I am now in my second day of recovery (yesterday was all driving and it doesn’t count) from my first time going to the Great American Beer Festival. I gotta say that I am both surprised and amazed at how much fun I had. And because I’m not ready to start laundry, here are some points about the things that I (kind of) remember.
Breweries. In order, I toured the Oskar Blues, Avery, O’Dell, and New Belgium breweries. Oskar Blues was cool, and a good start, to prepare me for what was to come. Avery was a total shitshow, and I mean that in the best possible way. They have a random bunch of industrial buildings near each other that they use to make amazing beer, expanding whenever a neighbor moves out. I don’t know how they do it, it boggles me that they make such great beer like that. It’s like a car where all the parts are bought separately and put together with duct tape, but somehow has 600 horsepower and gets 60 mpg. O’Dell was my favorite tour, if it can even be called that. There were 3 O’Dell employees showing around about 15 people who work in breweries, and me. Just walking through and talking about stuff. And then we got to drink some of their Friek straight from the fermenter, we also tried an experimental pineapple Gueuze aged 9 months. Wow. Great. New Belgium was big. and Beautiful. and Big. and Beautiful. and SO MANY FOEDERS!!!! oh yeah, and at all the breweries, I got to drink lots of really imaginative beer, none of which did I paid for. Awesome.
As for the GABF experience, well… Its like being in a giant room, about the size of about 3 football fields. maybe more, I don’t know. There are around 600 breweries, over 2000 different beers to try, you’re given a little tasting glass and can go up to anybody to try their beer, for 4 hours. I’m not sure what most of the beers I tried were. Crooked Stave lived up to my expectations, and I remember being really impressed by the Lost Abbey’s Framboise. All other memories are currently lost to me.
Falling Rock is a giant Tap House. It was crowded, and had some amazing and crazy beers. I remember having a lot of fun, and being really excited that I got to try a Cantillion for the first time. A lot of other great beers as well. Hung out with a lot of Austin people there, and met a lot of new people too.
I don’t see how I can’t not go back next year. It was a great time and I’m really looking forward to it. A big thanks to Real Ale for Taking me along on their brewery tours, and congratulations to them on their 2 medals. Congrats to all the other winners as well, be they Austin, Texas, or National. PBR!!! Gold Medal!!! I also want to mention my friend Habeab, who was my Partner in Beer and let us take his nice car for the drive. Now it’s time to rest up for Austin Craft week which starts this Saturday.