Monday, October 27, 2014

GABF 2014 Pictorial Part 2:People in the Brewing Industry

Through the years of beer seeking, I have meet many people who work in the brewing industry. And a few of these people have helped in my growing enthusiasm for beer. During the GABF, I bumped into these marvelous people and took snapshots of them at this great fest.

I think that it's enhances the experience of GABF when the brewers or owners are at their booths pouring beer.

Sam Calagione, founder and President
of Dogfish Head.

Lynne Weaver, founder and
Alexandra Nowell, head brewer of
Three Weavers Brewing.

Glenn Closson, founder and a staff member of
Beach City Brewing.
David Walker, co-founder of
Firestone Walker Brewing.
Beachwood BBQ Brewing, owner and head brewer.
Kevin Ely, head brewer at Uinta Brewing.
Kim Collins, head brewer at
Barrel and Bottles Brewing.

Matt Cutter, founder of Upslope Brewing.

As I walked around the fest, I meet up with some folks in the brewing industry who were gracious in allowing me to take a snapshot of them.

Dave and Nicole, beer servers at Odd 13 Brewing.

Steve Kaczeus, founder/brewer at Bootstrap Brewing.

Sam Scruby, head brewer at Upslope Brewing
and Kendra Springer, Texas state representative
at Upslope.

Jamie Wells, founder/brewer at J Wells Brewing.

One of the greatest treat of GABF is the fun attitude that is displayed by everyone at the fest!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

GABF 2014 Pictorial:Breweries

I often try to take photographs as a pictorial of the experience and GABF was no exception. I present to you my pictorial of the three days of GABF.

The Breweries GABF Booths:

Dogfish Head Brewing, DE

Short's Brewing, MI

New Holland Brewing, MI
Deschutes Brewery,  OR
Uinta Brewing, UT
Wasatch Brewing, UT
Anderson Valley Brewing, CA
Pizza Port Brewing, CA

Firestone Walker Brewing, CA
Odell Brewing, CO
Great Divide Brewing,CO
New Belgium Brewing, CO
Avery Brewing, CO

Thursday, October 16, 2014

GABF 2014:Saturday, the final day.

I attended the Awards Ceremony. If I had known ahead I could have had breakfast there plus treated to a real commerative glass and a breakfast beers. Minus the breakfast, I did get a breakfast stout in a real glass and drank it while listen to Governor Hickenlooper address the auditorium that was full of brewery industry folks. 

I sat close to the nosebleed seats and with my trusty iPad on my lap, I typed the names of the Colorado Breweries that received awards for their brews. I realized how important this event was after seeing the excitement and yells of brewers and staff after hearing their beer names called along with the brewery names.  I was amazed on how many categories there was this year, 90 styles of beer, which made for a longer morning then I had expected. 

After the ceremony I was off to the main hall and the beer fest. It was all ready crowded and this is the member’s only session. I did stop off at the Short's Brewing booth to get the Gold award winning Key Lime Ale. It was very key lime in flavor with an added taste to my palate, of graham cracker crust. 

I didn't taste much this time around because it was time to go home. Congratulations to all the award winners and better luck next year to the rest! See you next year at GABF 2015!

GABF 2014:Day 2

The Great American Beer Fest on Friday was just as hectic as the night before. Friday assignment was to interview Kim Collins, head brewer at Barrel and Bottles in Golden CO. She was gracious enough to talk to me while pouring beers. 


I had another early entrance but this time I waited at the Dogfish Head booth to get a taste of their Chocolate Lobster Ale.  Sam Calagione was there giving an interview but his staff was pouring beer into pitcher and was taking them so long while ignoring the crowd waiting for their beers. I was curious about the Chocolate Lobster since watching the BrewDog series on the television when they were in Boston. They made a seafood ale with clams, crabs, lobsters and a little funk from them seating in the mash. Thank you Sam for not doing that with your Chocolate Lobster! But I plunged forward and got a taste of this odd crustacean beer. I was good, a nice chocolate forward flavor with some odd taste in the end but it didn't distract from the beer at all. 

As I was walking around, I stumbled into a line for New Glarus Brewing and since I like their beers waiting in line was well worth it.  After having their Brown Peach, which by the way, was peachy good, I then was on the hunt for Kim Collins, head brewer at Barrel and Bottles in Golden, CO.  Even though I was at the event the day before, I was still unfamiliar with where each region was located. I finally found her and she gave me a quick interview. 

Short's Brewing Co was another stop with two great beers that could almost be called desserts, the Bourbon Carrot Cake that was sweet but at the same time boozy and the Wood Master, a American brown ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans was also delicious. 

I found another new brewery, Brugge Brasserie from Indiana. I had the Framboise that wasn't bad, I should have stop there again and had another one of their beers but I forged onward through the masses trying to find more new breweries.

Apple Blossom Brewing from Arkansas, they don't make ciders as their name might imply. The owners of the brewpub were on hand and we very friendly to answer any questions. I had their Hazy Morning Coffee Stout; it would definitely wake you up with the amount of coffee in this brew! The oatmeal stout was aged with 30 pounds of Arabica coffee.

I live in Colorado that has over 170 breweries scattered throughout the state and I haven't been to a good portion of them.   Pagosa Brewing is one of those that haven't had their beer before.  I had their Peachy Peach Ale that was really good. I don't know why I never tried their beers before, maybe Pagosa Brewing hasn't sent any styles I liked. (?)

