The 37-year tradition returns to Denver in September
Tickets go on sale next month for the 37th annual Great American Beer Festival, returning to Denver September 20-22. The three-day festival’s general admission costs $85 and includes access to more than 4,000 beer samples, educational seminars, and entertainment. Last year, tickets sold out in just over four hours.
GABF brings 800 breweries from around the country together under one roof at the Colorado Convention Center.
In just 2 months, on August 10 and 11th theBeer Bloggers and Writers Conferencewill hold its 9th annual conference, and this year it will be held in Loudoun Virginia! This conference is not only for beer bloggers and writers, it is also for breweries, brewery guilds, Destination Management Organizations, and PR companies. This event provides a forum for industry professionals to meet with writers and bloggers to discuss trends, tourism, and innovations in craft brewing.
Beer tourism is growing fast, and conferences like this are a great way to build awareness for local and regional beers, breweries, and beer trails.
This conference will feature a number of pre and post conference excursions such as a trip to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House in Maryland, and a visit to Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, to talk to the brewers, hear about trends, and of course lots of tasting.
At the start of the conference, there will be a Kickoff Party at Farm Brew Live, northern Virginia’s first destination brewery. Then during the conference attendees will hear about the current state of the craft beer industry, diversity in craft beer, learn about the art of negative feedback, podcasting and Instagram, talk to brewers and brewery owners, and of course beer tasting. They will also hear from Sam Calagione with Dogfish Head Brewery, see a presentation by Devils Backbone Brewing Company, and do more beer tasting. There will also be a reception and dinner at Vanish Farmwoods Brewery where 24 of Loudoun County’s breweries will be present to offer still more tastings of some of their best hand-crafted brews!
Finally, after the conference wraps up, there will be yet another excursion, this time to Richmond, VA, for a tasting tour of the Richmond Beer Trail!
This conference is going to be incredible! If are a brewery owner, an industry professional, or just want to raise awareness about craft beer in your area, there is no better place to meet with the bloggers and writers who can get the word out.
I’ll see you there!
Special thanks to the conference sponsors:
Visit Loudoun,the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association, is going all out to ensure the success of the conference.
TheNational Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,300 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country.
Devils Backbone Brewing Company, born in the Heartland of Virginia, this craft brewery has created some amazing German and American style craft beers that has become the standard for what a craft beer should be.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, after 22 years of brewing excellence, is still just as passionate and dedicated their craft as they were on day one, “to bringing off-centered goodness to off-centered people”.
Prince William County, Virginia, close without being too close to Washington DC. Located only 30 miles from DC in northern Virginia, Prince William is known for their parks and trails, Civil War battlefields, amazing craft brews and wines, museums, and a robust arts and culture scene.
Kilfrost is a global leader in safety critical chemistry. They are probably best known for developing a range of Advanced Low Viscosity heat transfer fluids, including ALV Plus, which for the first time gives breweries a fluid that’s highly efficient and non-toxic, as well as cost efficient and environmentally-friendly.
My final stop on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail was Molly Pitcher Brewing. Named after the legendary Revolutionary War heroine who brought pitchers of water to colonial soldiers on the battlefield. Molly, who’s real name was Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, famously jumped in to man a cannon during the Battle of Monmouth, earning the respect and admiration of those soldiers she fought with, and creating the legend of the fearless patriot in a petticoat.
This place had the feel of a true neighborhood pub. The staff greeted me when I walked in, and asked what I’d like before I sat down. Everyone seemed to know each other, but still made you feel like you were one of them. There was even a young woman there celebrating her last night as a single woman with her maid of honor and bridesmaids. She’s the one wearing the veil in the picture above.
The place was accented with items from colonial America like a tri corner hat, a musket, and tap handles made from flintlock pistols and wooden beer taps.
The Patriot Pale Ale had a bright golden hue with a fruity and floral aroma and a hint of citrus. The hop bitterness was nicely balanced by the malt with a touch of citrus. Delicious.
The Billy Haze-Jucy IPA had a hazy golden color and had a fruity/citrucy aroma, and a sweet but not too sweet tropical fruit flavor with a light citrus taste. Excellent.
Unfortunately, like all good things my time on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail finally came to an end. I had tasted some truly remarkable beer, had some good things to eat, and met some great people, but I was only able to visit a handful of the craft breweries on the trail, and sample only a tiny fraction of the beer. But that just gives me a good reason to come back, and something to look forward to.
Until next time, may you always have good health, and may your cup never run dry.
My next stop on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail was Harty Brewing in the Silver Spring Township in Mechanicsburg, PA. This little nano brewery located in the tiny community of Walden is owned and operated by Michael Harty and Lauren Ishaq. But don’t let the small size of their tasting room fool you. Their beers are big on taste.
Their American Pale Ale was clear with a golden amber hue and a light citrusy aroma and a hop forward flavor with a light malt presence.
