Friday, December 20, 2013

for the love of craft beer - michael peticolas

Michael Peticolas with Velvet Hammer

With the much anticipated 2nd Anniversary of Peticolas Brewing Co. coming up, I decided to have a little Q&A with the man behind the name, Michael Peticolas. A man with a vision and an eye for quality, Michael Peticolas has taken his name and turned it into an almost cult like status in the Texas craft beer world (I say Texas, not just Dallas, because his reputation precedes him throughout the state, even though the beer is only available in kegs and only available in North Texas).

Royal Scandal, 2013 GABF Gold Medal

How did this happen? Was it the beer? Was it his bubbly (like the fermentation behind him) and intoxicatingly friendly personality? Was it the recent gold medal at GABF for their Royal Scandal? To me it seems that Michael has always been about the beer, letting it speak for itself like a damn good brisket. It also doesn't hurt that he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Underneath it all, underneath the competitive spirit (admittingly a huge soccer fan) and underneath the nice guy personality is a man who just loves beer and wants to share his passion with all around him. The next time you're at one of the Saturday open houses, say hi to Michael, thank him for his passion and for his willingness to work so hard to make the beer you love so much. Cheers!

What does craft beer mean to you?
A more complex question than it seems. Craft beer vs. crafty beer?  I operate a small 100% family owned brewery that produces what I consider craft beer. Of course, a brewing conglomerate like Coors would argue that their Blue Moon is a craft beer. Should a brewery’s volume of production or ownership structure determine whether it produces craft beer? These are issues analyzed by the Brewers Association when determining how to define a “craft brewer.” The question reminds me of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s quote in an obscenity case. Justice Stewart wrote that “hard core pornography” was hard to define, but that “I know it, when I see it.” I feel the same way about craft beer, it’s hard to define, but I know it when I drink it.

What excites you most about the Dallas craft beer scene, and why?
The manner in which the Dallas market is fully embracing LOCAL craft beer. No longer is beer brewed in Austin or Houston considered local. Consumers are demanding product brewed right here in Dallas. Not only are established bars and restaurants bringing in local craft beer, but brand new locations are starting their businesses with local craft beer taps. More and more often these places are dedicating not just one tap to local craft beer, but multiple taps. The greatest example of all is LUCK (Local Urban Craft Kitchen). They have 40 taps and every single last one of them is pouring beer brewed in North Texas. It is this movement to hyper-local craft beer that excites me most. 

You seemed to have gained an almost cult status in Dallas without the use of heavy marketing or social media. Why/how do you think this happened?
It’s difficult to determine exactly why or how it’s happened. Several factors have likely played a role, some of which I’d never divulge. However, one such factor is our unconventional approach. The goals of most start up breweries are as follows: Sell as much beer in as many packages as possible, heavily market your beer anywhere and everywhere, and deliver to as many markets as possible. Our goal was to connect with consumers and focus on the core values of our brewery - honesty, friendliness, and being down-to-earth. We aim to take care of our current customers as opposed to spending resources on finding the next one. We do not pay for marketing and haven’t walked into a bar to sell our product in over a year and a half. Instead, we have focused on making our consumers our marketers. We do not take our beer outside of north Texas, choosing instead to provide north Texans with local products they can genuinely enjoy, feel connected to, and stand behind. Although brewing beer is a volume business, we simply do not concern ourselves with trying to brew as much as we can, as fast as possible. We focus on quality rather than quantity. Our consumers appreciate the approach.

Peticolas Great Scot!

Let's say you're not in the mood for beer, what are you drinking?
I am not one to discriminate against alcohol regardless of whether it’s beer, wine, or distilled spirits. Bourbon with two pieces of ice was my mainstay for years. However, one of my volunteers recently had me over to his house for a Scotch tasting. The tasting coincided with another friend returning from Scotland and giving me a bottle of Scotch. Since then, I’ve found myself enjoying Scotch to wind down the evening. Fifteen year old Balvenie is the current choice, but I’ve got a whole world of Scotch to explore in the coming years.

