After the conclusion of the Saturday afternoon session, we made our way across the street back to our hotel to watch the conclusion of the Dodgers playoff game. It was interesting to see how packed the bar area was with festival goers, the decibel level of conversations, and the ever refreshing smell of fart floating through the air. Yes, when you gather tens of thousands of people into an enclosed room with 3000+ beers, there is bound to be one or two people to let out a little gas.
We decided that it would be in our best interest to take a little nap. Sure, I am a firm believer napping on vacation is weak but it really helped us recharge our batteries and shed some of the buzz. What was supposed to be a quick 45 minute easily translated into 2 full hours…and much needed too.
From the hotel, we grabbed a cab over to Breckenridge Brewery in downtown. Usually I will tell something about the brewery first but this was not my first time here and we had just an awful experience. The place was barely half full but still had to wait like 15 minutes for a table, the waitress was utterly non-existent and my buffalo burger (which I love buffalo meat, so damn good) that I ordered Medium Rare was still extremely red…on the outside. Trust me when I say that the fucking thing was still mooing at me…my plate looked like a crime scene with all of the blood on the plate…and since we never saw the waitress, I couldn’t even have it sent back to have it cooked. I wish I could say that I was the lone victim here and was just simple bad luck but the other two guys also had poorly executed food. Here was the only beer that I could palate while there…
Lone Tree Brewing Peachtree Pale Ale ~ Fruit Beer ~ 4.75% ABV
Leaving disgusted…we had to turn this night around, so we hopped in another cab and made our way over to The Source. The Source is another reclaimed brick building from way back when which now serve as a home to hipsters everywhere. The building is in a pretty shady former industrial area with not much around it other than abandoned buildings. Inside was lots of hard brick and tin metal…the exact opposite of warm and inviting. The building is split between two food places, a small shop, a distillery and Crooked Stave.
Crooked Stave Tasting Room
Crooked Stave is a fairly new brewery to the Colorado scene, having only been open a couple of years now. They had moved to The Source within the last month and had recently had their Grand Opening there the week before the GABF. When you walk into the back part of The Source, it is a little underwhelming as the place is a little small. I was told that their previous location was very small and this was an upgrade…but they obviously didn’t set their sights too high because their tasting room seemed too crowded. The Crooked Stave space is roughly less than 1000 sq ft with half of the space being occupied by tanks and other brewing equipment. Here is what I got to drink…(yeah, I didn’t take it easy)
Crooked Stave Musty Cedar Box ~ Sour Red/Brown Ale ~ 7.5% ABV
Crooked Stave St.Bretta (Spring) (made with Minneola Tangelo oranges) ~ Witbier ~ 5.5% ABV
Crooked Stave St.Bretta (Summer) (made with Blood oranges) ~ Witbier ~ 5.5% ABV
Crooked Stave St.Bretta (Fall) (made with Valencia oranges) ~ Witbier ~ 5.5% ABV
As part of the festivities for Denver Craft Beer Week, Crooked Stave had two bottle releases during the week for Origins and L Brett D’Or, which I was bummed out about missing but as luck would have it, they still had bottles for sale when we arrived, so I was able to scoop them up and bring them home with me.
From Crooked Stave, we headed over to one of my favorite breweries in Denver, Great Divide. While Great Divide is not my favorite brewery, the physical brewery is just a really cool place to be. Unfortunately, we arrived there around 930pm and they already made Last Call so that they can close at 10pm. :( Saddened, we walked back to our hotel to drop our haul from Crooked Stave then headed over to Wynkoop Brewery (because they were the only ones open until 2am).
Wynkoop Brewery is located just several blocks from the ballpark downtown, situated in a three story building and makes a lot of different styles of beer in house. We basically spent the remainder of the evening in their upstairs billiard hall playing shuffleboard (new to those in Southern California apparently). Here is what I got to sample while I was handing out shuffleboard ass whoopings… LOL
Wynkoop Brewing Cherry Kriek ~ Fruit / Vegetable Beer ~ 4.5% ABV
Wynkoop Brewing Tres Bon Saison ~ Farmhouse / Saison ~ 6.8% ABV
Colorado Cider Company Grasshop-ah ~ Cider ~ 6.95% ABV
Thankfully, we were smart enough to not take the first flight out of Denver early in the morning because it gave us plenty of time to drag our asses out of bed, have a nice breakfast and make it to the airport at a decent hour. When I booked my flight, for some ungodly reason, my return flight back to Buffalo from Denver was via Phoenix??? I am no geographer but I am going to go out on a limb and say that Phoenix is no where even close to being in the path of Buffalo from Denver. While waiting for our flight out to Phoenix, we stopped at the Boulder Brewing Company brewpub located inside in the airport and got to enjoy…
Boulder Beer Company Cold Hop ~ English Strong Ale ~ 6.5% ABV
While it made sense for my buddy Matt to have his layover in Phoenix (as he was headed to Los Angeles and not Buffalo?!?), it at least gave me some time to grab lunch and share a pint or two before we parted ways. There was a brewpub scheduled to be opened in the Phoenix airport by mid-October but was delayed, so we found a pub at the airport and was able to do enjoy a few more pints before my long 5 hour flight back home.
SanTan Brewing HopShock IPA ~ American IPA ~ 7.0% ABV
Deschutes Black Butte Porter ~ American Porter ~ 5.2% ABV
Another great year of the GABF is in the books…as always, I spent way more money than I wanted to but when you get caught up in the moment, better throw back a beer then worry about saving money. Unfortunately, I will not be attending the GABF in 2014 as my job situation is uncertain and my wife and I are planning on buying a new house in the future….but, I do have my sights set on 2015!