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Day 2 in Denver at the 2009 GABF

A giant thirsty bear outside the Colorado Convention Center watches the GABF crowd inside, desperate for a beer
A giant thirsty bear, desperate for a beer, stands outside the Colorado Convention Center watching the Great American Beer Festival.

Day 2 in Denver was full of adventure. The day started with some serious hydrating and resting from our first day in Denver. We took a stroll through the city, got registered with the Brewers Association and stopped at our first event hosted by Michelob at Earls Restaurant and Bar. This event was well executed with food stations paired with some Michelob beers. I must admit I had no idea that Michelob offered so many different varieties of beer. We sampled some of their test brews including a pear beer, double bock and the Rye-ters Block IPA. The pear beer was surprisingly well balanced not smack you in the face with pear. The bock was kind of syrupy, our least favorite. The Rye-ters Block IPA was the best beer at this event. The most impressive part of this event though had to be Earls. The location was great, right on the 16th Street mall. We were on the second floor which had a retractable wall, which was open on the great sunny afternoon. The decor was modern, all the waitresses were wearing sexy high heals and the food was really good. A great start to the evening. Thanks Michelob!

At 5:15pm they allowed us to enter the beer hall. More like a beer hanger. This place was HUGE. We took a quick walk around and found a line forming at New Glarus, so logically we got in line. After speaking to the folks waiting it was clear that their first priority was the New Glarus Red followed by their Raspberry. We got one of each and wow, it was easy to see what all of the fuss was about. We walked around, I must admit completely overwhelmed by the shear size of this event. Attendance of this event is about 49,000 with 2,100 beers to sample on the showroom floor. It was difficult to figure out where to start. We eventually found our groove and sampled many wonderful beers… The Bruery’s Black Tuesday Imperial Stout, Russian River Consecration, The Lost Abby Ten Commandments, Brewery Ommegang Adoration among several others…

At 7pm we headed into a new event for this year called “Farm to Table”. This was by far my favorite event of the day. This event brought farmers, ranchers, chefs and brewers together to create one of the best food and beer pairing I have yet to attend. The chefs had access to some incredibly fresh ingredients and worked with brewers to create some dishes that complimented the beers perfectly. Our favorite was Deschutes Brewery’s pairing with the Duck Confit, but the variety of food and beers was great. This even was ticket only and limited to only 250 attendee over two sessions. Just the right size to mingle and chat with the brewers, chefs and other attendees. Stay tuned for a video dedicated to the farm to table event.

After farm to table we wrapped up the night with a few big beers on our way out the door to rest up for day 3 – where we are taking a tour of some of the area breweries and hitting the rare beer tasting, which promises to be one of the highlights of the trip. Not that any part of this event has been a let down – if you aren’t here this year, be sure to start planning for 2010 now! And stay tuned for our full videos and more coverage of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver Colorado from Here for the Beer! Cheers!

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