Ok, so the official Great American Beer Festival is not until Thursday, but events go on all week. I consider Monday to be day one of a jam packed week of festivities. Just because I live an hour away from the location of the festival doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to kick the week off right.
I ended up at Choice City Butcher and Deli for lunch. I needed to pick up some pancetta for my pairing later in the night so I figured why not have a Colorado Reuben and a beer too. Russ, owner of Choice, was some
how able to gain a keg of Epic Brewing Brainless on Cherries that had been infected with brettanomyces. Most of this batch was dumped when they found the flaw, but I am glad this one was spared. The story goes that someone was actually fired because of the flaw in this beer.
While sitting at the counter eating my sandwich and chatting with Thad, the chef of Choice City’s infamous beer dinners, BeerAdvocate walked in. I got to meet Todd Alstrom for a few short seconds but for some reason was a bit shy in talking to them. Before I got my 75 slices of pancetta I ordered a Oskar Blues and Sun King collab beer, Chaka. I was also able to try D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer from Hoppin’ Frog. This double oatmeal russian imperial stout was a chocolately meal in a class. It will be one of the beers featured in the pairing dinner tonight with Hoppin’ Frog out of Ohio.
Before I headed out I ran into Carlos, the local rep for Washington brewery No-Li Brewhouse. He dropped off some samples to Russ and we chatted about the brew styles and art work of this new brewery opened by John Bryans.
Later in the night I had my GABF Medal Winners pairing event with the Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop went off without a hitch, unless you count how long it took to get the menus printed. I usually print my menus at the local FedEx Kinkos center and have always had great, and quick, service. Yesterday, I got the girl with the “in training” sticker on her name tag. While I longingly stared at the employee who usually helps me as the new girl was explaining printing two sided as trial and error (aka she didn’t know which way to feed the paper into the copier) I decided my time was better spent elsewhere while she learned her job. I told her I had an errand to run and would be back later to pick them up. By “errand” I meant I was going across the street to Tap and Handle for a beer instead of making a scene in the FedEx. Luckily, there was a Great Divide Yeti Sighting going on. I sipped a half pint of Oak Aged Yeti and chatted with my friend Matt who reps for American Eagle and the Great Divide rep. Luckily, my menus were ready when I got back.
We had a packed house at the pairing and even had to turn people away as we didn’t have a place to seat them! The courses were delicious and the crowd was lively. We had representatives from all 4 breweries in attendance to talk to guests about their beer. The volunteer staff was fun and engaging and made sure everyone’s glass was always topped off. I intend to head back into The Welsh Rabbit Cheese shop soon to take home some of the cheeses that were served last night, especially the Smoked Farmhouse Cheddar, yum!
After all was said and done and the shop was cleaned up after the pairing, my partner in beer crime and I headed back to Tap and Handle to celebrate. They tapped a keg of Uncle Jacobs Stout from Avery Brewing Co. and I had been dreaming about it all day. Many may scoff at the $10 price tag for half a pint, but at nearly 18% you will understand why after your first sip. There was also supposed to be a tapping of 4 Grand Teton beers, but the driver hit a snag on the way to Colorado. However, I can’t wait to go back today and get some Dogfish Head Bitches Brew. Bring on Day 2!