Great American Beer Festival!

A few months ago I posted about having won the Beer Geek Photography award from BrewDog. I think I was still in shock that my photography not only won something for me, but that it won something so awesome.

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My winning photo!

BrewDog flew Jayson and me to Denver for the weekend, paid a driver to pick us up and take us to our hotel, which they also paid for. We got to go to Great American Beer Festival, on them, and then on Sunday they arranged an awesome lunch with the other Beer Geek winners!

It was such an amazing weekend. And I might have drank all of the beer.
All of it.

Saturday September 22

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After we got checked into our hotel we took a shuttle to a shopping center to find food.
The driver asked what brought us to Denver, we told him, and he asked us if we knew about pretzel necklaces. I said yes. Thinking that he was referring to something that I’d seen at ArtsGoggle in Fort Worth a few years ago.

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Pretzel necklaces from Twisted Dog of Fort Worth. sadly it looks like they’re closed now.

He explained that they were something made popular at the beer festival, because they “cleanse the pallet” and there also isn’t any food sold inside. So people started making them. He pointed to a Target in the shopping center and told us we should go there and get some stuff to make our own. So that we’d look like we’d been before.
(‘Virgin’ hazing a la Rocky Horror Picture Show popped into my head lol anything to avoid that!)

We didn’t do what we normally do, try and find a local joint, we just hit up whatever sounded good.
We ended up at Marcos Pizza, I’d never been. It was delicious. I’m so glad we have them at home too!
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At Target we found the last bag of store brand pretzels and eventually found some twine in the craft section. We made one last stop before heading back to the hotel to get crafty.

Because When in Denver. Why the hell not. Dank was a smaller dispensary but the employees were nice and helpful. They didn’t seem annoyed with tourists or the fact that I was absolutely clueless.
I wish I’d asked to take a photo of the woman helping us, she was precious.

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pins marking visitors from all over the US. They also had a world map.

Back at the hotel, we tried our purchases (only a little because we realized the vape smelled strong enough that they’d totally notice) …

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*This is a dramatization of true events lol. Jayson wanted my “first time smoking” photo to be more dramatic so he added a vape cloud from his e-cig. The Snickerdoodle tasted like cookie butt.

 Then we got to work on our necklaces. Jayson’s turned out way better than mine.

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On to the beer festival!
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But first. The LINE!

When our uber pulled up to the Colorado Convention Center our hearts sunk. The line was massive! I was so afraid we’d never make it inside. We jumped out of the car first chance we got and started walking, against the line. Trying to find the end.
When we did we saw it was also going against traffic… It wrapped around the center one and a half times!

I mention the line more as a warning to someone going for the first time. I wasn’t expecting it, and so now you will 🙂

Even though we walked for about a 1½ miles to get inside, the people running GABF know what they’re doing. The line moved quickly and we were inside in 45 minutes!

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Don’t let her sign fool you, this is just where we doubled back. lol
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The only picture I got of the Blue Bear.  He’s so cute though!

WE MADE IT!!!

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Like the gates to beer heaven!

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Now I have to confess, I didn’t have a clue what to expect. I’ve only ever been to one “convention” and that was Dallas Fan Days (comic con light), a few years ago. It was underwhelming. It was mostly shopping unless you could afford the autography/photo op prices. So I was a little afraid it might be something like that.

I was way off. So the ticket gets you inside, you get a little tester glass

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Like So.

… and you visit any of the hundreds of breweries! You get a single ounce pour of whatever beer you choose, all included.
All that I saw had at least 4 beers for you to choose from, I suppose you could have tried each one from a single brewery but I didn’t do that. Mostly because I have only a handful of styles I typically like.

We didn’t go in any particular order, Jayson saw that 21st Amendment was there and he was so excited, we started our quest there, but we hit quite a few along the way.
We had the GABF app on Jayson’s phone but he quickly decided he didn’t want to mess with it. So to keep track of what all we tried I took photos of each brewery name and the beer. Towards the end of the night this idea failed me. I still took the photos, but when I got them on my computer and started going through them…I could not tell you which beer I tried (aside from process of elimination based on my taste) … because we had hit 30+ breweries. Do you know what that means?! It means within 2½ hours, I had roughly one litre of beer, of varying ABVs. LOL I was plenty gone.

 

When we finally left we took a pedicab, he took us to Appaloosa’s Grill on 16th Street. Jayson got the mac & cheese. Apparently it was delicious, because he says he is ruined to all other types now.

