As if beer enthusiasts weren’t already salivating about the 2015 Great American Beer Festival, yesterday the official list of beers being poured was released. Featuring almost 750 breweries from all 50 states, the list features everything from American Pale Ales to Zwickelbier.
It can be difficult to navigate a slate of exhibitors that large especially considering it necessitates meandering through 65,000 consumers over the four sessions and an additional 90,000 square feet of hall space this year at the Denver Convention Center.
Focusing on one style or one region is an option, but if you were lucky enough to score a ticket – the festival sold out in one hour and 17 minutes even with the increased capacity – you’ll want to maximize your experience. Here are ten beers or breweries to add to your list along with their booth location (map).
Lawson’s Finest Liquids [N12]
In Vermont, where the double IPAs flow like water, people take off work and skip school on days their local bottle shop gets stocked. That may be a slight exaggeration, but when Lawson’s is on the scene at local markets, lines will form at 4 a.m. for a chance to just get a ticket to purchase this sough-after elixir. They’ll be pouring Hopzilla Double IPA, JST Saison, Maple Barrel-Aged Fayston Maple Imperial Stout, Sip of Sunshine IPA and Super Session #2.
Adroit Theory Brewing Company [G3]
Barrel-aging has become big business with breweries looking for more and more unusual vessels in which to mature their beer. This Purcellville, Va. nano-brewery cranks out “esoteric beers with an emphasis on barrel-aging.” Among the selection on-hand will their Angel’s Trumpet Mango IPA Aged in Mezcal Barrels and Persona Non Grata Hibiscus Saison Aged in Carcavelos Barrels. Carcavelos, of course, being the Portugese wine region.
Funke Hop Farm – Sudwerk Brewing Co. [V11]
Rated among the best sours on the market right now, Funke Hop Farm ages in Petite Syrah and Grenache wine barrels and is then dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Citra and Simcoe hops. This Davis, Calif. brewery is known for their finely-crafted German-styel lagers and they’ll be pouring a quad-fecta with California Dry Hop Lager, Rye of the Lager, Northern Pilsner, a Marzen and the aforementioned Funke.
Imperial Portland Bourbon Barrel Aged Mushroom Dunkelrauchweizenbock – Base Camp Brewing Co. [I6]
This mouthful of a beer might be one of the more interesting offerings in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category. With a grain bill of half dark floor-malted barley and half wheat malt (smoked in house on a mix of apple and pear wood) and then fermented in the style of an imperial weissbock (read: strong), the beer is then aged in bourbon barrels for ten months along with Candy Cap mushrooms.
Dywer’s Ire Irish Red Ale – Factotum Brewhouse [W18]
A beer with a story. Factotum opened last year with an original concept of inviting burgeoning homebrewers to test their recipes on a larger system. Enter Criag Hewitt who brewed Dwyer’s Ire as homage to his family’s Irish heritage, in particular those who fought with the 9th Massachusettes Regiment of the Union Army. It became one of the breweries most popular beers and also inadvertently brought two families together over a shared history.
Ad Idem – Collaboration between Wicked Weed & The Lost Abbey [N14]
A Latin turned legal term referring to an agreement by two parties on a point as in the making of a contract, this beer is “an exploration of Brett and Sour” between two breweries vaunted for their sour programs. The golden sour with peaches and brett is a recent release. Worth beelining for.
Marble Brewery [L4]
The 2014 GABF Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the year, this Albuquerque, N.M. brewery recently broke ground on a $1.5 million expansion project. This will allow the brewery to increase production from around 13,000 barrels annually to around 30,000; making it not long for the “Small Brewing Company” category. They’ll have a Double White (gold medal, Other Strong Beer category), Imperial Red Ale (gold, Imperial or Double Red Ale category), Imperial Stout, Brett IPA and a Pilsner.
Kane Brewing [H3]
Located on the Jersey Shore near Asbury Park (home to the Stone Pony where Springsteen and Bon Jovi got their starts), Kane Brewing is helping change the perception of craft brewing in the Garden State. According to the Brewers Association, with 0.5 breweries per capita, the state currently ranks 48th. A recent feature in Beer Advocate has helped their plight. They’ll be pouring A Night to End All Dawns, Cortijo, Ripple and Solitude.
Shredders Wheat – Barley Brown’s Beer [I5]
A model of consistency, earning medals in the American-Style Wheat Ale or Lager category for five straight years from 2009 through 2013; four silvers and one gold before the streak came to an end in 2014. Barley Brown will also be pouring Hand Truck Pale Ale, Hot Blonde, Ratchet Strap IPA and Forklift IIPA.
Bottle Logic Brewing [S22]
Bottle Logic opened in Anaheim in February 2014 and about six months later already had a gold medal from GABF for their Lagerithm to hang in their steam-punk/mad-scientist inspired taproom. The black lager won in the American Dark Lager category. It, along with, Starquake (Porter) and Heliosphere (Helles Lager) will be on-hand.