this is why we’re here.

The list of reasons that I love the craft beer industry could explode even Buzzfeed’s listicle servers, but the primary one, the one that beats out all others, the one that isn’t determined by location or how thirsty I am or what time of year it is, is this:

the craft beer industry is a community of incredible, creative, loving people who truly want to make the world a better place, one pint at a time.

Nothing more clearly demonstrates that commitment to community (both within the industry and the community at large) than the event last Sunday: A Night to Remember beer festival.

Alex Teves was a regular – and beer club member #28 (that’s a number sign, for all those of you born after 1990) – at Copper Kettle Brewing Company in Denver on the border with Aurora. From all accounts he was a true beer geek (his photo, which remains in the mug case at the brewery, is of him stoically hoisting his mug in salute) and all-around warm, funny guy. From all of the stories we heard of him this weekend, he sounded like exactly the kind of guy we like to strike up a lively conversation with when we visit breweries. Who knows, on one of our many visits to Copper Kettle, we might have.

He lost his life at the age of 24 while watching the Dark Knight Rises with his girlfriend and a friend on July 20, 2012.

In honor of their patron and friend, Copper Kettle put together a gathering to memorialize Alex at their brewery, inviting others to join in on the remembrance and giving the proceeds away to charity. Since that initial event, the fest has grown significantly, moved out of the Copper Kettle parking lot, and to the beautiful Four Mile Historic Park. This year was the 4th annual A Night to Remember, celebrating the life of Alex and the other victims of July 20, 2012, and bringing people together for beer and laughter and charity and community. The charity is the ACT Foundation, founded in Alex’s name to provide funding and scholarships for Humanex Academy. While I had wanted to go to this event since first hearing about it in 2012 (more on that in a minute), finding out that it was a fundraiser for Humanex, where the Beerded Brewer himself attended high school, meant that, this year, we would scrape together our meager funds and make it happen.

What happened on July 2oth hit me deeply (as it did many others). While I can never fully understand what the people who were there that night went through, I may understand more than some. I was a student at Columbine High School in 1999 when we experienced our own shooting. And while what happened in Littleton and what happened in Aurora are very, very different, the way both happened in “safe” spaces, the way both became media spectacles, the way both killed people who had not yet had a chance to really live, the way the area became so much more than a town or a neighborhood… but a true community, were very much the same.

The differences are many… maybe it was because what happened at Columbine was so huge compared to what came before. Maybe it was because it lasted for so long. Maybe it was because it unfolded on TV in front of the world in a way no other incident of its kind ever had. Maybe it was because the perpetrators took their lives before we could ask why. Why? But, afterwards, there was so much anger. So much hatred and vitriol and grief without an outlet, that cracks formed in that community. Cracks that some of us slipped right out of and have only been able to tenuously hold our grip onto.

That is the opposite of what I saw on Sunday. Three years on, I saw a celebration of life and living and togetherness that I never felt after Columbine. It was not the kind of grief-laden, obligatory gathering that follows a tragedy where people want to say so much and can’t figure out what to say because there simply aren’t words. It isn’t the false comfort of strangers who come from afar with good intentions and bad assumptions. It also wasn’t a beer fest full of rowdy revelers drinking to distraction and drunkenness. We all knew why we were there. We felt it.

It was, simply, beautiful.

Breweries wrapping around Four Mile Historic Park.

Breweries wrapping around Four Mile Historic Park.

And there were some great beers there. I can’t go without mentioning them because this is, allegedly, a beer blog.

The most pleasant surprise of the night were the beers from WeldWerks out of Greeley. All four of their beers were clean and very tasty. I particularly enjoyed their coffee brown which retained it’s beer profile which still being very coffee-forward. Even their hefe – most definitely not a style I go for – was well-rounded with just the right amount of isoamyl acetate (banana esters).

Ratio Beerworks brought their strawberry Berliner weiss which was a great refresher for the oppressively muggy night. You could tell that they used real strawberries (side note: please stop using extracts, breweries, they are icky) and it provided just the right amount of tart and sweet. It was one of the few beers I went back for seconds (and thirds… and fourths…) for.

Locavore Beer Works showed up with their exemplary double IPA: Lightnin’ Hopkiss. I was sorely disappointed to hear that they had not entered this beer into GABF, because it is one of the most finely balanced double IPAs I have ever had. A high tropical note is balanced by a little malt sweetness (but not at all sticky or cloying) and just a little dankness to finish it off.

Grimm Brothers’ maibock was also a pleasant surprise. For a couple of years, maibocks were the “hot thing” in craft brewing. Seeing as it is one of my favorite styles, this way great. But, like so many fads (I’m looking at you, gose), they tend to fade back into obsurity, leaving us all a little thirstier. It was on the malt-heavy side for a maibock, but was in no way sweet. A very nice example of the style and a good reminder of why German lagers are so popular.

Sporting his ACT Foundation pin in the absolutely most logical place.

Sporting his ACT Foundation pin in the absolutely most logical place.

A Night to Remember was a lot of fun. So many excellent breweries and food trucks attended and I enjoyed talking to old friends and making some new ones. But it was also emotional. The Beerded Brewer and I were honored to meet Alex’s parents, Tom and Caren, who are warm, passionate individuals of incredible strength. Tom was cracking us up and making us cry all at once – turning my strawberry Berliner weiss into a strawberry gose.* He told us: “Caren looks forward to this day all year.” And, looking around at all of the people there because of Alex, supporting a cause he believed in, delighting in one of his favorite activities… it felt like a party where Alex was the guest of honor. And he was.

Alex was there in the obvious ways: his silhouette on our cups and on shirts, but he was also there in his parents and family and friends who knew him and came to honor him. And he was there in those of us who never had the privilege to meet him, but came anyway. Some may have come only for the beer, but we all left with more.

I find myself overwhelmed at times by how incredibly good people can be, and events like this one serve to remind me that, by being a part of the craft beer industry, I have chosen to surround myself with some of the best people in the world. I am so very, very lucky.

A beautiful video was made of the 2nd annual event. It made me cry. Because I can’t help it.

– Cheers

Special thanks to Doug at Dry Dock for sharing one of their passes with us. Without it, we would not have been able to attend.

*I was going to apologize for that joke. But now by the time I finished, I decided that I refuse. Haha! Terrible beer jokes forever!!!

stop pissing on my beer (forum).

