My day began at 4:30 AM, the time I had to get up to catch my flight to Denver. Left the house early and decided to catch the 5:31 AM #8 bus to the light rail instead of the planned 5:39 AM #9 bus. I arrived at the stop by 5:28. Still sitting there at 5:35, I decided that the bus had come early. That meant a 5-block run with suitcase in hand to catch that 5:39 bus. Man I’m out of shape!
The beer-festivities got underway quickly. We arrived at our hotel at 10:00 AM and by 10:45 PM we were crowded into a van with the folks from Original Gravity, a Minnesota craft-beer distributor for an afternoon trip to Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins. Midwest regional sale rep Todd Ewing showed us a good time, giving a tour of the brewery and lunch. Of course the beer flowed liberally. I especially liked Hiveranno, a so-called American wild ale fermented with yeast isolated at the brewery.
Returning to Denver, we had time for a quick beer and burger at Rock Bottom before heading to the Convention Center for Session 1. This session was mostly about work. I’m doing short video interviews with some of the Upper-Midwest regional brewers that will be featured in my upcoming Upper Midwest Beer Guide. These will be posted on this blog once I can get them edited.
We talked with Brett Porter, the new Brewmaster at Goose Island about his work with Brettanomyces. Spent a bit of time with Boulevard Brewing founder John McDonald. I talked Sahti with Scott Manning, the head brewer at Vintage Brewing Co. in Madison, Wisconsin. He brought a very tasty pumpkin beer with hints of Belgian yeastiness. Brandon Wright from Hamburger Mary’s in Chicago gave us a few moments of his time as did Pete Crowley, brewer and owner of Haymarket Pub and Brewery. A chat with “Farmer” Dave Anderson from Dave’s BrewFarm, who is out here judging wrapped up our work day, leaving just enough time for a bit of sampling before the session ended.