If you could only choose one style of beer to brew, what would it be?
Easy. A nice pale ale. The style is one that I don’t tire of drinking over the course of time. I started drinking pale ales when I first discovered craft beer and continue to drink them regularly today. That’s not true for most styles (e.g., I stopped drinking wheat beers years ago). Pale ales are season-proof.  A well-crafted pale can be light enough to enjoy during the blistering summer Texas heat and heavy enough to stand up to the cold of winter. It almost goes without saying that pale ales are absolutely perfect for the spring and fall as well. Finally, pale ales are extremely versatile when it comes to food. I’ve enjoyed pairing pale ales with everything from salads to meat dishes. Ultimately, it’s almost always a good time for a finely crafted pale ale.

2026 Farrington St, Dallas, TX

Tap Room:
Occurs: 1st & 3rd Saturdays
Time: 1-3pm

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 beers of christmas - days 4 & 5

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf

At times, I'll admit, I'm a sucker for advertising/branding and in this case, it was just too good to be true. It's too bad that this English style barley wine did not live up to barley wine standards, but luckily great company and great conversation was surrounding me at the time and that's what beer is truly about. Don't get me wrong, it was a good beer, just not as good as some other barley wines out there.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

This delicious winter brew is described as being brewed as a traditional Belgian dark strong but with spices like coriander and grains of paradise. I didn't get much of the spices on the nose but that's okay, this beer was damn good anyway and should be enjoyed during a cold day by a fire.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12 beers of christmas - day 3

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Deep Ellum Numb Comfort

Last night I stopped by newly opened LUCK to grab a winter warmer. My original objective was to try Martin House's new Sugar & Spice, but alas, it was not meant to be as it wasn't tapped yet. A feeling of disappointment was quickly overshadowed when I looked at the beer menu and saw Deep Ellum's Numb Comfort, an American twist on the English style barleywine which I did not get to try last year. Numb Comfort is a big 11.5% abv beer with a floral aroma, slightly bitter finish and just enough residual sweetness to tease your sweet tooth. A hint of vanilla is also there, probably from the bit of barrel aging, so it's kind of like eating a raisin cookie, and that's not a bad thing here. I highly recommend this one to warm your soul during the cold winter days, or to just numb the pain of knowing you haven't done any Christmas shopping yet. Cheers!

Day 4, hint hint, is a very bad elf.

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 beers of christmas - days 1 & 2

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Corners Celebracion

I always start the 12 Beers of Christmas posts with a Texas beer and Four Corners is right down the road from me so it only made sense to try this one out first.

Celebracion is a Belgian strong ale brewed with traditional winter spices like ginger and a lot of Belgian candi sugar. Overall, I enjoyed sipping on this one but I thought there could have been a little more balance with the spices and the maltiness of the brew. I felt it was a little flat and sweet, but I really enjoyed the ginger in it. Don't take my word, though, their tasting room is open five days a week so get over there and try it out yourself and see if you get into the holiday spirit like I did.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock (no picture, it doesn't deserve one)

Shame on you Santa, shame on you. If I ever see this beer again near my fridge I will booby trap my house so you may never set foot in it again. This was an absolute drain pour and an embarassment to the word bock. It smelled and tasted like Dr. Pepper. And before you say 'But Dr. Pepper is great!' just realize that beer should not taste like flavored sugar water.

Now watch this video, and replace the Hustler magazine with the Cherry Choclolate Bock and you'll see how I felt.

Day 3 can only go up from here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

new dallas breweries

With so many new Dallas area breweries opening up so fast it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. Honestly, this post is as much for me as it is for you just so I can keep my head on straight. Just in the months of November and December we're looking at three different brewery openings! If I missed one please let me know and I will add it to this list. As always, support your local brewers. Cheers!

Just Opened:

Grapevine Brewing - Grapevine is the newest brewery to open in Dallas and their Lakefire, a rye pale ale, is their flagship beer which can be found on tap around town right now.

Where to find their beer -

Opening Soon:

Rabbit Hole Brewing - Their kolsch and brown ale will have their debut at Oak St Drafthouse and East Side Social Club on December 14 at 5pm and 7pm.

