When I finally made it to Denver yesterday afternoon I was so excited! Of course the first thing I did was head to the convention center to grab my press credentials. After my bag was weighed down even more by some Brewers Association shwag I headed on down to FreshCraft. I have not been to many beer bars in Denver, so this was my first visit.
It was PACKED and there was a line outside. It didn’t take long to get in though. I wiggled my way through the crowd and ordered a Guava Grove from Cigar City Brewing. It was great, nice and fresh. I was sad that I missed the Apple Cinnamon IPA though. I found a space in a corner and ended up standing next to Jake, who is a certified Cicerone and the bar supervisor of Stone Brewing World Bistro. We chatted Enjoy By and CigarCity while I waited for some friends to make it through the line.
When my friend Tyler showed up it was starting to clear out and we snagged a seat at the bar. As I was saying bye to Jake I brushed my hand against a decorative old barrel and sliced my finger on a rusty piece of metal. Ouch. I thought the only injury I was going to sustain at Great American would be to my liver. Unfortunately, it is right on the tip of my phone swiping finger.
I ordered the pretzel bites with cheese dipping sauce to go with my Stone Cali-Belgique. They were awesome, the perfect texture for a soft pretzel. Plus, the dish went great with an IPA. But I did get salt in my barrel wound, literally. When my partner in beer crime showed up I pulled out my bag of upcycled beer can hair clips to show her the new ones, and ended up selling almost all my stock to the servers and bartenders. Thanks ladies! I used some of my hard earned hair clip money to try the Emma’s Coffin Pumpkin Saison from Trinity. Saison yeast really creates a fun flavor profile when mixed with pumpkin.
Next we headed to Euclid Hall. Tyler has been talking about the duck confit poutine all night and he ordered it as soon we got there. We ordered and shared some glasses of Joliet and Lolita from GooseIsland, both made with berries. The Joliet was a bit to sour for my mood so I ended up drinking mostly Lolita.
We sat at the bar right in front of the kitchen and it was fun to watch them work. The cooks were pretty easy on the eyes too which helped. I ended up ordering the pickle sampler, which came with bread and butter, spicy and hop infused pickles. The hop infused pickle tasted like I was eating a joint. It you ever need a reminder that marijuana and hops are in the same plant family, this is it.
Before heading to our next stop, I enjoyed a little pour of Quinceanera from Schmaltz Brewing. This bad boy was aged in tequila barrels to celebrate their 15th anniversary. Next, we headed to the World Brewers Forum put on by the Keg Ran Out Club, a local home brew group. Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing gave a talk on IPAs to promote his new book. It was really informative in terms of the historical brewing and consumption of IPAs and made me want to get his book for even more in depth information. We also got to try some examples of Stone beer to go a long with what he was talking. I love trying beers made with old recipes.
Along with the Stone beers there were 20 taps of homebrew made by members of the club. I spent a lot of time chatting with club members about the beers they had made. The next speaker was John Bryans of No-Li Brewhouse. I had just recently seen him speak at the Beverage Business Institute, so I opted out of some of his speech for conversation in the “beer room”. I did however return to sample some of the No-Li beers. I particularly liked the Imperial IPA.
At this point I had to remind myself that this is a marathon and not a sprint and headed back to the hotel I was sharing with a couple of my beer rep friends. Which this morning I realized was an awesome decision as I am sitting on the 16th street mall attempting to keep my orange and carrot smoothie down after a nauseating elevator ride from the 20th floor. At least the sun went behind the clouds so it is not so bright and it isn’t too loud here J