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Dec 18, 2014

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GABF brewers' diaries

Brian Dunn

Great Divide Brewing - Sept. 29

Another GABF ... lots of great beer and lots of fun. The good news for us is that Hibernation Ale won a Silver medal in the Strong Ale category. It won a Gold at GABF in 1997 and a Silver at the World Beer Cup in 1998. It's a pretty steady one for us in the competitions. It ages well and I think the judges like to see some aged character in the style. That brings our total number of medals at GABF to 7. There have been years we've gotten one or two, and there are years we've gotten nothing. It's great for everyone at the brewery to get the nod from our peers. It reassures everyone here that all the hard work and attention to detail is worth it.

The other great news from last week was that our Maverick Imperial Stout got second place at the Alpha King Challenge. It's the first time we've entered beers in that event ... because it's the first time we've ever had any beers over 60 IBUs. We entered both the Maverick IPA (67 IBUs) and Maverick Imperial Stout (around 70 IBUs). The brewery was slammed with tours, and I was helping everyone here with those so I wasn't able to get to the tasting (held at the Falling Rock). Because I wasn't there, I actually don't know much about the tasting or the other beers entered. I'm still getting the details. I think that typically IPAs and Imperial IPAs are the styles that do well there. So we were thrilled about the Imperial Stout. It's hoppy, that's for sure. When we decided to make an Imperial Stout, hops were a very important part of the flavor profile. It's got lots of bitterness and even with the prominent roasty malt character, there is still hop flavor and aroma that comes through. It's a great combination of flavors and we're thrilled that it was recognized by the distinguished hop head judges. I'm told that all the beer remaining from the tasting was shared with the crowd ... I won't be missing next year's Alpha King Challenge.

The festival tasting sessions were fun as usual. The organizers were expecting around 21,000 people over the three day event. I really like seeing all those enthusiastic beer drinkers. A few of them get stupid, but the majority of them were there because they love beer. Most of what I was drinking over the weekend are beers that aren't available in Colorado ... and most were extremely well made.

This week the brewery will get back into the usual production routine and start to look forward to next year's GABF.

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