In craft beer circles, October means two things: It's time for the Great American Beer Festival and it's time for purists to admit that it's seasonally acceptable to drink pumpkin beer. GABF, craft beer's Oscars and Mardi Gras rolled into one beer-soaked Colorado weekend, is long sold out, but there are plenty of other events to check out across the country this month, gourd or no gourd. Here are our highlights.
'beer events' on Serious Eats
Last month, I found myself having the privilege to help judge the final round of the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest. In its sixteenth year, the competition gives homebrewers the opportunity to have their beer bottled and nationally distributed in the Samuel Adams LongShot Variety Six-Pack released each spring.
Some of the biggest fall beer events are already sold out, but there are plenty of other exciting brewfests coming up throughout the month of September. If travel time and budget weren't an issue, these are the events where we'd be drinking beer in the next month.
Homebrewers from around the country gathered in Seattle recently for the 34th Annual National Homebrewers Conference, which featured a range of expert panelists, the latest homebrewing equipment, and more beer than a couple thousand participants could drink over five days. Throughout the conference, we were struck by some trends that are emerging in the world of homebrewing and in beer in general.
Portland's Cheers to Belgian Beers is both a competition and a beer showcase. Each year, the previous year's winner selects a yeast strain, and in the winter prior to the fest, brewers throw darts to determine which style of beer they will make using that yeast. This gives them just a few months to craft their beers for competition. A combination of adventurous creativity, resourcefulness, and traditional Belgophilic inspiration seemed to be the keys behind the festival's most successful beers.
On April 14, TRiNiTY Brewing Company held their 4th Annual Saison and Farmhouse Ale Festival at their newly remodeled brewery in in Colorado Springs. One of the most highly specialized beer festivals in the state, Saison Fest draws a large and diverse crowd to enjoy close to 30 different variations on the classic beer style, offered by 16 different breweries.
We ate our way through the pairings—both traditional and the unique—and did our best to sample as many of the 70-plus craft beers and homebrews as we could. Click through to see the tastiest of the meatball-and-beer pairings at Get Real NY's Beer 'n Balls festival.
With over 300 events in a ten day span, we hardly scratched the surface of everything on offer during SF Beer Week. But at just about every stop we made, it seemed clear the brewers had gone out of their way to tap their stores for the unique, the rare, the strong, and sometimes the strange. Check out the slideshow for 8 of our most memorable sips from SF Beer Week.