Phew, that was quite the weekend up in Denver. We missed some stuff in our constant rush to get from place to place, from beer to beer. Hey, it was just another Great American Beer Festival, but we did have some additional tidbits of info and the like that we wanted to share.
During my brief interview with a joyful Mick Hahn of Turtle Mountain, I asked a tough question about whether it is even sweeter to win with a lager, considering how most casual beer drinkers probably do not understand how much harder it is to brew a lager than an ale. Mick was ready to celebrate, so he could not come up with an answer then, but after a while he messaged this to us:
“I thought of an addendum to the interview (Saturday). You asked about the consumers’ understanding of the intricacies and difficulty of lager vs. ale. I think I can sum it up with an experience from this weekend. Friday, I was at Prost and saw someone wearing a shirt, the back of which said: MALT WATER HOPS YEAST PATIENCE
“I fucking love that. While not a traditional ingredient, patience is so crucial to making a good beer, and that goes 10 fold for lagers. You see breweries expanding and making more and more beer simply so they can turn a greater profit. When your focus shifts from quality of product to quantity, you lose that patience that (is) so crucial to maximizing flavor.
“Working at Turtle has given me the opportunity to let that patience grow, and I think that is the biggest reason we were able to bring home the gold.”
Once again, congrats to Mick for bringing home the first gold/first GABF medal in the 19.5-year history of Turtle Mountain. Owner Nico Ortiz texted us to say he was planning on borrowing the medal to wear all day Thursday for his birthday. The Crew humbly suggests that everyone head to TMBC on Thursday and raise a pint of Wooden Teeth to Nico, Mick, and the rest of their team.
Say, that tattoo looks familiar
Shortly after posting our story about the award winners, we received a tip from reader Jim Bullard that we kinda sorta missed one New Mexico medal winner. The catch was the winner was a brewer from New Mexico who now brews in California.
Jim wrote, “Would like to pass on that Albuquerque native Chris Keeton scored a gold medal with the Alaro Brewing Castillo IPA, from Sacramento, California. Chris had recently collaborated with Justin Hamilton from Boxing Bear on the NABA (North American Beer Awards) winner Cali Common. Chris was in attendance with wife Lauren and 5-month-old Bennett who was present for the showing of the Bennett Pale Ale!”
Jim’s comment arrived at the same time Luke sent over the above photo after randomly running into Keeton, who apparently recognized the Crew symbol on Luke’s shirt. Keeton and his family were on the move, so they did not have time for an interview, but we plan to reach out to Alaro Brewing in the near future. We know there are other New Mexico natives brewing outside the state, but to our knowledge, Keeton is the first to claim a GABF gold medal. His Castillo IPA took the top spot in the English-style India Pale Ale category.
Know of a brewer from New Mexico who now brews elsewhere? Send us the info on him/her and we can put together a fun list.
- For anyone planning way ahead, GABF will be back in October next year, specifically from the 3rd through the 5th. The Craft Brewers Conference will also be back in Denver in the spring, but as it is an odd-numbered year, there will not be a World Beer Cup competition.
- The Crew found a couple new eateries that we recommend for anyone visiting Denver. The Denver Biscuit Company on South Broadway was as good as advertised, plus it is a short walk from there to TRVE Brewing. We also hit up a new-to-us breakfast place called Syrup, on the corner of 18th and Champa downtown. Otherwise, we hit a lot of familiar eateries, including Jelly and Rhein Haus, plus of course we ate while downing all those delicious beers at Bierstadt Lagerhause. Future food suggestions are always welcome.
- A few of the beers that blew us away, but are probably harder than hell to find on a regular basis: Great Notion’s Double Stack, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Maple Oak, Bosque Acequia IPA (we had to get it there since we missed the can release down here), the entire lager lineup from Chuckanut Brewing, Brooklyn Hand & Seal (Barleywine) aged in cognac barrels, Liquid Mechanics Barrel-Aged Awesomeness, Horse & Dragon’s BBA Dragonfire Imperial Stout, Black Sky’s Angel of Death Stout, Beachwood’s System of a Stout, Fremont’s BBA Dark Star Coffee Edition, Cigar City’s Coconut Marshal Zhukov’s, the entire lager lineup at Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Speakeasy’s Syndicate No. 4, AleSmith’s Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout, Kane’s A Night to End All Dawns and Sunday Brunch, Modern Times’ Devil’s Teeth and Fellowship of Xul, and of course Avery’s 16-percent BBA lineup of Fimbulvvinter (Quintuple), Tweak (Coffee Stout), Plank’d (Porter), and Rumpkin, with the last two straight from the barrel.
- How are we not dead? Because Franz Solo drank even more than just those.
- The others will have more to share this week from their own adventures. We also promise to track down first-time medal winners Starr Brothers and Rowley Farmhouse Ales, as they disappeared into the crowd Saturday.