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Characters abound at GABF 2015

For many, dressing to attend the Great American Beer Festival is simply a matter of pulling on a pair of jeans and slipping on a favorite brewery t-shirt. And, the majority of attendees to the festival are dressed in these mundane garments garnering little to no real attention. But, for those who crave the limelight, who seek attention and who have a bit of a wild side, the dress code extends to more exotic apparel.  For those brave and outrageous souls, a mere pair of lederhosen is something an amateur would wear.  Outlandish costumes range from Where’s Waldo garb to full mascot outfits.

Here are just a few of the characters I ran into at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.

The answer to the eternal question,

the answer to the eternal question, “Where’s Waldo?” is answered; he is at GABF.

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Shark infested waters?

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Captain Hops

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Even the Brits are stylin’ at GABF.

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Bears, oh my!

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The pope may have been in Philly, but St. Arnold was in Denver.

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The kilted gang play their pipes.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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7 tips to enhance your enjoyment of GABF or any beer festival

The granddaddy of all beer festivals, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), kicks off next week in Denver, Colo. With more than 750 breweries and 3,500 beers, the three-day, four-session festival is more of a marathon than a sprint. Even at just one-ounce per taste, that many beers can pose stamina issues. It is for this reason that you should have a plan before going into GABF or any beer-centric festival.

Here are my seven tips for enjoying beer festivals responsibly:

Tip #1: Eat something before the festival.

A carb-heavy meal will help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Think pasta, a burger and fries, a big steak and baked potato or even pancakes. These slow-digesting foods reduce the amount of alcohol that is absorbed directly into the blood stream through the mucous membrane lining of the stomach. Food also slows the rate of the stomach emptying into the small intestine, where absorption of alcohol occurs at a much faster rate.

Tip #2: Drink water.

Experts say that drinking eight-ounces of water for every 12-ounces of beer will help to counteract the diuretic effects of alcohol. The dreaded day-after hangover is at least partially attributable to dehydration caused by alcohol stripping water from your body. Combat this by keeping the water flowing. At a beer festival, make it a point to drink at least four-ounces of water for every four to five samples.

Tip #3: Have a plan.

At events like GABF where there are literally thousands of beers to try, you will miss out on a lot of great beers if you do not get the lay of the land before you arrive at the fest. Check out the festival’s website (for GABF go to www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com), follow organizers on social media or just take a moment to look around before blindly going from table to table. Some of the best beers will be in short supply, so if you see a brewery whose beers you absolutely must try, get in their line first. But, do not pass up smaller breweries, often the next big think comes from these up and coming brewers.

Tip #4: Pace yourself.

Sure, you only have a limited amount of time to try as many beers as you can. But, remember this is a tasting event, not a drunk fest. No one likes the belligerent fool that stumbles from table to table only to get as much beer as possible. Follow the plan you made for yourself from the previous tip and enjoy tasting different beers. You will have a better time and, though you may not get to all the beers, you are likely to find some new favorites.

Tip #5: Take Notes.

Because you may find your new all-time favorite beer, keep track of the brews you drink. Nothing is worse than getting home after a festival and not being able to remember the name of that awesome brew from the brewer in West Virginia. Apps like Untappd are invaluable for festivals since they allow you to log, rate and even take a photo or and take notes on the beers you try.

Tip #6: Bring cash.

Often beer fests will have food trucks, t-shirt vendors and other shopping opportunities. Do not find yourself unable to buy that must-have t-shirt or hat because the vendor only takes cash. Even if they do take credit cards, paying in cash is invariably faster, leaving you more time to taste beers.

Tip #7: Get home safe.

The best evening at a beer festival can be brought to a screeching halt if you get behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much. Believe me, I know (read my experience with this beginning here). Most festivals have a lower price ticket for designated drivers that include soft drinks. If that is not an option, plan on taking a cab or even Uber (get $20 off your first Uber ride when you download the app and use promo code, “l2jkr”).

Follow these seven tips and you are sure to have a great time exploring the ever expanding world of craft beer.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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Countdown to the Great American Beer Festival: Coverage Plan

gabf2015Three years ago when I attended the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for the first time as a member of the press I wrote of the event in hallowed terms:

There was a definite buzz in the air 30 minutes before the doors opened for Session 1 of the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. In the lobby on the Colorado Convention Center eager beer enthusiasts were lined up awaiting the dropping of the ropes for entry into the main exposition hall. While inside the hall, breweries, volunteers, and press were busily preparing for the onslaught. In a word, it was magical.

This year, three years older, three years wiser, I intend to cover the event again using a variety of media. With the advance of technology, I want to provide coverage through my blog, but also in more advanced ways like live Tweeting/Facebooking, Periscope — a live video streaming service accessed through Twitter — and targeted video interviews and coverage.

To that end, be sure to follow all of my social media accounts as I will be covering the GABF as well as the many satellite events that take place in and around Denver during that week. In case you do not already follow all of them, here is a list:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/springfield.brewcrew

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPRBrewCrew

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mwisdom562/

You can also follow the times of events by going to the Events page of my website; www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

Keep an eye open over the next few weeks as I will add my itinerary for the festival and other events along with schedules for live streaming video via Periscope broadcast on Twitter. But, also watch for pop-up interviews via Periscope as I make connections with the movers and shakers at the event.

As of now, my schedule as only a few items on it, but as GABF draws closer, more events will be added to the list. Keep in mind that all times are presented in Mountain Daylight Time for Eastern Daylight Time add two hours.

Thursday, September 24

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.                    Deschutes-Harpoon Special Event

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 1

Friday, September 25                   

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.                     The Oskar Blues Ordeal – Tours and Tastings at Oskar Blues facilities throughout Colorado.

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 2

Saturday, September 26              

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.                The Great American Beer Festival Competition Awards

12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 3

Again, as I nail down interviews and other events during the festival, I will update the schedule.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Beer

 

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