I am a member of a good number of beer-related Facebook groups (which may or may not be one of the reasons I don’t post regularly… ooo! Shiny!) and I’ve noticed several trends across them that are… frankly… irritating. In the bizarro world that is the interwebs, I understand that people tend towards dickishness and trollism and vaguary, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior – and, dammit, I’m calling these folks out on their bullshit. Here are some of the posts that particularly stick in my craw, as well as recommendations to fix a few of them:

“How long can I keep [random IPA] in a growler and it still taste good?”

Jane, you ignorant slut. IPAs – yes, ALL IPAs – are better drank fresh. Open that bitch up and enjoy. Why are you trying to save it? Come on…

Here, fixed that for ya:

“I’m going to a party on Saturday and bought a growler of [random IPA] today. Do you think it will last or should I drink it now and buy more later?”

“How long can I keep [any other style of beer but IPA] in a growler and it still taste good?”

What kind of growler? How was it filled? Have you kept it cold? Is it closed properly and tightly? Was the growler clean – not “meh, looks okay” clean – but beer clean? What type of beer? What’s the ABV? What’s the hop content?

Stop asking complex questions and pretending they are simple. Just… stop.

Here, fixed that for ya:

“I have a Drink Tank of 11% barleywine I picked up today and was wondering if I could age it. The growler was clean and there aren’t any leaks. What do you think?”

“ISO: [super rare, super expensive beer]

FT: [beers with regional distribution that you already have on hand]”

Nope. Nope nope nope. Unless your “FT” is something equally rare or desirable, why even bother? In general, if it’s a regionally-distributed beer, I’m probably going to want it fresh anyway, so it is mildly concerning that you already have it when you don’t have a trader yet.

“ISO: [beer only available on tap… let’s say… Pliny the Younger]”

Here’s the thing… the most respected taphouses in the country have to fight to get beers like Pliny the Younger, why do you think someone would have a keg sitting around just waiting to trade? It’s not going to happen. But that’s not the worst part of these posts… the absolute most mindboggling thing is (A) the sheer volume of them and (B) when someone points out that the beer is only available on tap and helpfully links to more info and the OP goes all bargly because being told no sucks. I KNOW that you really want to try Pliny the Younger… but that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t available in bottles or cans. YELLING AT PEOPLE WHO POINT THIS OUT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACTS.

Actually, yelling at ANYONE exposing you to reality DOESN’T CHANGE THE FUCKING FACTS.

“Here’s a photo of this beer: is it any good?”

I don’t fucking know. Why don’t you open it and try? My palate is different than your palate so I don’t know whether or not you’ll like it. And you know as well as I do that this isn’t a real question; you just want to show off whatever “amazing” beer you found and get people to oo and ah all over you.

Here, fixed that for ya:

“I haven’t tried this beer [photo of beer] before and was wondering what it’s like before I crack it. I’d hate to waste a beer that might be better enjoyed by someone besides myself.”

“[Photo of really amazing, usually rare beer] Look at these shelf turds!”

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. Holy FUCK you are hilarious! I cannot handle it! Did you come up with that on your own? I mean… to take something valueable and imply that it has no value… wow… you are a comedic genius. Listen: I’m as big of a fan of sarcasm as the next person, but this isn’t good sarcasm. It’s lazy… and I mean lazier than posting a Grumpy Cat meme lazy. I want to say that this was funny once… but it wasn’t. Also, “shelf turds”?

Any video of a drain-pour.

Yep. You’re pouring that beer down the drain. Sometimes it happens. Maybe it was bad. Maybe you just didn’t like it. No biggie. But why would you open yourself to ridicule and derision from fellow beer lovers because of your need to dump your beer? Do you think it makes you look like a badass or somehow “counter-culture” when you pour a beer other people love? I’m here to let you know: it doesn’t. It just makes you look like the attention whore you are.

Any chugging video.

Do I really..? Apparently I do. Congratulations frat boys of the world: you are all growed up and done found that there is more to life than Keystone Light. But you still have a desire… a lust… to hear that sweet, sweet chant: CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! It eats at your bones and you must… you must obey. Nothing says “I am a MAN” quite like chugging 12- or 16- or 20- or 80-ounces of sweet, sweet fermented malt… especially on video… and especially if that malt happens to comprise an expensive/rare/special beer. How about you just do us all a favor and go ahead and crush that growler right on your forehead?

“I’m going to [very large area – city, state, country] and need some good brews. Where should I go?”

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve been partially guilty of this. Yes, on the surface this seems like a good question. In fact, I would argue that it’s pretty damn perfect for an online forum discussion. However, there are two major issues with it. First: no one no one NO ONE ever checks to see (by this amazing little feature called the “search” box) if anyone else has asked the same or similar question and received answers. I swear I saw four people in one day ask about beer in NYC. What has happened to doing the sparest amount of research, folks?! The other is this: it is way too vague. If you tell me that you are coming out to Colorado and looking for “good brews”, there are just WAY too many for me to recommend. And, more than likely, the majority won’t be applicable because you will be regulating your visit to a very specific area. I hate spending 10 minutes constructing a thoughtful response about breweries in Denver, Boulder, Ft Collins, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Durango as well as ones available statewise to get a reply to my comment of “oh… well I’m going to be in Craig, so I was really looking for places out there.” THEN TELL ME THAT FROM THE GET GO YOU LAZY BASTARD! The other side to that is the “good brews.” What in the name of Chuthulu does that even mean? Do you mean breweries? Taphouses? Sports bars? Beers you can pick up from the liquor store?

Here, fixed that for ya:

“I’m going to San Diego for the weekend and will be staying in Point Loma. I really like visiting breweries and would like to bring back some beers – I like pretty much everything – any recommendations?”

OR

“I’m going to be driving from Denver to Asheville this November through KC, Saint Louis, Lexington, and Louisville. Any small breweries I absolutely must hit on my route?”

“Half of the posts on here are just trolls looking for comments.”

WHAAAAA!? You mean that people are posting to a public forum in order to get FEEDBACK!? OMG WTF!? How daaarrrrreeeeeeeee they.

“[Insert general bigotry] Cheers!”

Yeah… go fuck yourself. This is a beer group. We want to talk about beer. Bring your filth elsewhere.

[Photos of scantily-clad women with not-very-good beer. Usually only shows boobs, butt, or (lack of) bush]

Yeah, yeah, I like boobs, too. They are great. However, maybe objectifying women is the reason that you are posting these photos at 8pm on a Saturday night… mmmm?

