In case anyone has been living under a rock of late, the Great American Beer Festival, that annual homage to craft beer, begins Thursday and runs through Saturday in Denver. In addition to the thousands upon thousands of beer served up at the Denver Convention Center, there will be hundreds of satellite events, special tappings, and just about everything else you can think of related to beer. Hotel prices are through the roof, every Uber driver should make a killing (though possibly at the expense of their floor mats), and the streets of Denver shall be packed.
It is a one-of-a-kind, visceral experience that everyone should partake in once in his/her lifetime. For myself and E-Rock, that was in 2012, though we both hope to go back one of these days. New rules should eventually enable us in the Crew to get press passes, but alas, we are still poor, and between car maintenance costs, work schedules, and a lack of a viable place to stay that won’t cost us half our annual salary, we are sitting out 2015. It should be noted that some members of the Brew Crew Bullpen will be there, having (somehow) scored general admission tickets. I’m sure they will be filing stories later this week and the next about their experiences.
For most of us watching from afar, however, the most important thing is the giant beer competition that occurs every year. In the last two years, New Mexico breweries have brought home 16 medals, eight in each year, more than twice what they had ever won before. Five NM beers earned gold medals last year, with Marble taking home two for Imperial Red and Double White, a brace that earned them the Small Brewery of the Year Award, a massive accomplishment for our brewing scene.
This year to help preview the festival, I asked the majority of the 15 participating breweries from our state what beers they were taking to the festival for both competition and to serve at their respective booths on the floor. When the GABF phone app updates the lists for our missing breweries, we will update this story.
Think of this also as a good way to keep an eye on who has what entered when they announce the winners on Saturday via an online broadcast on the website.
Bathtub Row: Little Bird Blonde, Wit Rock, Big House Belgo, Red Hammer, Black Point Stout
Bistronomy B2B: Green Chile Pale Ale, Cucumber Cream Ale, Lemongrass Basil Blonde, Coconut Porter, ESB
Blue Corn: Oatmeal Stout, Brown Ale, Night Train, HALT!-Bier, Apple Brandy Barleywine (competition only)
Bosque: Acequia Wet Hop IPA, Scale Tipper, Scotia Scotch, Bosque Lager, Riverwalker IPA
Boxing Bear: Standing 8 Stout, Paw Swipe Pale Ale, Hairy Mit Hefe, Body Czech Pilsner
Canteen: Dougie Style Amber, Exodus IPA, Odin’s Imperial Red, Dark & Lusty Stout, 2008 St. Bob’s Imperial Stout
Chama River: Radioactive, Wee Bit Loco, Obey the Darkside, Class VI, Kolsch
La Cumbre: Project Dank, Malpais Stout, Red Ryeot, Fievre d’Abricot, Elevated IPA (booth only), Southpeak Pils (competition only)
Little Toad Creek: TBA
Marble: Pilsner, Double White, Imperial Red, Imperial Stout, Brett IPA
Red Door: Roamer Red, Threshold IPA, Paint It Black Milk Stout, Ryeson Sun Saison, Broken Arrow Pale Ale
Santa Fe: Kriek, Black IPA, Nut Brown, Pale Ale, Single Barrel (competition only)
Sierra Blanca: Desert Pils (booth only), Pancho Verde, Bone Chiller Brown, Whiskey Stout (booth only), Alien Milk Stout, Alien Amber (competition only), Alien Wheat (competition only)
Taos Mesa: TBA
Tractor: Kristal Weizen, Chocolate Milk Stout, Berliner Weisse, Dark Horse Lager, Cowboy Blend Coffee Stout
And just for fun, if we had to pick one beer for each brewery to earn a medal, well …
Bathtub Row: Black Point Stout, Bistronomy B2B: Coconut Porter, Blue Corn: Oatmeal Stout (which won gold last year), Bosque: Scale Tipper, Boxing Bear: Body Czech Pilsner, Canteen: Dougie Style Amber (gold last year), Chama River: Obey the Darkside, La Cumbre: Project Dank, Marble: Imperial Stout, Red Door: Ryeson Sun Saison, Santa Fe: Kriek (bronze last year), Sierra Blanca: Bone Chiller Brown (two-time medal winner), Tractor: Cowboy Blend Coffee Stout
Certainly, as last year showed, breweries can win more than one medal. We hope everyone brings home at least one, though we realize that is unlikely. Still, it would be amazing to see our breweries double their haul from last year to this.
For any of you that are going to GABF, if you want to share photos, stories, news, or anything, you can contact us the usual ways: email us firstname.lastname@example.org, via Facebook, or via Twitter @nmdarksidebc.
For everyone going to Denver, have fun and please stay safe up there. (In other words, do not utter the words “Peyton Manning looks done” under any circumstances. Even if he looks done.)