Tuesday, March 10, 2009

7th Annual Boulder Strong Ale Fest

Not much time for new beers lately since we've been putting all our effort into the upcoming album, but Mark and I did get a chance to hit up the Boulder Strong Ale Fest this year. We were joined by the usual Kate and Jim, plus beer fest first-timer Rico. Since we are accustomed to unlimited pours at GABF, we were shocked to learn that we would only be receiving 16 coupons each. One coupon is good for a two-ounce pour of 8% ABV or higher ale. I put some extra cash in my pocket, thinking I'd need to buy quite a few more tickets to get through the night. But hold the phone, this is some stroooong beer. Not a single one of us used all of our tickets. But we did get in on some good stuff--here are some highlights:

  • Great Divide's Hercules IPA is a full-on, all-up-in-yer-bizness IPA, with an explosion of citrusy hops. I can't believe I've somehow avoided it at my local liquor store this long. Shame on me.
  • Pizza Port had some great offerings in the double IPA category, including the piney "Killer Dana" from San Clemente and the amazingly hoppy "Poor Man's IPA" from Carlsbad.
  • Moylan's Brewery brought along Wet Hopsickle, which was quite reminiscent of Stone IPA (a very good thing). Also, Green Flash Brewing's Imperial IPA reminded me of Redhook's Longhammer IPA (also a good thing). Reminiscent, but with nearly twice the alcohol.
  • The ever-present New Belgium brought along the mysteriously-named Kevin's Ale. It's described on the info sheet as a "strong golden ale with spices." Call me unrefined, but I couldn't get past the ginger to find any other spices. You got yourselves some very alcoholic ginger ale there, dudes.
  • I also liked Redstone Meadery's Nectar of the Hops. I haven't had a lot of experience with mead, but it tastes like a syrupy agave nectar. Really not bad at all.
  • I gotta throw a shout out to Alpine Beer's Pure Hoppiness, merely for the fact that I tried it toward the end of the night and wrote nothing but "bueno" in my notes. Did I mention that these were strong ales?

All in all, a good beer fest. But I must say that Harpo's is waaaay too small for this event. It took half of our coupons to stop being annoyed by the closeness of the crowd and enjoy ourselves.