The IPA was cloudy yellow with an orange/citrus aroma and taste, and a slight sweetness that balanced well against a roasted malt backbone.
The Coffee Irish Red had a deep amber red color with a woodsy/malty aroma with a hint of coffee, and a deep malty flavor with a light coffee taste.
The Oatmeal Stout tasted and smelled as dark and rich as it looked with a malty, caramel/maple aroma and taste with a hint of coffee.
And last but not least, the Coffee Cake Blond Ale had a hazy yellow color and and a smell and taste that reminded me of peaches and cinnamon, with a light sweetness.
Talking to some of the other patrons, Harty Brewing is apparently known for its many experimental beers. Several spoke about a recent jalapeño ale which they claim was unbelievably good. Lauren, who was manning the bar agreed that a lot of their regulars had been asking for them to make it again.
This was a great little craft brewery, with a warm and inviting atmosphere, a real sense of community, and very good beer!
Desperate Times Brewery opened it’s doors in 2015 and has become a local favorite. This craft brewery located near the fairgrounds has a prohibition era theme, but a strong German vibe. They have a kitchen with a pretty good food menu with an assortment of German sausages, German potato salad, a schnitzel sandwich, sauerkraut, and giant pretzels, along with an assortment of sandwiches and other items.
They also seem to specialize in German style beers such as a lager, bock, German pilsner, Kölsch, and a Hefeweizen, but they also had other styles like stouts, IPAs and porters.
The Black Forest Schwarzbier was a dark lager with a light malty and slightly smoky aroma. It had a nice malt profile for a lager, with toasted notes.
The Desperate Measures Red IPA had a dense creamy head with a mild sweat malt smell. It had a solid malt presence with a not too hoppy flavor.
The Citra Rye IPA had a clear deep golden color, a sweet malty aroma, and a good malt/hop balance with hints of citrus.
Honest Law Breaker Oatmeal Stout had a strong roasted malt presence, with coffee notes. It had a lot of flavor, but a lighter mouthfeel.
The tasting room is very spacious and open, and the staff was friendly and the beer was quite tasty. I can’t wait to go back again.
Next stops: Market Cross Pub and Brewery, and Burd’s Nest Brewing.
Near the end of Harrisburg Beer Week I was fortunate to find myself in Carlisle PA, at the very heart of the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail, and was able to sample and enjoy some of the best craft beer Pennsylvania as to offer.
The beer trail stretches from Chambersburg to Harrisburg and currently includes 19 breweries, a distillery and a meadery, with three more breweries, another distillery, and a winery to be added soon.
Of course you shouldn’t explore the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail without a passport. You can get a Beer Trail Passport from the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau or any of the participating beer trail locations. Each time you visit a location on the trail you can get a sticker, and depending on how many stickers you collect, you can redeem the passport for prizes such as a bottle opener, coupons, a t-shirt, and a chance to win a $50 gift card!
According to the Visitors Bureau, beer tourism is growing fast, and the beer trail is attracting craft beer lovers from all across the country. The Bureau reports that 25% of the passports redeemed are from people who live more than 2 hours from the trail, and people from as far away as Florida, Texas, and even Oregon have redeemed passports.
The first stop on my beer trail experience was at Roy Pitz Brewing in Chambersburg, PA. They describe their craft beer as liquid art. I sampled their Barleywine, West Coast IPA, Smoked Porter, and Sour Gose, and to be honest I don’t think they were bragging- just stating the facts.
Not only was the beer noteworthy, they had a pretty good food menu also. The Brew House Nachos have pulled pork, shredded Monterey jack, pico de gallo, and scallions topped with sour cream on a bed of tortilla chips. So good! And have you ever had a cheesesteak egg roll?
The menu also included a number of burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more. And of course no pub menu would be complete without the classic fish and chips!
The tasting room had a comfortable feel, the staff was friendly and helpful, the food was good, and the beer was awesome!
My next stop on the Cumberland Valley Beer Trail was at Gearhouse Brewing in Chambbersburg. This craft brewery is located just around the corner from Roy Pitz.
They had a wide variety of craft beer on tap that would please the most discerning craft beer enthusiast such as a Hefeweizen, Kölsch, amber lager, American and Irish reds, a blond ale, IPAs, and stout.
I had an Angelic Red Ale and the I’ll Be Bock amber lager. The Angelic Red had a beautiful amber/red color, a nice roast malt aroma with a hint of lightly toasted bread and rich malty flavor. The I’ll Be Bock had a biscuity aroma with just a hint of hops, and a fresh, clean, biscuity flavor with a light caramel malt presence. Both were delicious.
They also have an eclectic food menu with a variety of items such as poutine (fried tater tots with cheese curds, beef gravy and beer cheese), fish tacos, mac & cheese, and assorted sandwiches and sliders.
This is a great place to stop in after a hectic day at work, or to unwind on the weekend. Fine beer and pretty good food.