Friday, October 26, 2012

Independence Brewing 8th Anniversary

Has it been eight years already?

Seems like yesterday that I was trying my first Indy brew (an unfiltered version of Freestyle Wheat) at their grand opening.

Originally started with just Amy and Rob, and three beers (Pale, Freestyle and Bootlegger) they have grown by leaps and bounds to about 13 employees (and a stalwart team of tour day volunteers) who now provide several year round beers, seasonal beers, and the one of a kind batches of the Breliminati series.

I've been volunteering there since they opened (I met them when I volunteered for the Texas craft Brewers Festival in 2004 when Rob and Amy ran it) and I've seen tour says grow from about 30-50 people to over 700!

The tour days have been called "epic" and resemble a tailgate more than a tour date. Folks being tents, chairs, board games, kids, dogs, grills,and yard games to monthly event. Independence has always supported local music and regularly have bands play their events as well as invite local food merchants to sell their products.

The 8th anniversary party promises to to be all this and so much more with two bands, local Boomerangs Australian meat pies will be there for sustenance an a wide variety of Indy beers fr sampling, but come with a plan you only get three beers. I suggest Coming with friends, and arranging so the group gets to share samples of the rarer beers there, like Jasperilla Old Ale.

Also make sure to get an anniversary glass and a long sleeve tee ( it'll be chilly).

There are a lot of new breweries in town that make great beer and have tour dates (some even weekly!) but come spend the 27th with the crew that helped spark to new wave of breweries in Central Texas.

See you there!

Details of the party are here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Independence Brewing at GABF - Day 3

The last day of GABF started much earlier for us than usual, given that the awards ceremony was moved to the Kodak Theater and to 10:30 am (audible groan).

After breakfast at you-know-where, we went over to the theater. After walking what seemed like a mile inside the convention center, we reached it. What a beautiful venue! It was a very nice improvement over previous years.  I couldn't stay for the whole awards ceremony as I had to make sure the Independence Brewing booth was set up and running before Noon, but I managed to watch the presentation on the big screen in the exhibit hall.  We didn't win (epic sad face) but Texas brewers brought home 9 medals this year!

The member's only session flew by, and this year in the "intermission" between afternoon and evening sessions, they offered a hospitality area for brewers so we did not have to leave the exhibit hall.  Most of us declined and instead went to Rock Bottom for a nice steak dinner. No beer for me at dinner, I had to rehydrate and let my buzz wear off from the first session.

After dinner, we split, some of us going to the evening session, others going to the Beerliner (it was a great hang out).  I opted for both, doing one last tour around the floor before heading to the Beerliner to chill. During the evening we had the opportunity to sample some of Denver's food trailers, and we weren't disappointed.  We also checked out 1Up, a gameroom/bar next to the Falling Rock for some classic Joust, Dig Dug, and Tron.

All in all, GABF was a great time this year with a lot of improvements. Definitely like the Brewer's Lunch, the new awards venue, and the Beerliner was rocking it all week long.

For those who asked, my final "Beers I tasted list" is below, all of which I had never tried before, a '+" means I liked it (that I remember):

+ Elysian The Great Pumpkin
+ Humperdinks Uberbrau + Odell's Mountain Standard
+ Oskar Blues Mama's Lil Yella Pils
+ Oskar Blues B. Stiff & Sons Root Beer
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
Shorts Peach
Oskar Blues whiskey barrel aged Ten Fidy
Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA
+ 3 Floyd's Dreadnought Imperial IPA
+ Rogness Ost
Rogness IPA Gigantophis
+ Alaskan Smoked Porter (2011)
Anchor Breckles Brown
Devils Backbone IPA
Hub Imperial IPA
Deep Ellum IPA
+ Sandlot Pale Bock
+ Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale
Wynkoop Drunkin Punkin
Sea Dog Bluepaw Wild Blueberry
+ Sun King Popcorn Pilsner
Sun King Pappy Van Muckle
Upland Oktoberfest
Upland Rad Red
Live Oak Oaktoberfest
NXNW Bohemian Pilsener
Peticolas Velvet Hammer
Peticolas Golden Opportunity
Southern Star Blonde
No Label Elda M Milk Stout
+ Shipyard Pumkinhead
+ Left hand Java Lava
+ Firestone Walker Extra Pale Ale
Lumberjack IPA
Karbach Rodeo Clown DIPA
Ass Kisser Berry Nice Ass Strawberry
Chicago Brewing Cocoa for Coconuts
+ Denver Beer Company Pueblo Chili Beer
+ Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin
Southampton Pumpkin
Port Jeff Brewing Boo Brew
Evil Genius Trick or Treat
Odd Side Ales Derelicte Pineapple IPA
Four Horsemen Headless Horsemen Pumpkin
Fitgers Breakwater Blue
Schlafy Pumpkin
Redwood Hazelnut Coffee Cream Stout
Riverton Pumpkin
Surly Coffee Bender
Lexington Avenue Brewery Scarlett Thread Raspberry on nitro
Naked City Sudden Impact Coffee IPA
Adelberts Naked Nun
Dragoon Brewing Saison Blue
EJ Rockers Gruntled Pumpkin
City Star Pumpkin
City Star Raspberry Bandit
Eddyline Mountain Fairy Raspberry Wheat
Epic Brewing Brainless on Peaches
TAPS Pumpkin
New Planet 3R Raspberry
Pagoda Peachy Peach
Paterson Creek Brewing Owl Canyon (pumpkin)
+ Ska Autumnal Molé Stout
Lakewood Brewing Temptress Imperial Milk Stout
Twisted X Siesta Prickly Pear
Prost Marzen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Independence Brewing at GABF - Day 2

