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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bringing Home The Bronze

This has been a full weekend of beer for me.

My homebrew club's World Brewers Forum started off the festivities on Thursday night. John Palmer and Sam Calagione both gave great talks, and we raised about $1000 to benefit Barry Anderson and his family. We also had 12 wonderful beers on tap, ranging from Saison to Stout to Steam. The first keg to run out was an Imperial IPA weighing in at 390 IBU, or about 2 pounds of hops in a 6 gallon batch.

On Friday my wife and I went to a tapping of Sierra Nevada's 2006 Harvest Ale, a wet hopped ale that is only available in very limited quantities for a few days each year. The tapping was at the Falling Rock Tap House in downtown Denver, and we set a new record by selling out the keg in 31 minutes.

Friday evening we were part of the GABF Brew Crew, pouring beer in the Mountain region. We started off at Mountain Sun, one of my local favorites, where we enjoyed and enjoyed serving their FYIPA and the award winning Hummingbird Ale. After that we moved to the Ram and Big Horn Breweries. They had about 10 beers to choose from, including a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel aged Dopplebock. I also got to be present in the Samuel Adams booth when they started serving the Utopias, their 25%+ ABV beer. There were about 200 people gathered around the booth counting down to tapping time, and I got have one of the first pours. I also got to try some Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA served through Randall the Enamel Animal, as well as their 120 Minute IPA and my new favorite, the Festina Lente. Pouring beer at the GABF is a very cool experience, and next year I think I'll try to do it for more than one session.

Saturday turned out to be the best day of all. We went to the afternoon session to taste and to see the results announced. My Whale Tail Pale Ale was entered as part of the Pro-Am competition, and I was looking forward to comparing it to the other 35 entries. I did have the chance to taste most of the others, and all of them were outstanding. Luckily for me the Pro-Am division was the first one announced, even though it was 70th on the list. I was stunned to hear my beer announced as the Bronze medal winner. I was awarded the medal below as well as a year's supply of Briess malt and Wyeast yeast. We tasted dozens of incredible beers that day, and finished the night back at the Falling Rock with what seemed like most of the other brewers. Truly an amazing day.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around doing so well in the competition and to finish writing thank you notes to Odell Brewing, the Brewers Association and Sam Calagione who had the idea for the Pro-Am in the first place. This weekend was like no other, and is sure to be one that I will remember for the rest of my life.