Any post followed by demeaning, disrespectful, nonconstructive commentary.

We’re online where everything is “anonymous”. I know. It’s easy to let off some steam by being horrible to some stranger online. I get that there are bad traders: and making those people know is necessary, but doxxing is not okay, especially not over $40 in beer. So what if the OP enjoys Samuel Adams and you don’t, you don’t have to call them terrible names and threaten to rape them. This person readily admits that they aren’t “beer savvy”, so why are you being a dick instead of answering their question in the spirit in which it was intended? I get that you live a block from the Alchemist, but the rest of the world doesn’t, so calling everyone who doesn’t have unmitigated access to Heady Topper “faggy bitches” is uncalled for. This is a beer discussion and we are trying to have fun… ask yourself: why are you trying to ruin it?

Calling into question any woman’s knowledge of beer… which usually reverts to commenting on her appearance.

I know that women are primarily intended to be eye candy and beer delivery mechanisms. I’m not disputing that. I mean… look at us… but we also serve other functions. There are women who drink beer… even women who drink craft beer… even women who visit breweries… even women who work at breweries… even women who are homebrewers… even women who are Cicerones and professional brewers and founders of breweries. It’s amazing what we have learned to do over our (roughly) 4 billion years of evolution that would shock even the most learned of our male masters.

But seriously. I know this is one of my beer box issues, but this sexist shit has to stop. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just exist in online forums (although, I would argue, it’s there that it reaches is ugliest and most honest form).

It exists in commercials (this is insulting to men, too, by the way):

It exists in print advertising (holy fuck there’s a Buzzfeed list):

http://www.buzzfeed.com/copyranter/13-of-the-most-sexist-beer-ads-of-all-time#.pgoXW8aLyv

It exists in beer labels (for the record, I find juvenile sexual innuendo HILARIOUS, but there are some labels that cross way, way over the line). It exists in the fact that a large number of breweries carry men’s sizes in small through triple-extra-large and only carry women’s in small, medium, and large (I have a whole upcoming post about this… promise). It exists when someone walks into a brewery and assumes that the brewer must be a man (even the Beerded Brewer, who is a proud feminist, makes this mistake).

I get that sexism is a systemic problem, but in an industry as progressive as the brewing industry, we are failing dramatically on this one. Why do we continue to feed the sexist trolls out there by allowing them to believe that craft beer is just the grown-up version of a frat party? Yeah, we drink a lot. Yeah, we tell really inappropriate jokes. Yeah, we like to have a good time. But this isn’t an industry of hate and descrimination. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that when they say that a women isn’t “capable” of doing something like brewing that they are going home and treating their wife or daughter or mother or sister with respect. It just ain’t happenin’.

Okay. Enough of the negativity. ENOUGH. I’m done. I’m over it. I’m moving on.

Luckily, not everything is toxic. A lot of it is lovely and informative and just smile-inducing. Here’s some of what makes me dribble beer because I’m smiling whilst drinking (more dangerous than chewing and walking, I tell you).

Shit I love that people post:

“My wife just had a kid! Here’s the beer I’ll be toasting my new baby with… and I can’t wait to share on with the wife. Nine months is a long time. Good job, sweetie!”

“I’m new to craft beer and was wondering what the difference between a stout and a porter is.”

“I just bought a Hydroflask. Does it keep beer better than a glass growler?”

“Holy shit! I just scored a bottle of [rare, awesome beer]! I can’t wait to pop this puppy open!”

“I just scored a case of [really kickass beer] and would like to trade most of it. ISO [list of styles or equally as kickass beers]. Will trade $ for $.”

“My buddies and I just visited our 30th brewery this year. Pretty badass, if I do say so myself.”

“[Untappd badge] 1000 Check-ins! I know I’m behind a lot of you… but since I just started keeping track a year ago, that’s not too shabby.”

“My Grandpa just passed this morning. Please give him a toast today. He was a pretty great guy.”

[Photos of dogs or cats with beer]

[Photos of beer crafts]

[Photos of people at breweries/beer festivals/on beer trips]

[Photos of beer]

See where I’m going here? I joined these online communities because I wanted to talk about beer. I wanted to have beer-drinking buddies across the world with whom I could have discussions, see great photos, trade, and maybe even meet IRL for a drink (or three). I didn’t join because I wanted a bunch of middle-aged, sexist frat boys who think that respect is what they get when their dog pees itself when they come home.

Most of all, I joined these groups to have fun and gain some knowledge. I’ve definitely discovered the latter: great beers, great breweries and bars and pubs across the country and the world, and even made a couple of friends. The former… eh… I find myself getting more frustrated and angry than anything. When I first joined RateBeer and Beer Advocate, I delighted in finding a community of beer drinkers with whom I could connect. I thought I’d found an easier (in that it’s a platform I almost obsessively use) forum in Facebook beer groups. Instead, I found people taking an industry, a community, and a product I love and perverting it into something mean, angry, and hateful. While this kind of negativity is getting progressively worse across all of Facebook, chatting about beer shouldn’t create the amount of vitriol that, say, traffic in a small town does.

Before you post, think about what you’re saying. Are you contributing to the conversation? Are you posting something that others will enjoy? Or is your post simply masturbatory? Because no one wants to read that (says the chick with a blog)…

Now, please excuse me while I take a photo of myself drain-pouring Heady Topper while doing a keg stand on Pliny the Younger.

Cheers.

ob-session.

I was browsing my newsfeed today when I came across this little gem: Session Beer Is Dumb by Aaron Goldfarb. Since session beer is the new “it” brew, and because the subject is not as straightforward as it might seem, I thought I’d do a quick blog post about it. Also, I started writing this as a simple “share” on Facebook and realized I had more to say that the little box would take. So, here it is…

Equating less alcoholic beers with less flavor is fallacious. Yes, some session beers are major weaksauce, but that does not mean they all are. Let’s take Berlinerweiss as an example. This very tart, very dry beer packs a huge punch of flavor – but should only be 3-4% abv. Kolsch, while a delicate flavor, should have bunches of it. Throw a bunch of hops into a pilsner and you have some serious flavor in a light package.

