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Friday, September 29, 2006

GABF Day 1 Recap

The Great American Beer Festival 25th anniversary kicked off Thursday night and along with the great beer were some interesting sights and sounds.

The Safari Grill & Brewing Co. from Chanute, Kansas, featured costumed hosts that likely had the folks from Anheuser-Busch wondering if activists have a double standard when it comes to big and small companies. A-B recently pulled the Steve and Zagar campaign for Bud Light. I doubt the same type of pressure will be directed at Safari.

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Many breweries have come and gone during the 25 years that the festival has been in operation. That's not surprising since brewpubs and microbreweries are small businesses and have to compete in a crowded category. Only eight companies have had a booth at all 25 of the GABF events:

Anchor Brewing Company
August Schell Brewing Company
Boulder Beer
Coors Brewing Company
F.X. Matt Brewing Company
Joseph Huber Brewing Company
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Only three brands of beer, Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve, Genesee Cream Ale and Rainier, that were available at the GABF in 1982 were being poured last night.

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Probably the longest line of the night, with the exception of those for the bathrooms, was at the Alaskan Brewing booth. To celebrate the GABF's 25th, Alaskan is pouring 11 vintages of its multi-award winning Alaskan Smoked Porter . The beer has won 13 GABF medals­­ over the years, more than any other beer in festival history. On Thursday the brewery served the 1994, 1998 and 2001 vintages; On Friday, 1996, 2000 and 2003; Saturday afternoon: 1993, 1997 and 2004; and Saturday evening: 1999, 2002 and 2004.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Your coverage of the GABF is amazing! Keep it up! The only way it could get better is if you sent me a plane ticket to go there! :)