Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Great American Beerfest: #TBT4THT

Here we go, a Throwback Thursday for The Harrington Times.
Since re-entering the blog world, I've discovered some true #tbt moments, some drafts which are simply titles, yet speak to the stories I wish would have been recorded. As I work on getting those out of the mines, I figure I ought to work on some more recent memories, moments from the past, but not quite so long ago. I figured, since most of my undone posts are beer related and the stories I most "recently" kept at the forefront of our blog space were beer-related, I might as well take a relatively small step back in time and re-experience the Great American Beer Fest (GABF, if you will).
GABF, is as Mike explains, the World Series of Beer. It is the beer event of beer events, if you have even the smallest love of craft beer, your sudsy-fermented-beverage-loving tastebuds want you to take them there. The challenge, however, is getting your hands on a set of tickets to this highly prized event. Fortunately, for Mike and I, we entered our proprietorship of The Burlington Place well aware that relationship building would be an essential ingredient to our happiness and success. Not only did we seek to build relationships with patrons, but additionally with our distributors, sales-reps and delivery folks. One such relationship, with our Budwieser distributors (who also distribute plenty of fine craft beer) has been 100% rewarding...especially when they have a handful of GABF tickets available and know that the TBP couple would love them and take full advantage of all the perks. Therefore, four tickets in hand, Mike and I made our way to Denver, meeting up with Dave and Julianne en route and began a weekend of sipping as many 1 oz. beer pours as possible in a 5 hour period.
Some key experiences and insights from our time at GABF:
  • Veterans of GABF come adorned with pretzel necklaces, smart
  • You should go in with a strategy...or develop one quickly. Mike went for the try-any-sour-ale-available strategy whereas Melissa went for the if-it-was-aged-in-a-barrel-it-should-be-rolling-down-my-gullet strategy
  • Brewers are a very clever bunch considering we drank beers named: Morning Wood, Beavers Milk, Hopspresso, Sodbuster, Good Juju, Helluva Caucasion Stout, Melt My Brain, Sunday Morning Stout and Biere Joi (among plenty of others)
  • If you have a cousin in the beer industry - you might just run into her while attending GABF
  • Alas, if you've been emailing somebody in the craft beer/brewing industy, you might just run into him while attending GABF (and since few people can promote craft beer so well in a small, Wyoming town, you just might be a bit memorable)
  • You CANNOT taste nearly as many beers in a five hour time span as you think you can, however, 1 oz. pours can help you on your way to buzz-dom
The evening of GABF festivities was filled with meandering and sipping, comparing and hoping that you would not end the evening with a last call of something less than fitting of your personal style. (Note to futue attendees: beware of the drunks who grab a pitcher off a breweries table, claiming it's their pilsner yet having no true idea what it could possibly be all the backwash and watered down beer that gets poured've got it, random pitchers). Fortunately, if your last call is a bit off color, you happen to be in downtown Denver with plenty of great dining and snacking options. For us, that fine dining option centered on the desire for wings and a lack of desire for researching our full options, so we ended up at Chili's for an assortment of appetizers, a watermelon margarita and a recap of the best beer moments. (One conclusion: Short's Brewery was one of our all around favorites - crazy flavor combos - gin and tonic beer, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, bloody Mary, etc. and super AWESOME tap handles!)
So, having had an eventful evening running around America's greatest beer fest, the Sunday after is best served by heading any where that has a Bloody Mary bar and allows for some good eats, fresh air and golf, obviously. Therefore, head to a Top Golf. As our good friend Dave explained, Top Golf is like bowling meets mini-golf. In essence this means, you have your own "lanes" or bay complete with clubs, golf platform and wait staff service directly to your table. It also means you don't actually have to know much about golf to have a good time (similar to mini-golf). Ultimately, you're guaranteed to have a good time sitting, lounging, chatting and boozing it up with friends (and family if you're double lucky! - Thanks Mark and Calley for coming all the way out to see us!)
With beer from the previous night finishing it's marathon through our livers and bloody Mary's to satisfy our typical Sunday morning craving we headed back toward Ft. Collins to depart from our GABF company (only after a typical, epic-proportion, liquor store stop - because, why stop at 1 oz beer pours when you can take a few cases of specialty brews that aren't available in your own market?) A few long hours on the road lead us through Douglas where we stopped for wings and pizza (since we're obviously experts in determining quality of such things) and then continued back to reality...serving our own fine pizza along a killer selection of craft beer!

Cheers friends!

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