The All You Can Drink Craft Beer Buffet

Close your eyes and imagine…   Over 100 different craft brews from around the United States and some from abroad.  In the form of bottles, cans, bombers, and growlers.  All iced down, awaiting your enjoyment.  Oh, by the way—you can have all you want, for free!
Is this a dream?  A beer nirvana in the afterlife?  Sound too good to be true?  It happened on November 5th in Boulder as part of the 1st Annual Beer Bloggers Conference.  Want to see it?  Look at the video clip below…

The BYOB party was the last of three beer tasting events held on the opening day of the conference.  Earlier, we sampled three brews as part of a beer and food pairing discussion.  Then we headed over to Oskar Blues for dinner and more beer—which was very impressive.
Friday was a long day for me.  I woke up at 3 a.m. to catch my flight to Denver.  So by the time the BYOB party started, I was tired and already had my fair share of beer.  But as a Beer Blogger, I felt it was my duty to sample, so I soldiered on.   Where’s what I tasted:
Harvest Time Pumpkin Ale, Big Boss Brewing, Raleigh, NC.  Had some nice spices, but not of lot of pumpkin flavor. 

Vlad the Imp Aler, Cascade Brewing, Portland, OR.  I’ve been wanting to taste this for a while.  A sour ale aged in oak and bourbon barrels.  Very different, very complex.  A nice change of pace.
Sink the Bismarck, BrewDog, Scotland, UK.  41% ABV (that’s right, 41%--not 4.1%).  I poured ¼ ounce into my glass, but it was still too much. It has a nice hop flavor, but the alcohol was too strong. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.  I think an ounce of this would taste great over ice.
Parabola, Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA.  I'm a big fan of FW.  Poured totally black.  Full-bodied Imperial Stout with flavors of coffee, chocolate, and a touch of bourbon. 

Arctic Blast, Vertigo Brewing, Hillsboro, OR.  Vanilla Porter made with whole Madagascar vanilla beans.  OK, I’m biased.  I brought this to the conference and I think it’s great.  It’s only available in Portland on draft and in growlers.  Everyone I know who tried it, really liked it.

13th Anniversary Ale, Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA   Did I mention I like Firestone Walker?  A melding of 7 different beers which are then barrel aged.  Amazingly complex, like a fine wine.

The Abyss, Deschutes Brewing, Bend, OR.  Limited release Imperial Stout.  This is a must-try.  Flavors of coffee, licorice, and oak.  Full body with creamy mouth feel.  The folks at Deschutes have done Oregon proud!

Raging Bitch, Flying Dog Brewery, Frederick, MD.  A Belgian style IPA.  It was exactly what I was hoping for.  The fruitiness of a Belgian combined with the bitterness of an IPA.  Very unusual.  Very nice…  

Melange a Trois, Nebraska Brewing, Papillion, NE.  A Belgian Strong Ale aged in oak chardonnay barrels.  Fruity aroma and flavors.  A very stealthy 10% ABV.

Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL.   Dark Black, heavy in body, but smooth.  Some chocolate and cinnamon flavors.  

The Great Pumpkin, Elysian Brewing, Seattle, WA.  This is the pumpkin beer I have been searching for!  It IS pumpkin pie in a glass.  Medium bodied with loads of pumpkin and spices. Well done!

As you may have surmised, this was an INCREDIBLE event—one of the highlights of the conference.  It was an amazing opportunity to sample some unusual and rare beers from around the world.  Although I only sampled a small fraction, I was awed by the diversity of flavors, aromas and colors.  A few lucky individuals even sampled the strongest beer in the world.

And that was just the first day......    

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