, because we had "palate fatigue" and our designated driver was en route.

 I had a great trip. I thank my awesome wife for holding down the fort and my good friend Shannon for providing a place to crash. I met many new beer aficionados and tried several outstanding beers. Anyone who is a lover of craft beer owes it to themselves to make a trip to this Festival. You won't regret it.




Doug Brumley said...

Great recap. Sounds like a fun trip. I've been lucky enough to have a few of the beers you mentioned but that Old Chub on cherries sounds like it could be amazing.

I'm planning to make my maiden GABF voyage next year, but I am going to the first-ever Beer Bloggers conference in Boulder in early Nov. Are you going to that? Dinners at Boulder Beer and Oskar Blues are part of it. Needless to say, very much looking forward to my own mini-GABF.

Smitty said...

Thanks Doug1 I will not be going to the bloggers conference since I was just in the area, but let me know how it goes. I am curious to see how this event turns out.