Thursday, September 24, 2009

GABF Day One

I only have one word to describe my first day at the Great American Beer Festival 'overwhelming' no; 'audacious', wait, no, it's more like 'scary big'. I walked into what can only be described as pandemonium or just shy of chaos after picking up my press pass and "swag bag". Entering was effortless after getting my press pass, I got into the auditorium through special press pass access doors which avoided the ginormous general admission line that snaked from the front door and around the block. At first, I took in the vastness of the festival. Half a dozen endless lines of back to back beer booths that ran the length of a football field filled the convention center.

Soon, a mob of thirsty beer enthusiast came rushing in and fill the arena to capacity. Pretzel necklaces hung neatly from their parched throats. As the crowd pressed past I managed to sample some beers as I spun in circles, dizzy from the vast prospects that surrounded me. A chance to partake in specialty beers from breweries located all over the U.S. Most I would not get to try on the west coast. But I wanted to pace myself. This first day was for me, about taking in the feel of the event and gaining some equilibrium, get a 'lay of the land' so to speak, and that is what I did. I got a feel for where I want to focus my tastings and what not to spend a lot of energy with tomorrow. I want to target the East coast beers and compare their take on hop flavor compared to what I'm used to in the West.

In the mean time, I tasted my way around the 'Pro-am' table which was serving beers developed by homebrewers and brewed by professionals and landed on a Creme Ale that I judged as the best of the bunch. We'll see who takes first place later on when the actual judges give their opinion.

Later in the evening I ran up the street to the Marriott City Center to see what was happening with KROK (Keg Ran Out Club), the local homebrew club that puts on (this is their 15th year) an educational event in concert with the GABF and who's contributions benefit the Childrens Hospital of Denver. I sampled some homebrew and listened to the guest speaker Michelob brewmaster Adam Goodson.

I ended the evening just on time to miss my shuttle ride back to the Ramada but felt no pain and caught a cab instead. Although I will say that the shuttle driver for Ramada does have an attitude problem, or is just sad/angry and expresses it on her hapless fares. Anyway, I'm writing this post from the Irish pub across the street from my hotel and have to say that they are taking good care of me by filling my thirst and lubricating my rusty writing abilities with Guinness.

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