This photo was taken relatively late in the afternoon Oct. 11, the day medals were handed out at the Great American Beer Festival. Late in the afternoon in Switzerland, that is. Still morning, eight hours earlier, in Denver.
When I sat down on a bench, pulled out my camera and shot the photo was I wondering about who might win GABF awards? Was I wishing I could taste a few old friends (beers that is)? Was I curious about what crazy new beers might have created a certain buzz?
Nope. I was thinking my feet hurt a bit, that the trees in the Alps are much prettier than those up and down the Rockies, and that wine and cheese was going to be awfully satisfying in several hours.
To be honest, I remembered GABF was going on. If Scotty could have beamed me 5,000 miles from Switzerland to Denver for a few hours I would not have complained. I was interested enough to track down a good awful smoky bar with wi-fi the next day to download the results of judging. Now, since the 150-year-old stone-walled French farmhouse we currently call home has a good Internet connection, I’ve been able to catchup up on a rather enormous amount of blog coverage.
I just typed, and deleted, five paragraphs full of links and notes about what I really missed (like checking in with friends I see only every year or two) and drawing some contrasts between what I read and what Daria and I saw at GABF in 1993. Instead one link to a video with Charlie Papazian (disclaimer, protagonists Neal Stewart and Mark Silva are friends).
And a bit of perspective from far away, after spending a little time with European beers (and sometimes their brewers), and a lot more looking at stuff hundreds to thousands of years old.
When I read and listen to a zillion words about the festival it’s easy to see why beer enthusiasts (including both brewers and drinkers) both admire what’s happened with American beer the last 30 years and also think we are more than a bit full of ourselves.
Sometimes that seems perfectly appropriate. Other times it reminds me of the American woman in a Swiss ice cream shop asking if she could pay using dollars. Not a moment I wanted to show off my passport.