Monday, October 08, 2007

A Few Tour Ideas

The Great American Beer Festival is now under three full days and counting. Oh man oh man, I can't wait . . .

In the meantime, as promised, I've been trying to think of a few ideas for how people could tackle the festival in a thematic way. Here are a few ideas I've come up with, with the caveat that you can target a lot more beers in one night than just the number I'll suggest for any one tour. Feel free to advise me on some more.

The Past Medal Winners Tour: You want good beer, this is pretty much the way to ensure you'll find it. While you may not necessarily discover the new and cutting edge, you'll be sure to avoid a lot of crap this way. Rather than suggest a particular group of beers, I'll just point you to the site where you can find past medal winners:

The Hoptastic Tour: While it's fun to try everything from a light to a whiskey stout, that much mingling of flavor can sometimes leave you taste buds confused. One solution might be to try all of one kind of beer from across the country to really compare brewers on one level. Pales ranging from the traditional pale ale to the hopped-to-heaven double IPAs are among my favorites. I'll mix and match styles within the genre, but maybe give you these beers (with brewer and state) as a starting post for your exploration (with a warning that I haven't gotten the exact beer list yet, so some of these may not show up):
Headwaters IPA, Amicas Brewing, CO
Hop Ottin' IPA, Anderson Valley, CA
Maharaja Double IPA, Avery, CO
Telemark IPA, Backcountry Brewing, CO
Apex Ale, Bear Republic, CA
Hophead, Bend Brewing, OR
Tiger Bite IPA, Blind Tiger Brewing, KS
471 IPA, Breckenridge Brewing, CO
Edge City IPA, Bristol Brewing, CO
Abijah Rowe India Pale Ale, Cambridge House, CT
Dangerous Intentions Pale Ale, Chama River, NM
Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Deschutes, OR
90 Minute IPA, Dogfish Head, DE
Freedom Double IPA, Elk Grove Brewery, CA
Hercules Double IPA, Great Divide, CO
Bitter Sweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., He'brew Beer, CA
Ironbound Ale, Iron Hill, DE
FYIPA, Mountain Sun, CO
Superfly IPA, Oaken Barrel, IN
Odell IPA, Odell Brewing, CO
Torrey Pines IPA, Oggi's Pizza, CA
Shark Attack, Pizza Port Solana Beach, CA
Pliny the Elder, Russian River, CA
Castle Rock IPA, Santa Barbara Brewing, CA
Sculler's IPA, Skagit River, WA
Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Brewing, CA (or, frankly, anything from this brewery)
Rock Hoprah Imperial IPA, Vino's Pizza Pub, AR

The Great Names Tour: Sometimes, all you need is a great title to sell a beer. I'm attracted to try these beers if, for no other reason, than to say: Thanks for being clever. Plus it's a way to mix and match your beer styles. Here's my favorite monikers from 06, complete with descriptions of those I've tasted:
Alpha Male Pale Ale, 75th Street Brewery, MO
E=MC Stout Einstout, America's Brewing, IL
Lunch Lady Lager, Amicas, CO
Jagged Little Pils, Back Street Brewery Vista, CA
Dim Wit, BJ's Arizona, AZ
Smokin' in the Monk's Room, BJ's Portland, OR
Homewrecker, Bluegrass Brewing, KY
The Legend of the Liquid Brain Imperial Stout, Bull and Bush, CO (12%, whiskey barrel-aged)
The Wind Cried Mari, Cambridge Brewing, MA (Light and flowery heather ale)
To Hell 'N Bock, Carolina Brewery, NC
U.S.S. Enterprise IPA, Dry Dock Brewing, CO (Medium hops)
Jewbelation, He'brew Beer, CA
Get Off Maibock, Little Apple Brewing, KS
Katarina Wit, Main Street Brewery, CA
Monkey Knife Fight, Nodding Head Brewing, PA
Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer, St. Arnold Brewing, TX (Dry and decent)
Wher the Helles Bill?, SandLot Brewery, CO (A little light but tasty)
Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Brewing, CA (Deceptively smooth pale)
Old Leghumper, Thirsty Dog Brewing, OH (Lighter stout)
Inebriator, Tractor Brewing, NM
Polygamy Porter, Utah Brewers Cooperative, UT (Lighter porter)

Looking at your beer lists I could only think "so many beers, so little time...and resources"

I thought I'd sampled a fair number of craft beers and microbrews in my time but obviously not, judging from the many on your lists I've still got to work my way up to. Of the few I have tried on your list, the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is my winner (if you like hops of course).

Your blog is a very well done and informative presence in the ever more popular realm of craft beers and one I'll stop back to again. Cheers to you!
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