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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Great American Beer Festival: Denver, Colorado

According to my last posting date, I'm just ONE day shy of a 3-month hiatus! Three. Months. That's not really "falling into a hole", is it? It's more like a deep, dark abyss. Or abandonment even. I don't know how that happened! And for that, I am sorry. I do know that there have been weddings, a 5-year college reunion, trips to Sonoma and Napa (more to come about that later), weddings, Supper Club, food festivals in the City, Sonoma County, and Oakland, sailing on the bay, hosting of the Beer and Cheese club, and friends visiting from out of town. Oh, and work. And work. And more work--it's hard being a lawyer! (I have to admit that staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours a day at work really kills the desire to come home and write more on my computer). But, in any case, I'm back. I've missed you!

I just returned from Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. It's a huge annual festival held in the Denver Convention Center that features over 450 breweries from around the country and over 2,000 beers. One foot in the door overlooking the endless aisles of beer stands in that massive convention center and your liver should be running to hide in the closet, shaking from fear.

Since I love sour beer, I volunteered to pour for my new friend, Ron, of Cascade Brewing Company from Portland, Oregon. They make belgian-style sours that are often fruit forward and always tart and delicious--my ideal beer.

Photos courtesy of my friend, Jesse Friedman, of Beer and Nosh, Thanks, Jesse! Also, congrats to him for getting nominated for the Best Beer Blog of the 2009 Foodbuzz Blog Awards!

Cascade brought along 5 sour beers (from left to right):

1) Kriek ale--made with 4 types of cherries;
2) Sang Royale--a double kriek (or double cherry) fermented with 110 pounds of Northwest cherries and aged in port barrels for about 6 months;
3) The Vine--a blend of soured Triple, Blonde Quad and Golden ales refermented with freshly pressed white wine grapes;
4) Apricot ale--a sour with over 8 months of lactic fermentation and oak barrel aging and then the addition of perfectly ripened Northwestern apricots that ferment for an additional 3 months;
5) The unmarked bottle: Vlad the Impaler--wood aged Blonde Quadruppel with about 11% ABV and contains no fruit!
Vlad the Impaler was my favorite...but I wouldn't kick any of 'em out of bed, if you know what I mean. The festival was so much fun--I did get a chance to try a few beers and found the most amazing Cranberry Lambic from New Glarus Brewing Company. I also got to spend some quality time with my dear friend, Chelsea, which was really nice. I can't wait to go again next year! Oh, and more to come later on some Denver foodie!

Speaking of beer, next Saturday (October 10) Jesse/Beer and Nosh is hosting a Notoberfest evening at Mars Bar involving Ice cream + Beer +Meat. Indulge in custom beer-infused ice cream by Humphrey Slocombe, beers by Valley Brewing Company and specialty meats by Ryan Farr and the 4505 meats team. You know I am sold on the ice cream and beer part, so I decided to help out with serving. Get your ticket and come on down and see us!!