Monday, October 02, 2006

Fun is awesome.

On friday I attended the Great American Beer Festival in glorious Denver, Colorado. This festival is apparently in the Guinness Book of World Records as the event with the largest number of beers on tap.* Guinness was not in attendance. Here are some random observations.

  • Every damn brewery in the US thinks they're clever and unique. They're not. Seriously, every brewer had some clerverly punny-named IPA or Porter. They pretty much all tasted the same. I stopped sampling anything with a clever name after the first 10 minutes.

  • I want a pretzel necklace. I didn't get the memo on these. About half the people in attendance had a pretzel necklace. I guess so they could snack on pretzels between 1 oz. samples of beer.

  • Some brewery in Alaska makes a smoked beer. The rep said they actually smoke the barley used to make the beer the same way one smokes salmon. It was better than it sounds, but I can't imagine what one would pair this particular beer with. I certainly wouldn't want smoked beer with my smoked fish.

  • Surprisingly, my favorite new find came from a brewery in my own backyard, the Wynkoop in LoDo. I've been there a few times and always noticed the "Patty's Chili Beer" on the menu. Intrigued, I was thrown off a bit by the menu's promise of ancho and annaheim peppers. Don't get me wrong; I like peppers and peppery foods. But I wasn't so sure it would make a good addition to beer. Beer isn't supposed to be spicy, it's supposed to be what you drink when you're eating something spicy. Turns out, this beer is delicious. In the sample I had the pepper aspect wasn't spicy per se, it simply contributes an organic and earthy freshness to the beer. Drinking it was like the smell you get when you take a ripe, fresh pepper and make that first cut into it on the cutting board. The smell overwhelmes you, not in a spicy\hot way, but in a flavorful smell of nature itself way. This is what the beer tastes like.

  • Another favorite of mine was called "Orange Blossom" from Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ. It pours a cloudy golden color and, as the name would imply, has a slight aroma of citrus. The taste is smooth and slightly sweet, the kind of beer you can quaff rather quickly without realizing it but has enough flavor to hold its own.

  • I'm apparently allergic to the Colorado Convention Center. About two hours into the tasting my nose started running like crazy and my eyes were itchy as hell. I didn't realize immediately that it was an allergic reaction (I thought I was getting a cold), but it must have been. Not long after leaving, my symptoms started going away and I awoke the next morning feeling fine.

  • Fun is awesome. So read a sticker handed to me by a guy manning some kind of "beer glove" booth. I'm inclined to agree with said sticker.

  • There was a booth there by the Mormon Drinking Team, also known as X-communicated. They had several hilarious t-shirts for sale, my favorite being the one with a picture of a happy jesus holding a glass of beer with the words "What Would Jesus Drink".

A fun time was had by all. Props to my beer-drinking cohort Lynne who came all the way from Atlanta to attend the beer fest with me. We got a couple of pictures of us at the fest on her camera. She left it on the bus when we came back to Boulder but rumor has it that she retrieved it from RTD's lost and found this morning. Huzzah! I'll post a picture if/when I get one.

*This is unverified. I personally have no idea whether or not this event is in the Guinnes Book of World Records.

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