Compiled & Photos by Neill Pieper
Our staff has put together a few of our favorite beers from Colorado and around the country that were poured at GABF.
Pikes Peak – Lichtenhainer: The brewers at Pikes Peak dug into their archives for this recipe. A style from East Germany, this smoked, sour ale hails from the town of Lichtenhain. Light hop, smoke and tartness combine for a surprisingly rounded brew that intrigues the palate. We love that Pikes Peak is experimenting with unique styles. Well done!
Holidaily – Fat Randy’s IPA: Gluten intolerants rejoice! In the past, gluten-free beers have typically not been up to standards set by typical brewing methods but Fat Randy's passes the test. Holidaily Brewing is quickly gaining notoriety for their gluten free beer. They are brewing beers that stand up to and even surpass a lot of beers on the market with gluten.
Weldwerks – BA Mexican Achromatic: Weldwerks is Colorado's up-and-coming-brewery, but you probably don't need us to tell you that. These two beers were highly sought after during the length of the festival. Their barrel-aged Mexican Achromatic held strong bourbon characteristics (from Breckenridge bourbon barrels) consisting of vanilla, chocolate and a hint of cinnamon.
Weldwerks - DDH Juicy Bits: Brewers used the well-received Juicy Bits, a New England style IPA, and turned it on its head, doubling the hop content to over six pounds per barrel! Huge tropical and citrus flavors are balanced with a smooth mouth feel, which proves you don't have to travel out East for a good New England IPA.
New Belgium – Cabernet Dark Sour: Full flavored and tart, this wood aged sour hit the spot. With characteristics from the cabernet barrels its aged in, Cabernet Dark Sour was clear, yet balanced with tart flavors and fruit characteristics. Dry and robust, the finish left you longing for more.
Telluride Brewing – Fishwater Project: It’s Fishwater Double IPA on steroids! Telluride brewing has taken its double IPA and submerged it within Peach Street bourbon barrels for six months. But wait! They added fresh Fishwater DIPA to bring fresh hops back into the mix. This beer is unusual and surprisingly drinkable at 11 percent ABV. While the Convention Center hall isn't quite as scenic as Telluride, the brewery’s booth made you feel like you were beneath the towering Ajax Peak enjoying some Colorado craft beer in a quintessential mountain town.
River North – J Marie: River North Brewing has been doing Belgian style beers the right way for a while. We love their classic J Marie saison. Sweet upfront with a clean dry finish, it’s backed up by just enough spice and yeast to give this new-world saison old-world characteristics.
OUT OF STATE
J Wakefield – Stay Puft: We didn't get a chance to try J Wakefield’s sours, but this porter did the trick. The only way to describe this beer is it tasted like a chocolate marshmallow dipped cigar - unique and highly memorable.
Jester King – Montmorency VS Balaton: This American Wild Ale hales from one of our favorite breweries. Complex, funky and refreshing, this tart ale builds as you drink it. We wished it wasn't just a one once pour.
Societe – The Pupil: Smooth, dry and medium bodied, this West-Coast IPA is one of our prized finds from the festival. Tropical with notes of guava and mango, the flavor profile works perfectly.
Fremont – Rusty Nail: If you were lucky enough to make it into the food pairing event, you may have gotten a chance to try this popular imperial stout. Beginning as an oatmeal stout, this beer is then put in 12-year-old bourbon barrels for 15 months. Fremont hit this nail on the head.