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GABF brewers' diaries

Tomme Arthur

Denver - Sept. 25 (afternoon/evening)

Woke up this morning with a light breakfast and two rounds of judging to accomplish. I usually request the American Specialty Style Lagers and most often this category falls on Thursday morning. Our palates are most sensitive in the morning and lighter beers are judged then. This year I got American Premium Style Lagers, which is one class level below Specialty Lagers. We judged them right away which allowed me enough time to sneak in a nap before lunch and an afternoon flight of Barrel aged beers and two flights of Other Strong Ales and Lagers. The Barrel beers were great and the Other Strong Ales and Lagers had some great beers, but not as many as outstanding beers as I would have guessed.

Barely finished judging early enough to get changed up and over to the hall in time to set up before the doors opened at 5:30. As I said earlier, the first night on the floor brings out some serious energy and brewers, media and enthusiasts are all running around trying to find that next can't miss beer. We always bring very interesting beers and as such, we are a pretty popular booth. We usually get a booth at the end of a row to help with traffic flow. This year was no different and there were plenty of people wanting to taste our beer while I was setting up.

Tasted all five of our beers and was happy to announce that we were successful as all five beers being poured tasted great. This doesn't always happen and helps explain why sometimes beers aren't available even though the sign lists them at a brewery.

Spent some time working the booth, making sure our volunteer Don had everything under control. He was great and very enthusiastic. Training a volunteer about your beers is something that is terribly important if you want to leave the booth and ensure that all questions still get answered. I try not to leave for fear of missing an opportunity to talk to a patron, an old friend or other brewers but sometimes you need a beer. My favorite beer of the night was the Trappist Pale Ale from Southampton Brewing Co. Phil is an old friend and his beers are fantastic. This one is a winner for sure.

Spent some time at Falling Rock Thursday night playing bones (dominos) with the AOB girls Jessica, Alyssa and others, along with Ray Daniels, editor of The New Brewer and Zymurgy magazines. A great night of beers and drinking was most certainly had. Garrett Oliver sat in and for a while threatened to take us all down with his antics (I have the pictures to prove it).