During the Great American Beer Festival, I attended a sour-beer brunch (tough life, I know) at City, O' City, a terrific vegetarian restaurant. As luck had it, my dining companion was Pete Rowe, a great beer writer from San Diego. Pete was both reporting on the festival and filming it for a local TV station. He asked me to babble on camera about the festival, the future of beer and my book. Here's the result. You can't even tell I'm hungover! [brightcove vid=2753168693001&exp3=34444171001&surl=http://c.brightcove.com/services&pubid=15364600001&pk=AQ~~,AAAAA5PNMME~,K3tOT-PuafvzbyjXyjNt9yD6nKAeNlgk&w=350&h=244]
Living in New York, we're in a privileged place when it comes to craft beer. Though we lack the critical mass of breweries and brewpubs that are found in Portland, Asheville, Seattle and Chicago, our tap lines overflow with excellent beer from cultish breweries such as Firestone Walker, Ballast Point and AleSmith.
I call this the "show pony" effect. New York is still the nation's nerve center for media, and the city's journalists and taste makers can quickly elevate a beer brand's standing. Add to that the bustling tourist economy (around 50 million folks annually), and New York is a massive stage for craft breweries. The latest brewery to take its turn in the spotlight in our fair metropolis is Snake River, which might be the best brewery in Wyoming.
Don't scoff. Over the last couple years, Wyoming's breweries have been earning armloads of medals at the Great American Beer Festival. Thai Me Up took top honors for its IPAs, and Black Tooth Brewing, Wind River and Altitude Chophouse also earned some shiny hardware. Still, few Wyoming breweries have been as consistently excellent as Snake River Brewing.
Some breweries tend to have a single specialty such as, say, hoppy beers, stouts or crisp pilsners. That's not Snake River's style. Head brewer Cory Buenning is well versed in West Coast hop bombs, Czech pilsners, German lagers and English ales, showing a firm grasp on the brew kettle.
Brooklyn's American Beer distributors released Snake River's beers a few weeks ago, and let me tell you: I have not been this impressed about a new brewery in eons. Snake River Pale Ale is a citrusy easy-drinker, while the Snake River Lager is a smooth, caramel-licked dream. Like hops? Pako’s EYE-P-A is firmly bitter without blowing your taste buds to smithereens, while Zonker Stout is a rich and roasty rebuttal to winter.
Go on, get a pint. Being snakebit has never been so delightful.
Though it's early in the morning, I need a beer to calm down the butterflies in my stomach. More than 18 months after the journey to create Brewed Awakening began, the book is ready to be released to the world. Though it's not officially hitting shelves till November 1, I'm headed to Denver on Thursday morning to pre-release the book at the Great American Beer Festival.
If you've never been, the GABF will blow your beer-loving mind—or at least your liver. Over the course of three days, more than 400 breweries dispense more than 2,000 different kinds of beer. Trying them all is a foolhardy mission, not that some attendees don't give it the ol' college try.
Last year, I wandered the beer-soaked aisles sampling ales and lagers to my stomach's discontent. This year, I'm going to be signing books, submitting to interviews and hosting parties. If you're headed out to Denver and want to nab a book or just say hey, here's my schedule for the weekend:
Thursday, September 29: Denver, Colorado 8 p.m.–9 p.m. Brewed Awakening signing at the Great American Beer Festival
Friday, September 30: Denver, Colorado 5 p.m.–7 p.m. Brewed Awakening signing at the Ghost Plate & Tap. Come get warmed up before the GABF! We're going to be pouring a special dry-hopped ESB dosed with oak chips and raffle off a not-yet-released, barrel-aged Breckenridge brew.
Friday, September 30: Denver, Colorado 8 p.m.–9 p.m. Brewed Awakening signing at the Great American Beer Festival
Saturday, October 1: Denver, Colorado 3 p.m.–4 p.m.; 8 p.m.–9 p.m. Brewed Awakening signing at the Great American Beer Festival
Saturday, October 1: Denver, Colorado 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. Brewed Awakening signing at the Corner Office, which is right around the corner from the Colorado Convention Center. New Belgium will be pouring special brews, and there will be dirt-cheap deals on delicious food. You will need to eat, yes you will.
Lord, has my liver healed up yet? After a whirlwind weekend in Denver "reporting" on the Great American Beer Festival, I've returned to New York armed with lots of liquid knowledge. Sure, I know it's tough to pick 10 favorite new beers (new to me, mind you) out of a cast of thousands, but I done tried. Curious? Read the full lubricated list at Slashfood. Drink it up!
Heavens to Betsy, I just returned from a weekend trip to Denver, where I taxed my liver left and right at the Great American Beer Festival. The de facto Super Bowl of American brewing, the GABF features 2,000-plus beers -- all of which I aimed to try. No dice. But you can read my wrap-up at Slashfood. Drink it up!