On Friday our day started as usual at the Delectable Egg ( yeah we're creatures of habit) before heading to the Beerliner to check on things and drip off tap handles for out pouring from 3-5 pm later that day. We then we went to the Brewer's Lunch at the Sandlot. This event has quite a few more sponsors than last year and it was crowded. We met Paul C. there and he had secured a table outside. I had a Pale Bock that was quite good, just wish it was commercially available. We had a nice lunch and some great beers before heading back to the Beerliner to stash our SWAG with Tony (@beerpedaler) before moving on the Great Divide, which was also packed as always. There I ha the Fresh Hop ale which was a new style for me (and at this years festival). Great beer, looking forward to trying more in that style.

By the time we finished out beers it was time to head to the Beerliner for our pouring. We had a great crowd and we ran out of beer (3 1/6th kegs) an hour and 20 minutes into our 2 hour time slot ( for those of you paying attention that was at 4:20).

Triumphant, we went to the Friday session and had a great time. At the end of the night we stopped by the Left Hand Brewing Tap Takeover at the Grand Hyatt before heading to the Marriott and the post judging brewers event.

This event is open to Brewers and they put out all the leftover beer from the judging, some pizza and some cheese plates. There are three rounds of judging and any beer left here usually did not make it to the final round. So if your beer is here, it's not looking good for a medal. We sampled a few, said hi to some friends and not finding any Independence beers we called it a night.

Next up: GABF Day 3: Awards and the last two sessions

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Independence Brewing at GABF - Day 1

On the our second day in Denver, the first official day of GABF, we started as usual with a breakfast at The Delectable Egg . Once our tanks were full, we hit the road heading to Longmont, CO to visit Oskar Blues Brewery. We started at The Tasty Weasel Taproom, where we got a behind the scenes tour from Keith from the Packaging Dept.
The Oskar Blues Canning Line

The Tasty Weasel (panoramic)

Once we finished our tour and a few tasty beers that included Mama's Lil Yella Pils, B. Stiff & Sons Old Fashioned Root Beer, and Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, we headed over to the Home Made Liquids & Solids site just down the block for lunch.

We ran across the Austin Beer Guide guys during their brainstorming session, and chatting with a couple of guys from Rahr brewing who were on a bus tour.  The food was great and so were the beers. The bartender came out and answered a few questions about the beers and was extremely knowledgeable on how they were made. He also offered some suggestions on other beers to try in the same style.

After lunch we headed back to Denver to get out booth ready for the first session. With a bit of teamwork we managed to get it complete in record time and set for our first pour.

 The Independence Brewing Booth (L3) at GABF

The first session went really well, and seemed busier than we remembered from last year. After the session we headed over to the Falling Rock and welcomed the Beerliner to Denver! We wound up hanging out there quite a bit during our stay, it was a great place to relax and just chat about beer. We made a lot of new friends!

Next up: GABF Day 2, the Brewer's Lunch, Great Divide, and The Beerliner (again)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Independence Brewing at GABF 2012 - Day 0

We arrived in Denver on Wednesday the 10th, got settled in at our home base (The Sheraton Downtown) and had lunch at the Yard House before picking up our badges and heading to the Falling Rock where we met friends new and old.

Notable beers:
Odell's Mountain Standard. A Black Double IPA that was really well balanced - highly recommended.

Russian River Pliny the Elder: got the last pint from the keg (lucky me) as always it was epic.

Next up: Oskar Blues tour, GABF Day 1 and the Beerliner

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where's the Pumpkin?

It was pointed out to me that I have let this blog waste away. In my defense I was busy changing jobs and writing for the South by Southwest centric

Oh, and attending GABF.

So what inspired me to start up again? Tasting a beer without much taste is what.
Just tried a Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, and it left me wondering. Where's the pumpkin? It's a good beer, but I feel ripped off. Try it for yourself, but don't say I didn't warn you.

GABF experience.
During GABF I had the opportunity to tour Avery and Breckenridge Brewing, the latter being their BBQ location in Denver. Both brewers were very welcoming and provided great tours. Avery recently added a centrifuge that they are using as their primary method of filtration. This has increased their yields by about 10-11% and provides for just about the most crystal clear beers I've seen. Try a Joe's Pils and see for yourself!

Once again I was impressed with the beers of Roucky Mountain Brewing from Colorado Springs. If you get the chance, try their Da Yoopers.
Another stand out for me was the meads of Redstone Meadery, available at Specs in Texas. Truly great stuff, try it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Once again into the breach dear friends...

I am thrilled that I have the chance the attend the Great American Beer Festival again this year. I will once again be representing/assisting my good friends from Austin's Independence Brewing.

Last year I focused on taking in the whole festival, which is epic. As far as sampling went, I focused on regions I had never been to, primarily the Pacific Northwest. While I am not sure what sampling strategy to take this year, I do know where I will be the night before the first session - the Falling Rock Tap House.

The Falling Rock has an excellent selection of beers, decent food, and is one if the default gathering spots for brewers. One of the best times last year for me was just meeting folks there. Great commaraderie + great beer = great times. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

The other memory from last year was a side trip my friends and I took to the Avery Brewing company in Boulder. We spent hours there sampling their finest and touring the sprawling facility. Do yourself a second favor and be sure to tour some of the state's great brewers - you won't regret it.