Erin and I have paid close attention to when the Great American Beer Festival is every year, because we have really wanted to go. In years past, it has been on the third or fourth weekend in September which is a busy time in the semester. This year, it was on the second week of October, which conveniently fell on the weekend of our second wedding anniversary and on Truman State’s midterm break. We took advantage, and through some dedicated time on the computer, Erin was able to purchase member’s only tickets to the GABF on Friday and Saturday.
After classes on Wednesday, October 10, we drove to Kansas City and flew to Denver that night, rented a car through Enterprise, and then drove to our cabin at Cha
taqua Park in Boulder. The park was at the base of the Flat Irons, and our plan was to hike these the next day. A hike on our anniversary trip has become a tradition now it seems. We hiked the redwoods in California on our honeymoon, and we hiked the Multnomah Falls – Wakeena Falls loop in Oregon for our 1 year anniversary. The tradition continues.
|At the base of the Flat Irons|
|Taps at Choice City Butcher & Deli – Fort Collins, CO|
|Mayor of Old Town|
On Friday morning, we drove over to New Belgium Brewing Company after breakfast. Erin and I filled out a few postcards and sampled several of their specialty beers that they do not distribute to Missouri. New Belgium’s National Director of Field Quality, Matt Meadows, graduated a year behind me at Ottumwa High School. We connected with him when he arrived and he offered us a private tour. That was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. We brought home a Red Hoptober sign for our kegerator room.
|Like Kids in a Candy Store|
When tasting so many beers, it really is hard to keep track of what you have tasted and what you like and don’t like. I set out to find an awesome IPA, and found two that really stuck out. The Simptra 3X IPA brewed by Knee Deep Brewing Company in Lincoln, CA and the Dry Rice IPA (DRIPA) from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company in Warren, MI. The latter was very exciting as we were already planning on visiting Kuhnhenn on our 3rd annual Michigan Beer Trip during the Martin Luther King Day weekend in January 2013. To give you an idea of the scale of this place, I included a floor layout of the convention center and placed a red dot at the place where Erin and I were standing when we shot the picture above.
|We were standing at the red dot (just inside the entrance) when we shot the photo above|
On Saturday, we were able to try the rest of the beers we wanted to taste that we couldn’t on Friday night during a members only session from 12-4pm. I was completely wiped afterwards and needed a long nap at the hotel. On both Friday and Saturday evening, we met up with Erin’s friends after the festival. On Friday, we hung out with her friends from Oklahoma that had traveled there for the GABF. On Saturday evening, we had dinner and drinks with her friends that live in Boulder who she had got to know during her time in Valdez, Alaska.