I’m going to start this post on Wednesday the 8th since I didn’t get a chance to sit down and post yesterday. (Phone blogging is all well and good for the short “what are you doing” posts — but woefully lacking for the longer stuff.)
Our GABF experience got off to a rocky start when we hit the San Diego airport around noon to find 3,000 people standing on the curb because the terminal had to be cleared due to a fire alarm. (Turns out some idiot leaned against it and set it off.) We missed the whole “get out of the building” thing, but got to enjoy idling with the huddled masses as they allowed people back into the terminal on a flight-by-flight basis.
As we cleared security we ran into Jake and John from Stone who happened to be on our flight, as were folks from San Diego Brewing and Ballast Point. Coupled with our own Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey contingent, it was a very entertaining flight.
Great Divide Brewing
We hit Denver at 5pm local time and made a beeline for the Center City Marriott where everyone was staying. After checking in, we dropped off our bags and headed over to Great Divide Brewing to meet up with Matt Dolman and Ivan from Churchill’s Pub, who had arrived several hours earlier.
We don’t get Great Divide beers in San Diego, so we sampled the
entire tap list while with the other visiting brewers and GABF folk crowding the tasting room. (My personal favorite: Titan IPA). The tasting room is cool because it looks directly into the brewhouse and the Great Divide people let you wander around in there — which, of course, we did.
It was dinnertime so we all decided to take our leave of Great Divide and wander up to the Breckenridge Brewpub which is just a couple of blocks away and right across the street from Coors Field. Breckenridge isn’t available in San Diego either, but Molly and I were familiar with it from the Tucson Beer Festival. Molly ordered a vanilla porter, I had the 471 IPA, and Matt, Ivan and Adam each ordered a number of samples so we could try everything.
A number of the beers were good (Trademark Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Pandora’s Bock), but not what we’d call exceptional.
Avalanche Amber and the 471 IPA proved to be the favorites. Were they available in our area, they’d definitely be staples in our beer fridge.
The food, was standard brewpub stuff — French Dips, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, etc. — but well-prepared, tasty and modestly priced. Definitely worth the stop.
We stayed at Breckenridge for a couple more hours and then decided to make our way back to the hotel. I managed to trip and sprain my ankle (totally the fault of an uneven sidewalk, not anything I was doing), and wound up limping the mile or so back to the Marriott. Meanwhile Molly somehow convinced Matt that he should let her piggyback all the way home.
We rolled into the hotel and strolled downstairs to the bar for a couple of nightcaps. Mitch and Harlan from Stone were there, so we said hi, chatted for a few and finished our drinks. It was well after 1 by this point so everyone decided to call it a night and adjourn to their rooms in preparation of the long day ahead.
Next: The GABF begins