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  • Brewery of the Month: Brewfist Italian Ales

    Well sock it to me! Brewfist Italian Ales is our brewery of the month for March. It was almost three years ago that I discovered this great Italian brewery while on a trip to Rome and let me tell you: it completely changed my perspective on Italian beer.

    Obviously the Italians are famous for their wines--and rightfully so. However, there has historically been a strong brewing tradition in the northern part of the country, where Brewfist hails from. Since brewing their first beer in late 2010, Brewfist, alongside other great Italian breweries like Toccalmatto and Birra del Borgo, have put new wave Italian beers on the, well, map.

    All-Italian Beer Menu at Rome's bir & fud. All-Italian Beer Menu at Rome's bir & fud.

    In recent years, the Italian beer scene has become one of the better-established beer scenes in Europe. Sure there are the stalwarts like the UK, Copenhagen and the Czech Republic, yet when considering that beer has to struggle against a strong cultural tide in countries like Italy it is all-the-more impressive that there are breweries like Brewfist that have people mentioning "Italy" and "beer" in the same sentence.

    Brewfist LogoWhen I was in Rome a few years ago I was really impressed at how much craft beer has been embraced in the city. From restaurants emphasizing beer-and-food pairing matches to bars featuring exclusively Italian microbrews to some of the best bottle shops I've seen on the continent, it was clear that beer is ready to re-write history.

    Brewfist is great at giving respect to the cherished Italian artisan while also embracing modern techniques and trends. For example, we've been able to get our hands on a special version of their Spaghetti Western Imperial Stout that has been aged in grappa barrels--a reverent nod to the great Italian grape. Conversely, the American craft-beer influence is obvious in the Spaceman IPA, my Brewfist first and still-favorite. Packed full of American hops (Simcoe, Citra, and Columbus) it is a juicy--and very American--West Coast IPA. Finally, collaborations with other great breweries are a big part of the range--like their Spaghetti Western collaboration with the Oklahoma-based Prairie Artisan Ales.

    Suffice it to say, with all the great stuff coming out of Italy and becoming more readily-available here in the UK (hint-hint: we'll be getting more Italian lines in at some point as well) I'm super excited that we're able to feature Brewfist this month as our Brewery of the Month. I just wish we had done this awhile ago--I would've saved a fortune on the overweight baggage I paid to get our Brewfist bounty home from Italy.

  • March's Beer Club--Unsung Heroes

    We've been doing a lot of work "researching" new beers lately (terribly tough life we lead here) and we've got a ton of exciting new stuff coming into Beer Hawk HQ at the end of this month. I'm super pumped about the new lines we're getting as well as further expansions into important styles. As such, March's Beer Club is going to profile some fabulous key beers alongside some other great ones that haven't made it into a Beer Club yet--our Unsung Heroes.

    FoundersImpStoutFor those that prefer the Beer Club Strong you'll be pleased to see the silky and complex--and a whopping 10.5% ABV--Founders Brewing Co. Imperial Stout. With Spring coming up on us fast (hear that, Spring? Fast.) the Imperial Stout is a good way to enjoy these last days of cold weather. If you think that hops will bring on the sunshine, however, the Strong case also features the citrus-loaded Flying Dog Double Dog Double IPA. This beer is HUGE--11.5%--and beautiful.

    Subscribers to both the Beer Club Normal and Strong will be happy to see two more cans from the great Beavertown Brewery. The Beavertown Black Betty is one of my favorites of theirs. Described as a Black IPA, don't let the irony confuse you--it's awesome. Huge tropical aromas and a hint of roast, this can is fantastic inside and out.

    So is their Smog Rocket--another inclusion in both cases. This smoked porter has great smoky notes thanks to the addition of some smoked malts from Bamberg, Germany. Big flavours of molasses, dried fruits and caramel help to showcase the resinous Chinook hop. It's not a huge chewy beer rather, just a really great drink.

    My favorite unsung hero to make its way into both the Normal and the Strong cases this month is the always-refreshing Nogne Pale Ale. This Pale Ale is big on hops; tropical, citrus and resin notes are prominent. Its dry, lingering bitter finish makes this Norwegian import crazy drinkable. Perfect for--cough, cough--Spring.

    NogneAlongside some solid choices from Brewdog, Tiny Rebel and La Trappe, the Beer Club Normal case also includes one of my favorite Thornbridge beers: Kipling. Made exclusively with the delicious Nelson Sauvin hop this subtly sweet pale ale finishes long hoppy and bitter.

