Its Friday morning and the morning of my first day of my first Great American Beer Festival (GABF). My day is jam packed with fun events and interviews with people in the craft beer industry. I'm not going to spoil who I'm talking to though, you will just have to wait and here about it on Slurred Words or stalk me on Twitter and Instagram (@BillsBeerReport). The one thing that is looming over my head is that I am not taking an official vacation day from my full time job. I would like to think being a beer enthusiast and podcaster as my full time job, it doesn't pay the bills. Like many people with this hobby, I have to supplement it with a full time gig. I am very fortunate that my full time gig can be done remotely, that is remotely where a good Internet connection exists. Either way, the first half of the day is going to be a balancing act of work and hobby. For instance, as I am writing this I am also trying to log into a WebEx meeting that is being held back in Michigan.
Anyway, as the morning progresses I have a number of events to attend, for instance the Samuel Adams Beer & Brunch. At this brunch I will have a chance to meet Founder & Owner of Samuel Adams, Jim Koch. Jim Koch is at rock-star level within the craft beer industry, if you ask me. He is right up there with Sam from Dogfish Head, or Geoff and Macy from Alaskan Brewing Company. During the Beer & Brunch Jim will be giving a sneak peak at new brews and exciting news on tap for Samuel Adams in 2017. Jim will also be announcing this years recipient of Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Experienceship and the winners of the 2016 Longhsot American Homebrew contest.
Next on the list is the Michigan Brewers Guild happy hour. This is more of a fun meet and greet for all the folks who have traveled from Michigan to be here at GABF. I hope to meet plenty of new people, and maybe even see some people I already know. I am still new to this industry and need to branch out my connection tree and add some more leafs. Once this event is complete it will be time to pick up my credentials for the festival. Then I'm off to the GABF press conference and pairing event. I haven't been to many pairing events in the past which is strange considering they combine two of my favorite things, food and beer.
After the pairing comes the 35th Great American Beer Festival. For the past 35 yeras beer lovers flock to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival. GABF is the premier beer festival and competition in the U.S. This year an estimated 60,000 attendees will pack in the 379,000 square foot tasting hall at the Colorado Convention Center with the opportunity to taste approximately 3,800 beers from more then 800 breweries. From all that I have read in preparation for the festival, the best way to attack the festival is with a plan, and the best way to make a plan is with the GABF app. The app includes all of the breweries in attendance as well as all of the beers on tap. During my flight from Michigan I used the app to map out my plan of attack for Friday's evening session.
My goal for the day is to stay hydrated, sample great beers from breweries around the U.S., meet and talk to as many new people as I can, and to most importantly, have fun (thanks mom).
Stay tuned for more updates throughout the weekend.