We did it! We survived Great American Beer Festival week! And the Oktoberfest week before that, and the week before that…
I’ve been kind of buried in work and haven’t had a chance to update, so I’ll do a little picture purge to recap the last few weeks for you. Dave and I visited Pateros Creek to show our support for Stevetoberfest and wish brewer Steve a happy birthday. We left our mark as is expected.
As everyone knows, Oktoberfests should be celebrated whilst wearing traditional German dirndls. My parental unit just got back from Germany and brought my sis-in-law and myself these so we could celebrate accordingly.
Keg deliveries were made in said dirndl, as is also required when running a startup business.
We went to the second youngest brewery, Zwei Bruder, in southern Fort Collins to try their wares, as well as to say hello to my old brew system from Wolf Creek Brewery which made its way to this new brewery last year!
A Colorado Avalanche preseason game was attended. Not while wearing a dirndl…
I was able to sneak out of the taproom for an hour one day and made it all the way down the street to New Belgium! Snowbank Brewing had TONS of special releases prepared for GABF week. Chocolate Porter with the cacao husks and nibs from our friends over at Nuance Chocolate which just had their first day of operation yesterday!
Coffee Pale – my very own creation that I might be slightly proud of.
The wonderful Susan over at Cranknstein was kind enough to model for our Coffee Pale press release picture.
Green Chile Pale infused with roasted pueblo chiles. Intense chile aroma and a slight heat that hit your throat about a minute after sipping.
We have a lot more collaboration beers coming up that I’m beyond excited about. The local companies we’ve been connected with through this wonderful brewery have become incredible friends.
Last Friday morning I left the brewery in the capable hands of Broox and headed down to Denver for the Samuel Adams Longshot brunch at Marlowe’s. Pumpkin challah french toast, crab cakes, sausages made with elk, rabbit and buffalo, biscuits and gravy…
And of course, beer! We were the first of the public to try Samuel Adam’s new double IPA – Rebel Rouser – a west coast style IIPA that clocks in at 8.4% ABV.
I sat with the crew of The Brew Happy Show out of Portland, who I’d happened to meet up at Snowbank the night before!
After brunch I headed back up to Fort Collins to meet with my wonderful bestie craft beer girl from California.
The beautiful Janelle! She was child-free this time around so she, her hubby Andrew and I hit up the town.
First up was Funkwerks where I had a (GABF gold medal winning!) Raspberry Provencal.
Odell Brewing for tacos and brews.
And of course I had to introduce them to my latest hangout – Social. On all the nights where we close extremely late, we can always count on Social to have their delicious menu waiting for us.
The next morning was GABF! The Snowbank crew filed into the Bellco theatre for the awards ceremony and sat amongst an ocean of Coloradoan breweries with full glasses of beer.
Colorado’s cheers for every win were only one-upped by the Texans sitting a level up. I’ve never been so proud to be a resident of this wonderful state!
After the ceremony we filed into the convention hall and started the important part – drinking great beers and visiting with our friends, both old and new. We even ran into a few Snowbank Brewing t-shirts in the wild! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing those shirts on someone else around town.
And now I must bid you adieu as I venture out on my first day of sales outside the taproom! I GET TO GO OUTSIDE! Like, where the sun is! I might be excited…
Category Archives: beer festival
We did it! We survived Great American Beer Festival week! And the Oktoberfest week before that, and the week before that…
I honestly didn’t think I would be able to attend the Great American Beer Festival this year. I didn’t realize I’d live in Colorado at this point, so I didn’t even bother trying to get tickets. Lucky for me, I know some awesome, ridiculously helpful people who found a members-only session ticket. 15 hours before the session began, I was in Fort Collins, doing a wonderfully shady ticket purchase inside a bustling brewery.
But let’s rewind to Friday.
I drove down to Denver for the Pink Boots Society meeting!
The founder, Teri Fahrendorf, hosted us at the Vine Street Pub and Brewery. The waiters came around with pitchers and we got down to business.
We enjoyed the Sweet Lady Collaboration Brew #3 – Whackalicious extra pale ale. The ladies get together to brew these beers and the proceeds go towards the PBS scholarship fund.
Jessica Heidrich, the head brewer at St. Erik’s Bryggeryi in Stockholm, was the first recipient of the PBS scholarship and spoke a little about her experience with the online Siebel course and her background.
Kim Jordan, the CEO of New Belgium, also stopped by to give a little insight to her position at the brewery and spoke highly of all of her employees. “Brand is the emotional connection with the consumer.”
