It seems the House of K can do no wrong these days. A new brewery pumping out eight-packs of our favorite beers in tall-boy cans, a nationally renowned ice-cream/beer pairing and now a bronze metal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
But wait, there is more.
Draft Magazine recently rated Cold Smoke Scotch Ale a 91 in their September issue.
The review starts off: “This clear, amber beer drenches the glass with lovely ruby highlights and a thin, tan head.”
Read the entire Draft Magazine review.
Congratulations Kettlehouse Brewing Co. You guys rock.
Last year was a banner year for Montana breweries participating in the Great American Beer Festival. Besides the four medals, three for Montana Brewing Co., and one for Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co., Travis Zeilstra won Small Brewpub of the Year honors.
This year, without knowing how many Montana beers were submitted, I can say that Zeilstra’s single bronze medal for his Whitetail Wheat is a bit disappointing after last year’s haul. This is not to say we shouldn’t celebrate Zeilstra’s win or representation of the state at the festival, he’s brewing great beers and he’s winning awards, which is important.
It’s on, and I’m stuck in Missoula.
Well, with how bad the newspaper industry is, I guess I should just be glad I have a job.
I wanted to go to the GABF at least once in my life, and, even though it’s a chaotic, hectic affair, I still recommend it to beer lovers. It really is a Mecca of sorts.
My friend John Masterson is down there this year, and he’s been gracious enough to leave detailed notes on the Zoo City Zymurgists brew list.
You can read his first report here.
Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, pours samples of his award-winning beers at the GABF. (Check out those ABVs on the board behind him)
This is my hand attempting to open a lock on my friend’s house in Littleton, Colorado, after Friday’s Great American Beer Festival events.
I had to use my camera flash to light the lock, but I had to continually turn past a number, and the flash confused me. It took me about 20 minutes of trying to locate the code on my phone, turn the combination lock and finally open the door.
And this after I’d done everything according to the rules of beer fest.
1. drink responsibly (or as responsibly as you can when you’re in a room with 25,000 gallons of beer flowing)
2. eat regularly throughout the day
3. drink plenty of water
4. ride public transportation
5. tell Sam Calagione that you’d just like half a glass of his Chateau Jiahu when he whips out his credit card and tells the bartender at Falling Rock Tap House he’ll pay for beers the next 20 minutes.
6. walk back to the convention center from Falling Rock Tap House (normally this would be to get some fresh air, but in my case it was because I couldn’t find the free ride bus)
7. remember to have enough change to purchase a ticket for the train back to Littleton.
8. help an old lady onto the train while trying to explain why you have a tasting glass strapped around your neck (and then face a stern lecture about the evils of beer from the same old lady)
9. catch a few winks on the 20-minute ride to Littleton while freaking out every five minutes that you missed your stop and are now in Mineral ( I actually started so violently the guy three rows up thought I was having a seizure)
10. cursed myself for forgetting a flash light, and then realized my brilliance when I remembered my camera flash might do the trick (I may have permanent eye damage)
Oh the follies of our life. It wouldn’t be an adventure without them.
It was a good day in Denver…if you’re from Montana.
Let’s just say that’s better than a hat trick, better than the triple crown even.
A win like that is beautiful for all Montana breweries because it defines the state as a place where good beer is made.
The folks from Red Lodge added to Montana’s glory by snagging a bronze medal for their Red Lodge Ales Bent Nail IPA.
Their reaction was classic. First they went silent, trying to catch the first syllables out of the mouth of the presenter. They heard it before I did, and they jumped into each other’s arms in a wild celebration before making their way to the stage to pose for the honor and collect their new jewelry. Franklin Hughes and Justin Moore, the brewers, and Sam Hoffmann, the owner, joined the beauty and the brains behind the marketing and the director of good times, Lindsey Hayes in a frenetic celebration as the waited to learn the fate of their final entry. A bronze was what they took this year, but they seem hungry for more.
Montana Brewing Company took home a gold medal for Whitetail Wheat, a silver for Sandbagger Gold and a silver for Custer’s Last Stout.
It was a good day to be in Denver…if you’re from Montana.
Congratulations to each of you,
The GABF is all it’s cracked up to be, especially if you’re media or a VIP. The schedule of events included a beer lunch, with select Colorado beers paired with various courses. I’d go into details, but there is much more to write about.
Check out all these glasses. But rest assured, they didn’t fill any to the brim, or I’d have had a headache today.
One of the more interesting aspects was the comparison of beer and wine, and whether one or the other goes better with food. This was not to be, as it has been determined by experts that both beer and wine go great with food, but that beer should be bumped up in status these days for its complexity and creativity.
After attending the beer luncheon many journos headed over to a mead tasting. Ah, yes, that honey wine has become almost as popular as beer in some places. It was a good tasting with great food and an example of what mead makers are doing now.
After running around in the bowels of a huge hotel for several hours, it was time to come up for some sunlight.
The Colorado Convention Center is an enormous colossus of glass and steal, flanked by a giant blue bear seemingly trying to peer inside.
Upon my early arrival I had a few moments to scope out the beers from Montana.
It was a brief respite.
Soon I was engulfed by the throb of thousands of festival goers as they lined up to try beers from parts of the country they’ve never heard of.
Experts ranging from Charlie Papazian, the father of home brewing to Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at The Brooklyn Brewery, spoke in honor of Michael Jackson and about the current state of beer in America.
After several hours of trying America’s beers one ounce at a time, I left with a herd of podcasters. They’d heard that Sam Calagione, owner of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, was going to be at the Falling Rock Tap Room.
And when Sam handed his credit card to a bartender and said, “I’ll buy for the next 20 minutes,” well, this is what it looked like.
It was great to hang out with some of the top beer makers out there and some of the movers and shakers in the beer business.
But my favorite part is meeting new people from breweries near and far, like those guys from Durango Brewing Company and my new podcast friends from Nashville.
I have many more details to fill in here and countless stories to tell, but I must be off to see how Montana beers faired in the judging, the results of which will be released in just over an hour.
I’ll see you soon,
Alive and kicking.
I’m off to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. Billed as America’s largest beer fest, this three-day extravaganza of craft brewing pulls in many of the finest brewers in North America and from around the world. But one of the best features is the appearance of small brewers whose beers you could only try if you drove to their neck of the woods. I’m going with no expectations and a goal of finding those rare beers that only lucky locals get to drink. I’ll be checking in on Montana’s six participating breweries, as well as attending several food and beer pairings. Stay tuned throughout the weekend as I bring you video and print coverage of the 2007 Great American Beer Festival.