Denver / Fort Collins / Boulder / GABF 2018

Another bucket list item checked off. I'd been to Denver twice in my life, but not the Great American Beer Festival. This event has more American beers than any other festival: 4000 beers from about 800 breweries.

Denver is one of the "big three" American beer cities, along with San Diego and Portland Oregon, which I'd visited three months earlier on my West Coast trip. For several days before the GABF I visited breweries in Denver, as well as some nearby towns.

Sunday September 16. A warm, cloudy day - part of a run of moist weather Maryland was having due to Hurricane Florence, which was wreaking havoc in the Carolinas. I left my car in Linthicum Heights and walked to the Linthicum Light Rail station at 7:30 a.m. It then occurred to me that the Light Rail doesn't start running until after 10:30 on Sundays, so I Lyfted to BWI.

The flight was easy and arrived early. Southwest is my favorite airline. I've never had a problem with them. They are reliable and the first two checked bags are free.

I retrieved my checked bag and took the shuttle to Budget to get my rental car. There were dozens of people in line. C'mon people, I've got beer waiting!

It was a beautiful sunny day. Denver was experiencing record heat, with temperatures well into the 90s, but it wasn't very uncomfortable because it was dry. I drove an hour to WeldWerks, which is located in Greeley. Speed limit on the highways was 75. WeldWerks, which opened in 2015, makes many different beers, including several New England-style IPAs and DIPAs. I sampled:

On a tip from a couple from Chicago named Mark and Melissa, I went to nearby Wiley Roots, a small rustic place that opened in 2013. It was pricey: $12.50 for 3 samples. I tried:

Next stop was Odell, which has a nice biergarten. This and the breweries I would visit later in the day are in Fort Collins. I sampled:

A half mile away is New Belgium. It's a fairly big place with outdoor seating and a rolle bolle court. This brewery has always promoted bicycling, and there were a bunch of bicyclists there who had just finished a 3-day, 225-mile ride. Tours were being given but I didn't bother because they lasted an hour and a half and I had already gotten a tour of their Asheville brewery on my Asheville trip. They played great music from the late 70s and early 80s (B-52s, Vapors, etc). The staff doesn't take tips because the place is 100% employee-owned. I tried:

Rolle bolle.

A few minutes away is funkwerks (yes, all lowercase). I tried all of their sour ales:

Bought this to go.

I spent the night at my first Airbnb ever, a room in an old lady's house. It was similar to a place I stayed at in Berkeley, but that place was advertised as a motel so it wasn't technically an Airbnb. I think I'll start looking into Airbnbs for future trips, since staying in someone's home feels friendlier than a motel, plus people's homes are often in quiet neighborhoods, whereas motels are often located next to loud and busy roads. I've looked into couchsurfing, but since you stay for free, you're expected to hang out with the hosts for a little while, which is great if you want to meet new people, but my trips tend to involve a packed agenda, which leaves little time for hanging out with my hosts, plus I sometimes come and go at odd hours.

Beer + jet lag = early bedtime. I slept from 8-ish until quarter to midnight and couldn't get back to sleep, so I spent the wee hours writing and getting ready for the day's adverntures.

Monday September 17. At 6 a.m. I picked up food at Safeway, then drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. There was some nice scenery on the way.

I also saw some mountain goats. Some were on a steep hill and others were by the side of the road.

I stopped at one of the park's visitors centers, and I'm glad I did because I was informed that the parking lot at Bear Lake (where I would be hiking) had filled up by 6 a.m. And this was on a Monday! Imagine how crowded they get on weekends. September is one of the park's busiest months because that's when the leaves start to turn color. So I drove to the Park-n-Ride to get the shuttle. On the way there were elk by the side of the road. It looked like a male and a bunch of females and youngsters.

There were about 50 people in line for the shuttle, and while I was waiting at least 50 more got in line behind me. The parking lot at Bear Lake was a zoo, with every space taken and cars driving through hoping to get a space as someone pulled out. (It was only a little after 9 a.m. so how many folks would be leaving by now?) Bear Lake is a very short walk from the shuttle stop.

Many of the trees in the park are coniferous, but the deciduous ones were starting to change color, and summer wasn't even over yet.

There were lots of squirrels and chipmunks, who weren't afraid of people, maybe because some visitors have fed them.

Eventually I arrived at Nymph Lake.

Later on I walked past Dream Lake.

There were fish in the lake, which could have been trout but I'm no fish expert.

The final lake on this hike was Emerald Lake.

After that I hiked down to Alberta Falls.