Charcuterie plates were brought out, courtesy of the amazing Vine Street Pub.
The owners of the mobile canning service “The Can Van” spoke about their company based out of San Francisco and the benefits to owners of smaller breweries who either can’t fit or afford a canning line, as well as their ability to can smaller batches since they have a lower minimum purchase than other canning services.
We took our traditional group photo and then got to networking.
Lotsa ladies! It was wonderful to get to see half of the Beer Chicks, Christina Perozzi and Cambria of The Bruery again!
Lotsa swag for the raffle!
And some amazing brews brought for the bottle share. After the meeting ended, I headed over to TRVE Brewing to meet up with some of my California folk who were in town for GABF.
Ladyface Ale Companie! We enjoyed some heavy metal brews, talked to the female brewer who was on site, then headed over to yet another wonderful brewery.
Great Divide! I love this place.
And I love this woman! Katie’s my beer nerd soulmate with the happiest personality I’ve ever met. After I dropped them at their hotel, I sped up north for the aforementioned shady ticket deal.
NOW for the GABF recap!
On Saturday morning my bro and sis-in-law picked me up bright and early and we headed back down to Denver. I was given a roll of string and a bag of pretzels to create some beer art/necessary sustenance. We arrived at the convention center and I started to feel slightly panicky as we strolled past sign after sign that said “NO BACKPACKS ALLOWED.” I was wearing my CamelBak. We were miles away from the car.
Praise the Lord, the head security guard was kind enough to let me in. I had to empty all of the water into the street and show them that my backpack only contained camera equipment and they let me slide on by. We walked up the stairs through a band of bagpipers who played us into the hall, then picked up our glasses. Go time.
We headed straight for the far end of the convention center to beat the lines.
So. Many. Breweries!
Look who I found! Lauren is the writer of Me and the Mountains – a wonderful blog full of hiking, foods and craft beer that I’ve been following for about a year. I heard she was working at the GABF and had to swing by to say hi to her and Paige who were working the KIND bar booth.
Blog buddies! So wonderful to meet you in person, Lauren!
My group (we’d expanded from the three of us to about six) stocked up on the free KIND bars and continued on.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout. Possibly not the best beer to start on. We followed it up with a bunch of sours and basically wrecked our palates. We’re SMRT.
The lines started to get ridiculously long, but they moved through pretty quickly.
Ladyface and LAB repping Agoura Hills!
And I ran into LAB Brewing’s brewer, Roger! I’ve missed him and his Schwarzbier so very much!
I was hoping to record and document all of the beers that I tried, but got caught up in simply enjoying myself and hanging out with wonderful new friends.
The Liquid Poets Society – the homebrew club of Fort Collins, and soon to be MY homebrew club!
The session closed after 4 hours of delicious sips. After saying hello to friends at The Bruery, Kinetic Brewing and Bravery Brewing amongst many others, we left the building and went in search of food. Lots of food. Lots of Mexican food. And then we went to Falling Rock Taphouse, where it got even crazier.
Lost Abbey’s Red Barn. Yessssssss!
Matthew modeling awesome can art by Lauren of the beer blog Napa of Beer.
My fellow Verboten Sister Ingrid and Cy.
Travis, me, Bill and Bill. There were soooo many Chivers at the fest!
And this is how the rest of the night went. After a few hours the remaining four of us wandered back to the hotel for one final beer and then I crashed in the hotel room that Ladyface graciously offered to share. I am beyond grateful for them and their kindness!
This morning was a little painful, I’m not gonna lie. I walked across the street to Caribou Coffee for a soy pumpkin chai and breakfast sammich. Travis and Kara picked me up in downtown and we headed out for breakfast (For them. I’d eaten my sammich soon after I woke up at 7:30am. Ugh) at Ale House before stumbling across Prost Brewing as we began our drive back north.
We were there before they were open, but the staff kindly allowed us in and gave us a tour of the 35bbl brewery. All German brews on a German brew system. I will be coming here on a future weekend, relax in the bright and open taproom and have a Maß of their Marzen Oktoberfest.
I don’t know why we did this, but we did. And this was less than an hour after Travis proclaimed, “I am never drinking again. Well, at least for today”. It felt rude to get a free tour and not support the brewery. You know that saying “hair of the dog”? It doesn’t work after the Great American Beer Festival. I will vouch for that, and I can’t wait to go back next year!
Have you ever attended GABF or any other awesome beer fest?
