Recently, I had the opportunity to fly to Denver and attend the Great American Beer Festival, one of my favorite events in the beer world.
With so many amazing breweries packed into a small place, it’s the perfect place to meet up with old friends, make some new ones, and try beers you’ve never heard of and probably would never try otherwise.
GABF can be almost overwhelming to anyone. Rows on rows of tables, taps and menus left and right. The smell of beer and the sound of bagpipes and funk music - a chaos of the senses that I think captures the craft industry very well.
After some time of taking in the atmosphere and getting my bearings, it was time to work making my way up and down the rows. The most notable pours I had were from some of my favorite breweries like Great Divide Brewing Company's Yeti Stout aged in Laws Whisky Barrels, Sad Panda from Horse and Dragon Brewing Company, and the Western Pils from Howdy Beer. I even had the chance to try some beers that I normally wouldn’t order like the Five Alarm Mango from Barebottle Brewing Co. and the Cream Cheese Rangoon Gose from Weldwerks Brewing, both of which I was pleasantly surprised by.
My trip to Denver wasn’t all about GABF though.
Back in 2019 when I was set to graduate from my undergrad, I set a goal to visit 100 different breweries within the state of Colorado. This seemed easy in 2019 when I was working as a bartender. When the pandemic hit, normal adult life started, and I moved from Colorado to Wisconsin it seemed like it would never happen. It wasn’t until I counted the stickers and photos on my phone that I realized I only needed to visit 5 more breweries to reach my goal. In between the GABF kickoff parties, I decided to sneak away and finish my list. I started my day in Fort Collins and made my way to Weldwerks Brewing in Greeley. Along that drive, I visited Maxline Brewing, Zwei Brewing, High Hops Brewery, and Peculiar Ales. I wrapped up my adventure in Greeley, where my beer journey began, with a relatively new brewery that’s making beers you’d want to have again. Rule 105 Brewing was my 100th brewery, where I had a sampling of the classic beers they make, my favorite being the Sonnensaft Krystallweizen.