I hiked back up and caught a shuttle bus exactly at noon just before it left. Then I drove to the Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom in Longmont. It's one of several Oskar Blues locations. Oskar Blues is part of a craft brewery collective called CANarchy, which includes about half a dozen other breweries including Cigar City. It gives them buying/distribution power without having to sell out to big brewing companies such as Anheuser-Busch. Tasty Weasel opened in 2008. It has a big brewery and a good size taproom. They hire special needs people to help in the taproom. My bartender let me take photos in the brewery, and one of the employees pulled a fresh can of Pinner (a session IPA) off the canning line and gave it to me. It was nice and refreshing, but I didn't drink it all because I would be hitting 3 more breweries that day. I'd already had all of their year-round beers because they're available in Maryland, but they had some rare and small batch stuff, so I tried some of those.

Next I went to North Boulder Liquors, which carries a nice selection of beers from breweries such as Wicked Weed, Odd13, Casey Brewing & Blending, The Bruery, and Lost Abbey, plus several Belgians. I bought 750s of both the Casey beers they had (beers from this brewery are highly rated and extremely difficult to find) and a 6-pack of an Odd13 juicy IPA that's supposed to be great.

After that I visited Avery Brewing in Boulder. It has a nice interior and exterior. I tried:

They happened to be giving a tour while I was there, so even though I'd already had many brewery tours in my life, I figured why not? If nothing else it enabled me to get photos of the equipment.

Chair made with barrel staves.

Then it was on to Upslope Brewing. Dogs are allowed both inside and outside. I sampled:

I checked into my second Airbnb ever. It was in a very nice residential neighborhood. People were taking walks and riding bikes. It was like the 1970s. I had the entire basement of a single family home. It had some interesting knickknacks such as these:

Also check out the chalkboard. The edges are really staright; they just look wavy because I took a panoramic shot by walking along it.

After moving my stuff in, I walked to Southern Sun, which is one of the restaurants owned by Mountain Sun. It's a "nice" (i.e., clean) restaurant with a festive vibe. Mountain Sun was having their 25th anniversary this year, and, coincidentally, so was Avery. One of the servers gave me small samples of 6 beers so I could decide which one I wanted a glass of. They weren't world class but they were better than you usually find at "nice" restaurants.

It was still nice and warm out when I walked back after dark, and there were still a few people walking around. I went to sleep around 9 p.m. and slept all the way to 3 a.m.

Tuesday September 18. Packed all my stuff, including beer, in such a way that I could roll or wear it instead of carrying anything in my hands because I would be schlepping it around Denver. My rolling suitcase must have weighed 80 pounds. It was strenuous to bring it up the stairs and load it in the car. The things I do for beer.

It was a gorgeous sunny day. Drove back to Budget to return the car. Traffic coming the other way was awful. Topped off the tank at a gas station located on the same road as all the rental agencies, and of course it was packed because everyone does that. Returning the car was a breeze: just pulled in, someone used a hand-held device to check the car in and gave me a receipt, and I jumped on the shuttle to the airport. I didn't even have to go inside the Budget office like I did when I picked the car up.

At the airport I got a MyRide card and hopped on an RTD (Regional Transportation District) train to Denver. (The train system is called the Light Rail.) I then walked to Great Divide Barrel Bar. I purposely arrived well before they opened at noon to give me time to lay a food base before I went in.

A block away is Mockery Brewing, which normally doesn't open til 3 PM, but I saw someone working there so I walked over and talked to him. He said that because of the GABF, they opened at noon all week. Sweet! I went around to their outdoor seating area and ate the food I'd brought, then went in right at noon. It's a nice little place with the small brewing area and the bar in the same room. I'd been in contact with my friend Kevin, who I've been friends with since he lived in Maryland, and he left work early to meet me. We sampled:

That last beer was due to be released two days later in bottles. Our friendly bartendress opened a bottle and gave us a free sample. It was 15.9% ABV; contained maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and powdered sugar; and was aged in rum barrels. It was a great, complex beer: roasty, sweet, and alcoholic. Our bartendress also told us that she had customers coming in that week for the GABF from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

Then we walked to Great Divide Barrel Bar and sampled:

We then drove over to Crooked Stave, which specializes in barrel-aged sour ales. Of their 22 taps, 18 were sours. We tried:

Crooked Stave has two locations. This one is in a market hall / hotel called The Source. The vendors all seemed to be food- and drink-related.

Next stop was Epic Brewing, where we tried:

Our final stop was Strange Craft Beer Company / Wit's End Brewing. Somehow the two merged and I'm not about to research all the details. We sampled:

Kevin dropped me off at a train station. The train had stairs, unlike the one I'd boarded at the airport, and I had a heck of a time ascending with my bag of anvils. Fortunately a woman helped me. I rode to south Denver, schlepped my stuff for a half-hour walk, and arrived tired and shvitzy at my friend Jen's place. We've known each other since the 90s and she moved to Denver in 2000.

