The Great American Beer Festival kicks off tonight at the Colorado Convention Center and the official list of beers being poured has been released.
According to Brewers Association President, Charlie Papazian, in his annual GABF program missive, the United States is now home to around 3,100 breweries and another 1.2 million homebrewers.
The 2014 edition of GABF will feature more than 3,500 beers from 700 breweries across the nation. With that many beers, brewers have had to get creative with their recipes and their names.
You can check out the full list on the website, but here are ten beers that jump out based on moniker and uniqueness of style…
1. Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Crabapple Ale – Destihl Brewery, Normal, Ill.
Destihl has earned a reputation over the past few years for their palate-challenging sours. Crabapple is the latest release in their Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale series – beers that get their kick from spontaneous secondary fermentation and aging in oak barrels.
2. The Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose – Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boonville, Calif.
This one requires a little knowledge of local dialects and resurgent German beer styles. Boonville is known for its peculiar “Boontling” jargon. Not its own language, it’s a regional vernacular that peppers conversation. In this case, “kimmie” is a man, “yink” is a young man and “Gose” refers to the style; a salty, sour wheat beer.
3. Rum Barrel Aged Ye Olde Sprinklerhead Barleywine – Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Altanta, Ga.
A mouthful to be sure, this beer makes the list for name and uniqueness. A festival favorite, this barleywine clocks in at 12.5% ABV. Rum barrel aging adds a spiciness that counterbalances the style’s characteristic fruity tones.
4. German Sparkle Party – 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Bend, Ore.
A quick web search for ‘German Sparkle Party’ turns up a pretty amusing music video by San Francisco lo-fi, comedy techno troupe, The Something Experience, and some questionable Urban Dictionary entries. The beer is a Berliner weisse and hopefully provides the kind of party in your mouth the name conjures up.
5. You’re F’n Out – 38 State Brewing Company, Littleton, Colo.
Presumably taking its name from the motivational tapes recorded by Kenny Powers in HBO’s Eastbound & Down, You’re F’in Out is a stout looking to drop jaws like the over-the-hill reliever dropped undergarments with his appropriately named wave-runner.
6. Rye Barrel Aged Eisbock – Zwanzigz Brewing, Columbus, Ind.
Eisbocks – brewed by freezing and removing water content to further concentrate the beer – pack a punch. Often slightly fruity, the rye barrel aging should add to the complexity of this offering and make it a beer best imbibed in one ounce servings regardless of venue.
7. The King Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich Imperial Brown Ale – Tomoka Brewery, Ormond Beach, Fla.
With a nod to Elvis Presley and his supposed favorite snack (invented here in Colorado!), the King is just one of a quadrant of cleverly named and inventively brewed beers from this Florida brewery. Others include the Toss My Funky Salad Kombucha Brett Ale, Pumpernickel Porter, and Strawberry Shortcake Florida Weisse.
8. Black Walnut Wheat – Piney River Brewing Co., Bucyrus, Mo.
Employing a healthy dose of Ozark harvested black walnuts, this wheat is maltier and darker than typical offerings of the style. The walnuts impart a distinct character to the aroma and taste.
9. Magic Beaver – Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Goochland, Va.
This “water-conscious, biologically friendly farm brewery” in Virginia is producing beers as attention-grabbing as its name. Magic Beaver, named after a pond on the farm’s property, is a Belgian-style pale ale that melds American and New Zealand hops into a supremely quaffable beer.
10. Gingerbread Stout – Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, Va.
The recognition of Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year so it’s only natural that holiday beers follow the trend. An imperial milk stout with locally sourced honey and ginger, this 9.2% ABV stout is rich, creamy and enhanced with Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and Vietnamese cinnamon.