My buddy John and I go way back to when we first arrived in Texas five years ago. During the two years we lived in Sugar Land, I saw John nearly every day as we got together to pull espresso and explore coffee in all kinds of different ways. Those daily sessions were solid good times. It wasn't all about the coffee, we also got on with brainstorming obscure subjects like designing the perfect rocking chair or how best to understand whale language.

After leaving Texas we threw ideas back and forth on how to hook-up again, obviously there was a need to get back to work on the perfect rocking chair design. Three years would go by until we got our acts together and hooked up again. By now, John and his wife Angie were living in Denver, a city high in the mountains and home to... (insert trumpets playing from the heavens)... the Great American Beer Festival.

John likes good craft beers. I like good craft beers. The 2012 GABF was celebrating its 30th year anniversary and had 580 breweries lined up. Five Hundred and Eighty. That's a lot of beer samples from some excellent breweries. A plan was hatched (by John) and I was a willing victim in his nefarious plot for me to fly into Denver, catch-up on all things, do it big for five days and then fly home a bit fuzzy headed and dehydrated.

Within 15 minutes of landing in Denver and being picked up by John and Angie it was back to old times. Almost as if the three years of not hanging out had been wiped away, good friendships are like that, comfortable right away. First stop after landing was a beer and a burger at Duffy's Cherry Cricket.


You can Google it to see what that's all about. Suffice to say the IPA was excellent and the Goober Burger (comprised of all the regular burger stuff, with an egg smothered in peanut butter slid between the buns) was a unique experience.

peanut butter burger

Later that night we got on with some Scotch, Tequila and beer tasting in John's kitchen. It was all good. John had some classics lined up. They were consumed. We may have tried to speak in whale language at one point.

The following day we got on with GABF prep work, pizza was consumed just before departing, courtesy of John's buddy who would be joining us.

Pizza in Denver

On to the Light Rail Transit heading for the Convention Center, who's happier?

Heading to GABF

And the first beer of the night.

First beer of the night

If you are scratching your head about the necklace of pretzels John is wearing, all's I can say is that's the sign of a seasoned GABF attendee. I know I put a dent into my pretzels throughout the night.

What did the convention look like? A lot like this, but multiply this scene several hundred times.

Boulevard Brewing

We drank all kinds of beers, you name a style and it was consumed. My focus was on IPA's, Stouts/Porters, Sours and obscure seasonals. I started to track the amount of samples I had but lost count heading towards 100, we were definitely into the triple digits after nearly 5 hours of GABF sampling. The great thing about the GABF is the beers you never see in a retail store, like this Oyster Stout, mmmmmmmmm earthy and it was pretty tasty.

Bull testicle stout

GABF is a great event with a really upbeat vibe. If you are a craft beer drinker you should put it on your list of things to do, seriously.

Eventually it was time to leave the Convention and jump back on the LRT, lots of laughs and stories back and forth.

On the LRT

The rest of my time in Denver was spent absorbing as much good food and beer as possible. John was dialed into the gems and good times were had.

Longmont Ribs.

Littleton ribs

Nitro Milk Stouts.

Left Hand Brewing

Tasty IPA's.

Avery Brewing

Crazy awesome snacks for a UFC 152 viewing.

UFC 152 snacks

So many stories to be told, not enough time to cover them all.

Denver is a cool city and the surrounding area has a lot of positives. I'm glad I got to see the local perspective. Now it's time to reinforce what I said just prior to getting dropped off at the Denver airport... 'Tag, you're it'. Start making some plans to come up to Rossland, the rocking chair design needs some more work and I've got a theory on those whale noises.

Good times brother, good times.


John F said...

That was some serious fun!

I'm coming up there....just watch.

People might be able to guess how good the beers, burgers, and Pizza were but nobody would guess about that insane snack tray we built. Totally off the charts.

What a blast.

Shaun Taylor said...

Off. The. Charts.