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5 Brewery taprooms in one day kicks GABF week off in style

While not the official fist day of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), yesterday was my first day in Denver since the 2012 GABF. As the plane descended, I could see the mountains to the west and the excitement of the week came to a peak. My calendar is full and I will have plenty to report back.

On my first day in Denver, I spent time with my daughter and her fiance on an impromptu brewery taproom crawl. In all, we visited five taprooms, each with a very different vibe and delicious brews.

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Jagged Mountain taproom

Our first stop was Jagged Mountain Brewery. The corner spot this brewery occupies is just blocks from the main core of busy downtown Denver and features plenty of windows for imbibers to watch as people and traffic filter by outside. Inside the taproom is a rustic mixture of wood and brick. The staff is a cheerful lot with plenty of suggestions for new guests and directions to other breweries nearby when needed.

At Jagged Mountain I tried their Thunder Thighs Quad. At 12.8% ABV, this was the perfect beer to begin our long day of exploring the downtown Denver beer scene. The brew sports aromas of caramel and plums upfront and a slight peppery note hidden in the background.  The first sip reveals sweet bready malt flavors with a balanced light hop bitterness.

After a short walk just a few blocks up the street, we wandered into the very lively taproom of Great Divide. Anyone who has a Great Divide brew IMG_2295knows that the brewery makes some truly awesome beers. The taproom itself is in a corner building with windows set high on the wall. As the bright Colorado sunlight streamed in we started a conversation with guests from Philadelphia also in town for GABF.

Here I sipped the brewery’s Hoss a crisp rye lager loosely based on the German marzen style. The brewery’s website describe Hoss: “Rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character.”

Our next brewery required a rather lengthy walk and a short bus ride, but when we found ourselves in front of the Denver Beer Company, I realized the walk was worth it. Situated on the opposite side of the Platt river from downtown, the taproom is features a large indoor area open to the outdoors and a large outdoor veranda.

On the tap list we discovered several seasonal brews and to my delight a blackberry sour ale labeled Brewhaha! The beer was delightfully bright in the glass and full of berry aromas. The flavor was bury BlackBerry with a slight sour note at the end.

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The copper brewhouse at Prost Brewery.

Another short walk and we found ourselves at Prost Brewing. On a previous visit to Denver I found this German brewery and fell in love with it. The owners spared no expense to import a genuine copper brewhouse from Germany and have worked diligently to remain true to its Bavarian roots. The taproom is festooned with Oktoberfest banners and picnic tables.

The beer list at Prost is dominated by authentic German lagers. I had both the marzen and kolsch. Both brews tasted just as they should and I found myself not wanting to leave.

Our final brewery was a surprise brewery that my future son-in-law realized we were near as we arrived at an event. De Steeg is literally a hidden gem located in a back ally. One would not know it was there if someone else did not tell you about it. But, this no frills taproom features a full slate of extreme brews with only a Berliner Weiss sporting and ABV below 7.8%. Every brew I tasted at this brewery was phenomenal. Of particular note was its Peach Tripel.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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Great American Beer Festival tickets to go on sale next week

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Photo credit: greatamericanbeerfestival.com

It is the time of year when all beer-lovers begin thinking about heading for the mountains. No, not the mountains referred to in the slogan for the famous macro-lager, the mountains of Denver, Colo. for the annual Great American Beer Festival. Now in its 34th year, the festival is considered by many to be the greatest in the world and with nearly 3,500 beers to taste from over 800 breweries, it is not hard to see why it has this distinction.

Tickets for the festival have sold out in minutes for each of the last six year, so organizers suggest you make your ticket-purchasing plans early. Tickets are priced at $80 for the general public and $75 for Brewers Association or Homebrewers Association members. Tickets for the members only session on Saturday, September 26 are $65. Member ticket sales begin Tuesday, July 28 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Public ticket sale begins Wednesday, July 29 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Those seeking to attend this year’s festivities are instructed to go directly to Ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets and expedite the sales process. It is also suggested that ticket-seekers log in to Ticketmaster early as tickets will undoubtedly go fast.

The festival is to be held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver on:

Thursday, September 24: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday, September 25: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 26*: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

*Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members-only session

Saturday, September 26: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

This year the event is expanding by an additional 90,000 square feet to allow for greater attendance and an enhanced experience. New this year is a Meet the Brewers area with breweries that have commited to have brewery staff manning their booths for the entire festival. In addition, with more space, more breweries and more chefs in 2015, GABF’s Farm to Table Pavilion is getting a new name: paired. paired will feature 21 chefs from nine states, including five James Beard Award nominees and two Food and Wine Best New Chefs, each personally plating their dishes for guests and talking about their dynamic pairings. In addition, the exclusive craft beers served in paired are available only in this pavilion and not in the festival hall.  As in previous years, a separate ticket ($145) is required for entrance. paired tickets are available exclusively to members of the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association and as such, can only be purchased during the members only sale on July 28.

General admission tickets entitle guests to:

  • Commemorative tasting cup
  • One-ounce samples of your choice of more than 3,500 beers
  • Festival guide and free app to help attendees navigate the festival hall
  • Access to attend dozens of educational seminars across all four sessions, focused on beer appreciation

For more information visit: www.GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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