Jen runs trivia at several establishments, and I went with her to her weekly Tuesday gig at a place called Reivers Bar & Grill. But first we went to a cannabis dispensary. As of this writing, recreational cannabis is legal only in about 8 states, and Colorado is one of them. Of note is that taxes on recreational cannabis are very high. There is a state marijuana sales tax of 15%, plus state and local sales taxes, all of which total about 22%. I assume it's similar in other states. Also note that I'm not saying that I bought anything or that I took it home on the plane.

Reivers is located in a section of Denver called Washington Park, known by the locals as Wash Park. It's on Gaylord Street, which has lots of nice shops, bars, and restaurants. The vibe was friendly and fun, and several restaurants had sidewalk seating.

I had never played trivia before. Jen hooked me up with some of her friends and I was on their team. Seven teams competed for prizes such as bar bucks and pitchers of beer. My team won, with little help from me.

I was quite tired when we got back to her place after a long day of traveling, brewery hopping, and staying up late. Oh, by the way, Jen is a Star Wars fan. How do I know? Well...

Wednesday September 19. Got a pretty good night's sleep. Loaded an app on my phone that enables one to navigate around town using the RTD system. This would come in handy several times today. After a morning of writing, packing food, shaving, showering, etc, I headed out at noon. It was another beautiful day. Using the RTD app I figured out the least time-consuming route to my first brewery. I hopped on a bus, which took me to a train station. Then I took the train downtown. Unfortunately the train had a shortened route that day due to RTD track replacement, but the app helped me find a bus that took me where I needed to go. As I waited for the bus I noticed that downtown Denver is like any other big city: crowded, trafficky, smelly, noisy, polluted, and teeming with homeless people. It has some great breweries but that doesn't make the city as a whole any prettier.

First stop of the day: Great Divide Brewery & Tap Room. I had been here during my 2012 Denver trip. (Recall that the previous day I visited Great Divide's other location.) They allow food inside, so I ate most of the food I'd bought in order to lay a base, then got samples of:

I had plenty of time to reach my next brewery, so I took my time. It was nice to not feel hurried. I spend months planning my vacations and I'm very good at executing my plans so that I get everywhere on schedule, but it's also nice to have some time that isn't structured. I just ambled along and enjoyed being rather than doing. We need a balance of being and doing for optimal mental health. Too much rushing around and "getting things done" without stopping occasionally for repose can cause too much stress, as evidenced by how stressed out many people are.

As I was walking I encountered a Buddhist temple, which seemed a little out of place in a big city. Coincidentally, Buddhism is all about just being. A little while later I hopped on a bus, and after a few stops a man sat next to me reading My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama, who is a Buddhist. Coincidence? Sometimes related events happen to us within a short time, and it can seem as though some intelligent force made them happen, but is it so? The more we experience things in the world, the greater the chance that related things will happen to us by pure chance. Plus, these related events happen only occasionally; most days we don't experience coincidences. So these events could simply be random.

I arrived at TRVE (pronounced "true") about 20 minutes before they were scheduled to open at 3:00, but, like many downtown breweries, they had opened early due to the GABF. TRVE has been in business since 2012. It has a very goth décor, and many of the customers and bartenders had tattoos. They played death metal music. The walls had some neat paintings such as these:

Most of the beers they make are funky/sour, but they also have some clean beers. The beer names have dark names such as Suffering Soul, Solid Hex, Cursed, Cosmic Crypt, and Exhumation. Unfortunately they don't do small pours; you have to get at least 10 ounces of clean beers and 12 ounces of funky beers. I ordered a clean beer but later one of the servers gave me tiny samples of two funky beers.

Using the RTD app I hopped on a bus that took me close to my next brewery. As I was approaching it I discovered another brewery called Dos Luces. It had just opened 6 weeks earlier. It has a Mexican/Peruvian theme, and all of its drinks are made with corn or maguey (agave). No barley is used, so everything is gluten-free. I tried:

Then it was on to the last stop of the day: Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, which also opened early due to the GABF. As the name suggests, they make only sour/funky ales. They started in 2012. All the beers names are related to government projects or aviation. The bar top was built from an old airplane wing. I sampled:

The place had a great vibe, and they played yacht rock (Christopher Cross, Spinners, Seals & Crofts, Ambrosia, etc). Their bottles were quite expensive: $22-25 for 375-ml and $18-26 for 500-ml, but they were selling a lot of them, mostly to go. (The Crossroads I tried was a free sample they were giving away.) Outside there was a downpour after it had been nice and sunny all day, and I couldn't think of a place I'd rather be during a storm.