Cobra Brewing - Their grand opening is December 21 from 12-5pm and it looks like a lot of interesting beers will be brewed, like a strawberry ale and cherry wheat but typical beers like IPAs, an amber and so on will also be brewed.

Beers from Cobra I'm excited about:
Blonde Bomber Hop Series I - Brewed with Cascade hops (Home Grown Hops) 4.7% ABV
Blonde Bomber Hop Series II - Brewed with Tettnanger hops (Home grown Hops) 4.7% ABV

Breweries in Development:

Shannon Brewing - Described as Fire Brewed Irish Ales, Shannon Brewing is dedicated to authentic Irish flavors. They just got their TABC license so expect things to move fairly quickly now.

Brewpubs in Planning/Development:

Dead Cowboy Brewing - They are currently in development stage but they are an East Dallas based brewpub that will be dedicated to brewing up ales, ciders and kombucha as well.

Braindead Brewpub - Deep Ellum area will have their own brewpub from the minds of Sam Wynne, Ceritifed Cicerone, Jeff Fryman of Common Table and previous DEBC head brewer Drew Hunter. Oh, and it will be close to Pecan Lodge. Double win. Expect some great things from these guys.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

upcoming dallas craft beer events

Keep these dates open!

Tonight, yes, December 4 - Community Beer Co. and Winter Warmer Night
Time: 6pm
Location: Craft and Growler
For $26 you can get a Dallas Winter Warmer Festival ticket, a Community beer, and a Community glass. Damn good deal if you ask me.

Tonight (no time to plan!) December 4 - Saint Arnold BB Flight Night
Time: 7pm
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
$25 gets you a flight of all five Bishop Barrel beers from Saint Arnold. Have fun, there might be a stampede!

December 6 - 903 Brewers Christmas Party
Time: 6:30pm
Location: 903 Brewers
This is your chance to wear that ugly Christmas sweater with pride and dignity all while sipping on delicious local craft beer, and you may even win a prize.

December 6 - 12 Bars of Charity
Time: 4pm
Location: Uptown Dallas (including Ginger Man
It's a pub craw for charity. Win win situation.

December 7 - Moa Brewery Beer Brunch
Time: 11am - 3pm
Location: British Beverage Co.
Not only will brunch be served alongside Moa Breakfast and Moa St. Josephs (two incredible beers for brunch I might add) but Derrick Cherry from Moa will be there as well!

December 7 - Crawl for Kids Reindeer Games 2
Time: 2-7pm
Location: Deep Ellum locations
It's another pub crawl for charity (this one goes towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center) around the Dallas area.

December 7 - World of Beer 1st Anniversary
Time: 6pm
Location: World of Beer SMU
The big craft beer bar that is World of Beer is turning 1 at the SMU location and they're throwing a party with rare beers including Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Indra Kunindra, Founders Brewing Co - Tap Room Breakfast Stout & Porter, Southern Tier Brewing Company Warlock, and some others.

December 14-25 - Dogfish Days of December
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
A shit ton of Dogfish beer being tapped each day? What more could you possibly want?

December 14 - Dallas Winter Warmer Festival
Time: 12-5pm
Location: Main Street Garden
A festival dedicated to serving up big beers to warm you up during the cold months of Texas' long a grueling winter.

December 14 - Rabbit Hole Brewing Launch
Time: 5pm
Location: Oak St. Drafthouse
Another new Dallas area brewery has opened and would like to strut its stuff by unveiling their Kolsch. And you get to keep the glass!

December 14 - Rabbit Hole Brewing Launch
Time: 7pm
Location: East Side Club
Yep, same brewery and the bar is close to Oak St. Drafthouse so get your Kolsch fix and then try their Rapture Brown. Keep the glass again!

December 16-21 - Bourbon Barrel Week
Location: Oak St. Drafthouse
The two words that make every craft beer geek quiver at the knees. Yes, a whole week of bourbon barrel beer tappings.

December 19 - Deschutes Beer Dinner
Time: Unknown
Location: Flying Saucer Addison
$65/ticket ($60 for UFO members) gets you a 4 course meal paired with Deschutes legends like Black Butte, Abyss and more.

