This year is a special treat for me. Last year I flew into Denver on Thursday, the first official day of the GABF, but this year I obviously came into Colorado early to take the Cicerone exam. That meant I was here for the GABF pre-parties and wow, what a night!
I was joined by JJ Bagley and Brian Kropf from Mutineer Magazine and going in, we had to know it was going to be a night to remember.
The partying began with the Dechutes Brewing Special Reserve tasting on the 27th floor of the Grand Hyatt, right across from the Convention Center. Let me begin by saying that Deschutes has long been one of my favorite breweries with just their flagship beers Mirror Pond and Black Butte Porter. But I also love the Inversion IPA, the Abyss and absolutely most of all… Mirror Mirror. Barleywine is my favorite beer style and Mirror Mirror simply touches my soul with every sip. It is so amazingly delicious.
So tonight the Special Reserve tasting included something that made my giddy with excitement: the lost barrels of Mirror Mirror. These were barrels of the barleywine that were actually lost in the Deschutes warehouse and then found years later. They are unblended and simply slap-your-mama-good! I could not get enough. They also had some reserve Dissident and the Mirror Pond on tap but I was content with my favorite barleywine.
I also got to meet Brewmaster Larry Sidor, Chef Jeff and brewer Veronica Vega, all of whom are totally cool people. Check out the “Beers With” segments we shot at the party!
After the Reserve tasting we headed to Falling Rock Taphouse, a Denver landmark for craft beer and owned by a fellow Texas Longhorn, for a birthday party for Taylor Shaw. We arrived downstairs to see the whole gang already there and having a great time. The New Brew Thursday and BeerTapTV guys were there as was Laurie Delk (100Beers30Days), Rochelle Mills, Dr Bill from Stone, Alex P Davis, Melanie Strachan and many people’s whose names I’m forgetting now (sorry).
Plus, the Shmaltz Brewing company guys were there to promote a new book and they were breaking out some serious beers! They had their 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th anniversary beers and that 11th is just incredible! Plus, Falling Rock has a ton of great beers on tap.
Suffice it to say, it was simply an awesome night of great beer and there was epicness. And there were stories created to be told in later days (“stairs”). What a way to kickoff the 2010 GABF!!