I walked to a train station to catch the H train back to Jen's, but it never came. It could have been due to the rain or to an accident downtown where a train hit a car. The RTD app told me that I could take an E train, then a bus, to my destination, so that's what I did. The app really came in handy that day. The only thing that bothered me was that with all of our modern technology, the app couldn't be updated in real time to let riders know that H train service was disrupted.

I made it back to Jen's, crashed shortly thereafter, and slept almost 8 hours (which is about 3 more than I usually sleep).

Thursday September 20. A nice day - the "heat wave" seems to be over. (I used quotes because the humidity in Maryland makes a Colorado heat wave seem tame.) Walked to a local dispensary called Ascend (just to look around, of course) and then to Walmart to pick up food. Had several hours to kill before leaving for the GABF, which gave me time to make sandwiches to take to the fest, pack the beers I'd be taking home with me, and work on this web page.

It was beautiful and sunny when I rode into town. Arrived well over an hour before the festival started in order to have time to eat and to make sure I'd be able to find my way to the train when I left the festival (it would be dark out by then). Lots of volunteers were arriving. I made my way to the ticketholder line, figuring I'd be near the front, but there were already thousands of people waiting. I ate in line. Eventually they started letting us into the building. First we had to go through security, which was similar to airline security in that we went through a metal detector and were not allowed to bring in liquids. Food was also prohibited unless it could be hung around one's neck (many folks wore pretzel necklaces), so I had to go off to the side and finish eating before I could go through.

After security they checked our tickets (which are delivered to cell phones via AXS/FlashSeats), gave us our tasting cups, and herded us into several long lines. This is a photo of just one small section of the crowd:

At 5:30 they let us in. I had mapped out more than 30 breweries that I wanted to hit, and I carried a map with me in order to navigate the space, which was the size of 8 football fields. As expected, the lines were ridiculous at some of my preferred breweries, such as Russian River, Melvin, New Glarus, and Crooked Stave, and I didn't spend time waiting for them because beer would be poured for only a little over 4 hours and waiting for one brewery could mean missing several others. Also, lines were surprisingly short or even nonexistent at some of my faves, such as Shmaltz and Wild Barrel. Here are the beers I sampled, in order:

