You might recall that before heading off to Denver and the Great American Beer Festival, telling you about the 2011 Brewery Pick’em Contest I wrote: “And how can Sun King (Brewing) still be only a buck?”
Eight medals, four of them gold.1 That’s more medals than any brewery has ever won at GABF. Thank goodness brewing partners Clay Robinson and Dave Colt got out of jail in time for the awards ceremony. (They weren’t really in jail, but apparently there was a scary moment involving open containers on the 16th Street Mall.)
Andy Crouch would like these guys, because it seemed like at least one of them was always in the Sun King booth even early Saturday evening. (A bit of disclosure: Clay and I are cousins, but I probably wouldn’t be as inclined to stop by as often if the beer weren’t so good.)
Except for one other quick story I’ll leave the festival commentary to others, recommending:
– Pete Brown’s “Ten initial observations” (I’ll add a link if he has more). For him, GABF doesn’t sparkle as brightly has five years ago.
– Crouch’s “The GABF That Was And Wasn’t . . .” I agree that the 30th anniversary pavilion was a great addition (I went with Shell’s Deer Brand, corn and all). And despite my contrarian comment would like to be able to find more brewers next to their beer.
Finally, I think I would have found something brewer Shawn Kelso from Barley Brown’s Brew Pub as telling and smile producing even if my primary focus last weekend hadn’t been hops. Presenting a beer called Turmoil at a media luncheon he talked about its history before it won gold last year in the “American-Style India Black Ale” category, now called “American-Style Black Ale.”
Kelso spent six years looking for a category for it before the “black style” got its own in 2010, starting in 2004 when he entered his first batch as an Imperial Stout.
The judges commented it was “too over the top in hops.” Kelso told his story, then shrugged.
“I thought, well, I can live with that.”
1 Plus they grabbed a third in the Alpha King Challenge.