Surfing the 2005 GABF
It was like a zoo; there were almost 30,000 of us surfers looking at 1,672 beers from 377 breweries and brewpubs. I didn’t serve as a judge, but 109 judges evaluated 466 beers in 69 categories to award 206 medals. The largest brewer’s contingent was made up of 38 breweries from California, followed by Colorado’s 29, Texas’ 13, Wisconsin’s 11 and New York’s 10. There were 103 entries in the largest category, American IPA, which was probably the most popular at the festival.
As I see it, American brewing is no longer limited to the ancient Bavarian Reinheitsgebot ingredients: malt, hops, water and yeast. We have a growing number of special categories that employ fruits, berries, vegetables, herbs, coffee, chocolate and various non-yeast type bacteria. It is now the magic age of the Ancient Chinese Reinheitsgebot: earth, fire, air and water!
No name is sacred from some brewer’s use: Larryville Lyte, Dirty Summer Blonde Chocolate Beer, Buttface Amber Ale, Alice B. Brownie, Tres Diablos, Nit Wit, Tripel de Ripple, Calcutta #420 India Pale Ale, All the Way Ale, No Doubt Coffee Stout, Hopsquatch, Bitch Creek ESB, Three Drunk Monks, Old Willy IPA, Menage a Frog Tripel, Blithering Idiot, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Polygamy Porter, Inebriator Doppelbock, Fat Bastard, Thousand Island Pale, Damnation, and Atomic Brunette Imperial Stout. My two favorite beer names are: Most Beer Judges are Bone Heads and The Clueless Beer Writer, both from Denver’s Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field.