More info - Call 972-991-7903 to reserve.

December 20 - Deep Ellum Beer Dinner
Time: 7pm
Location: Cook Hall
$55/ticket gets your 5 courses paired with Deep Ellum beer.

More info - or call 214-397-4111 to reserve

December 21 - Cobra Brewing Grand Opening
Time: 12-5pm
Location: Cobra Brewing
Yes, another brewery opening. Be excited!

December 28 - Peticolas Brewing 2nd Anniversary
Time: 2-5pm
Location: Peticolas Brewing
The unofficially officially off the books most badass brewery in Dallas is turning two and is serving 10 beers (one of them being a mystery beer)!

Stay up-to-date on their FB event page -

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

luck - experimenting with local flavors


1. success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions
"it was just luck that the first kick went in"
2. an amazing gastropub dedicated to serving local food and local craft beer
    aka Local Urban Craft Kitchen
"I just ate at LUCK suckers!'

Newly opened LUCK in the Trinity Groves area of Dallas is already making heads spin due to its popularity. It's not surprising, however, considering the movement of supporting more local, especially when it comes to craft beer. Their mission is simple, to promote the local craft beer industry by designing dishes around said craft beer. In fact, its popularity even stunned the owners. They never expected this. They ran out of beer. They ran out of food. They had to close Monday just to restock!

Due to unforeseen circumstances I have been unable to eat much at LUCK during its first week of being open but I will have plenty of opportunities considering its close proximity to my house and now open for lunch. I did, however, have their soft pretzel served with homemade mustard and beer cheese. Damn good, especially with a Community Wit.

It's a large space within the Trinity Groves project, a restaurant 'incubator' if you will. Its large outdoor picnic tables can accommodate large groups and being that it shares space with other restaurants, the outdoor patio is great for bringing the kiddos (Presley loved playing hide-and-seek under the tables). This is important to me considering I have a wee little one as well, so being family friendly is very important. Kudos to LUCK for being so kid friendly.

I can't wait to try their lunch and dinner items. Supposedly they are working on a brunch menu as well for the future. Get your ass to LUCK soon before it's even more flooded with popularity. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

cooking with beer - one-pot chipotle and maple glazed roasted chicken with blood & honey beer sauce

A maple syrup contest from got me thinking of a recipe including both maple syrup and beer. The above (recipe below) is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy!

2 large split chicken breasts (best chicken breast cut in my opinion)
1 small container chipotle peppers (w/ adobo sauce)
1 bottle of Pure maple syrup
4 or 5 large carrots (sliced thin on a bias)
1 bag of baby potatoes
1 bottle of Revolver Blood & Honey (wheat beer made w/ blood orange and honey)
Soy sauce
1 orange (will use the juice and zest) - use a blood orange if available
1 stick of butter (what of it?)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Chopped chives for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 425 deg
2. Season chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper
3. While oven is preheating, make the maple chipotle glaze by adding a couple of chipotle peppers w/ adobo sauce and a whole bottle of pure maple syrup to a blender. Add a pinch of salt and blend until smooth.
4. With a brush, liberally brush chicken breasts with the glaze
5. In a large bowl season carrots and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and a drizzle of the glaze
6. In a large cast iron skillet brush olive oil on bottom. Add chicken breasts with potatoes and carrots on either side. 
7. Place cast iron skillet in the middle of the oven
8. Cook for 20-25 minutes (depending on size of chicken, or until internal temp reaches 150 deg), occasionally re-glazing
9. Turn broiler on
10. Place chicken under broiler and cook an additional 5-10 minutes until glaze is crispy on chicken
11. Take cast iron out of oven. Place chicken, carrots and potatoes on a plate and cover until serving
12. With same cast iron, over medium heat on the stove, add 1 stick of butter
13. Once melted, add about 5 tablespoons of flour (might need more, just depends on how much fat dripped from the chicken as well)
14. Whisk together until a good roux is formed
15. Cook roux for about 5 minutes (this will get the flour taste out)
16. Start adding the Revolver Blood & Honey slowly while whisking (make sure to whisk hard to get all the goodies off the bottom as well). Add until desired sauce consistency is reached. Bring to a boil to see how thick it is (remember, can always add more if too thick)
17. Once desired consistency is reached, add a few dashes of soy sauce and the juice and zest of one orange
18. Take off heat and add one tablespoon of cold butter (this will finish the sauce and make a nice sheen to it)

Add potatoes and carrots on bottom of plate. Place glazed chicken breast on top. Pour sauce over chicken and around carrots and potatoes. Top with chopped chives. The sweet and spicy glaze on the chicken pairs so perfectly with the sauce and beer you might just fall out of your chair.