    Suffice it to say that this month's Beer Club is a great one and we're happy to be able to include some of our favorites to make sure they get their time in the sun (Yes, I'm talking to you Sun.) We hope you enjoy yours when you get it. Thanks for subscribing!

    --Maggie

    Beer Sommelier

  • We've Got Nice Cans!

    After the better part of a year working on my bosses trying to convince them of the virtues of canned beer, it appears as though they've finally accepted the truth: canned beer is great!

    BeerCans

    Cans for beer have come a long way since the 70's and the 80's--those terrible decades when fashion was flammable, food was plastic, and canned beer tasted like, well, canned beer. As with most things besides music (that's right, I said it) technology and products improve with the passage of time. Looking to today, it's fair to say that beer can technology has improved to the point where we can confidently benefit from cans without compromising on taste or quality.

    While conceding that canned beer is not as aesthetically pleasing as a nicely packaged bottle and that maybe you shouldn't bring it as a hostess gift to a dinner party with the in-laws (unless your in-laws are really into their beer) there isn't really a downside to a properly canned beer. Note that I said properly canned beer.

    Any concerns about a metallic taste to the beer have been alleviated due innovative technology using polymers as a lining to prevent the beer from ever touching the aluminum can. Those citing environmental concerns will be happy to know that today's cans use about 30% less aluminum--likewise resulting in a lightweight can--than cans that were used in the past, all of which is largely recyclable.

    VerticalBeerCansWith these concerns being widely relieved thanks to advancements in technology, the benefits of cans can now enjoy their time in the sun. The most important values of cans has to be the blockage of light and air. Complete blockage of light results in the removal of the light-struck "skunk" flavor. Cans are airtight which prevent oxygen from entering the package--something which bottled beer has never been able to 100% do--meaning that longer term storage is easier to do and off-flavors from oxygen or other nasties are not a problem.

    Durability, portability, stackable storage, lighter packaging, easier and quicker chilling and protection of the product are even more reasons why canned beer has rightfully become so popular and why breweries are striving to include canning in their business plans.

    Collecting vintage beer cans as a hobby, at least in the US, has a steady following. A quick search on Ebay and you can find everything from rare vintage ones to whole lots of cans (probably collections that somebody's wife told them they need to get out of the garage) for sale. Today's breweries are putting a lot of effort into the design on cans--Beavertown Brewery being the most impressive--that in years to come today's cans will surely be collector's items.

    With all that said, you can see why I'm excited that we've finally embraced beer cans and are integrating them into our range. While I'd been an advocate for them for a long time, it's been a diligent study of a number of factors before we decided that canned beer had a home with us here at Beer Hawk. We'll let you know when we've got our stock of great canned beer in from some fantastic breweries--in the meantime, get thirsty!

    --Maggie

  • February's Beer Club--Beavertown Cans (!) and New Specials

    Whether you participated in the ridiculous Dry January or just resolved to continue supporting the beer industry, we've got a fantastic February Beer Club that celebrates great beer. After many conversations, hints, and arm-wrestling tournaments with my bosses, I couldn't be more excited that we're finally stocking CANSSSSSSSSS! That's right, they finally listened to me (full disclosure: they researched on their own that there are many advantages to canned beer) and have decided to stock the cans from one of the UK's most exciting breweries: Beavertown Brewery.

    Gamma-RayInside and outside of the can Beavertown is a big show off. The bold and colorful artwork on the cans truly is an indication as to what you can expect on the inside; this is not one of those breweries that spent so much time on the brand and design that they've neglected the beer. Indeed, as you'll find in this month's Normal and Strong cases, both the Gamma Ray American Pale Ale and the Holy Cowbell Black IPA/India Stout hold true to the Beavertown style: pushing flavor limits with juicy hops and big malts.

    For now these cans are available exclusively for our Beer Club members--another great perk--but we'll sooner-rather-than-later incorporate these into our standard range. We'll let you know.

    NeapolitanAnother Beer Club exclusive for both the Normal and Strong cases is the Hitachino Nest Dai Dai. This IPA is brewed with a native Japanese mandarin orange and an interesting citrusy hop called Tardif de Bourgogne. The result is a lovely beer with notes of honey, orange, tea and citrus zest and a light, dry finish. Truly, this is all delicate Japanese finesse in an American-style IPA; it's perfect for those who like the flavors of IPA without all the intense hoppiness.