  1. pFriem Druif
  2. pFriem Oude Kriek (quite good)
  3. Lost Abbey Red Poppy
  4. Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze (nice)
  5. Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme
  6. Pure Project Rose Red
  7. Pure Project Jade Dust (quite good)
  8. Rhinegeist Feeling Good (not good)
  9. Rhinegeist Roar (not good)
  10. Rhinegeist Infinite Dawn
  11. Referend Bier Blendery Name of the Rose
  12. Referend Bier Blendery Berliner Messe: Agnus Dei 2016 (bottle)
  13. Referend Bier Blendery Berliner Messe: Credo 2017 (bottle)
  14. Revision Battle of the Lords (quite good)
  15. Revision Disco Ninja
  16. Shmaltz Jewbelation 20 (nice)
  17. Shmaltz Funky Jewbelation (very good)
  18. Shmaltz She'brew
  19. Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Raspberry Bigfoot
  20. Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Narwhal (quite good)
  21. Societe The Widow
  22. Three Floyds LazerSnake
  23. Surly Barrel-Aged Darkness (quite good)
  24. Surly Dots & Loops
  25. Wild Barrel Hazy IPA (quite good)
  26. Wild Barrel Prince of Dankness
  27. Wild Barrel Vice with Pink Guava (nice)
  28. Wild Barrel Vice with Apricots and Peaches (nice)
  29. Wild Barrel Hipsters Demise (very good)
  30. Wicked Weed La Bonté
  31. Wicked Weed Garcon de Ferme (very sour)
  32. Wicked Weed Wild Barrel Medora (very sour)
  33. Wicked Weed Marina
  34. Wicked Weed Cerise Morte (quite good)
  35. Wicked Weed Red Angel
  36. Von Ebert Volatile Substance
  37. Von Trapp Bohemian Pilsner
  38. Wormtown Birthday Brew #8
  39. Stone ///Fear.Movie.Lions Double IPA
  40. Stone Hail to the Spot Thief IPA (not good)
  41. Our Mutual Friend Neon Nail (quite good)
  42. Our Mutual Friend Gratitude Five (bottle)
  43. Our Mutual Friend Little Maker
  44. Periodic Barrel-Aged Night Run (quite good)
  45. Port City Monumental IPA (not good)
  46. Red Door Threshold IPA
  47. Rock Cut Galactic Portal
  48. Rock Cut Les Oreilles Bizarre (not good)
  49. Rock Cut Chaos Canyon Stout
  50. Odd13 Hopperella (quite good)
  51. Odd13 Intergalactic Juice Hunter (excellent)
  52. Odd13 Sheriff Shane Sherman the Solera Cyborg with Blackberries
  53. Odd13 Electric Siren
  54. Odd13 Humulus Kalecumber
  55. Novo Brazil TR3S Haze
  56. Rare Barrel Gifted Branch 2016 (very sour) (bottle)
  57. Parleaux Beer Lab Green with Envy (quite good)
  58. Parleaux Beer Lab Funky Side of the Tracks
  59. Parleaux Beer Lab The Moon Stood Still
  60. Parts & Labor Hip Hop Anonymous
  61. Hailstorm Prairie Madness (not good)
  62. Headlands Wolfback Ridge (not good)
  63. Sanctuary Blackberry Hendo Weisse
  64. pFriem Oud Bruin (bottle)
  65. Sun King Magpie Muckle
  66. Lickinghole Creek La Calavera Catrina
  67. Lickinghole Creek Something Cunning
  68. LauderAle La Niña (very spicy)
  69. Latchkey The Hatch
  70. Lickinghole Creek Illuminatos
  71. Fat Head's Hop Juju (quite good)
  72. Fat Head's Midnight Moonlight
  73. Fat Head's Black Muddy River
  74. Logsdon Golden Raven
  75. Logsdon Peche 'n Brett
  76. Logsdon Funk Soul Bretta
  77. Logsdon Spontane Blanc
  78. Logsdon Spontane Wilde
  79. Live Oak Grodziskie
  80. Modern Times Stratos (collaboration with Alvarado Street)
  81. Lost Rhino Face Plant
  82. Modern Times Devil's Teeth
  83. Odell Onolicious (very sour)
  84. Odell Sippin' Pretty
  85. Odell Cloud Catcher
  86. Odell Bull Proof
  87. New Belgium Oakspire (not good)
  88. New Belgium Sour Saison (not good)
  89. New Belgium Transatlantique Kriek (very sour)
  90. New Belgium Paonia Peach Sour (very sour)
  91. Epic Brainless Passion
  92. Epic Triple Barrel Big Bad Baptist
  93. Divine Barrel The Big Lubelski
  94. Divine Barrel Brettrospective
  95. Deschutes Slightly Exaggerated IPA
  96. Deschutes Liquid Pie Sour
  97. Deschutes Black Barleywine
  98. Dayton Beer Co Production Brewery & Bierhall Broken Empire Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout (quite good)
  99. Culmination Obscured by Clouds (quite good)
  100. Bottle Logic Hazeshift
  101. Bruery Terreux Imperial Cabinet (very sour)
  102. Bruery Terreux Saison Ardennes
  103. Bruery/Offshoot Double Fist Bump (nice) (collaboration with Pinthouse Pizza)
  104. Bruery Mischief
  105. Bruery Terreux Tart of Darkness (very sour)
  106. COOP Ale Works DNR Cask-It: Tequila Barrel-Aged Sour Blonde
  107. COOP Ale Works DNR Cask-It: Brandy Barrel-Aged with Cherries
  108. Columbus Bodhi
  109. Columbus Pallet Island
  110. Columbus Crocodile Tongue
  111. Commonwealth Divine Proportion (nice)
  112. Commonwealth Floriography (quite good)
  113. Commonwealth 1.752B Sojourn (quite good)
  114. Commonwealth Amaranthine
  115. Calicraft Barrel Project: 2018 Cherry Sour (very sour)
  116. Cigar City Guayabera
  117. Squatters Hop Rising
  118. Ballast Point Brux Trois (very sour)
  119. Bakfish Anniversary 2
  120. Avery Rumpkin (quite good) (16.3% ABV bottle)
  121. Avery Tweak (quite good) (16% ABV bottle)
  122. 10 Barrel Gintuition
  123. AleSmith IPA
  124. Alpine Bad Boy
  125. Firestone Walker Patrick Hayze
  126. Green Flash Batch 38 Liquid Research Collective
Wow. 126 beers. I don't think I'd ever sampled more than about 90 beers in one day before. A list of all the breweries and the beers they brought (or were scheduled to bring) is here.

Afterward I somehow managed to find the train, not miss my stop, and walk back to Jen's. I hung out with her on her balcony for a while, and I don't remember anything after that.

Friday September 21. Woke up before dawn, a little hungover. By the fuzz on my teeth I could tell that I hadn't brushed them. Also I wasn't wearing my night guard (keeps me from grinding my teeth). I couldn't get back to sleep. After Jen woke up she sent me this pic, which explains the previous night.

I spent most of the day writing, preparing food, and recovering from the previous night. The morning was chilly, but by the time I took a walk at midday it had warmed into the 70s and was brilliantly sunny - a picture perfect day.