This author seems to believe that only strong, overwhelming beers have merit. I disagree. While I think “session IPAs” are a misnomer and the ob”session” is silly, I see the point in trying to brew smaller beers to see how much flavor you can get with a smaller grain bill and/or shorter fermentation. It’s a fun experiment and, as many people who brew will tell you, more hops + more alcohol = more forgiveness. You lower the amount of hops and the alcohol content and there is very little left to hide behind. You are letting your brewing skills really all hang out.

However, I do like his point that session beers shouldn’t be something you drink because you want to drink 1000 of them in a single evening. They are something you should drink because you like the flavor. But this is true of all beers. If your sole goal is to get shithammered, can I interest you in this bottle of everclear?

I was out in Boulder at a bachelorette party a couple of months ago. After dinner, the mob of women decided to head to the Kitchen Upstairs bar. I was steeling myself for the usual three-tap setup of Coors, Guinness, and Fat Tire, which was definitely a feature. But they also had a fantastic bottle list. On it was a bottle of 2008 Thomas Hardy. I, admittedly, lost my head a bit. Of course, I purchased the bottle (which was poured into a snifter – bad me for assuming that this shiny place didn’t know how to treat beer), and settled in for the evening with it. Now, I could have purchased four pints of Fat Tire for my one Thomas Hardy or two overpriced, but I’m sure tasty, cocktails. But I would have been sacrificing the luxurious flavor, the delicious aromas, the feel of that snifter sitting in my hand. Some of the ladies I was with laughed at me for my euphoria, but I guarantee that their 4-ounces of martini did not come near the wonder of that beer. I’m sure they have already forgotten what they drank that night. I will remember what I had forever. Or, as I said that night: “my beer verse your cocktail? Guess what: I win.”

So there’s that: beer is an experience, not just a drink. Sure, when I’m painting the house I’m not looking for something to challenge my palate or to send me into a climactic state. But I’m also not looking for something that is going to make it dangerous for me to stand on a 2-rung ladder. Sometimes, you just have to go with the lower ABV – but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.

This author’s point is well taken: a session beer for a session beer’s sake is absurd. But if it exists for a reason besides being “hip”, than it’s a good thing.

But please, stop calling hoppy low-alcohol beers “session IPAs” or I will punch you. Punch you right in the mouth.

Cheers.

musings on friendship.

We grow old, we grow up, we move away, we get married, we have children, we move back, we travel, we stay, we die.

And thru it all we cry, we smile, we bear it, we work, we play, and above all – we laugh. And it is in those moment of laughter and joy that we connect. It is as simple as a “hi” on a hard day, maybe a note passed in class, a beer spilled on a shirt. But we find someway, despite all the obstacles trying to keep us from it, we find a true and honest connection with someone else.

We call those people “friends.”

They may be friends for a day or a lifetime – but something in them touched us and made us remember them as important. They made an impact. Their world stopped to make a dent in ours and change our history a little, or a lot.

When we emerge into this huge, crazy, wonderful world there is a straight and boring path laid out before us. But with each kind smile, every loving touch, all the beautiful, caressing words – our path changes, twists and morphs. Those dips, curves, and kinks are frightening as we approach and satisfying as we pass. But when we look back – they write the story of our triumphs, our failures, our growth, and our loves. And at those moments of greatest importance – whether we remember them or forget – there are intersections with other paths – and those paths with still others – until we are all woven together in an inseparable pattern that is the very fabric of life.

Thank you to all who have crossed into my life and become a part of my pattern. There is a long, hard path behind… and an even longer path ahead – and I am truly honored to have you as companions on the road.

Cheers.

my name is dev, and you sound like an ass.

This is a quick response to an article that David Chang wrote for GQ Magazine titled “My Name is David Chang and I Hate Fancy Beer.” The amazing Garrett Oliver penned a response a few days later: “My Name is Garrett Oliver and I Hate Crappy Beer.” Please read both, as both are interesting and give some insight into the rising tide of disdain for beer geeks and the craft brewing industry. My comments were originally posted to a comment on Eater.com, but I have made some changes for this blog.

I love craft beer. I love it because I love seeking out new flavors and experiences and the people who work in the industry. It is my passion. I love educating others about beer and its history and complexities and how to pair it with food. Beer challenges me and delights me and makes me happy.

What I don’t like are people who judge others for their drink choices. Those who think that someone else’s decisions somehow negatively affect them. If you want to drink industrial beer and like it, great! Go for it! But if you ask me for a suggestion on what to drink, I’ll steer you towards a good craft or import that you might enjoy, just to expand your palate.

David Chang’s article was obnoxious and pretentious. His choice to constantly crow about his supposed “love” for industrial beer is just a way for him to put down those around him seeking different choices. He comes off as a prat, and one I wouldn’t want to eat or drink with. The fact that he has repeatedly approached Garrett Oliver, one of the gods of the craft beer industry, and “bragged” about how much he loves mass market brews just shows how crummy his character is. Also, the title of his article is about how he “hates fancy beer.” Except that he doesn’t. He flat-out says that he enjoys the flavors of many craft beer styles and that he has “seen the sunrise from the bar at Mikkeller” (good for you). This just proves that his headline is nothing but click bait. He is making the point that even though he has access to some of the best beers in the world – and clearly has favor with some brewers that many of us would kill to hang out with – he would rather shove it in their faces that he would prefer mass market beer.

And if he eschews beers even he calls “delicious” for mass market, flavorless beer… what does that say about his food? And if he is willing to be a creep to some of the greatest minds (and palates) in the beer industry, how does he treat others in his own? As someone not nearly famous or rich enough to be able to get a reservation at Momofuku, I can only speculate.

Oliver’s response is great. I love that he calls Chang out on the carpet and doesn’t let him get away with what is so clearly a cry for attention.

Yes, beer geeks (and foodies and wine snobs) can come off as pretentious. I know we can. I’m sorry for that – it’s really not (the majority of us, at least) our intention. We are just seeking out something new and different and exciting. We don’t want to waste our time and money and experiences (and calories, let’s be real, here) on something boring. I don’t think anyone has had an epiphany while drinking a Bud or felt true, deep delight while supping an MGD. But I cried when I first tried Westvleteren XII and I giggled in excitement when I tasted the Rare Barrel‘s Egregious.

Beer, for me, is so much more than something to quench my thirst.

And that’s okay. Just as it’s okay for beer to JUST be something to quench your thirst. But Chang’s crowing about how he so proudly struts his industrial beer love in the face of people just trying to do their jobs and share their enthusiasm makes him come off as a pretentious jerk. A pretentious jerk with bad taste, at that.

gabf: because one more advice blog is (un)necessary.

