2005 GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL
Woman Drinking Beer From Randall
It was the triumph of alcohol over Jesus. Denver, Colorado’s Great American Beer Festival, an orgy of rudeness, depravity, drunkenness, and sin — in addition to being the greatest concentration of assorted brews in the country — took place at downtown’s sparkling new convention center, and on the same day, no less, as a Christian bookseller’s convention. As I waited in what appeared to be the longest line in the history of the world (I’ve been to NFL games with less crowded conditions), I noticed that in an adjoining hall, empty tables and barren booths peddled their godly wares with little to no success. As bored cashiers waited to sell their pictures of a decidedly Caucasian, muscle-bound Christ, as well as crosses of all colors and sizes, my fellow drinkers-to-be roared with delight over the upcoming libations. And while I don’t normally throw my support in the direction of frat guys and their big bosomed arm candy, for that moment I felt part of a unique class of people. For all that can be said about this country and its self-destructive embrace of evangelical insanity and conservatism, on this day the devils in our midst had their due. Here were tens of thousands of people with but a single purpose: grab your cup, break into a sprint, and drink as much as you can in the span of five hours. Sweet, sweet liquor would at last conquer the Almighty.
While I embrace beer as a force for all that is good and decent in this life, I cannot claim to be an expert on the subject. In fact, I am woefully inadequate when it comes to dissecting the very nature of the liquid, which should be a source of rage for all those who live by the stuff, yet are unable to attend a flesh feast of this magnitude. But even for the novice, there was much to enjoy. The hall was deafening for hours at a time, especially when patrons roared with predictable relish any time someone dropped their (thankfully) plastic glass. It was like “the wave” had been transformed to a drunken ritual sans football. Row after row of American breweries beckoned, separated by region. No one seemed to be following any pattern in their quest for taste and enjoyment, and I too (along with the wife) wandered around in a haze, attempting to make sense of the chaos. The vendor booths themselves were topped only by the bathrooms, whose lines seemed to extend throughout the hall. And yet, it seemed as if America itself was represented by the occasion, where old bonded with young, big-titted whores seemed to relish the pathetic droolings of geeks, and somehow, Viking helmets and kilts didn’t seem all that out of place. People were covered in stickers, temporary tattoos, pins, and buttons, and in the middle of the action, it seemed quite logical to have a cooking demonstration by a local chef. Near the back, a band played on, seemingly ignored, by strumming along with a gusto that assumed the whole world was watching.
It seems appropriate to list the beers I personally encountered, and wait for you, the reader, to provide additional commentary. While it might infuriate the skilled beer guru to know that I tried — an actually enjoyed — a Black Cherry Zima [Ed Note: You’re fired], I do not profess to be speaking from any position of authority. I drink, but rarely beyond my capacity, and while I was decidedly drunk as I left the convention hall, I was no closer to the rarified air that houses the kings of all-American brew:
- Hot Blonde: Rock Bottom Brewery, Cleveland, OH
To my taste buds, it differed little from your average Rolling Rock, but it was tasty enough to start things off right [Ed Note: What?].
- Blackberry Scottish: O’Fallon Brewery, O’Fallon, MD
One of the lowlights, unless of course you enjoy imbibing the drippings of musty underwear. It’s amber color was the only thing in its favor.
- Sour Brown Ale: New Glarus, WI
Good for an ale (yes, yes, I know how that sounds), and thick enough to pour on my pancakes. Dark, but better than average [Ed Note: As if “dark” is in anyway bad? What?].
- Maximus: King of Prussia Brewery, PA
A slightly sour taste compensated by a fruity undertone; a good beer befitting its name [Ed Note: The real Maximus would beg to differ].
- Henry Hudson: Chelsea Brewery, New York, NY
Light, but cloudy, with a dark head and a surprisingly spicy kick; one that lingers for a bit after it’s done.
- The Wind Cried Mari: Cambridge Brewery, Cambridge, MA
A light amber ale that threw a bit of spice with the sweetness, it was arguably the best of the lot, except for that Zima thing, which I embarrassingly bring up again to prove what a pussy I am [Ed Note: Why am I posting this?].
- Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout: Brooklyn, NY
As dark as night, with one of the strongest kicks I encountered. My wife commented that it resembled an oil spill, with the taste to match, and I was inclined to agree [Ed Note: You agree with your wife about beer… nuff said].
- Smokin’ Scottish Ale: Calhoun’s Brewery, Harrisonburg, VA
A dark gold little beauty, although somewhat ordinary, it was the 2004 gold medal winner in its class.
- Anheuser Busch Wild Blue Blackberry Ale: St. Louis, MO
Fine, here goes the emasculated girlie once again, but this shit tasted pretty goddamn good. I’d apologize, but you long ago lost your respect for anything I had to say [Ed Note: No shit].
- Oatmeal Stout: Tide Hose Café, Mountain View, CA
Dark as crude, and clearly the victim of sitting around too long, as it was quite flat; mild to be sure, but oh-so-bland [Ed Note: Listen papacito, beers don’t have to be fizzy… why am I bothering?].