I arrived at the festival earlier than the previous day - an hour and a half before it started - and there were "only" several hundred people in line instead of a few thousand. But of course the line steadily grew. Here's a shot of part of the crowd in the cattle lines:

Having hit most of the breweries I wanted to hit the previous day, I had time to visit some of the specialty areas. Jameson had a section with beers that had been aged in their barrels. Most of them were stouts. I sampled:

  1. Foolproof Irish Rhode
  2. Captain Lawrence Trans Atlantic Red
  3. Black Abbey Lorica
  4. Bale Breaker Ossifier Red Rye IPA
  5. Bale Breaker Ossifier Stout
  6. Cigar City Beoir le Caife
  7. Fat Head's Wake the Dead
  8. Fulton's Whiskey, War, & Peace
  9. DC Brau Your Pet
  10. DC Brau Cross Quarter Days
  11. Harpoon Cannoli Stout
  12. Great Divide The Smoothness
  13. Parish Irish Coffee Stout (quite good)
  14. Revolution Jamo-Nilla
  15. 8th Wonder Viet-Irish Coffee
  16. Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
  17. River Horse One Score and Two Years Ago
  18. River Horse Craic
  19. Green Flash Golden God
  20. Big Dog's Man's Best Friend

There was an area that served collaboration beers. I tried:

  1. Another Amalgamation IPA (Coopersmith's Pub / Equinot / CB and Potts)
  2. Kir Royale (Claremont / Track 7)
  3. Mother's Milk (Firestone Walker / Creature Comforts) (quite good)
  4. 3-Way IPA (Fort George / Holy Mountain / Modern Times)
  5. Raspberry Berliner Weisse (Great South Bay / Spider Bite / Destination Unknown) (can)
  6. 85 in a 55 (Destihl / Weldwerks)
  7. Ain't Nothin' Normal (Destihl / Night Shift)
  8. Hurricane Haze (Co-Brew / Jagged Mountain) (quite good)
  9. Breakside Coming Out Party (Breakside / Comrade)
  10. Death on a Friday (Fieldwork / Faction)
There was also a pro-am section featuring beers that were made with homebrewers' recipes. I sampled:
  1. Ghost Town Pillory
  2. Dry Dock Wild Pitch
  3. Olde Hickory Don't Swallow the Cap
  4. Tattered Flag Making Love at Midnight
  5. Sierra Nevada Friday the 213th
  6. Great Basin Sunrise Tripel
  7. Central Coast Milk Scout
  8. Danville Sick Day Belgian Tripel
  9. Two Brothers Mira
  10. Dogfish Head NEIPA with Lime and Peppercorns
  11. Odell Sour Cherry Sour
  12. Breakside State Fair Red
  13. New Belgium Kryptonite

Most of my beer tastings came from the main floor. I even waited in the long lines at the most popular breweries.