Last weekend I worked with Wolf Creek Brewery up in Mammoth for the Bluesapalooza music and beer fest.
The drive up was absolutely gorgeous. I got to see the flat grid of Palmdale, the flat grid of Lancaster…
And Mt. Whitney. That part actually was beautiful.
Friday night was the brewers’ reception. Every brewery brought different house brews and shared them with the masses. I sampled everything from Ladyface Bluebelly Barleywine to Lagunitas Alt to Noble Ale Works brews to quite a few others that seem to have slipped my mind for some odd reason…
It was quite an enjoyable two hours and seemed to pass rather quickly as I bounced around from group to group, meeting brewers I haven’t met like Beachwood BBQ and the Noble Ale Works folks, and hanging out with some favorites I’ve known for quite some time – Ladyface, the LAB crew and Stone to name a few.
The music was in full swing by the time the reception was over, so we danced along and danced our way over to Clocktower Cellar to hang with the brewers some more. We needed to be up early Saturday to set up the booth so we called it a night at a nice early 1am. Oops.
I got into my fancy girlesque zone (very difficult to do, honestly) and decorated the table. I made pretty decor stuffs out of fabric! No one who knows me would’ve guessed I did this.
At noon the crowds came swarming in, armed with taster glasses and ready to hydrate.
It was a warm day, so I tried my best to keep everyone’s glasses full and kept hydrated myself with tasters from Kinetic Brewing, Hess Brewing and Eagle Rock Brewery.
I also ran into quite a few friends – three of the members from the Thousand Oaked Homebrew Club I belong to.
Courtney repping both the TOaked club and Enegren!
Another TOaked member was out celebrating his bachelor party – a beer festival is definitely the best way to do it!
Speaks for itself…
Right here is the instant before the black clouds burped and vomited rain over the city. Good visual, huh? Every drunkard in the area shrieked and cheered and took cover under the closet brewery tent. We made many a new overly tipsy friend during that downpour.
At 5pm we shut down our CO2 tanks, disconnected the kegs and packed everything into our van. To cap off the weekend and celebrate Laina’s birthday, we went out for fancy wine and delicious foods and then went back to our little condo and passed out.
Sunday morning we had to head back home, but first we celebrated a Wolf Creek tradition. We went back to listen to a little music…
And supported the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department. Gotta support them. They work so hard, it wouldn’t be right not to obey her sign.
Bloody Mary it is! This is the first one I’ve ever had. Took me a while to finish, but I did eventually finish to fully show my support.
On our way out, I saw a shirt I recognized.
It’s a small world!
And now I’m off to City Tavern to attend a “meet the brewers night” with those on the shirt above! Cheers!
On Saturday I went up to Santa Barbara with the Wolf Creek crew to serve at the 3rd annual Santa Barbara Zoo Brew.
We packed up the pickup truck with kegs and the jockeybox and headed north.
I was the designated “foofer” of the day. Foofer is a scientific term. Basically, I tried to make the table look pretty and make the jockeybox look invisible. Designing pretty things is not in my nature, but I gave it a go…
After we’d set up, I wandered around the little park to check it out.
The calm before the storm.
And so it begins! The first hour was for VIP only and was nice and mellow. Then everyone else piled in.
We poured taster after taster with no rest for the entire five hours!
The majority of the crowd was made up of UCSB students and the majority of them knew absolutely nothing about beer. I can’t recall how many times someone tripped up to the table and slurringly asked, “Can I have the light one?” One girl and I had a very serious conversation about how just because a beer is called “pale ale”, it doesn’t mean that it tastes light. I got a high five for my explanation. Hooray.
Luckily, I was able to Keep Calm and Chive On through all of this.
I spotted four Chivers at the event! I was only able to grab a few pics with these two though.
Dang, I really need one of these shirts. That and a BFM…
There was a mad rush for beer when the last half hour was announced. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one guy sprint across the little park, stop to take his flip flops off, leave them perfectly placed and punch some guy in the face for looking at his girlfriend wrong. Lovely.
After everyone stopped pouring beer and the attendees stopped trying to bribe us to pour them “just one last taster”, the park emptied out very quickly.
We packed up our fancy setup and waited for the carts to come and shuttle us back down to the parking lot.
Enjoying the peace after the crazy day.
Definitely not the worst view to be stuck with.
We drove back to Valencia, enjoying the ocean views while we had them, and wrapped up the thirteen hour day with a brew at Dargan’s Irish Pub in Ventura.
We work so very hard…