- Sasquatch: Six Rivers Brewery, McKinleyville, CA
Enticed by the name, its bitter taste left me wondering if they had squirted a bit of sweat from the fabled beast into my glass; I doubt I’d go to this brew again in any context [Ed Note: Die, scumbag — seriously, you know less about beer than you do buttfucking].
- Black Raven Hefeweizen: Rock Bottom Brewery, San Diego, CA
Not very good for a hefeweizen [Ed Note: How would you fucking know? Seriously? Fucking dipshit…], but tasty enough to finish. At this point, I was just dizzy enough not to mind.
- Chocolate Stout: Bison Brewery, Berkeley, CA
A silver medal winner, it was passable fare, and for once a chocolate promise was actually fulfilled [Ed Note: Your mother].
- El Jefe Weizen: Hale’s Ale Brewery, Seattle, WA
A nice, sweet taste made this one of the better offerings I encountered; a cloudy gold classic [Ed Note: Classic? You asshole; cloves and bananas — those flavors make a Hefe a classic… not fucking “nice” and “sweet”… ].
- Pale Brown Ale: La Conner Brewery, La Conner, WA
A little tang helps along this spicy little number from the Pacific Northwest.
- Apricot Weizen: Pyramid Brewery, Seattle, WA
Also one of the best of the festival, I’d drink this for pleasure without hesitation.
- Epluche-Culotte: Midnight Sea Brewing Company, Anchorage, AK
One of the few offerings from the Great Frontier, this tasted a bit sugary, but satisfied.
- Homo Erectus: Walking Man Brewery, Stevenson, WA
Once again, I let a clever name get in the way of good sense; this was indescribably awful; bitter and nasty like a forgetful grandmother [Ed Note: OK, somebody kill this motherfucker. Not only is Homo Erectus a classic Oregonian example of a Double India Pale Ale (DIPA), but it is rated at 89 on BeerAdvocate.com, but well… here, look at what educated beer drinkers have to say. A Pox on your head, Cale].
- Gilpin Gold Pale Ale: Dostal Alley Brewery, Central City, CO
“Strong, hoppy, and bitter” is how the wife described it, and I can’t disagree [Ed Note: And I suppose you think that’s bad in someway, you effing heathen?].
- Pavlov’s Pils: Big Horn Brewery, Fort Collins, CO
Nutty, sharp flavor which satisfied the taste buds.
- Amish Four Grain Ale: Lancaster Brewing Company, Lancaster, PA
Leave it to folks who have rejected modernism to come up with a mild, smooth brew with a great taste.
- Boho Pils: Nodding Head Brewery, Philadelphia, PA
Am I unfair in describing this deadly blend as closer to petrol than anything resembling beer? [Ed Note: Probably, you fucking ignoramus!]
- Strawberry Blonde: Pete’s Wicked Ale, San Antonio, TX
Smooth and sweet, yet reliably mainstream; dull, but worthwhile [Ed Note: OK… I can’t fucking take this. Just last week at the board meeting for my beer club I was talking with two friends about exactly how shitty and horrible Pete’s Wicked had become — specifically the Strawberry Blond Pete doesn’t even fucking brew any more — he makes chocolate, you asshole!].
- Sam Adams Independence Wheat: Boston Beer Brewery, Boston, MA
A cloudy, spicy treat that managed to avoid bitterness [Ed Note: If I run over Cale with a tank in the forest, does it make a sound? Dickhead: The ignorance contained in that last sentence you wrote… I’m in pain].
- Sam Adams Cherry Wheat: Boston Beer Brewery, Boston, MA
Wonderful, with a great cherry smell and taste; keep those insults coming, I can take it [Ed Note: Your patheticness is depressing].
- Genesse Creme Ale: High Falls Brewery, Rochester, NY
A humble drink from the nation’s armpit, it’s arguably the best thing to inhabit that area since Frederick Douglass.
- Extra Spicy Bagby: Santa Barbara Brewing Company, Santa Barbara, CA
Is that burning sensation my throat, crying out for agua? [Ed Note: Please clarify so that I might insult you better]
- Huntington Beach Blonde: Huntington Beach Brewing Company, Huntington Beach, CA
Light and tasty, without any real aftertaste [Ed Note: Am I to assume that you think the lack of an aftertaste is a good thing, you drooling cretin?].
- San Clemente Hefeweizen: Left Coast Brewing Company, San Clemente, CA
Sharp as a dagger, with an aftertaste that still hasn’t disappeared.
- John Wayne Imperial Stout: Newport Beach Brewing Company, Newport Beach, CA
Holy mother of fuck, the Duke nearly killed me; impossible to finish, unless of course you’re near death as it is [Ed Note: Dude… what the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously…].
- Twilight Ale: Des Chutes Brewery, Bend, OR
I’d be lying if I said I could distinguish this from a dozen other beers, so I’ll end with the usual “light and tasty”; I stumbled away without knowing the difference [Ed Note: May your wife never submit to a three-way — or anal].