  1. Bottle Logic Stealth Mode
  2. Crooked Stave Sour Rosé
  3. Crooked Stave St. Bretta
  4. Crooked Stave Trellis Buster (quite good)
  5. Deschutes Take it to the House IPA
  6. Dillon Dam Cucumber Gose
  7. New Glarus 25th Anniversary (bottle)
  8. Ninkasi Hazy Domination (not good)
  9. Noble Estee Lauter
  10. Rough Draft Barrel-Aged Freudian Sip
  11. Real Ale Axis IPA
  12. Redwood Curtain Sticky Fingers IPA
  13. Red Horn More Better Tropical Milkshake DIPA
  14. Roadhouse What the Foeder
  15. Une Année Framboise
  16. Une Année Le Seul X
  17. Une Année Le Grande Monde 2018-1
  18. Une Année Hubbard's Cave
  19. Steel Bender Brewyard Skull Bucket IPA (can)
  20. Steady Habit Dankie Donnie
  21. Slo Brew Still Frothy
  22. Second District Rustic AF
  23. Orpheus Chaos, Night, and Darkness (bottle)
  24. Orpheus Nothing Left to Give
  25. Orpheus Noise and Flesh
  26. Orpheus Everything Lasts Forever (bottle)
  27. Orpheus Ye Who Enter Here (bottle) (quite good)
  28. Great Basin Belgian Black Cherry
  29. Iron Hill Bedotter
  30. Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout
  31. Iron Hill 5C IPA
  32. Iron Hill The Grand Inquisitor
  33. Iron Hill Sunsets & Rubies
  34. Green Flash Foxy Jock
  35. Ground Breaker IPA #5
  36. Groundswell Peach Tangerine Tart
  37. Latitude 33 Lost Cities
  38. Happy Basset Clare's Thirsty Ale (quite good)
  39. Happy Basset Our Brewers Are Hot
  40. Happy Basset Mathias
  41. Hi-Wire Oude Brett Saison
  42. Barrel Theory Rain Drops
  43. Barrel Theory Shooter McGavin
  44. Barrel Theory Draco
  45. Barrel Theory Rain Drops
  46. Deep Ellum Freak Flag
  47. Ballast Point Aloha Sculpin
  48. Ballast Point White Wine Sour Wench
  49. Blue Corn Café Barrel-Aged Cosmic Darkness
  50. Blue Owl Wee Beastie
  51. Boise The Wee and the Heavy
  52. Boneyard Hop Venom
  53. Bootstrap NutStrap
  54. Beyond the Mountain Headspin
  55. Bear Republic Brut Squad
  56. City Star Wild Bill Sour (bottle) (very sour)
  57. Claremont Buddy
  58. Declaration ??? Experiments
  59. Declaration Opaké (not good)
  60. Weldwerks Piña Colada
  61. Weldwerks Extra Extra Juicy Bits (quite good)
  62. Weldwerks Medianoche (14.2% ABV)
  63. Russian River Intinction
  64. Russian River Pliny the Elder
  65. Roak Raw Power
  66. Rip Current Lupulin Lust
  67. Revolver Anodyne
  68. Melvin Hubert MPA (can)
  69. Melvin Heyzeus (can)
  70. Melvin Your IPA (can) (quite good)
  71. Melvin 2X4 (can) (quite good)
  72. Lost Abbey Bourbon Serpents Stout (quite good)
  73. Pizza Port Hazy AF
  74. Pinthouse Pizza Nomura Imperial Jellyfish
  75. Wild Barrel Hop Obsession
  76. Wolf's Ridge Terre du Sauvage Green
  77. Heretic Make America Juicy Again
That's 120 total beers for the evening, which was only 6 fewer than the previous night, and I wasn't even trying very hard.

Every time someone dropped their cup, folks would yell "Ohhhhhhhhhhh", like Andrew Dice Clay. Oskar Blues had a silent disco, where people were given headphones so no one but those folks could hear the music. Melvin Brewing played music and had a guy playing sax while wearing an elephant mask.

Afterward I made it back to Jen's in one piece and managed not to pass out with the light on.

Saturday September 22. Another cool but sunny morning. Today's session started at noon so I left mid-morning to give me plenty of time to get there and lay a food base. It was another gorgeous day. I arrived more than a hour and a half before the session started, and there were fewer people in line than the day before, but still several hundred. The rule on food is you can bring in anything as long as you can wear it around your neck. This led to creative methods such as this:

Of course, if you put stuff in your pockets, they're never gonna know unless it sets off the metal detector. Anyway, here is a shot of the cattle lines:

Since I had done just about everything I wanted to do the previous two nights, I was able to walk around at a leisurely pace and visit many of the less-known breweries. But I also waited in line at a few of the more popular breweries. There were only two beers I'd sampled over the previous two days that I liked enough to drink again: Odd12 Intergalaxtic Space Hunter and Wild Barrel Hipsters Demise. My samples included:

