Friday, October 12, 2007

GABF 2007: Day One

Sitting in Denver, a bit worn out from the day before, I figure this post won't be all that long. Yesterday was a fairly epic day in the life of a beer enthusiast, starting early and going well into the next day (I got home around 3 this morning).

To begin the day, we drove up to Boulder again for a private tour of Redstone Meadery, makers of fine honey wines. Along the tour we sampled all their products, got a brief education on meads and their process for making them and learned the absolute beauty of the Redstone Reserve Series meads - absolutely wonderful. Joining us on the tour, lest I forget, was Jeff Bearer of Craft Beer Radio, Rick of Big Foamy Head, my dad, uncle and Gary (who was Jeff's guide for the day I believe).

From Redstone we chose to make our way down the street to Avery Brewing to sample their beers - we'd been told about their Bad Karma and needed to try it. We arrived at the right time, let me just say that. Walking in I many folks from the industry. They were nice enough to let us tag along for the Avery tour, and I must say this - Avery is the strangest brewery I have ever seen!

Avery is located in an industrial area and house four or five sections of a long strip of businesses, with businesses in between their own brewery operations. They also had an outdoor fermenter! Now, think about what kind of hell it must be to transfer beer from this outdoor fermenter when it is well below freezing, as Boulder is prone to be in the winter... man, I still can't believe that. Their bottling line is so cramped I couldn't believe it, but it turns out this bad boy was custom made to fit in this small little room - insane. Clearly these guys are creative in their abilities, including their ability to adapt to what the world gives them as far as working space goes. I suppose this creativity is shocased in all their beers, isn't it?

Speaking of beer - their Bad Karma was pretty outstanding. A sour version of Karma, this beer was an ease to drink and a pleasure to consume. Their other special beer of the day was the Salvation aged in Oak, with the oak coming through pretty clearly.

Next, it was finally time to make our way to the Denver convention center for the 26th Great American Beer Festival! I'll have to get to this soon.