One of the most popular GABF-season posts is advice on how to “survive” the festival. What’s kind of sad is how many of these posts are necessary. And how many are very, very unnecessary. I’m not sure which category this post falls in to, but I felt that my almost a decade of GABF volunteering and attendance might benefit some folks attending for the first time. Or second. Or tenth. Because apparently some things bear repeating.

  1. Do not bring a backpack. I’m stating this up front, because this will be your first issue. At the doors there is hired security who will not allow you in with a backpack. Yes, women can bring massive purses in without an issue. Yes, this is stupid and arbitrary. No, it doesn’t change the rule. In fact, if you want to get it quicker, don’t bring any bags. Why do you need a big bag anyway? If you’re planning on buying something from a vendor, they have bags. If you have a coat… don’t have a coat… or tie it around your waist. If you have a bag, security will search it and send you away if you have anything “illicit” like food that you can’t wear around your neck, weapons, or beer.
  2. Do not bring your kids. Really? This has to be said? Even if your kid is a month old and you just can’t bear to leave your adorable little sex fruit with a babysitter, it’s still not okay. First off, the fest is very, very loud. Way too loud for adult ears, let alone Sweetpea’s little ones. Second, it’s a BEER FEST. This is a place where adults should be allowed to be free of screaming babies, diapers, and bottles. Third, the ticket says 21+, but for some reason I see 2-3 babies every session and, inevitably, baby will get bumped into by some drunk person, mom or dad will get super mad, and there will be a confrontation. You know what prevents this? Leaving the kid at home. Again, why do I have to explain this?
  3. Have your ID and ticket out. If you have these two things out, and you don’t have a backpack, you will get through the doors likity-split. But remember that the ticket scanners only work so quickly, so please don’t shove when the ticket is being scanned, it will just slow things down. And, really, you’re gaining ~.005 seconds. That’s not going to make a difference.
  4. Do not view GABF as a chance to get wasted. Oh yes, you will get there, but if that’s the way you approach it, you will not have as much fun. If you go to enjoy beer, taste new things, and talk to beer folk, you are just going to enjoy yourself more. Go to have a blast, not solely to get sloshed. On that subject…
  5. Have a plan. Download their app, go through, and mark all of the breweries you want to visit. The app will show you a map with how many of your breweries are on each row. If you stay focused, you are going to be able to appreciate more beers.
  6. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your plan. I was on my way to the Sweetwater booth last year when I was distracted by a chocolate milk stout. It was the best beer I drank at the festival. If I had been dead set on only hitting the breweries on my list, I would have missed it. Granted, I don’t remember what the name of that brewery was now that the beer fog has descended on my memory, but more on that later…
  7. Try beers you would normally never drink. Why would you pay $60 for a ticket to a beer fest to just drink what you always drink? Take the opportunity to try new things. “Hate” IPAs? Try a few from different regions. Sour beers not your thing? Use the GABF app and hit up their recommendations for sours. Afraid of “dark” beers? For the love of god, drink some beers with color. This is your opportunity to expand your palate, take it!
  8. Do not go to breweries you can easily get where you live. This goes hand-in-hand with #6. If you can get a beer where you live, don’t waste your time. The caveat to this is, obviously, if is an extremely pricey beer, take a taste. Otherwise, why not explore more “exotic” beers? This is where having a plan helps.
  9. Use the app to track your beers – but make sure to transfer that information out of the app when you’re done. I told you I’d get back to this one. The GABF app allows you to track and rate beers you try. It’s a quicker, more straightforward way to rate your beers while on the floor. However, once next year’s app rolls out, it will overwrite all of that work you’ve done. This is why I could not tell you what brewery I loved so much last year. So, once you are home and sobered up, take out the GABF app and put all of those beers into another format, be it Excel or Untappd or RateBeer. Trust me, there will be a lot of blank tape, but this is one thing you can hold on to.
  10. Be friendly to brewers, but also be respectful. Despite the number of beers and breweries available, this is often NOT brewers’ favorite festival. The very things that make it cool (the size) also make it overwhelming. Appreciate that a lot of time, money, and planning have gone in to being at GABF and show the proper respect. If you see one of the more famous brewers, say hi, but don’t corner them or take up too much of their time. Likely, they are trying to talk to some of their friends and don’t have an hour to debate the merits of Cascadian vs black IPA with you. And if you want a photo with them, just ask, but be okay if they say no. They aren’t being assholes, they are just being people, and that’s okay.

    The blur on the left is me, the blur on the right is the Bearded One (pre-big beard), and the blur in the middle is the brewer from Firestone Walker. Or so the rumors go...

    The blur on the left is me, the blur on the right is the Bearded One (pre-big beard), and the blur in the middle is the brewer from Firestone Walker. Or so the rumors go…

  11. Be friendly to volunteers. Believe it or not, working GABF is very hard work. It’s long hours, it’s wet, you get yelled at a lot, and it can be rather thankless. If you happen to get a volunteer who doesn’t know his stuff, don’t be too harsh. Sometimes the brewery didn’t provide any information about the beers, sometimes it’s a volunteer’s first year and they are overwhelmed, or sometimes they are just covering for another volunteer on break and are scrambling to catch up. Just shrug and move on. And if you interact with one of the safety team volunteers (red shirts) who has to tell you that you don’t have a ticket for a mini-event or asks you to please stop screaming at the support column, it’s never going to move, try to be nice. Safety team doesn’t get to drink on the job, they have to be there before other volunteers and leave after them, and most have already worked a full day at their regular jobs. They are just trying to keep GABF from falling into anarchy.

    Especially this guy. He's all about the anarchy suppression.

    Especially this guy. He’s all about the anarchy suppression.

