Highlights from the Great American Beer Festival

The 2014 Great American Beer Fest fell October 2-4 in Denver, Colorado. If you can believe it, this year’s festival raked in 15% more breweries and 10% more beer overall. We’re already getting word that next year’s beer festival is to expand even larger. Between the sampling stations, a silent disco, farm to table food pairings, educational presentations, a designated driver lounge, and involvement with the American Cheese Society, the Great American Beer Festival has it all.

Great American Beer Festival

While we’d love to recap all of the “best” beers at the festival for you, one day at the festival is not enough time to give every beer a fair chance… that’s what the official GABF judges are for. I’m here to tell you about some interesting finds that stood out among the near 3,500 beers at the event. For a full list of the GABF winners click here. Top medaled states were California, Colorado, Oregon and Texas, respectfully.

In addition to some great tasting beers, is the amusing beer names found at the event: Workman’s Compensation (Lion Bridge Brewing Co.), Brunch Money (Armadillo Ale Works), I’d Like to buy the World a Kolsch (Old Town Brewing Co.), D’Bag Jimmy (Pappy Slokum Brewing Co.), Hop Drop N’ Roll (Noda Brewing Company), Snaggletooth Bandana (Solemn Oath Brewery), and I Like The Way She Moos Milk Stout (Storm Peak Brewing Company) just to name a few.

Ram Restaurant & Brewery out of Washington state’s Gotta Try Apple Pie left people literally saying “You gotta try this!” I heard it at least three times passing their station. This brown lager has flavors of graham crackers, caramel, apple pie and cinnamon. The best way to put it is this was a liquid version of apple pie, a great dessert or fall beer, and it smells just like it tastes.

Great American Beer Festival

Papago Brewing out of Scottsdale, AZ had some unique flavors including Hop Tamale Chile IPA and their Coconut Joe. A brand most people know, Shock Top Brewing Company (Anheuser-Busch) brought some unique versions of their wheat beers this year, including Spiced Banana, Chocolate, Pumpkin, Bourbon Cask, Honeycrisp Apple, Twisted Pretzel, Raspberry, and Lemon Shandy. Other breweries had unique beers including peanut butter, bacon, key lime, pink peppercorn – the list goes on.

Ask any veteran GABF attendee and they will each have their own strategy when it comes to attending the festival. If you really want to see and taste everything you’d want to, one should attend more than one session. Use the official app, the show guide entitled “Beer Heaven” or just walk down row by row. Come prepared and enjoy! Will be looking forward to see next year’s even more expanded event (mark your calendars!) next September 24-26, 2015.

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