Pair with Revolver Blood & Honey (of course!). 

Leftovers? Breakfast tacos!

Monday, October 28, 2013

sunday funday at four corners brewing

423 Singleton Blvd, Dallas, TX

Tap Room:
Monday-Friday from 5-10pm
Saturday from 12-10pm
Sunday from 2-8pm
 - Pay by the glass
Every Saturday at 12pm and 1pm

About a half of a mile down the road from where I live sits Four Corners Brewing Co., a great local brewery dedicated to serving fresh beer using local flavors as inspiration. Their brewery tap room is open five days a week now, a dangerous option for me living so close. Their flavors are clean, crisp and robust. All of their mainstay beers are also 'sessionable' at around 6% abv or below, giving you the opportunity to enjoy plenty of their beer with your mates.


Their most popular beer Local Buzz is a honey-rye golden ale brewed with locally sourced honey. I love its sweet aromas, crisp mouth feel and dry finish. Also at 5.2% abv, pint after pint of this one can be enjoyed. Hell, take a look at the bee above, a few too many pints I think?

They even do pig roast parties like yesterday's Dia de los Puercos, which I didn't know was going on until I got there. Too bad I wasn't hungry, it looked delicious.

To me, there's nothing better than getting beer fresh from the brewery, and Four Corners Brewing is definitely not locking in the flavor department. If you're into darker, more roasty flavors, try their Block Party robust porter, another favorite of mine. Go check them out sometime, their tap room is nothing but friendly. Don't fret though, if you can't get out to the tap room, they also can their beer in badass 360 degree cans.

Beer with a view of downtown Dallas

Thursday, October 24, 2013

a weekend at gabf - day 2

By Matt Abendschein

Day 2

I woke up at 7 am refreshed and ready for the day. Unfortunately, nothing opened until 9 am. A long and drawn out morning coffee suited me just fine until Marlowe's, a brunch place right downtown, opened for business. Knowing all too well that a long day of debauchery and drinking was ahead of me, I went ahead and ordered a little hair of the dog that bit me, a spicy bloody mary with steak and eggs. This was a damn good breakfast to start the day off if I say so myself. The guys finally woke up and met up with me as I was finishing my bloody mary. They'll tell you I ordered a sangria next, but I'm going to just deny that right now (even though it's true). At 10 am now, it was time for a beer. My first beer of the day was an Odell 90 Schilling (a beer my uncle from Colorado introduced me to), something I hadn't had for quite some time. Damn I had forgotten how good it was. So crisp, so incredibly malty.

After another beer at Marlowe's it was time for another GABF session. This was the 'Member's Session' where members of the American Homebrewers or Brewers Association get a pre-sale ability to buy tickets. Also, you get a glass sampling cup instead of plastic. It's amazing how many fewer people dropped the glass this time around. Color me disappointed.

The Member's Session went until 4pm, which was a lot of time to sample more beer. We got to sample a lot of great beer we didn't get to sample on Friday so I'm glad we stayed the whole time. The Member's Session wasn't the only thing happening on Saturday. Texas was kicking ass at the awards ceremony as well, bringing back 10 medals among 9 breweries. America is really starting to take notice the amount of great breweries Texas has, bringing back so many medals each year.