  12. Do not be an asshole. Again, how is this something that needs to be said? Yes, I know that you know more than anyone who has ever lived about double IPAs, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to belittle the brewer who didn’t win a medal by saying how your homebrew made it to the final round at the AHA Conference. He doesn’t care. Do NOT grab boobs or butts. It doesn’t matter how drunk you are or how cute you think you are being, that’s just not cool. If you happen to run into someone because you are drunk, say I’m sorry. If they happen to run into you because they are drunk, try to keep them from falling down and laugh it off. If you get a beer dumped over your head by some guy named Lurch, flag down a safety team member. Everyone is just trying to have a good time, and if you remember that, your time will be even better.
  13. Slow down and dump your beer when you leave. By that time of the night the volunteers are simply exhausted, and they are doing their best to make sure your final moments at the fest are positive. If you decide to be a jerk and try to bolt by them with beer, it’s just going to end badly for you and make their night crappy. And don’t run down/jump down/slide down the stairs. No one needs to see your blood everywhere. Please, just don’t.
  14. Do attend events outside of the actual GABF. You are here in one of the coolest cities in the world, do not limit your experience to just the GABF. There are plenty of great tappings, beer dinners, and breweries around town for you to visit. It’s a good way to round out your trip and make it about more than just getting housed. I have some suggestions on places to go in my post from yesterday.
  15. Eat well and often. Beer drinkers cannot live on pretzels and jerky alone. Take some time to visit one of the great eateries in town and get some real sustenance. Maybe even eat some greens. We are at 5280 feet above sea level, and the beer will affect you quicker here than down lower, so getting a good base (a lot of protein and fat) will help you make it through the week. Getting some greens will also help your GI tract recover quicker. Everyone will tell you to drink a lot of water, and that is true, too, but getting the right food may be even more important.
  16. Have fun. No, seriously, have fun. I have to constantly tell myself this as I tend to get insanely stressed during this week. GABF is about enjoying everything there is to love about beer in the United States. Brewers have spent a lot of time and money to bring their product out here, and they deserve to serve it to people who are stoked to be drinking it. And we, as geeks, deserve to spend this short amount of time really, truly, completely letting our passion for beer overtake us. Literally and figuratively, drink it up.

It’s time. Get out there. Go.

Cheers.

gabf: so i guess we are here again.

It is that time of year again. That time that is loved by beer geeks the United States over and stressed over by brewers in the same geographic area. The week where US brewers and beer geeks gather to drink, drink, and be merry in the Mile High City: the Great American Beer Festival or GABF (pronounced Gee-Ay-Bee-Eff). Yep. For the next week Denver will be overrun with brewers, beer geeks, frat boys, woo girls, and reluctant designated drivers looking for a good time.

As a resident beer drinker, I suppose it’s my responsibility to report on said festivities. I do so somewhat reluctantly as I feel the event, and all of the events surrounding it, are covered more than sufficiently (even beaten to death, perhaps) by writers much more prolific and talented than I. Some of that (excellent) coverage can be found on:

Inky Beer

Fermentedly Challenged

Denver Off the Wagon

First Drafts

And so on and so forth.

However, while reading the 1,000,000th article telling folks who are coming out here to visit Great Divide, New Belgium, and Falling Rock Taphouse, I figured I would join the conversation. While I think those establishments are fantastic, I’m a little tired of the same places getting all the press over and over when there are so many other great breweries, taphouses, and eateries out there that deserve some love as well. I thought I might as well throw a spotlight (regardless of the weird wolf-shaped gobo and strange, orangish tint) on some places I feel the dedicated beer geek would be loathed to miss on their travels to our lovely state.

Some of these breweries will be pouring at GABF*, but there’s nothing quite like visiting in-person.

Great Taphouses

Hops & Pie, Denver. But, but, they only have 24 taps! you will likely whine to me. Yeah, but as the saying goes: it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean. Since their opening 4 years ago, Hops & Pie has proven to be one of the go-to spots in Denver for rare, exclusive, and delicious beers. Their tap list changes (multiple times) daily, their staff is knowledgeable, and their food is great. While their offerings can tend towards one style or another depending on the day, I have yet to visit where they haven’t had something on offer that got my yayas up. Tomorrow (October 1st) they are doing a tap takeover with a bunch of beers that were formerly unavailable in Colorado. You know I’ll be there.

– *Barrels & Bottles, Golden. Barrels & Bottles has one of those enviable locations both in that it’s easy to park and walk to, but it also gives a lovely view of the largest brewery in Golden (and down the street from the ridiculously good Bob’s Atomic Burgers). Besides their awesome location, they are quickly becoming a destination for beer lovers from the city who are looking for an escape, but not too much of an escape. In addition to 20 beer taps (including at least four dedicated to their own beers) and an infusion tower, they have 24 wine taps, wine slushies, and a nice small plates menu. They avoid a lot of the pitfalls of other “beer bars” in town by working with multiple distributors and not playing favorites with any one brewery, region, or style. You are as likely to find a rare sour on tap as a double Cascadian. They also have a short, but growing, bottle list (which, yes, includes Banquet, because you have to show some respect for your neighbors). Additionally, their staff is ridiculously learned and can recommend a beer (or wine, for that matter) that you are surely going to love. If you’re smart, you’ll make the 20 minute drive out of Denver.

Bark Bar, Denver. If you’ve traveled with your pup for GABF, be sure to give her a break at the Bark Bar. It’s a bar and a dog park all in one. If you’re an animal lover, there are few pup-friendly spots in an overwhelmingly pup-friendly city as fun as this one.

– Other notable tap houses: Freshcraft, Euclid Hall, Falling Rock (because to leave them off would be a crime), Mayor of Old Town, Brewer’s Republic.

Great Breweries

Again, I’m going to skip the obvious. Yes, you should probably go to New Belgium (their tour is one of the best in the country, and I have been on A LOT of beer tours) and Great Divide and Odell. But there are so many great breweries out here, try not to limit yourself to those places you’ve heard of in Beer Advocate or from your buddy who had the BEST WEEKEND EVERRRRRRR last year. There are so, so many hidden gems. Here are just a few:

– *4 Noses, Broomfield. Yep, I’m bringing you into the suburbs. A newish brewery serving up some old standards and some experimental styles. Worth a visit if only for their Anarchy.

– *Big Choice, Broomfield. Wait, what!? Another Broomfield brewery!? What better way to chase down some excellent beers than with MORE excellent beers? Big Choice has some of the friendliest staff in the biz, and they have some good (leaning towards hoppy) beers to serve up. I particularly like their red (especially on nitro) and Colorado common.

– *Brewery Rickoli, Wheat Ridge. Still the smallest brewery in Colorado after almost two years, Brewery Rickoli offers a line-up of 16 beers, all of which are gluten removed. Some of the best IPAs I’ve ever tasted and their Elke Brown Ale is hard to match. Ignore the crappy stripmall appearances: these beers are class in a glass. Rickoli’s also won the Sam Adams Brewer’s Experienceship last year, so expect them to be busy at their booth.

