What do I taste at the GABF?
September 28, 2006 10:22 PM   Subscribe

What to taste at the Great American Beer Festival?

I'm going to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver on Friday night. This will be my third year so I know from experience how overwhelming all the beer choices can be. I have a passable beer palate but am not a real beer geek. I am looking to put together a little crib sheet of "must-taste" beers to go through before losing my ability to taste and speak coherently. So, what has set the beer world ablaze this year? What is the hot new thing? I'm not looking so much for "Sierra Nevada does a nice pale ale," but rather, "So-and-So is doing a steam style that is better than Anchor." Or maybe, "These-Guys have an exotic seasonal style that you can only get right now." I need tips for an intermediate-to-advanced beer drinker.
posted by iloveit to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Big hoppy beers (e.g., IIPAs, Double Imperial Stouts, Chris McFarleywines) are, unfortunatley, still pretty dominant. However, Belgian-styled beers -- although they've been around forever -- are catching on, now that most beer afocionados have realized that "hey, just any old asshole can add hops" [real quote]. Seek out Flanders brown, lambic, saison, wit, and the related biere de garde, gose, pseudo-lambic, framboise, and anything that smells slightly sour. Cheers!
posted by cog_nate at 10:52 PM on September 28, 2006

Yeah, if there's a Flanders style I would suggest that. I'm a big fan of the overhopping myself, but I love all sorts of beers and I personally enjoy saisons and witts tremendously.

If there are any American style dunkles I would suggest that as well.

But really, it's hard to suggest anything without know what is available.

I would suggest keeping track of what you taste and noting if you did like it or not.
posted by smallerdemon at 12:15 AM on September 29, 2006

I live in DC, but my favorite beer currently is Denver Pale Ale by the Great Divide Brewing Company. It's just a standard IPA, but it's excellent. Look for the blue label with a dude and a bike on it.
posted by borkingchikapa at 2:23 AM on September 29, 2006

If Dogfish Head is there, try their Pumpkin Ale (no really - it's very drinkable), or their 90 minute IPA.

Rogue has some pretty excellent beers. Tasting their Shakespeare Stout drove me to manufacture a clone of it.

If you go with several other people, you might try to all get the same variety of beer from different brewers and share them. Side-by-sides are pretty astounding that way. Bring crackers to clear your palette.
posted by plinth at 4:57 AM on September 29, 2006

Have you asked at BeerAdvocate? You're likely to find folks there who actually work for regional breweries and can give you details on what unique brews they're bringing.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:42 AM on September 29, 2006

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