So we love craft beer…that’s no surprise at Boundary Bay Brewery, but even WE were shocked to learn that the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) draws more than 46,000 people to Denver, Colorado over the course of three days. Why, you may wonder? Well, it turns out that this festival offers up a lot more than a simple chance to drink A LOT of finely crafted beer. But, as long as we’re speaking of finely crafted beer, here’s which Boundary Bay brews you can get your hands on in Denver:
- IPA: A style developed during the days of the British Empire, IPA‘s higher alcohol content and big hop character were natural preservatives that protected the beer during its long voyage eastward to India. As one story goes, a shipwreck washed many cases of IPA to England’s shore and the locals tasted the beverage…the rest is history. Original Gravity 1.070
- Pilsner: A light, honey-colored lager with a beautiful hop aroma and flavor. This lager is brewed in a traditional manner using only the finest ingredients: Pilsner, Munich and Vienna malts and Saaz and Gr. Hallertau hops. This beer is fermented at lower temperatures than an ale, creating a drier body, with less fruity esters. Original Gravity 1.050
- Imperial Oatmeal Stout: Perhaps more than any other beer, Oatmeal Stout deserves to be called “a meal in a glass.” For many years it was considered so nutritious that it was often served as a health tonic. Lightly hopped, it is aged for one month to allow the medley of dark malts and oats to celebrate their union. Try it with dessert! Original Gravity 1.090
- Cabin Fever: Specially brewed and bottled for the Pacific Northwest winters, this winter warmer‘s dark red-brown color and rich malty flavor will complement any rich, hardy meal as well as your favorite spicy dish. However, with it’s cold conditioned, smooth, dry-hopped flavor, Cabin Fever is very satisfying all by itself. Original Gravity 1.072
- ESB: An English style pale ale that is copper-colored ad that emphasizes the subtle blend of imported and domestic malts. Hops are in the background in this beer meant for everyday drinking. Although the name is still misleading to some people, this ale is designed to capture the traditional flavor of English “Bitter,” which is a beer of great subtlety, never harsh nor particularly bitter at all. It really shines as a beer to enjoy with friends and conversation. Original Gravity 1.054
The Great American Beer Festival not only offers the chance to sample some of the finest beers the world; it offers multiple opportunities to learn about all things beer. You can explore the world of beer and food, learn about the brewers behind your favorite beer, understand what judges look for in a beer or pick up a few books to learn more about our favorite beverage. The Great American Beer Festival goes beyond tasting and delves into the craft beer experience.
All during the weekend, you can head to the Beer and Food Pavillion to learn about pairing beer and food, watch cooking demonstrations and more! At this year’s GABF you can:
- Learn about the benefits of eating and drinking local. Get handy tips on how to match local produce, meats and cheeses with the local craft beer in your town while trying delicious samples!
- Find out how to pair beer and cheese. The pair can be humble farmhouse companions, but they can also offer some very intense and luxurious experiences. Participants will get a lesson in the basics of beer and cheese and leave with a list of can’t-fail pairings.
- Learn about cooking with beer and its numerous uses from brining to making sauces
If buying local and/or the slow food movement is more your thing, check out the Farm to Table Pavillion. Chefs, local Colorado farmers, and small, independent brewers are joining together to add another option to learn about how well craft beer pairs with local food. You will discover how much fresh, local foods have in common with craft beer from small and independent breweries. You can sample craft beers paired with foods sourced from local farms and ranches; especially since the chefs, farmers and craft brewers, will serve ingredients deliberately chosen, prepared, cooked and brewed to showcase the high quality flavors available from small independent producers! This educational focused Farm to Table Pavilion is arranged to facilitate meaningful discussions with farmers, chefs and brewers, who share similar philosophies on choosing specific ingredients to enhance their products.
Sustainability is a large concern whenever an event of this size is planned. This year, the GABF is making every attempt to lessen its impact through innovative sustainability programs. Through their partnerships with ZeroHero, Colorado Convention Center, Centerplate Catering, Governors Energy Office, the Colorado Carbon Fun, and Renewable Choice Energy they aim to reduce their carbon footprint and come as close to a zero-waste event as possible.
There’s tons more to do at the festival too, but not enough blog space to write about all of them. You can catch a glimpse of The Simpsons, participate in a directed tasting to learn how the pros judge beer, visit the GABF bookstore and catch one of the many book signings, sit in with professional brewers to hear what it takes to get into professional brewing,