    We've just recently started carrying Saugatuck Brewing Co.--a great brewery from my home-state of Michigan. The Strong case this month will find its delicious Neapolitan Milk Stout in there. Fans of Neapolitan Ice Cream—and the flavours of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry—will be pleasantly surprised at just how reminiscent this beer is of the dessert it purports to be.

    If none of these beers tickle your fancy, you should probably check for a pulse! With that said, as every month, we've got the boxes stuffed full with some of the best beer out there. The Normal and Strong cases will find great stuff from Anchor Brewing and The Kernel alongside some surprise beauties from the likes of Belgium and Germany. But besides actually drinking the beer, the best part of the arrival of your glorious Beer Hawk Beer Club box is to crack it open to see what's inside so I won't spoil the whole surprise.

    Welcome to February--the weather may be crap outside but this month's 15 bottles of goodness makes it tolerable. Spring--and a whole lot of new stuff at Beer Hawk (including more cans!)--is on the way!

    --Maggie

    Beer Sommelier

  • And Union Modernist Bavarian Craft Bier

    Simple and clean--just like the beer. Simple and clean--just like the beer.

    I'm glad that we've chosen the newly-minted And Union for our brewery of the month for February. For starters, since they've recently undergone a brand overhaul, it gives us the opportunity to bid adieu to "Brewers and Union" and welcome the tremendously simplified And Union. Secondly I must admit that I've been a bit remiss in learning what these guys are all about so I'm going to take that chance now.

    And Union came to be way back in 2007--and entered the UK market in 2010--as the brainchild of Rui Esteves, Manuel Esteves, and Brad Armitage. Fiercely protective of their vision of only producing small batches using the traditional ingredients of water, hops, barley, wheat and yeast, And Union bases their business model on partnerships with small regional Bavarian breweries. That's right--they contract brew.

    I'm still a little foggy as to where these guys are based--a message, that with their re-brand, could become clearer--but I'm gathering that the label is part of the Collective Sao Gabriel in Cape Town, South Africa. Yet, the concept of contract brewing affords a brand an opportunity to be located anywhere on paper while the brewing takes place elsewhere. Therefore, considering the And Union's passion for Bavarian style beers it's no surprise that the brewing takes place in Germany.

    The concept of contract brewing may sound somewhat contradictory to the hipster-ethos of "craft brewing" ("Dude, I harvest my own organically grown barley and mill it myself by chewing it--I wouldn't trust anybody else to do it right."**) Nevertheless, even well-established breweries take this step especially when trying expand operations to new locales before building their own brewery there. Likewise, it is an absolutely legitimate way for those who want to start a brewery and still need to learn about the brewing process or the industry--a thought that is echoed by And Union's UK Operations Partner, Byron Redman:

    "[A]lthough we think we have a great understanding of the ingredients, flavour and aroma that good bier demands, we did not have the exceptional brewing history and knowledge that a fifth generation family brewery, and their very experienced brewmasters offer.
     
    People might say we are not purists but I think any person wanting to brew bier will find contract brewing is a great way to get started economically and to learn. We still, and intend to continue, contract brewing as this is what works for us. People should do whatever they think is the right to create the biers they want and that others might enjoy."

    With that said, it is my humble opinion that contract brewing should be intended to be temporary. Brands run the risk of criticism and skepticism if they espouse to be one thing--passionate, obsessed, independent--and give control of the product over to somebody else. There's no harm, however, in turning the reins over to someone else so long as you're passionately involved, and learning, every step of the way.

    -- Maggie

    **Yes, that is overt stereotyping. And a joke.

  • A Bad Ass Brew Day at Bad Seed Brewery

    BeerHawkatBadSeedLast Friday the trusty Beer Hawk team made our way on over to Malton, North Yorkshire to try our hand at brewing a beer with the great guys at Bad Seed Brewery. We'll probably stick to our day jobs (a sort of self-imposed exile) but we had such a great time.

    It's hard not to with the comedic timing of Chris--master brain behind the brewery--who, when asked how old he was, proceeded to give us what sounded like a Match.com dating profile. He likes long walks on the beach, ladies!

    Unfortunately, due to a longer-than-expected drive up there (for reasons that will forever be a part of Beer Hawk lore) we missed the best-smelling part: the mashing. For those who don't know, this is the step where the grains used in the recipe are steeped in boiling water for a time in order to extract the necessary sugars. This sugary liquid is called the "wort." At this stage the brewery smells like a sweet, grainy bread factory. And it is amazing.

