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Friday, September 29, 2006

Great American Beer Festival Kicks Off

With several thousand beer fans waiting outside of the Colorado Convention Center for the Great American Beer Festival to officially open, Brewers Association founder Charlie Papazian treated the media to the GABF 25th Anniversary Beer brewed by Boulder Brewing and sliced a chocolate cake on Thursday evening in Denver.

Papazian talked about the original beer festival held in Boulder in 1982, "when the tradition of American brewing was almost lost." He said the GABF has grown to be the largest of its kind in the U.S. "The GABF is unique in all the world because it emphasizes and really is all about the beer drinker," Papazian said.

Once the doors opened beer fans found the largest collection of American beers ever gather in a single location. The GABF is spread across four sessions and is a bit overwhelming because of the beer options it provides. Among the beers that I enjoyed during the evening were:

Maui Brewing Coconut Porter: This brew has a hint of chocolate and coconut.

Southampton 10th Anniversary Old Ale: This hearty brew has plenty of flavor, with hints of fruit.

Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout: Dryer than most Russian imperial stouts, this brew has a pleasant smokey finish.

Pumphouse Backdraft Imperial Stout: This is a 3-year-old beer flavored with cherries that has an appealing sour flavor base.

Sierra Nevada Wood Aged Big Foot Barleywine: This variation of one of my all-time favorite high-alcohol beers has an interesting oaky flavor and crisp hop flavor profile.

Wolf Pack Storm Castle Stout: A rich stout with a roasted malt base flavor that is inviting and habit forming.

Big Time Brewing IPA: Plenty of flowery hops with a fresh and inviting flavor.

Dogfish Head Hop Infussed 90 Minute IPA: More hops than you might find in three normal IPAs. Worth looking for at your local beer bar.

Brooklyn Brewery Fortitude: A Belgian-style strong ale that is a golden colored flavorful brew. Hints of fruit and spice throughout.

Stewart's Brewing Oktoberfest: A malty, rich brew that finishes with a slight sweetness.

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