Cedar Creek Belgian Style Dubbel - Cedar Creek Brewery - Belgian Style Abbey Ale

Atrial Rubicite - Jester King Brewery - Belgian Style Lambic or Sour Ale

Blind Jake  - Pinthouse Pizza - Brown Porter

Public Ale  - Community Beer Co. - Extra Special Bitter

Brewers Cut Altbier - Real Ale Brewing Co. - German-Style Altbier

Black Thunder - Austin Beerworks - German-Style Schwarzbier

Saint Arnold Weedwacker - Saint Arnold Brewing Co. - German Style Wheat Ale

Bitterama - Namaste Brewing at the Whip In - Herb and Spice Beer

Elba - Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery - Herb and Spice Beer

Saint Arnold - Summer Pils - Saint Arnold Brewing Co. - Munich-Style Helles

Look at all that gold huh!? Newbies like Community Beer Co. out of Dallas bringing home the gold for their Public Ale ESB makes me very proud to be living in Dallas right now. I'm surprised they didn't get anything for their Mosaic IPA though, easily their best in my opinion. Pinthouse Pizza isn't even a year old and they're already winning medals. Another medal for the cool cats over at Austin Beerworks sporting their glamorous (dare I say sexy?) jumpsuits.

The standout for me, however, was the legendary Austin based Whip in store, recently established brewpub, winning a gold medal for their Bitterama under the name 'Namaste Brewing at the Whip in.' Namaste that Dogfish!

Once the session was done, I was famished and needed substance. There was only one place that could properly deliver for me and that was the famous Euclid Hall, a popular gastropub that reminded me of Meddlesome Moth with its delivery of quality food and quality craft beer. An hour and half wait gave us ample time to walk over to Wynkoop Brewing brewpub (brewpub #1) for some more beer. Wynkoop is a brewpub institution for Denver so I was anxious to try their beer. I got a flight including their delicious Belgian IPA and two others.

Onto Euclid Hall with Daniel for an epic pig out including the most delicious dinosaur sized bone marrow I've ever had. I could have eaten that meat jelly, with an intense beef flavor, fresh thyme and demi glace, all night. In fact, I should have taken the leftover bone home for a midnight snack. Honestly, I didn't even care about the beer here. I had some barleywine that really caught up to me eventually, but really it was all about the pig out including oysters, mussels, pig ears and poutin. Easily one of the better meals I've had in awhile. Kudos to you Euclid Hall.

At this point, we had no idea where Carlos was so Daniel and I decided to walk over to Prost Brewing (brewpub #2). This is where the night really took off. Prost was about 1.5 miles away so we walked off our big ass meal. To our surprise, the folks from Austin Beerworks (sporting their gold medal) and Rogness Brewing were there. The night became quite foggy after liters of beer were ordered, but I do know the guys from Infamous Brewing eventually came and hung out, as well as Davis Tucker from NXNW. We had a blast hanging out with everyone (Will of ABW was as funny as I've ever seen him) but of course the night was young and Denver Beer Co. (brewpub #3) was a short walk away. Honestly, at this point, I don't remember much. Daniel said I drank a beer here so I'll take his word for it.

After brewpub #3, it was time to go to yet another place, the Cheeky Monk. When we got there, I decided to go home since I was about to pass out at the table. I left Daniel high and dry to finish off a 22 oz bomber of some vintage beer to himself. The next thing I remember is waking up to Carlos yelling at Daniel in our room. Supposedly Daniel had passed out under the bed looking for an outlet for his phone charger. Classic.

The next morning was a hangover of epic proportions, and I had a plane to catch. Daniel and Carlos capped off the day at a couple more brewpubs (read their adventures soon!) before their plane took off. Thank you GABF for such a wonderful time. In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger: I'll be back.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

a weekend at gabf - day 1

The Stay Hoppy Team
By Matt Abendschein

It's been almost two weeks since GABF and I can honestly say I don't think I have fully recovered. No, not from the copious amounts of delicious craft beer, but from the high. There was an amazing energy during that weekend that can not be described. There's just something about thousands of people gathering together for one common interest, but it's even better when that common interest is craft beer. There's already something intrinsically communal to beer, but give it a mountainous backdrop in a city with some amazing food and it becomes magical.