    Will, all smiles, doing a terrible job. Will, all smiles, doing a terrible job.

    Nevertheless, we did get there in time to add some delicious hops from New Zealand--or what Amanda declared to look like "dried sprouts." Brewer-extraordinaire James was kind enough to let us add the hops (which is one of the most exciting parts as the hops impart a lot of flavor to the beer.) The process consists of adding the hops to the boiling wort and then giving a good stir. The concept of a "good stir" seemed to have been lost on us as we were quickly demoted when James grabbed the paddle to show us how it is really done because our dainty swirls in the boil just weren't cutting it.

    Louise having a nip. Louise having a nip.

    After its exactly-timed boil--in which case the hops gave off the preferred bittering and aroma characteristics--it was time to cool and filter the wort to get it ready for the little yeasties who were going to convert the sugars to alcohol for us. If you don't chill it to a proper temperature, you'll kill the yeast. And then all you'll have is a hoppy sugary yeasty mess. Yet, with expert guidance from the guys at Bad Seed, we were able to successfully "pitch the yeast." But not before having a taste of what we'd accomplished so far.

     

    Our creation--which has been dubbed "Hawk-Eye PA" by one of our clever Facebook fans--is intended to be a well-hopped lager hybrid. We'll see whether or not we were triumphant in our creation in a few weeks as the beer is currently tucked away and letting the yeast do their thing in fermentation. Nevertheless, the true mark of a successful brew day is how--ahem--rosy the noses get. Let's just say, we won't need to worry about our marks from the French judge.

    Bad Seed Chris and some proper brewer's hair. Bad Seed Chris and some proper brewer's hair.

    Thanks again to the great guys at the fantastic Bad Seed Brewery for hosting us and letting us drink all your beer. We had such a great time and we're very grateful for the opportunity!  We'd love to reciprocate by showing you what a day packing boxes in the warehouse is like. Shall we schedule that for sometime around Christmas?

  • Stone Brewing Co. Has Landed!

    It's that time again--those who gazed wistfully out to sea from our western shores finally have their patience rewarded: the great Stone ship has steamed into port carrying delicious gifts from the new world! Sadly, the ship was a little smaller this time carrying with it just a few beauties from their extensive range. Yet, we've happened to get our beery talons on Stone IPA and Stone Ruination IPA. Deeeelicious.

    StoneIPA.1Routinely rated as one of the best IPAs in the world, Stone IPA is also rated as one of my favorites. I love how refreshing and crisp it is thanks to all of the gorgeous hops and two weeks of dry-hopping. If there's anything that Stone knows how to do better than others, it's playing with hops. American hops are the star of this IPA's show with its notes of citrus, grapefruit, and pine. Just beautiful.

    StoneRuination.1When I'm looking for a good kick to the face (or am wanting to finish a good session off right!) I turn to the Big Daddy--Stone Ruination IPA. 8.2% and a big, bold palate-wrecker, this beer is not for those who are looking for something easy to drink. It is brutally bitter. Yet, despite that apocalyptic description, there is actually a bit of finesse that is evident with regards to the use of hops. Intense notes of juicy citrus, resin and pine are backed-up by a good bit of maltiness. I just love this "liquid poem to the...hop."

    I would be disappointed that some of my favorites--the Cali-Belgique and the Smoked Porter (to name a couple)--hadn't arrived if it weren't for the fact that Stone Brewing Co. is opening up a massive Berlin-based brewery this year with brewing scheduled to commence in late-2015. This brewery complex will not only feature a restaurant, gardens and shop it will also improve distribution throughout Europe of all of our favorite Stone year-round beers AND special releases. This means us!

    I can't tell you the number of times I've come back from a trip home to the States with my suitcase clinking full of the latest Stone Enjoy-By or a special release. Think of all the clothes I don't have to leave behind or the baggage fees I don't have to pay now that those of us who are loyal to Stone over here in Europe are better served by distribution! Yeah!

    So, good Stone-ship watchers of the UK: hopefully this biannual arrival from the West will be replaced soon with regular transport from the land of the Reinheitsgebot. Until then, dear beer drinkers--wet your whistle with what we've got. It'll tide you over, I promise.

