Denver’s Great American Beer Festival is more than just tasting sessions
October 25, 2013
Every year, the Great American Beer Festival sneaks up on people. All of the tasting sessions sell out immediately, and the poor, tired, thirsty masses left without tickets cry into their pint glasses and swear that next year, it will be different; next year, they will get their passes early and not suffer the agony of missing out.
Fortunately, many of the breweries attending GABF recognize that drinking a lot of beer and having the foresight to plan ahead don't often go together. For all those beer lovers who won't get to pass through the doors of the Colorado Convention Center this weekend, there are still plenty of reasons to make the trek to the Front Range and check out all of the tangential events being hosted in Denver and the surrounding areas. Here are a few not to miss.
If you work for the Avery Brewing Co., by the last night of the Great American Beer Festival you have probably consumed at least 50 beers in the past three days, gotten maybe 15 hours of sleep and had to have other people remind you what happened the night before at least once. So the brewery is catering to those who are numb brained and exhausted by throwing its first-ever "Robe One Out" party.
"That's right, we are throwing a robe party," said Darin McGregor, Avery national marketing director. "Every year by Saturday of GABF we are all wiped out, all of us — brewery reps, the bartenders, even the hardiest beer nerds. At that point, we just want to relax and enjoy the rest of the celebration. … I am hoping to see at least 100 people wandering around LoDo in robes relaxing, celebrating the week and letting it all hang out."
The Robe One Out party starts at 10 p.m. Saturday at all three locations — Freshcraft, Lucky Pie LoDo and The Pour House Pub. A limited supply of Avery embroidered robes will be available for purchase at all three bars. Purchase an Avery robe and you get a free beer. Or wear your own robe and be one of the first 30 through the door and you also get a free Avery beer. Rare Avery beers and taproom exclusives will be on tap at all three locations.
For a full schedule of GABF events sponsored by Avery, visit http://www.averybrewing.com.
This year, Green Flash is blasting into Denver for the Great American Beer Festival, participating in the daily festival sessions with an "end-cap" location at the convention center. However, the real party will be beyond the booth. This San Diego-based brewery has a lineup of events featuring rare and new brews, barrel-aged beer tastings, brewmaster meet n' greets and foodie pairing events at venues all over the Mile High City.
Head to Solera Restaurant today for "Behind the Craft," a beer and food-pairing event. Hosts Marzcyk Fine Foods will present an array of house-made charcuterie and cheese, along with a guided tasting, while beer pairings assembled by Green Flash director of beer education and certified Cicerone Dave Adams will offer insight on each beer and its pairing. Also today, Central Bistro & Bar is assembling a menu for another special guided pairing from Adams. Featured beers include Hop Head Red, Le Freak, Rayon Vert, Green Bullet and just one extremely rare keg of Double Stout brewed with fresh Serrano Chilies.
On Sunday, make the trek to Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids in Longmont for the Hangover Brunch. In what's become a yearly tradition, Green Flash is following in the footsteps of great craft brewers such as Maui Brewing and Epic Brewing to bring some rare beers and good times with a feast created by Chef Louis. Flanders Drive Red Ale, NZ Single Hop Pale Ale, Little Freak, Green Bullet Triple IPA, Barrel-Aged Linchpin White IPA and Treasure Chest Belgian Brown Ale will all be on tap.
For more information about these and other tasting events sponsored by Green Flash, visit http://www.greenflashbrew.com.
Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo, took a break from promoting his new album, "Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways," to stop by the original Oskar Blues brewery in Lyons to brew a batch of The White Buffalo West Coast IPA — a sessionable, hop-filled collaboration brew concocted after the California-based musician's favorite style of beer.
"I'm a beer drinker," said Smith, who together with a team of Oskar Blues brewers created a light-bodied, heavily hopped IPA featuring Centennial, Simcoe and Galaxy hops. "I mostly drink IPAs; that's why I wanted to create something light but hoppy. As a beer drinker, that's what I'm drawn to."
Smith will get the chance to drink a pint of his collaborative brewing efforts when he lands in Colorado to headline Oskar Blues' two-day beer and music-centric festival happening in downtown Denver. FBAG — Fuh-CAN Beer and Guitars — will take over Sculpture Park all day Friday and all day Saturday, and The White Buffalo West Coast IPA will be served with a slew of Oskar Blues beers, as well a variety of craft brews from a handful of other local breweries.
Brewery Ommegang will be pouring Take the Black Stout at GABF. The beer is the latest offering in a series inspired by "Game of Thrones." It's a dark, bold, complex brew that the brewery compares to "the lives of the Night's Watch, men who swore an oath to protect Westros." But the brewery won't be cloistering this beer in the Convention Center; it will be poured at other events throughout the week around the Front Range.
Ommegang will release Take the Black at 5 p.m. today at World of Beer in Denver. Or check out happy hour and a four-course, beer-pairing dinner hosted by Ommegang brewmaster Phil Leinhart on Friday at Pizza Republica in Denver. If you miss both of those events, head to Falling Rock Taphouse in LoDo at 9 p.m. Saturday for a final release of this regal stout.
For more information on Brewery Ommegang and its offerings for GABF, visit http://www.ommegang.com.