Day 1

Upon arrival, Carlos and I checked into our four star hostel. A glitch in their check-in process delayed us from actually seeing our room so we ditched our luggage with the front desk and proceeded to the GABF media luncheon which just happened to be on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in their Pinnacle Room. My first official GABF beer was a Gooseberry Gose from Fitger's Brewhouse out of Duluth, MN. While the beer did not actually have any gooseberry in it, it was still a deliciously refreshing beer and a damn good one to start off with.

Beer with a view
Luncheon Menu

After a couple of those and some quick mingling with Bitch Beer and An Avenue, we proceeded into the dining hall for a spectacular meal paired with some even more amazing craft beer and a quick talk from the legendary Charlie Papazion.

Media Luncheon Featured Breweries

Charlie Papazion

Everything was delicious, but the standouts for me were the Blue Mountain Local Species, a Belgian strong pale, with the short rib and both the Logdson Seizoen Bretta, a farmhouse ale with brett, and Elysian The Great Pumpkin, an imperial pumpkin, with the pumpkin mousse cake. The Seizoen Bretta and that pumpkin mousse cake should be on a menu somewhere, it was quite the mind blowing pairing. Unfortunately, Daniel did not get to come to the media luncheon with Carlos and me as his plane didn't land in time. However, he did get to check into the hostel before us and he got to see our room. To our surprise, we got a text that read just two words:

'Holy shit.'

It's a good thing we weren't going to be spending much time there!

After the media luncheon, Carlos and I were going to meet Daniel at a GABF favorite hangout, the Falling Rock Taphouse. However, on the way there, we made a quick detour to The Beerliner bus which was of course offering free Texas craft beer thanks to Tony Drewery (@beerpedeler). When we got there, Tony offered us some cans for Shotgun Friday, a tradition of shotgunning a beer or two on Friday led by none other than Tony. What a sweet sweet welcoming that was! Once the cans were demolished, Peticolas was on its last keg and Community was right behind them so we of course endulged in free Texas craft beer for a bit while Daniel finally met up with us.

After a couple more beers from Community, we headed off to Falling Rock Tap House just a block up the road. The place was packed full of people so getting a beer was about as quick as Droopy telling a story. Here, I enjoyed a Seven Day Sour from Trinity Brewing Co., a wonderfully dank and earthy sour that would have paired amazingly with some stinky French cheese.

The hour was finally approaching us. The hour in which a hoard of beer nerds flock to booths full of craft beer like dwarves flock to jewels. It's an amazing sight.

It's quite funny actually how much the GABF sessions reminded me of Las Vegas. Not the glitz and glamour, but the sounds. If you've been to Vegas, you know there are two distinct sounds: the slot machines and paper hitting hands (the guys handing out porno ads on the strip). Well, GABF is kind of like that. There are two very distinct sounds to GABF as well: the ocean (being inside, the acoustics made the whole place sound like an ocean) and people yelling 'OHHHHH!' after the dropping of a sampling cup. You'd be surprised how many times this happens but after about the 100th time it began to drive me crazy. Hold onto your freaking cups people! Someone even tried to bat mine out of my hand just for the 'OHHHHH!' reaction but to their surprise I always have a death grip on my beer cup. Joke's on you.

Anyway, the actual GABF sessions were surprisingly a lot of fun. I was skeptical, I'm not going to lie. I thought it would be a little, well, boring to just go booth to booth trying different beers. However, a combination of great entertainment via drunkards, great beer, great people and great friends, the sessions were a blast. It was damn near impossible to keep track of all the beer we drank, especially when we kept losing Daniel (we seriously needed a leash on this one).

See why?

Standouts for me at the actual GABF sessions:
New Glarus Serendipity
Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze
New Holland Dragon's Milk (and Reserve w/ peppers)
Anything from Jolly Pumpkin
Almanac Dogpatch Sour
All of the Texas beers of course!

If you can't tell, I gravitated towards sours this trip.

After the session ended, another trip to the Beerliner was in order with Hops & Grain now pouring. At this point, I really don't recall what I drank, but I do know I ended the night early at midnight by going back to the hostel while Daniel and Carlos went on to another bar (read their stories coming soon).

Day 2 is full of food, more beer (brewpubs!) and peeps passing out under beds. Read more tomorrow!