Depending on who you ask, the Great American Beer Festival might be losing its edge a bit. (Indeed, we even recently wondered if perhaps beer festivals in general are a bit fatigued.) But as I knocked around GABF's Saturday afternoon session, I saw more than a little life left in the festivities.
The folks at Chicago’s Forbidden Root, for example, told me how worthwhile their tiny booth had been for the young brewpub's marketing purposes. Colorado’s Weldwerks had a never-ending line for its hazy IPAs. Those beers are extremely unlikely to win medals under the Brewers Association's current style guidelines, of course, but that didn’t stop Weldwerks from taking gold in the Barrel-Aged Stout category with Medianoche.
Then there was Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing. These folks had literally rented a party bus and parked it inside the Denver Convention center. They then set up the loudest PA system they could and blasted endless hip hop jams, while pouring cans of their well-regarded IPAs to a constantly swelling crowd. Try telling them that GABF isn’t worthwhile.