The day began as great as any day could-- with a plate of corned buffalo and the best potato pancake (think half mashed potatoes, half hash browns) at Choice City Butcher & Deli, washed down with Giddy Up, a great marriage of espresso and beer. An hour later, we were in Denver.
This is my second time at this event, the first being a few years back when I flew out to see if I there were even enough great breweries around the country to write about. There are. I could blab forever about what I did, who I saw, and what I tasted, but I'll just do a Top 10 list from today's samples.
5. Blue Moon's Peanut Butter Blonde. (I shit thee not, Molson-Coors's "Blue Moon" label makes an actual beer that tastes just like peanut butter. Would go perfect with a fudge brownie.)
4. New Glarus's Belgian Red, whatever their cherry beer is called. I don't go for cherry beers. This is a rare exception.
3. Sandlot's Second Hand Smoke. (I shit thee not, Molson-Coors's "Sandlot" label makes an actual Bamburg-style rauchbier that's good.)
2. Hales Ales Coconut Porter. Beats the pants off of Maui Brewing's beer by the same name.
1. Full Sail's "Top Sail" Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Y'know what makes me happy about this? I have a bottle of it at home that I bought in Mt. Hood, Oregon.
Here's my roommate Jesse's Top 5 for Day 1 (in no particular order):
Lost Abby's Isabelle Proximus
Cambridge Brewing Company's Arquebus Summer Barleywine
New Belgium's La Folie (& White Chocolate Pairing)
Rock Art's Vermonster (& Cheese Pairing)
Hale's Ales Toasted Coconut Porter
I did manage to keep my wits about me, as I signed books from 8-9. I even sold one to Sam Calagione. He was signing his 3 beer books right next to me. My promo budget allowed for free stickers. His allowed for free custom Dogfish Head glasses (which he gave to Half Pint).
(with the top Dogfish)
(with Maureen Ogle, author of Ambitious Brew)
Awesome note to end the night on: The folks at Grand Teton Brewing (from Victor, ID) were stoked to hear that their boss and brewery were in RWB and will be sending me their line of Imperials to celebrate their 20th anniversary.