October Beer Travels
October 30, 2012 by johnatterrapin
Craft beer is full of great breweries, awesome retail partners, amazing people and most of all, phenomenal beers. In only the month of October I was privileged to attend Terrapin’s Hop Harvest, GABF, Atlanta Beer Week and GA/FL Football. Each of these events easily deserves a blog of its own, but for today I will stick with the two G’s – GABF and GA/FL.
The travelin’ beer man!
The Great American Beer Festival is held in late September/early October of each year in Denver, Colorado. It was a real sight as costumed beer geeks (I found Waldo!) mingled with retailers, distributors, brewery workers, and plain old beer lovers in search of something new to try. Beer was easy to find, but deciding which to try was not. This year, over 2,700+ beers were sampled to 49,000 people over 3 days!
The talk of the festival among brewery people was a forum post made internally by Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing. It was so “spot-on” that I am going to repeat it here in full:
“Wow, I can’t believe you’re actually here pouring your beer!” I hear that every year. This week will mark my 21st year judging the Great American Beer Festival. It will also be my 21st year pouring my beer at the GABF. After all this time, I know a few things about brewers and about GABF. Frankly, we go mostly to see each other and to taste each other’s beer. A lot of us see each other maybe twice a year, and that can make it hard to spend hours stuck behind your booth, saying the same thing over and over again. But let me tell you all something. Getting to be a craft brewer, today, at the most exciting time for beer that the world has ever seen, is a true privilege. The people who gave you that privilege are the people who come to GABF. They come to GABF not just for tiny sips of tasty beers – they are there to see YOU. Yes, you. They are there to ask you questions, to tell you, you things, to have their pictures taken with their favorite brewers, maybe even to tell you that you inspired them to get into brewing. When they come to see you, WILL YOU BE THERE?
In my 21 years, I have worked my booth for hours of every single session of GABF. I’m older than most of you, and I’ll be honest – this doesn’t get any easier. At the end of each session, I know that my knees are going to hurt and my voice is going to be shot, and I’m going to be starving. That’s the way it is. It’s once a year, people, for a few hours. It’s time for you to pay back the devotion that’s given you the opportunity to do the very best thing in the world, in the very best place, and at the very best time. SO PLEASE STAND YOUR GROUND AND POUR. I’m not saying that we all have to martyr ourselves. I want dinner too, I want to come by your booth and taste your beer, and I’ll see you later down at Falling Rock. The volunteers are wonderful, but if you walk away from your booth and leave it without a brewer all evening, it’s just plain wrong. So don’t be a wuss. Stand proud behind your beer and do what we came to do. And when your knees start to hurt, remember how damned lucky you are to be here.
Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster
The Brooklyn Brewery
Just DAMN! Garrett nailed it. And he is right. I worked our booth as much as I could and people were thankful for that. When someone tried our beer, the first question wasusually, “Do you work for the brewery?” It felt good to say yes. In fact, one person commented to me they liked GABF more than many other beer festival because it was a chance for them to meet brewery owners pouring their own beer. Garrett, thanks for saying it like it is and keeping everyone on task.
GA-FL Head to head beer battle!
We have been talking for a couple of years with the guys from Swamphead Brewery in Gainesville, FL about doing a collaboration beer for GA/FL week, but nothing has ever come to fruition. Both breweries are just too busy. Hopefully next year. This year we did manage to put together a few joint events in Jacksonville before the game. We had a joint tap takeover with 10 beers from each brewery, which was really cool. Then later we poured and served Terrapin Pumpkinfest in real pumpkins instead of pint glasses.
We spent the day before the game hanging out with Regina, the Jax Brew Bitch and Marc, the Jax Beer Guy. For some pics, click here.
Of course, Spike and I did make it to the game. Lots of turnovers but still a fun game and close all the way through. As time expired, it seemed the stadium was going to tip over due to being completely empty on the FL side. for some strange reason, none of them wanted to stay till the end. Oh well. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!