Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

GABF 2011: Media Lunch and Denver Tour

One of the best parts of attending the Great American Beer Festival is the media lunch and the bus tour.  It is a great opportunity to meet with other writers in a low-key environment.  The festival sessions themselves are too busy, crowded, and distracting to have a meaningful conversation with other people.  Unfortunately for me, this year, my nose has dried out completely to the point of suffering from nose bleeds.  It is a pretty common symptom during altitude changes.  I can't give you a very detailed description of the food and beer, but I'll try my best.  

The first course was roasted carpaccio beet salad with fennel, green apples, goat cheese, and bacon served with a vinaigrette. 

The next course was grains of paradise seared lamb loin and ginger forbidden rice with apricots and cranberries.  Despite having a non-functioning palate, I could taste the grains of paradise on the incredibly tender lamb.  It reminded me of some type of Asian spices. 

For dessert, we had pumpkin bread pudding topped with Ska Ten Pin Porter Caramel sauce and Lefthand ESB Ice Cream. 

One of my favorite parts about the lunch was the American Artisan Cheese Plate.  The cheese lover in me is very, very, happy.  The cheeses were Point Reyes Original Blue and Toma, the Beecher's Handmade Flagsheep, and Cowgirl Creamery's Mr. Tam. My favorite cheese was the Toma.  I wanted to eat everyone else's too.  Did I mention that I loved cheese? 

The bus tour this year took us to Strange Brewing and Highland Taps.  Our stop at Strange Brewing was quite rushed, so I don't have any photos of it.  However, we had a few more minutes at Highland Taps.  We got to try some tasty appetizers, Oskar Blues beer, and Odell's beer.  We were told by someone to try to the duck fat fries.  So I asked for a basket to share with the other attendees, which was a fantastic decision on my part.  The fries were served with a truffled aoili.  I've had my fair share of duck fat fries, and they tend to be rather limp, though tasty. These fries were almost like a really good Belgium fry.  Light crispy outside, and light steaming inside.  They were pretty darn awesome, and they are so far my favorite duck fat fries.  Highland Taps is going to be on my list of places to visit again. 

One of the lovely brews served was the Odell Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout.  It was dark, bold, sweet, and smooth with chocolately, caramely, and vanilla flavors.  This is a pretty fantastically executed oak aged beer.  I would love to have this beer on a cold winter night.  Thanks to GABF and the City of Denver for the lunch and tour of some local joints. 

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