Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Own Great American Beer Festival

Yikes, I haven't written anything in like 2 weeks.  Well that's going to change.

If you are into craft beer then you must be aware of the biggest craft beer festival that is held annually in Denver, Colorado.  The Great American Beer Festival is a 3 day celebration of craft beer where hundreds of brewers bring their creations for consumers to sample and judges to...well...judge.  I have never been but would love to someday.  It is literally the biggest craft beer celebration of all.

Inspired by this festival, I decided to peruse the list of last years medal winning beers.  There were 83 categories of beer up for judging.  Each category handed out gold, silver, and bronze medal recognition for deserving brews.  As I was browsing the list, I saw several beers that I currently have on hand in my fridge.  So I decided that I will pay tribute to the Great American Beer Festival over the course of the next 3 days by enjoying and reviewing some of the beers that won medals last year.

First up is Firestone Walker's Pale 31.  This was entered in category 49 last year under American Pale Ale.  There were a total of 105 entries in this category, and this beer won Gold.  I haven't tried this one before, and my awesome sister and brother in-law happened to send me one a few weeks ago.  Let's dive in:

Choose your vessel:  Bell's tulip.  Probably should have gone with a standard pint glass, but felt that a gold medal winner deserves a special glass.

The Pour:  Beer pours a fairly clear and bright golden color with a small one finger head.  Some mild lacing develops throughout consumption, but nothing substantial.

Aroma:  Bursting with crisp floral, citrus, and bitter hop aromas.  At the same time it smells quite delicate and light.  Incredibly impressive aroma for such a light and low ABV beer.

Taste:  Up front you get a little malt and fruity hop sweetness that quickly turns to citrus and pine hop bitterness.  The bitterness is there at the finish, but in a subtle way that just lingers ever so slightly.  This one is extremely light in mouthfeel, and the crispness of the hops make it ridiculously drinkable.  Medium to light carbonation.  This goes down so smoothly.

Overall:  This is a little pale ale with big hop flavors and ridiculous drinkability.  It's right up there with Zombie Dust for me in terms of how smooth and drinkable it is.  At 4.9% it's also extremely sessionable.  I could easily put away 6 of these in no time.  Incredible pale ale here.  It is packed with hop flavors, but the light mouthfeel and smoothness keeps you wanting to drink and drink and drink it.  I almost wish I had like 3 of them to pour into a large stein so that I could just guzzle the crap out of's that good.  I actually just reached for what I thought was my last drink, only to find the glass was empty....and I won't lie...I was a little sad it was gone.  Well deserving of the Gold Medal in the American Pale Ale category. Get it if you can.

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