– *Broken Compass, Breckenridge. If you are here long enough to make it to the mountains (which, let’s admit it, you should), you need to make your way to Broken Compass just north of downtown Breck. It’s nestled away by the Breckenridge Distillery and is serving up the best beer in Summit County, no contest. From their Pepper Pale Ale to their Chocolate Coffee Stout, their beers are delightful, interesting, and drinkable. The fact that their (very small) space is ridiculously charming and their staff defies the usual “locals only” attitude of most Colorado ski towns really seals the deal.

Casey Brewing & Blending, Glenwood Springs. What Troy Casey, formerly of AC Golden, is doing up in Glenwood can be described as nothing less than magic, and it’s entirely unfair to other breweries. His Batch #1 Saison was absolute perfection in a bottle: funky, tart, crisp, playful. They are only open for their releases at this point, but they are available at a couple of locations in Denver and Glenwood and you would be well advised to pick some up. And by some, I mean every bottle you find. Then share with me. Because damn…

Manitou Brewing, Manitou Springs. Another trip from Denver that is more than worth it. Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs, is a stupidly cute mountain town with multiple public natural mineral springs smattered around town. It is also the home of Manitou Brewing, which is nestled back in an old burro barn with a great courtyard and warm interior. Their beers have yet to disappoint (although I am sad that I was only able to try their raspberry sour once) and their food is right on the money (helps to have a professional chef). I love this place so much that on our way from Salida to Evergreen yesterday, we diverted to go to Manitou. A worthy day trip, if you can make it.

– *Paradox, Woodland Park. While you’re down in the area, why not pop by Paradox Brewing? They are an exclusively barrel-aged facility fermenting wort brewed for them by Pikes Peak Brewing in Monument. The are doing some crazy experimental beers, with their Skully series being the crown jewel. If you can get your hands on some Skully #9 made with Nelson Sauvin hops, consider yourself very, very lucky.

Golden City Brewery, Golden. Dubbed the second largest brewery in Golden for the last 21 years. I have to admit some bias here, however, if you are already up at Barrels & Bottles, it is a short four blocks up to GCB, which is located in and around a historical Victorian building. It also has one of the wackiest brewhouses in Colorado with a brick-clad kettle and old dairy tanks stacked 12 feet overhead. It also happens to employ two of the nicest guys in brewing, and two guys who you can spot as brewers from a mile away (beards, think big, luxurious beards). Oh, and one of them happens to be my partner-in-hops (thus the bias), so please go harass him.

– *Shine, Boulder. Shine is the quintessential Boulder hippie joint. It has a gluten-free menu with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and raw options. But that’s part of what makes this place great. The food is spot-on (their grilled cheese made on gluten-free bread with cashew cream soup is out of this world, regardless of whether you’ve bought into the gluten-free fad or not). For a place that definitely flies under the radar when it comes to being a brewery, they have some mighty fine brews. A solid choice in Boulder that shows you what the Republic really is about.

Mountain Sun/Southern Sun/Vine Street, Boulder/Boulder/Denver. The three breweries in this little group have so many of their own beers on tap, it puts the “big boys” to shame. And it’s not just quantity, it’s quality. Their beers run the gamut of styles with each one being thoughtful and well executed. This is a great side trip for anyone who is looking to have more than one beer at a location and some pretty good noms to boot. If you can find their Colorado Kind on nitro, it’s worth it. And grab some of their hummus of the day, you won’t be disappointed. But be warned: their prices are good because they are cash only, so bring the green stuff.

– *Comrade, Denver. Owner David and brewer Marks have such a good thing going on here that you almost don’t want to share it. One of a plethora of breweries in old garages around town, this one happens to have a great theme and serves up beer that we drive from Evergreen – over an hour each way – to get. Their Koffee Kream is brewed with coffee roasted especially for them by Denver institution Kaladi Brothers Coffee. If you are near downtown and happen to have brought a bike (or want to rent on from our excellent bikeshare program), it’s a fun ride along the Cherry Creek path out to their location.

Baere, Denver. Baere has been open a very short amount of time, and has some really wacky hours, but our first visit there provided us with some very good beers (their IPA, in particular, was perplexing and delicious). The service is solid, and they donate their tips to a different charity every month.

– *Lowdown, Denver. After you have a drink at Baere, go over to Lowdown. Once again proving that Rock Bottom is a great training ground for brewers, the owners/brewers at Lowdown know their stuff. Again, a wide variety of beers that compliment their excellent food perfectly. And they have a parking lot! Talk about package deal…

– *Equinox, Fort Collins. There are so many great breweries in Fort Collins, but I’m going to focus on Equinox because (A) of the likelihood you haven’t heard of it and (B) of the “sleeper” breweries, this is the only one I have been to (I know… bad me…) What I love about Equinox is not only that their beers a very, very good, but that they sell their recipes and kits next door at the homebrew store. Few things show the collaborative, familial spirit of the craft beer industry quite like that.

Happy Leaf Kombucha, Denver. Not technically a brewery, but if you’re over visiting Crooked Stave (which I’m sure you will), you would be amiss to skip Happy Leaf. The first kombucha brewery in Denver, they offer 2-6 varieties of their buch, which is tart, funky, and perfect if you love sour beers. I was even able to get the Bearded Brewer on board. If you’ve never tried kombucha, Happy Leaf is the perfect testing ground as they do samples and the staff is happy to talk about process and ingredients. Since buch in a grocery store can exceed $4 a bottle, this is both a tasty, and a frugal stopover.

I have left off breweries that are farther afield such as *Butcherknife, *Steamworks, Copper ClubThree Barrel, *Roaring Fork, etc. Not because I don’t love them, but I was trying to think of reasonable distances from Denver.

Great Noms

This list could go on forever, if I let it. I love beer, but I also love food (duh). We have some amazing places to each along the Front Range, and eating fast food would be a crime with the glut of awesomeness we have on offer. Some of the Colorado specialties you can’t find elsewhere are: chile rellenos deep fried in egg roll wrappers, Mexican hamburger, “green” chile (that’s actually orange and made with tomatoes and pork, unlike New Mexico style green chili), the goober burger (burger with peanut butter and bacon, it’s as sinfully amazing as it sounds), Rocky Mountain Oysters (yes, they are a real thing), and every permutation of game meat you can imagine. Many of the breweries I’ve mentioned either have a kitchen or have food trucks, so that should always be your first choice, but if you’re looking for some solid food outside of a beer house, these could give you a start. Again, this list of eateries is far from exhaustive, but it should give a good base for some beer drinking fun.

