GABF brewers' diaries
Denver - Sept. 26
Started with a light breakfast and off to judge Belgian Style Wit biers. This was a great morning. There are a lot of these beers done poorly but when they are done well they are a treat. The winning beers were all fantastic but in the end, the new Celis White brewed at Michigan Brewing Co. won out. Brooklyn Wit was the Silver medal beer. It sure is nice to see the Celis White back on top. For so long, it was the benchmark for American Wit.
Went to lunch with Mark Edelson of Iron Hill Restaurants on Friday. Nothing special to report except I did have the opportunity to sample the beers at the Rock Bottom in Dowtown Denver.
Got showered and changed dress before being picked up for our evening at New Belgium Brewing Co. This is an annual vintage tasting of beers and dinner that is hosted by Realbeer.com and New Belgium. This year the vertical tasting featured Chimay Grand Reserve and Thomas Hardy's Old Ale. This is a media event and it gives New Belgium an excuse to throw a great party and drink some great beers. This year they also set up three stations to showcase how beer can be so much more.
I was invited to be part of one of these stations working with Peter the brewmaster talking about New Belgium's efforts to elevate craft brewing sales to 10% of all domestic beer sold. Currently, we are only at 3-3.5%. A lofty goal indeed to reach 10%, but one they are committed to. I was asked to introduce this vision to the media audience explaining my role as a small brewpub brewer in the craft brewing community.
Peter and I decided it would be best for me to discuss our sharing of knowledge and the frienship that we have forged through this process. This friendship in the future may even allow for Peter to fly to San Diego and brew with me at my little pub. This cooperative spirit is what New Belgium is all about and the beer Peter discussed that night, Transatlantique Kriek, is part of this spirit. The beer is brewed on two continents with one half being made in Belgium and the other half being made right here in the USA. The base beer is made at the Boon brewery in Belgium before it ships to the United States, where it is blended with beer made at New Belgium.
This is a unique process and we were able to taste the intensely fruity cherry beer that was made in Belgium as well as the finished product that New Belgium has released as Transatlantique Kriek. Dinner followed with New Belgium beers being used in the cooking of the dishes. A short drive back to Denver found us at the post GABF bottle party where brewers are invited to come finish the beer left over from the judging. We always attend this event as Alaskan Brewing Co. sees fit to have smoked salmon and other treats flown down for the event.
We arrived a little late, and missed the salmon and learned that apparently the hotel staff saw fit to take all the bottles of malt liquor. This dissappointed me as we have a small group of brewers including Tom Nickel of Oggis, Eric Rose of Santa Barbara, myself, Jeff Bagby of Oggis and Pizza Port, as well as Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co. who sample all the malt liquors. My brother, Brian, got me started on this kick a few years back when he tried to take a whole box of leftover bottles and was stopped before the door.
Sadly, someone kept us from our Crazy Horse this year and I was distraught by the news. It is a rare pleasure to sample so many malt liquors in one place. My sadness quickly turned to joy when I realized a bunch of good beers were being delivered to my room by a great friend. When we arrived there was a party going on. Seems someone had gotten our room key and we were running late. Oh well, lots of great beer has a way of changing this. Had a couple of IPAs from Avery. Adam, Larry and Steve don't get enough credit for their beers they are fantastic. Loved the three I drank.