    -- Maggie

  • December's Beer Club--Brewfist and Christmas Specials

    You must've been extra good this year because you're getting some exciting stuff in our December's Beer Club. In our last Beer Club for 2014, we are saying "Thank You" in the best way we know how: by stuffing this box full of some of our favorites. I'm too stoked about the fact that you're getting BREWFIST this month to care about spoiling the surprise. That's right, Brewfist is here at The Hawk.

    spacemanI first discovered northern-Italy's Brewfist on a trip to Rome a few years ago. I knew of the rumblings of great craft beer in Italy but upon my first sip of Brewfist's Simcoe-Citra-Columbus-hopped Spaceman IPA, I was a total convert. Since you were such good boys and girls this year, we're happy to pop in the Spaceman into both the Normal strength and Strong cases.

    Both the Normal and Strong-Light cases will also see Brewfist's fantastic Low Gravity saison, while the Strong case will also find the Space Frontier IPA--another one of my favorites--as well as the Brewfist Spaghetti Western Stout. Now aren't you glad you were so good this year? (Well, it's not like we wouldn't have given it to you anyway, but play along, mmmkay?)

    DeliriumChristmasI wouldn't be making all of these Christmas references if you weren't also getting some really great Christmas seasonal beers this month. Anchor Christmas Ale, Ilkley Mary Christmas, and Delirium Christmas are some of the beery cheer that you'll find in the Normal strength case. Those of you who prefer the Strong case will be getting rosy cheeks thanks to the likes of Delirium Christmas, Bush Noël, and Slaapmutske Christmas, among others.

    If you find yourself trembling with excitement waiting for the big day when you'll get everything you wanted--the day Beer Hawk's Beer Club arrives, of course--wait until you get a load of this: The Normal and Strong cases are also getting Left Hand's Fade to Black Volume 1. Yessir (and ma'am), this beautiful Foreign Extra Stout is that extra special treat that we're very excited to include in the month's Beer Club. (But shhhh--it's only for our Beer Club members.)

    Of course this month's 15 beers will be rounded out with some of our other favorites but I think I've already told you too much. You'll just have to wait for the day when the big man in the delivery truck comes. Cheers and Hoppy Christmas!

    --Maggie

    Beer Sommelier

  • November's Beer Club -Siren and the Mighty Mikeller

    I'm pretty sure that the following words have never been said in this order "Hmmm, those Mikeller beers, you know, I can take just them or leave them"...IT'S IMPOSSIBLE AS THEY ARE JUST AMAZING!

    If you've not come across Mikeller before then the synopsis of the story is that in 2006, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø was a Maths & Physics teacher with a fairly advanced home brew kit.  He and his friend Kristian Keller (a journalist) decided to take the experimentation to the next level and in the school lab started running a so called "physics experiment" using malt, hops and yeast.  Fast forwarding on a few years, they are now one of the most revered brewers on the planet.

    Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Lovely on your Cornflakes!

    The beer that really gave them the big break was none other than the Beer Geek Breakfast - an oatmeal stout brewed with french press coffee.  It swiftly shot to number 1 on Ratebeer after being profiled in the Danish beer festival scene and it's one of the Mikeller beers i've put into this month's cases. If you've selected a preference for lighter beers, then don't worry, i've put an American Dream into your delivery instead, but i'd challenge the most ardent stout-hater to not like this beer.

     

    If you follow us on Twitter (@thebeerhawk) you'll probably be aware that there was a moment of utter joy a couple of weeks back when we received some of the latest developments from Siren Brewing.  Their 10 Finger Discount was one of my beers oftickle the year in 2013 and after making me cry by telling me that it wasn't planned in this year's brew cycle i'm delighted to say it's back and has some new friends in the form of 10-Toes Discount and a Tickle Monster.  They are all variations on a theme - a single hopped IPA aged on Cedar wood and brewed in collaboration with To Øl (like Mikeller another fabulous Danish Brewer), but it's the pungent pine aromas that mark this range out from the crowd and i'm delighted to include one of this range in eacc of this month's cases too.

    There's more of course to make up the rest of your 15, i've included the very seasonal Big Leaf Maple from Anchor Brewing, 2 of the newest Bootlegger series from London Fields and one of the newest from our friends at TicketyBrew a Rose Wheat and a new stout.  As ever I hope you enjoy the beers and i'll now go and sort you some beers for next month when you can be certain on or two Christmas ales will be gracing your case.