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Denver. Get any of the wild game dogs with caramelized onions and cream cheese on them. It’s one of those things that just works. If you can hit up his cart, do. The restaurant is nice, but nothing beats grabbing a dog from the cart and talking to the man himself.

Bob’s Atomic Burgers, Golden. Build your own burgers done right. Be forewarned that they are huge and messy.

Park Burger, Denver. More for the Works, a pile of fries with cheese sauce, ranch, and bacon, than anything else.

Mexico City Restaurant, Denver. Only order the tacos. Do not deviate from that advice. They make their own shells and are greasy perfection.

Big Mama’s Burritos, Wheat Ridge. Excellent green chile served in and on massive burritos. Grab some and head over to Rickoli’s.

The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver. The place for wild game (not in dog form) in the city. Even if you don’t stay for a whole meal (it can be spendy), be sure to grab some Rocky Mountain oysters and hang out that the bar for some sense of the long gone cowtown Denver used to be.

The Cherry Cricket, Denver. The inventor of the Goober Burger. Done and done.

Wild Ginger, Littleton. A bit down south, but the best Thai food in the area. Their crab rangoon is actually made in house (unlike the frozen crap you get at most Asian places) and is like little bursts of glorious perfection in your mouth.

New Saigon, Denver. The destination for authentic Vietnamese eats. We have a large Asian population who have set up shop along Federal Blvd, but this is my favorite. I particularly love noodle bowl 10N: noodles, sauce, pork, beef, and egg roll. Enough to feed four normal people or one me. Enter through the west doors, not the fancy south ones (that is bakery and takeout).

Big City Burrito, Fort Collins. This has become a rather large chain, but I’m talking about the original one in Fort Collins, on College. Like Chipotle, if Chipotle had actual choices and a wide variety of sauces. Don’t miss out on their Soul Sauce, a mix of strawberry and habenero that gets the sweet and spicy mix just right. I order a 1/2 veggie, 1/2 carnitas burrito on jalapeno cheddar with potatoes instead of rice and beans with sour cream and soul sauce. Don’t judge.

Pete’s Kitchen, Denver. Pete has a lot of different joints around Denver, but Pete’s Kitchen provides the 24/7 service necessary for hardcore beer drinkers. It’s a diner in every sense of the word and we wouldn’t want it any other way. I always order their big greek salad with gyro meat and two eggs over medium after a hard night. It’s like the night before never happened.

SOBO 151, Denver. This was our regular haunt when we were living in the West Wash Park neighborhood. It’s strange enough to find any eastern European food in Denver, so SOBO not only serving authentic Czech food, but doing is well, is a triumph. I particularly love their sauerkraut soup, Smazak (fried cheese), and their garlic dip. They also have Krusavice Cerne on tap, which is a good beer for anyone studying for their BJCP or Cicerone to check out.

Other Stuff

Again, if you live here, you know how great this state is. But, if you don’t, why not take a little time to allow your liver to recover and visit some of the amazing places close to Front Range that we have to offer? Of course, there’s the always popular Red Rocks, but here are some potentially lesser-known spots to take a break.

Buffalo Bill’s Grave, Goldenish. Head up I-70 to Lookout Mountain, get off the highway and follow the signs for Buffalo Bill’s Grave. After taking it the amazing vista of the Continental Divide on one side and the Front Range on the other, drive down the twisty, turny Lariat Loop. This road will drop you off in Golden, where you can whet your whistle at the aforementioned Barrels & Bottles and GCB (or, make a whole day of it and hit up Mountain Toad and Cannonball Creek as well).

– Squaw Pass, Evergreen. Go up I-70 (stop at the Buffalo herd on your way up – it’s owned by Denver and is 100% genetically bison as of two years ago) to the Evergreen exit and drive up 74 until you see the sign for Mount Evans (it will say closed, but that’s just the highway to the top of the mountain). Turn down that road and you will be treated to some of the finest colors in Colorado, as well as stunning views of Mount Evans and the Divide. Dropping down the other side will leave you in Idaho Springs, and it’s a quick 40 minutes from there down I-70 to Denver.

Chautauqua Park. Okay, maybe this one isn’t so under the radar, but it’s a shame to miss it if you’re up in Boulder. Standing at the base of the Flatirons, you really come to appreciate the diversity of Colorado geology. Oh, and there may be a brewery or two you can visit while up that way.

– Dinosaur Ridge, Boulder. I can’t seem to get out of the mountains with these. Oh well, folks here for GABF spend enough time in the city that they should know about outside of it anyway. Dinosaur Ridge is located between Morrison and Golden and is a nice walk where you can see dinosaur footprints in situ with lots of educational information. There is also a museum that is worth a peek, while you’re out there.

Plains Conservation Center, Aurora. Look! I brought you to the plains! Yes, this a ways out (but you can have a beer or two at Comrade and Dry Dock on your way there), but it’s worth it. Oftentimes Coloradans forget that we have as rich a history on our flatlands as we do on the spiky ones, and this place reminds us of it. We spent a great day out there for the Hops for Habitat beer fest and recommend you do the same.

Staunton State Park, Conifer. Colorado’s newest state park is full of amazing rock outcroppings, waterfalls, and hiking trails. If you need a day to really, seriously get away, than the secluded Stauton should be your destination. You are unlikely to find such peace anywhere else within 45 minutes of Denver.

Evergreen elk rut. I live in this great little mountain town called Evergreen, and around this time of year the elk begin to rut – or go at it so that they can get the ladies. Watching the bulls bugle and spar really is a magnificent sight, and one that I have to admit to taking for granted. Honestly, if you see one thing outside of Denver, make it this.

 

Look, I know that this list is far from exhaustive, and I’ve likely pissed some people off with inclusions and/or omissions, but this is what I could think of to give guests to the Mile High City a good place to start. What would you add to this list? Any taplists that are ridiculously good that I’ve overlooked? Any breweries that deserve some sweet, sweet lovin’? And places that you always bring guests when they come out (yes, I purposely left Casa Bonita off the list)?

I already have another idea for an article, so it seems you may be more of me this week than you’re used to. Maybe I’ll even post drunk from the fest itself! We shall see…

Let’s do this thing.

Cheers.

Updated to include the elk rut in Evergreen.