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Oakhurst. Bluegrass/Rock

Sunday September 23

BrewDog set up a lunch for all of us at Briar Common Brewery + Eatery.

 

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They had a special table set for us and we were hosted by the owners, Kent & Greg, and their head chef. Sadly I forgot his name.
They gave us samples of their various beers as well as their delicious foods.

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Sour Seoul. I think it’s safe to say all of us were expecting to hate this one based on the description but it was delicious.

Their Buffalo Cauliflower was a hit, as was the Chicken & Waffles.
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Beer Geek 2018 US Awards winners.

Alison Grasso – Social Media Geek | @Grassowhat on Instagram | Alison Grasso on Youtube
Pete & Danielle Haupers – Brewery Hopper Geek | 249 Breweries in one year!
Dan & Lizzie Schnell – Beer Reviewer Geek | TilBeerDoUsPart on Youtube
Me! – Beer Photography Geek
Bill Vanderburgh – Beer Blogging Geek | CraftBeerinSanDiego.com

After lunch a few of us headed over to Black Project : Spontaneous & Wild Ales.

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We took a little tour of the place and had fun just taking pretty photos of our beers
I had the”Shadow Factory” which is a sour wheat ale with blackberry & raspberry.

 

We left Project Black in search of coffee.

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They had just closed but the baristas let us come in and order the iced tea and coffee they already had made. It was nice to have something non-hoppy in our stomachs. And a good way to end our day out in Denver.

We took a train to the airport. In the shuttle to the station we met a lady who asked us if we’d been in town of “AlCon” I translated that to be “alcohol” meaning the beer fest so I said yes. Turns out it’s a Weird Al convention.
Jayson got all excited about the idea, so I made them take a photo together.
She had this shirt, which Al wore on the cover of 3D! So they posed with it.
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Goodby Denver ❤

Sorry for the super long post, but here’s a little more fun. This is the list of breweries and some of the beers we tried at the festival. With the length of this list I hope you’ll forgive my forgetfulness towards the end.

Topa Topa Brewing Co
– Cali Common
Sierra Nevada
– Barrel Aged Maple Scotch Ale (tied for my favorite beer of the night)
Rock Bottom Brewery
– Pickle Rick (Pretty good, but not as good as PKL FKR by New Braunfels Brewing Co)
Santa Fe Brewing Co
– Pepe Loco & Java Stout
– Chicken Killer (J)
Real Ale
– Real Heavy Scotch Ale
Revolver Brewing
– Ourboros Ale
Cherry Street Brewing
– Coconut Porter
Willoughby Brewing
– Maple Nut Smasher Imperial Stout
– Kaiserhof (J)
Left Hand Brewing
– Death before Disco Porter (because I love porters and hate disco)
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– Pecan Porter (always one of my favorites)
21st Amendment Brewery
– Hell or High Watermelon (The other beer tied for first place in my book)
Green Man
– Green Man ESB
– Trickster IPA (J)
Faction
– Face the Strange IPA (J?)
Family Business Brewing
– Haulin’ Oats Brown Ale
– Cosmic Cowboy American IPA (J)
Dogfish Head (this is around the time I start to lose focus)
– Liquid Truth Serum (J)
– Namaste
Grains of Wrath
– Overkill IPA
Golden City
– Cherry Bomber
Funky Buddha (who sadly didn’t have their PB & J or their pie flavors that I want to try)
– Muy Bonita
– El Camino (J)
Fort George
– Matryoshka
– Winner Winner Hoppy Dinner (J)
Main Street
– Katrina Wit
Midnight Pig
– Apocalyptinator (J)
Mob Craft Beer
– Batshit Crazy Coffee Brown
– Oddball (J)
Metazoa
– Wee Bit Left Scotch Ale
McClellan’s Brewing
– Velvet Donkey
– Kilt Tilter (J)
Maxline Brewing
– Irish Red or Pats Porter
Ohana Brewing
– Hill Street
Oggis Pizza & Brewing Company
– Black Magic Stout
Moon River Brewing
– Yoga Pants Pale Ale (I had to, it was called yoga pants!)
Tivoli
– BrutIPA (J?)
Paradigm Shift
– Wonderwall IPA (J?)
Bright Ideas Brewing
Guinness
– Milk Stout

 

Sláinte!
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