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The Oakes Weekly
It's GABF time!
October 3, 2002
Written by Oakes
<P>In my first column, I made mention of the fact that Ratebeerians do not meet each other as often as I thought we should. Since then, the call has gone out – from DaSilky1, from Doug Shoemaker, from aracauna, from HH – good work, all. This weekend I’ll be drinking with guys like mr_kimchee, daboskabouter and Radek. And again the call will be going out soon for anyone within striking distance of Toronto to make an appearance at the C’est What Festival of Small Brewers on October 18th. I don’t want to be able to turn around without running into somebody I know. I want the scene to become better connected and since I’m the one constant at Toronto beer events, it’s my job to push for this. So there will be a lot of beer lovers at that event who aren’t currently on Ratebeer.
<P>On the menu this weekend for the likes of Volgon, Phillybeer2112, and I would presume Ringo and ecrvich as well, is the Great American Beer Festival. I’m sure we all look forward to reading about this, as that is one festival that many beer lovers set as a destination event, though for some of us Denver is not the most convenient location (Volgon’s going and I’m using this as my excuse!). And hopefully all the Ratebeerians are arranging to meet each other at some point during the proceedings to share a pint or two.
<P>Although faulted by some for the one-ounce tasting size, crowds, seemingly unlimited number of award-winners, and "beer police", the festival to me has some distinct advantages. First, the US is a big country, and it is not very often that you can sample beers from all 50 states (well, 45 of them, anyway) in one place. That would be a good objective for a day’s tasting, if you ask me. Note that some states only have brewpubs, so if you want Oklahoma or Mississippi on your list, this is pretty much your only chance to do it without flying down there yourself. Second, some of the breweries present are of significant renown and limited distribution. The GBBF was the same way – an opportunity to try both the best and the rarest in one place. For festivals of this magnitude, it is very easy to get lost amidst the sea of fair-to-middlin’ beers, but if you know what to look for, and keep your ears open, it is not out of the question to drink nothing but brilliant stuff the entire time.
<P>Looking at the <a href=http://www.beertown.org/GABF/participating.htm>list of attendees, some of the lesser-known ones that jump out at me based on their quality beers/reputation are:
Pizza Port Solana Beach, CA (Cuvee de Tomme)
Flatlander’s, IL (80/-)
Smuttynose, NH (Robust Porter, Big A IPA)
Heartland, NY (Farmer Jon’s Oatmeal Stout)
Southampton Publick House (Saison, or any of their other specials)
Great Lakes, OH (anything)
Deschutes, OR (anything)
Old Dominion, VA (do they still have New River Pale Ale?)
Three Needs, VT (I like their lagers)
Big Time, WA (anything, but especially Bhagwan’s)
Bear Republic, CA (little brewery, but big success on Ratebeer thus far)
Kona, HI (Fire Rock Pale Ale)
DeGroen’s, MD (one of the better German-style brewers in America)
<P>Sadly I will be missing this event once again, but at least I'll be making up for it with a session of my own. Whether you’re there or not, be sure to drink along and have a great weekend.
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