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The Beer Wench Gabs about GABF and the Media Luncheon
By K. Allen

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  Human beings have a history of forming groups made of people who are of a like mind or interest. Craft beer is no exception. One of the most fun things one may do to try new craft beers is to attend a beer festival. You can find them all over the place. The big daddy of festivals for the American craft beer industry is the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). Your Beer Wench had the ultimate pleasure of judging this event, founded by the Brewer’s Association, this year for the first time.

If you are a judge, press, or connected to the industry, one of the perks is the many events thrown by breweries, restaurants, and, of course, the Brewer’s Association. One of the most popular trends in craft is beer dinners or beer/food tastings. If you are not a part of the above groups, but consider yourself a beer geek, you can enjoy one of the many sessions of the GABF and sample American beers from across the country, food demonstrations, and meet your favorite brewers. There are also many brewpubs and restaurants in and surrounding Denver, where the festival takes place, where you can sample local beer and food.

One of my favorite events of the festival this year was attending the 26th Annual Great American Beer Festival Media Briefing Luncheon on Friday, October 12th. All of the recipes came from Lucy Saunder’s new book, The Best in American Beer and Food. You may order a copy of this book at The beers that were showcased at the luncheon included New Belgium’s Mothership Wit, Mountain Sun’s Dry Irish Stout, Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale, and Great Divide’s Oak Aged Yeti. If you would like to know which recipes were paired with these beers, email me at  For those of you who read my article in Southern Brew News, you know my love of the art of cooking with and pairing food with beer. In my opinion, beer is more versatile in this use than is wine, and I do like wine.

L-R: Marnie Old, Sam Calagione and Julia Hertz

This brings me to my favorite part of the luncheon, besides enjoying the pairings. Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, and Marnie Old, Assistant Dean of Wine Studies at the French Culinary School, tour with a seminar called Beer is from Mars and Wine is from Venus. In a humorous and fun way, they show the similarities and differences in drinking and eating with wine and beer. We were treated with a miniature version of this seminar where different flavor components of the two beverages were compared and discussed.

If you have never attended the GABF, I highly recommend it. It is a way to try beers not available in your area or even beers not distributed outside the building where they are brewed. You can meet your favorite industry people and rub elbows with elite of the beer world. Even if you can’t attend the GABF, it is likely that there is a beer festival in your area. Look it up and attend. It is the people like you who keep the industry alive. The craft beer market is growing in leaps and bounds, and there are always new ways to enjoy your favorite beverage. Support your local breweries and beer causes. If you would like to find out how you can be more a part of the industry and support craft beer, visit and follow the links.

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