GABF 2016 | Recap

For those of you who followed the story of  Hard 12’s GABF experience over our two sessions on Instagram (Hard12brews) I want to give you a huge thank you!

We had a lot of traffic, great comments, and most importantly a lot of great beers shared.

It is nearly impossible to recap just one session at GABF much less two but we are going to do our best to break it down.

The Good:

*The crazy long line to get in moved quickly, the lines at each booth weren’t bad and it was easy to try another, perhaps unknown brewery while waiting the 5-10 minutes.

*Even though there were 800 breweries the large aisles and regions were easy to navigate allowing beer lovers to try their predetermined favorites and move across the beer country seamlessly.

*Oskar Blues’ silent disco is a great way to take a break in between regions, halls, or even to break up the beer tasting – My dancing skills were on point if you ask my opinion.

*Amazingly crazy pretzel necklaces, costumes, and overall beer camaraderie.

The Bad:

*There were of course a couple of not so great beers but nothing truly bad, impressive considering the 3800 being poured. My sole complaint? Breweries did, each session, run out of beer. Lesson learned for next year, if it’s on your must have list get there in the first hour.

*I missed Wicked Weed on Thursday night (got there in time on Saturday) but did not get the chance to try Jester King, truly disappointed in that.

The Great:

The Brewer’s Hall

Separate from the main hall were booths from across the country who had actual members, most of the time the brewers/owners, pouring the beers instead of volunteers. It was nice to talk shop with people who not only knew beer but loved it.

Here I got to visit Funky Budha, Founders Brewing, Black Bottle Brewing and Great Divide to name a few, a great variety of local and out of state breweries participating.

Bonus: The awards ceremony was Saturday morning so the medals were out on full display, making it easy to try the award winning beers this session.

Favorite Beers and Breweries:

The Rare Barrel – Dubious Nights (Dark sour beer aged in tequila barrels)

Wicked Weed Brewing – Lunatic Blonde (Belgian-style Blonde Ale)

Scratch Brewing Company – Oyster Weiss (Sour Berliner Weisse)

Ballast Point Brewing – Red Velvet Cake (American Stout)

SweetWater Brewing Company – 420 (American Pale Ale)

The Lost Abbey – Track 08 (Barrel-Aged Strong Ale)

Brewery Ommegang – Ommegang Abbey (Dubbel Ale)

Trending Beers:

It’s not a surprise but Sours and the New England Hazy IPAs were out in abundance. Those are beer trends that show no signs of slowing down. A large majority of the beers that ran out fell into those two categories. It wouldn’t surprise me if GABF added a New England Hazy IPA category, this would keep both sides of the IPA argument happy.

Until Next Year GABF!


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