A wish list for GABF

By Eric Peterson | Oct 01, 2017

Brewing & Distilling Food & Beverage

'Twas the night before GABF, and in my mind's eye's ear

A roar rises with the clickety-clack of a cup with no beer

On the concrete floor of the Colorado Convention Center

The sound of autumn before we launch headlong into winter

My mind will be a haze of countless sours and IPAs

As the Beer Hunter watches from above, a wise old sage

And for a moment, everything in the world will be right

Happy beer fest to all, and to all a good night.

-- 'Twas the Night Before GABF, author unknown

It's once again the jolliest time of year in Denver for beer drinkers. Here's a quick wish list for the 2017 edition of the zythophilic extravaganza that is the Great American Beer Festival:

Run the table of chili beers. My GABF cohort, Ingvald, and I always try to taste every last chili beer that's being poured, but we always miss a couple. Either a few breweries run out, or else a few get lost due to poor sampling strategies.

More readable notes. The journalist in me always wants to come home Thursday with a knockout story of my highlight beers, but my notes from early in the night are usually indecipherable and my notes from last pour are sloppy hieroglyphics of a long-forgotten language.

Better food/beer balance. I'd like to do a better job maintaining a food-to-beer ratio in my stomach that's squarely in the optimal range. My typical GABF session involves wolfing down a convention-center pizza at 9pm at a moment of nutritional desperation. I'm not blaming the organizers of GABF or anyone else; this one is all on me. I can do better.

A restrained, even studious tasting on Saturday afternoon. It's the connoisseur's session, the awards are announced, and it ends before I crack my first beer on almost every day of the year. I should treat the beer as divine nectar, and study every last sip, and come to understand the true meaning of a life well lived. Who am I fooling? I know it will probably end in less dignified manner than expected.

A record-setting cleanup time on Sunday. For the last decade, Ingvald and I have volunteered for the Sunday teardown session, emptying barrels of beer- and pretzel-infused ice-melt, organizing kegs, cleaning taps, and scraping stray stickers off the convention center floor. It's a great way to earn four tickets for the next festival long before they even go on sale, but it's nice to get it done early. At least it's a Broncos bye week this year.

As always, I'm looking forward to first pour on Thursday evening. See you there.

Eric Peterson is editor of BreweryWeek. Contact him at rambleusa@gmail.com.