The 2011 GABF Experience


on the way

on the goddamn light rail

“Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could. I was by myself on a light rail train stopped at 30th and Downing. The other people in the car probably thought I was nuts but there wasn’t time to worry about them. I jumped from my seat and hit the “stop requested” button approximately 900 times. I tried to pry the doors open. I hit the “stop requested” button again. Then I watched the train depart the station, leaving Ben behind.

We’d meant to be on the 11:13 a.m. train but as usual were running late. We left home with what we thought was adequate time to walk to the station and get the 11:28 train.

The 30th/Downing station is the first/last stop on the RTD light rail D line, so usually the train you want to take is sitting there waiting for you. I hurried us along as we got close to the train because we only had a few minutes and I didn’t want to miss that train and have to wait 15 more minutes. When we were just a few feet from the train, the damn thing started moving. What? It wasn’t even time! But then it stopped and the doors opened and we jumped on. I guess the driver was just fucking with us. It wouldn’t be the last time.

Ben has an RTD pass from school, so he didn’t need a ticket. I did need a ticket, although, truth be told, it’s almost tempting to go without because in my years of experience taking the light rail exactly once a year to go to beer fest, we’ve never seen anybody checking tickets. We got on the train without getting a ticket because we thought the train was going to leave right away. When we realized we had a few minutes, Ben got off the train to buy me a ticket (he had $1s and is better than I am at doing most things). I checked in on Foursquare and did whatever stupid shit I do. Ben wasn’t back yet. Minutes elapsed. The doors closed. “Noooooo!” I screamed as loud as I could.

It was like some cheesy romantic movie shit right there. My true love was left behind while I was trapped on a train, hurtling toward the city against my will. In a few minutes, I’ll tell some guy who doesn’t know who I am that I quit my job, we’ll pass another train, and then both trains will blow up.

Fortunately, Ben is smart and if you miss one light rail train in this part of town, you might be able to get to the next stop before the train does. As the train left the station, I saw Ben, flip flops in hand, running like hell toward the next station. Realizing that I am woman and I do in fact possess the ability to roar, I planned to, if Ben hadn’t yet made it to the next station, block the doors from closing through the sheer power of my will and, well, by standing there so the doors couldn’t close, until he got there.

Fortunately, the next station is only two blocks away and Ben has been running a lot. He got there in plenty of time. “He saw me! That asshole!” He caught his breath. He contemplated going up to the front of the train to yell at the driver but instead we just talked about what an asshole he was for the next few minutes, which was slightly satisfying although not as satisfying as, like, giving him the finger probably would’ve been. I mean come on, man, we have beer to drink. And insult, injury, the damn machine didn’t even give Ben his change.

Although we arrived at the convention center far later than we intended, we totally cut in line with our friends who had the best place in line I’ve ever known anyone to have. We’re ridiculous, self-serving assholes but come on man, we have beer to drink. And it’s always nice to see friends!

beer fest

beer can necklace c/o Oskar Blues

By now, you’re probably realizing that this stupid-ass post about beer fest is probably going to be more about Ben running barefoot through glass and who knows what else on Welton Street while I tried valiantly to escape from a train than about beer fest. And you’re right. But let’s talk about the 2011 Great American Beer Festival for at least a few minutes. Also, please forgive the lack of good and/or useful photos of GABF. I always go into these things with the best intentions, but honestly, when I’m doing something fun like puttering around beer fest drinking beer, I don’t want to take pictures the whole time. Sometimes I ask Ben to take a picture of me so for once there will be a picture of me I didn’t take in a bathroom and this happens. I was all, “Take a picture so the internet can see what I wore to beer fest (because I’m sure the internet gives a fuck and it’s so different from my normal uniform, which consists of a denim skirt, denim shorts, or jeans and a black tank top and you can’t even see the bad-ass Kork Ease platforms that, as comfy as they are, did kind of make me hate life by the time I was hobbling home)!” And Ben was all, um, hold my glass and there are porta potties and some random dude in what might be a Hawaiian shirt behind you. And I was all, awesome! As you’ll notice, I broke my “wear a skirt because it’s easier to pee” rule and wore jeans, which turned out to be awesome because it was cold as hell in there.

Anyway, aside from experiencing light rail issues and engaging in fashion-blog-worthy photo shoots in front of a vast array of porta potties and at least one innocent bystander, we wandered around the convention center for a few hours and drank some beer. The good news is that I actually kept track of some of the beers I really liked on the iPhone app. Here are the beers I considered worthy of starring, in the order in which they appear in the app, in this format: Beer (Brewery)

  • Cream Stout (Redwood)
  • Zombie Dust (Three Floyds)
  • Quinannan Falls (Bell’s)
  • Dugana IPA (Avery)
  • Spruce Pilsner (Shorts)
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter, 2008 (Alaskan)
  • West Coast IPA (Green Flash) (They didn’t have Imperial! WTF, guys?)
  • Nelson Imperial IPA (Widmer Brothers)
  • Jai Alai IPA (Cigar City)
  • Dysfunctionale (Piece)
  • Carrot Cake (Shorts) (OMFG.)
  • Arctic Panzer Wolf (Three Floyds)
  • Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA (Big Rock)
  • Rail Hopper IPA (Flossmoor Station)
  • Hop Zombie (Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que – Lake Travis)
  • Myrcenary (Odell)
  • Grapefruit Jungle (Sun King)
  • Key Lime Pie (Shorts)

Aside from West Coast IPA, this list is all stuff we don’t normally drink — I didn’t include our usual brews of choice (you can see what some of those are here, although that list is very out of date, as evidenced by the fact that I still refer to it as Gordon when it’s now called G’Knight and holy crap Gubna isn’t even on there, and needs to be updated someday when I’m not sitting around getting all distracted and telling you stupid light rail stories).

Also, you know how I told you to pick up the list of winners shortly after 1 p.m.? Dudes. This time, the awards presentations went on forever. We never even found a list while we were there. You can get a pdf of the list here. I wish we’d gotten this earlier because seriously, as much as I talk about how we’re like super-awesome IPA experts and everything and sometimes I have this existential crisis wherein we go to beer fests and sadly realize that we’ve already had all the really good, hoppy beers that exist? We’ve never even had any of the Category 51 or 52 winners. Deviant Dale’s? What’s up with that, Oskar Blues?

Anyway, here are a few more dumb pictures. Apparently pictures of Ben and me taken by me holding the camera with my left hand are the new bathroom self-portraits. Thank goodness I put this on the internet.

at beer festat beer festYay beer!NorthboundPro AmHere we are waiting for the train.