Brew News

GABF Day 2: I’ve trained my whole life for this…

What up! I’m Doug and I’m a contributing writer at Draught Lines Magazine. This year me and Ed Friedland headed out to the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. Every morning this weekend I’ll give a brief rundown of what’s going down in Denver, cheers!

GABF Day 2:

By some miracle, maybe because of the altitude in Denver, maybe because the GABF is a magical and mysterious place, I was not hungover on Friday morning. After writing my post, eating some breakfast and drinking too much coffee, we set out.

Day 2 we planned to hit as many local breweries as possible so we stopped off at Wynkoop Brewing which is right over by Coors Field. The Nug Life IPA was great and our bartender grew up in Philly so we took that as a good omen for the day. Ed knew about some phenomenal dim sum 20 minutes outside of the city he wanted to take me to. I was skeptical but when we got in the Uber and the driver saw that our destination was Star Kitchen, he turned to us and said, “Clearly you all know what you’re doing.”

Ed was right, Star Kitchen was legit, and worth the trip outside the city. From there we went all the way back to stop off at Our Mutual Friend, in an area that reminded me a lot of Kenzington. OMF is a dark, little brewpub with a little outback space. The beer? Amazing. I had the Upper Light and tried their Belgian porter and a few others.

Down the block we stopped at Ratio Beerworks which was a lot bigger and had been seemingly overtaken by Philly. Felt like everyone from Philly who was in Denver this weekend was there: 2SP, Neshaminy, 2nd Story, Rich from Varga, and on and on. There were no Eagles chants, but I still felt right at home. After a couple pints at Ratio I headed back to rest up (ie. sober up) before the second session.

Now that I had a pretty good handle on the enormous GABF layout (did I mention this place is ENORMOUS?) I was determined to hit the booths that get long lines as early as possible. First up was Dogfish. They had like 3 or 4 beers I’d never had so I ended up getting a tasting and then hopping right back in line. The upcoming Liquid Truth Serum was great, but the real winner was Remarkable Architect, a barrel-aged sour with blackberries and blueberries. Yo, if you see this beer anywhere — get it. I made stops at Russian River, Ballast Point, Stone and a few other heavy hitters that get real busy late in the session. Then I moved on to the breweries I knew less (or literally nothing) about.

This is quickly becoming my favorite part of GABF. Sure it’s great to try the rarities from your favorite breweries you already know and love, but when you find a great beer from a brewery you’ve never heard of, it just reminds you of why craft beer is so amazing. Here’s my list of keepers from Day 2, though I could go on and on and on:

Remarkable Architect – Dogfish Head
Liquid Truth Serum – Dogfish Head
Spruce Tip – Ballast Point
Lazer Salad – Austin Beerworks
Super Green – Fargo Brewing
Ophion – Hermitage Brewing
Special K – Four Sons Brewing
Hold Steady – Ratio Beerworks
Inner Light – Our Mutual Friend

Left the second session a little early to avoid the mad rush at last call and stopped by a few more craft beer bars, most of note Falling Rock Tap House, which was one of the very first craft beer bars in Denver (they had Pliny on) and The 1Up, an arcade bar a la Barcade.

After I post this, I’m running back over to the convention center for the award ceremony, which starts at noon. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for live updates of the awards!

Beers Checked In On Untappd: 45

Overheard at GABF: “Damn, that guy is like the Flavor Flav of pretzel necklaces.”

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Draught Lines is a seasonal magazine dedicated to the craft beer experience.