The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado – a once a year event held for three days, with over 600 brewers and 2800 beers. Brewers come from all over the country and attendees from all over the globe. It is the biggest beer festival in the United States, and some will tell you the world.
Here are the 20 most unique beer flavors of GABF, and the brewers who brought these unexpected tastes to life.
1. Lobster Beer
Part lobster (really), part chocolate and a host of other goodies make up Choc Lobster from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton, Delaware).
2. Bacon Beer
The bacon craze has not missed the beer business thanks to Listermann Brewing Company’s (Cincinnati, Ohio) Friar Bacon Smoked Bock. Although bacon can be gimmicky in many (most?) foods, Listermann pulls it off in a way that gives this brew, both noble beer and bacon flavor.
3. Hemp Beer
Worry not, hemp isn’t missing out on any of the alcohol action thanks to Old Bongwater Hemp Porter from Kettlehouse Brewing Company (Missoula, Montana).
4. Pomegrante Beer
Add ancient ale to pomegrantes to hazelnuts to Ethiopian myrrh and what do you get? Damn good pomegranate beer. Want some? Try Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Birra Etrusca.
5. Bourbon Beer
Can’t decide between beer or bourbon? With Gravity Brewing’s (Louisville, Colorado) BBL Aged Mendacious Belgian Blonde you can have both.
6. Peppercorn Beer
Sounds completely strange, yet tastes superbly good – the Peppercorn Saison from 3 Stars Brewing Company (Washington D.C.).
7. Chai Beer
Beer: It’s what’s for breakfast, thanks to the Chai Watchman Stout from City Star Brewing in Berthoud, Colorado.
8. Jalapeno Beer
The jalapeno in Wasatch Beers Jalapeno Creme Ale is not at all shy about its jalapeno-ness. It is so jala-potent that my husband, standing a few feet away, could smell it – clearly. My guess? It could cure all sinus problems in a few small sips.
9. Cucumber Beer
Gin like characteristics + cucumber + basil – an impossibility? Not for Wicked Weed Brewing‘s Coolcumber brew.
10. Coffee Beer
I love that brewers are coming up with ways to satisfy multiple vices in one swig. Simultaneous coffee and beer fixes are now available in one sip thanks to Surly Brewing Company’s (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota) Coffee Bender brew.
11. Sake Beer
Freedom is about having the right to choose. It is also about not having to choose, and with that I say thank you (and domo, domo, domo arigato) to Goose Island Beer Company (Chicago, Illinois) for creating their Kisetsu, a sake saison – beer and sake in one.
12. Chocolate (!!) Beer
Matters re: chocolate are matters to be taken seriously. There are infinite opportunities to flub up chocolate beer. The worst offense? Claiming to be chocolatey and then requiring the wildest of imaginations to taste it. Not so, with The Bruery (Placentia, California), and their appropriately named Chocolate Rain beer. With this brew they knew the exact place to stop with the chocolate and did not consider holding back until they arrived at the exact right chocolate destination.
Tastes exactly as it sounds BUT the story gets better. When you have S’mores Stout at its place of origin – Basecamp Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon it comes garnished with a toasted marshmallow.
14. Watermelon Beer
Fate Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado) flawlessly combines watermelon + ale in their Watermelon Kolsch Style Ale.
15. Fruit Punch Beer
Serendipity from New Glarus Brewing Company’s (New Glarus, Wisconsion) is fruity fantasticness without a hint of being over the fruity top.
16. Nutella Beer
I think I know who Triple Digit Brewing Company (Cincinnati, Ohio) was targetting when they made a beer with a flavor identical to Nutella and named it ChCh Chickow. From this chick to all others I say, “YOU MUST TRY THIS BEER.”
17. Strawberry Rhubarb Beer
Strawberry Rhubarb beer from New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, Wisconsion) tastes exactly the way it sounds – divine.
18. Coconut Curry Beer
One of the most sought after and respected brewers in the country + cocunut + curry = the highly tasty Coconut Curry Hefewizen from New Belgium Brewery (Fort Collins, Colorado).
19. Pumpkin Ale Beer
Pumpkin beer is nothing new but Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company puts a new spin on it. Where so many beers fall short and give you only a glimpse of pumpkin flavor, Wisconsin Dells delivers a massive pumpkin punch.
20. Chocolate Peanut Butter Beer
Spring House Brewing Company in Conestoga, Pennsylvania found a way to combine three of life’s greatest pleasure chocolate, peanut butter and booze with their Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout. It tastes even better than it sounds. My favorite of GABF.
Other Great American Beer Festival beverages that should not be missed:
Tungusta, an Imperial Stout from The Brew Kettle (Cleveland, Ohio) – it will make you want to go to the dark side – and never come back. Ever.
Beers so geniusly named they beckon you to try them? Damn it Feel So Good to Be a Gangsta, TPS Report, Passed Stout and it goes on (and gets better) from there thanks to TriNiTY brewery, located a wee drive south of Denver in Colorado Springs.
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