The mornings are cooler, those big yellow pill boxes with flashing lights making me stop are running all around, and every Friday night is an exciting community event called a high school football game. Amongst all of that what really gets me going is the great beer, and beer festivals that always come up in the fall.
Recently I had the great privilege of attending the GABF in Denver Colorado. For those who don’t know, the GABF stands for Great American Beer Festival and it is arguably the largest beer festival in the world. It was my first time attending and to be honest, it was overwhelming. It made me feel like a very small, newly hatched pollywog in a large lake with a gaggle of large fish trying to eat me. But I felt much better knowing that I had about 5500 different beers to choose from, kind of brought a tear to my eye. Every beer I tried which was probably about 300 total (sorry to all the others to leave you out, only so much time in a day) was fantastic, no perceivable off flavors to my palette. I have had plenty of beer that have undesirable characteristics. Sometimes it’s a packaging or brewing error, but most of the time it is off flavors from the yeast, and being a registered beer judge for competitions I can say I have had my fair share of beer that has either gone bad, or was made incorrectly.
Fall also punts us into the great seasonal brews of the autumn offerings like Octoberfest, German Bocks, and of course the ever increasing in popularity Pumpkin Ales. I personally don’t care for a pumpkin ale, but there are a lot of fans out there loving the pumpkin brews. I like to have my pumpkin and cinnamon and nutmeg in my pumpkin pie, not in my brew.
Why doesn’t some sharp and wise brewer come up with a cranberry turkey ale? I mean heck Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware brewed a chocolate lobster ale. I tried it at GABF and it was kind of strange, not bad, just strange. Sam Calagione founded Dogfish Head and he personally told me they use 1.5 pounds of Maine Lobster in every barrel of that beer. Then they put the lobster into their mac and cheese dishes, at the restaurant in Rehoboth, Delaware. Anyone for chocolate flavored lobster mac and cheese? Might be pretty good?
A roasted pecan pie ale might be kind of good. Getting enough pecan and caramel that it remains detectable in an ale with hops might be kind of difficult though. I did try a peanut butter porter, and it was good. I didn’t get a chance to talk with the brewer though, so I don’t have any clue on how much peanut to use.
GABF was a wonderful experience, I learned a lot and talked with some beer industry leaders providing me insight into this big world of beer that we now live in. It’s a great time to be a craft beer lover, and as time goes on I think it’s only going to get better.
It’s almost kickoff and it’s definitely 0 Pint:30 as mine is gone. Until next time, may your pints always be full and your taps always flowing.
About the Author
Craig McPheetersCraig J. McPheeters is a freelance writer, founding brewer of Bricktowne Brewing Co. and a registered Beer Judge Certification Program beer-competition judge. He is actively authoring two publications set to be published by 2018. When he isn't ... Full ProfileWebsite: http://www.bricktownebeer.com