  1. Weldwerks Juicy Bits (nice)
  2. Weldwerks QDH Juicy Bits (nice)
  3. Rare Barrel Blurred M '18 (quite good)
  4. CB & Potts NE Road IPA
  5. CB & Potts Brettface
  6. Ratio Beerworks Dear You
  7. Referend Bier Blendery Berliner Messe: Gloria Grand Cru
  8. Wormtown Be Hoppy
  9. Wit's End Jean Claude Van Blonde
  10. Wild Side Microaggression
  11. Wild Side Native Star
  12. New Glarus Vintage 2016 (nice)
  13. New Glarus Kriek
  14. New Glarus Champ Rouge
  15. Modern Times Space Ways (quite good)
  16. Modern Times DDH Dinosaur World (quite good)
  17. Lord Hobo Virtuoso (quite good)
  18. Lone Tree Hop Zombie
  19. Mother Earth Quit Stalin
  20. Municipal Brew Works True West Coffee Porter
  21. Backyard Barrel-Aged Sauvin Blonde
  22. Backyard Haystack Hefeweizen
  23. Backyard Swipe Right IPA (quite good)
  24. Backyard Kafija
  25. Baere Stout
  26. Barrage Who's a Good Boy (quite good)
  27. Banded Atomga Brazilian Imperial Stout
  28. Banded Drunkard's Cloak
  29. New Holland Dragon's Milk First Use
  30. New Holland Dragon's Milk Second Use
  31. New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Coconut Rum Barrel (nice)
  32. New Holland Dragon's Milk Reserve Triple Mashed (17% ABV) (quite good)
  33. BJ's Brewhouse BJ's Quad (not good)
  34. Denver Big Juicy Freak
  35. Denton County Hop Blizzard
  36. Deep River Donkey Sauce
  37. Crooked Lane Triple Hazy IPA
  38. Crabtree The Dish
  39. Odd13 Electric Siren
  40. Odd13 Intergalactic Juice Hunter (excellent)
  41. Nebraska Melange a Trois
  42. Nebraska Responsibly
  43. Nebraska MOAB
  44. Mt. Lowe Lowe Down
  45. Mountain Sun Bourbon Barrel-Aged Woden's Fury
  46. Mountain Sun Nihilist
  47. Wynkoop Deerhammer Barrel Quad
  48. Wynkoop Flanderosa (not good)
  49. Payette 986
  50. Wild Barrel Hop Obsession
  51. Wild Barrel Hipsters Demise (very good)
  52. Wooden Cask Citrannati
  53. Worthy Kama Citrus IPA
  54. Wren House Good Boy Wally
  55. Wren House Predation
  56. Yachats South Fork
  57. Yachats Buckle
  58. Yachats Marbled Murrett (not good)
  59. Yakima Heavy Juic'ddd
  60. Zaftig Big BarleyWine
  61. Yards Olde Ale (terrible)
  62. ZwanZigz Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout (way too hot)
  63. Uinta Crimson Tart (can)
  64. Uinta Croggy (bottle)
  65. Tailgate Marcus Maris Otter
  66. Tailgate Raspberry Berliner
  67. Summit Skip Rock
  68. Stillmank Guava Juiced IPA
  69. Steady Habit Higganomnon
  70. State 48 Ak-48
  71. Standard Deviant Patrick So-hazy
  72. Standard Deviant Kolsch
  73. St. Elmo Roxanne
  74. Square Peg Brewerks Duke (not good)
  75. Sprecher / Chameleon Abbey Tripel
  76. Spoetzl Shiner Wicked Juicy IPA
  77. Spice Trade Sun Temple
  78. Southern Heights It's Probably Awesome
  79. South Park Tongues of Angels
  80. Strange Cherry Kriek (quite good)
  81. Strange Barrel-Aged Dr. Strangelove
  82. Strange Le Bruit Diable Farmhouse Ale
  83. Strange Shaking the Tree
  84. Snowy Mountain Dark Medicine (not good)
  85. The Post Rooster Cruiser
  86. Sierra Nevada Hop Bullet
  87. Santa Fe Chicken Killer
  88. Santa Fe 7K IPA
  89. Second Street Imperial IPA
  90. Saranac Permafrost (not good)
  91. SanTan Juicy Jack
  92. Satas Deluge
  93. Snake River Speargun
  94. Transplants Drawn & Quartered (quite good)
  95. Twisted Pine Cerise
  96. Ukiah Liberator (not good)
  97. Vail Blur
  98. West Flanders Trippel Lutz
  99. Westfax Life Hack
  100. Rockwell Double Vision

There were long lines at some breweries (as expected), while other breweries had very few customers. If a brewery isn't well known, people tend to pass it by. New Holland had a lounge where they served samples of four barrel-aged stouts, which were different from the ones they were serving on the main floor (beers 29-32 above).

Toward the end of the session I visited the area that had breweries from many different state brewing guilds. I think I had been to it on Thursday. I tried:

  1. Exile G.C. Nebula Double IPA
  2. Jolly Pumpkin La Roja with Boysenberry and Guava
  3. Lindera Upland
  4. Payette 12-Gauge Imperial Stout 2017
  5. Broken Strings A Tribe Called Hops
  6. 3 Stars Starsky & Dutch (can)
  7. Willimantic Will Whenever (not good)
  8. Woods Boss The Oswald
  9. The Siete Russian Imperial Stout
  10. The Brewing Projekt Movin' 2 da Country (nice)
  11. Grey Sail S.O.S.
  12. Newport Rhode Rage
  13. Vanessa House Broken Tile Double IPA (quite good)
  14. La Cumbre Dortmunder (not good)

That's 114 beers, which was surprising because I took my time and the session was a half hour shorter than the previous two.

Getting back afterwards was a breeze because it was still light out. The weather was quite warm and very sunny. I took some photos of the grounds at Jen's apartment complex as I was walking back from the train station.

Then I relaxed for a few hours before dozing off.

Sunday September 23. Jen and I got up at o'dark thirty and she drove me to the airport. There was a surprising amount of traffic at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. The airport was very busy, so apparently this is a popular time to travel. Anyway, the flight home was a breeze. So ended a great trip. I saw a few friends, did some hiking, visited 18 breweries, attended the world's largest beer festival, and sampled 442 beers. Not bad for one week.