I showered this morning with soap made from Hogshead Brewery’s Wild Hog IPA. It was soap, but it is a good way to start off the first day of GABF.
After the shower and cup of coffee, Dave and I walked down to Rise and Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Café. A great place started by a fellow North Carolina native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate Seth Rodin provides Denver with true Southern buttermilk biscuits. I had egg and cheese on a chipotle biscuit. I enjoyed every bite.
Then after walking Mattie, the greyhound, we set off towards Boulder for a walk around campus and a quick lunch before heading to Golden to try a few breweries.
Boulder was cool and as a fan of college towns, it was nice to walk around one for an hour or so.
After that brief beerless hiatus onto Golden we went. No, we did not do the Coors tour.
Our first stop was to Cannonball Creek Brewing. It is one of my new favorite things, breweries in strip malls. It is a weird and interesting thing that has started happening and I am all for the dissonance it creates when you see a brewery next to a nail salon. Anyway, the beer was great and the staff was really cool especially considering they had been open since 9 am when the first van full of brewers arrived. My personal favorite was the Rosemary Sourdough Saison. The rosemary works really well with the yeast on flavor and aroma and there is a hint of tartness like that of a good sourdough bread.
After that, we ventured into Golden and stopped by Mountain Toad Brewing where I had a really nice Dunkelweizen. One of the things I like about cities with a more mature brewing culture is that the taprooms all have their own distinct looks. Mountain Toad looks completely different from Cannonball Creek and that is fine. That is thing starting to happen in Charlotte as well.
From there we went back to the house and ate and hydrated before the opening night of GABF.
We took an Uber to the convention center and things were a little different since my last visit in 2014. The line to get into the actual festival was moved inside. So instead of inching forward like in some cattle drive we were all herded into holding pens to wait.
After about a half hour the bagpipes started and we descended upon the booths like locusts. I went in and tried a few things and waited for Dave and Ginny to meet me at the NC Brewers Guild booth. I ran into the guys from New Sarum Brewing while I waited and talked to them for a few minutes. Then, Dave and Ginny arrived and we were off to drink beer.
My favorite of the night came down to two beers the Off Colour Willet Rye Barrel Aged Dinos’mores and the Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Blackberry Sour Blonde. I did have beers I didn’t like, but those will remain anonymous to protect the innocent.
It was a fun first night, but the size of it gets your legs eventually. We ended the night with our now traditional visit to Sam’s No. 3 for some late night food before we Ubered back to all collapse into a night of sleep.
Friday is a free day for us and we will take advantage by hitting a bunch of breweries.