    Cheers,

     

    Chris

    Taster-in-Chief

  • The Great American Beer Festival Recap

    *Phew. I'm back. And partially recovered.

    I've been to a lot of beer festivals but the Great American Beer Festival is world class. If you've never had the chance to go and want to experience the quintessential celebration of beer, then start booking your flights to Denver, Colorado. There truly isn't another one better.

    Merely a fraction of what's to come. Merely a fraction of what's to come.

    My festival experience started with some really good advice from the locals: do not wait in the queue beforehand. In order to be towards the front, it's best to get there a good two hours before the doors open. That means waiting in line for two hours when you could otherwise be enjoying the great city of Denver. We decided to get in line just after the doors opened at about 5:40pm. After a very efficient entry process (which included ticket scan, ID check, and wristbands) we had glass-in-hand by 6:03. So all of those people that sacrificed two hours of their lives just to be first had about 15 minutes of bliss before they had to wait in all of the lines inside.

    Once inside, we were greeted by the beautiful sight of hundreds of America's best breweries that stretched throughout the conference center as far as the eye could see. A great GABF iPhone app helped me pick out some of the not-so-well-known breweries as the more than 400 breweries and thousands of beers made it necessary to do some research beforehand. I made a conscious decision to seek out some of smaller regional superstars as opposed to the juggernauts. Organized by region--Pacific, Great Lakes, Southwest, etc.--it was quite easy to navigate towards the breweries that I had pre-selected. Crowds of toga-clad men and Storm Troopers notwithstanding.

    I headed directly towards Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, North Carolina: a brewery I didn't know much of but had read a good bit about beforehand. As with all of the other breweries there, Wicked Weed had brought along with them about six of the beers that THEY wanted to show off to the crowds. Deciding to bestow upon them the prestigious award of "My First Beer at GABF, " I selected their Serenity 100% Brett Saison from choices ranging from a double red ale to an IPA.  It was a beauty; beautifully dry, funky and refreshing, it was a fantastic saison and one I'd routinely seek out.

    Wicked Weed Brewing--Winner of the "My First Beer at GABF" award. Wicked Weed Brewing--Winner of the "My First Beer at GABF" award.

    After enjoying my first beer, I made my way over to the Beer and Food Pavilion for one of the fest's most impressive offerings: a free 30-minute beer and food pairing courtesy of Green Flash Brewing's Director of Beer Education, Dave Adams, and Chef Lon from Denver's great ChoLon Bistro. A beautiful braised pork cheek with celeriac purée and Asian pear salad was paired with Green Flash's Flanders Drive--a gorgeous Flanders red with notes of vanilla, cherry, and sour earthiness that had been aged in a charred American oak bourbon barrel. The pairing was absolutely spot-on while the presentation of information to an obviously well-educated beer audience made it a fantastic experience. For free!

    Food

    I could go on and on about all of the great beers that I tried--from San Francisco's Almanac Beer Co.'s Farmer's Reserve Citrus Wild Ale to Russian River's Pliny the Elder to Firestone Walker's Opal Saison--but I'll save you from the jealousy inanity. You'd be safe in assuming that all of the beers were on form and with 1oz tastes it was so easy to make your way around testing as many beers as time allowed. The best part was that--for the most part--the brewers were behind the bars! From the great guys from Holy City Brewing Co. to the monks from New Mexico's Abbey Brewing Company (who made a GREAT dubbel, by the way) it's so great to have the opportunity to talk beer with the people behind it.

    I feel that the Great American Beer Festival is a fabulous celebration of all that is great on the American beer scene. Fun and laughter could be heard from every corner. Grown men dressed as babies. 15,000 people got along fabulously. One of the festival traditions is to mockingly yell at anyone who dropped their plastic tasting glass. Indeed, that happened a lot more regularly as the night went on. No more than 15 seconds would pass by without hearing a crowd from some corner of the center embarrassing those who dared drop their glass. I may have mocked one or two people myself. While white-knuckling my glass.

    Me and Hop Man! Me and Hop Man!

    Everything that could've been thought of, was thought of. Designated Drivers had their own lounge. The drunkest among us could make fools of themselves at the Silent Disco. Beer education was abound. While the lines to the toilets were no shorter than those of any other beer festival I had ever been to, the sense of conviviality and being a part of something great didn't make it seem so bad.

    --Maggie

    Goodbye GABF--until next time! Goodbye GABF--until next time!

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