New Belgium had a large booth and taking a tip from Kim Collins the head brewer at Barrels and Bottles brewpub in Golden, I had the Chocolate Stout which was very good with a good chocolate coffee taste. 

Friday came and went with a tired correspondent taking home some good memories of the second day of GABF.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fast Interview at the GABF with Bridgett Beckwith, Marketing Director for Short's Brewing

Saturday was an early day at Day 3 of GABF.  I interviewed Bridgett Beckwith, Director of Marketing for Short's Brewing, MI.  She was pouring beer and taking photographs at the Short's booth. The booth was packed with GABF goers and the Short's staff were really hopping with pouring beers. Bridgett took some time off of her GABF duties to give me a short interview.

Me: You're the Marketing Director?
Bridgett: Correct.

Me: Were you ever into craft beer before working for Short's?
Bridgett: Me personally? Well actually Short's is the brewery responsible for getting me into beer to begin with. A friend of ours worked for the brewing company from the beginning so we've  been going to the pub from the start and Soft Parade, was the first beer I had and loved, that eased me into the craft brewing industry.  From there I was able to develop my palate and there's literally not a single Short's beer I don't love.

Me:I haven't had many Short's beer.
Bridgett: Well we're Michigan only and Michigan forever.

Me:What is your female point of view on GABF?
Bridgett: (She repeats out loud, "the female point of view of GABF?") I think that, gosh that's a good question. I have to say, first of all, that my overall impression just as a human at GABF is that I've been really impressed. This is my first time here.  I'm really impressed with how passionate  everyone is.  It's such a great community and everyone is here supporting the same thing.  Where they congratulate each other on making good beer. And, I think the best thing I can say in perspective as a female is that it feels no different than anything else. I feel embraced by the community and it's been a great experience.

Bridgett asked me about Barley's Angels and she told me about an organization for women in Michigan who are in the craft brewing industry.

Bridgett: Short's Brewing Co has been involved with a new group in Michigan called Fermenta. It's an organization that encourages women in the brewing industry which includes all fermented beverages.  It's a new group as of this year.  We started having meetings and seminars, it's a great way for Michigan women to get involved and learn more about their industry.

Visit the Fermenta:Michigan Women's Craft Collective Facebook page to get more information about this organization. 

Fast Interview at the GABF 2014: Christel Burns, a seasoned volunteer!

I was on assignment at GABF and met up with a friend of mine who works as a volunteer at the fest. She graciously gave me a fast interview on her views on the Great America Beer Fest. Christel and her husband, Bob were at the Friday session with a list of breweries they hadn't tried yet. 

Me: How long have you been volunteering at the GABF?
Christel: Around 10 years, yes, 10 years.

Me: Being a woman have you seen more changes during those 10 years at the GABF towards women? More women coming to the fest?
Christel: Yes, they're making more fruity beers that women like and lighter beers.

Me: As a volunteer at GABF, have you seen more women volunteering than before.
Christel: Yes, there really is. It's great, I love it a lot. We do have quite a few more women volunteering, volunteers who pour the beers, and volunteer check-in at the fest. I would really like to see the ratio between men and women, I would say it's 50/50.

Interview at the GABF: Lynne Weaver and Alexandra Nowell of ThreeWeavers Brewing Co

The Three Weavers Brewing Co is quite unique in the brewing industry, for one a woman, Lynne Weaver, owns it and second, the head brewer is also a woman, Alexandra Nowell. They were at the Great American Brew Fest representing their brewery.  

Lynne Weaver and Alexandra Nowell.
I caught up with them while it was still calm at the fest. Lynne Weaver is a friendly and articulate person who spoke candidly about the GABF and of being in the brewing industry. She started to home-brew after staying home raising her kids. Lynne likes to bake and home brewing wasn't that much different to her. Her first beer she brewed was very much like the Expatriate Ale that they were pouring at the GABF. The brewery was funded with Kickstarter.

I asked her, "How do you go from homebrewer to brewery owner?" She replied "being of my background in finance, I wanted to find out if it was a viable business so I went to the CBC in DC and found out if was a viable business and Los Angeles area sorely in need of breweries."  After five months Lynne then stepped down from brewing realizing that her skills were more useful in the business side then the brewing side. It was a hard transition for her but ultimately started looking for a brew master and Alexandra Nowell name came up.  I asked her if it was difficult being a woman in the industry and she said that Alexandra caught most of the hits since she is the brewer. Lynne thought it was more difficult getting respect as a woman home brewer than a woman owning a brewery.  

I then talked with Alexandra Nowell, she has a great credential in the industry, She was exposed to brewing in an academic career and studying for nine to 10 months evaluated it as a career. The first beer they both got them in craft beer was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Alexandra has been brewing for 5 and half years. She got her start as a paid intern as Sierra Nevada after the internship she was employed at Moylan's Brewery and then in 2010 got a brewing job at Drake's Brewing where her job was in their barrel-aging program.  Alexandra thought the GABF was a great place on the brewer's perspective to taste peoples beers that we don't have access to and also on the consumers side they have access to beers they're not. And gives their brewery more exposure to other markets which is always nice when you're trying to grow a new brewery. Lynne thought the GABF was a lot of fun and tiring, this was her first time here.

Lynne Weave then proceeded to pour me a taste one of their beers, Midnight Flight, a stout, which I found, had a nice maltiness and richness to it. I liked it.

These two women are an inspiration in the dedication to push the boundaries to fulfill their dreams.

So if you're in the LA area, stop by and have a taste of their beers.