GABF week kicks off with beers, balls and a message from the Falling Rock's Chris Black
Great American Beer Festival week kicked off, as it has for the past fifteen years, at the Falling Rock Taphouse on Monday, when the clock hit 000 00 00 00.0 But things were a little different this year, says Chris Black, who owns and runs Denver's most famous craft-beer bar. "Some people thought we were crazy," he says of the party, which has always been on a Monday, and was just about the only game in town as recently as five years ago.
Yeah, that just happened.
This year, however, Falling Rock was competing with at least six other GABF kick-off events around Denver -- which speaks to how the city has evolved as a craft-beer Mecca, Black says. Still, there were at least sixty people on hand when the clock struck zero, and about 150 to 170 people in the house an hour later, drinking some of the amazing brews that Black tapped. Oh, and Black has a message for his friends and customers that you can find on the next page. It's also printed on all his menus during GABF.
Jonathan Shikes Two are better than one.
One of those competing events was the tapping of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout at the Wynkoop Brewing Company -- a ballsy beer made with one of this region's specialties. Although RMOS began as an April Fool's joke earlier this year, it turned into the real thing when the Wynkoop acquired 25 pounds of bull testicles and made 350 gallons of this meaty foreign-style stout.
"I can't believe how much interest there has been," says Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown, adding that the Wynkoop overnighted two cans of the beer to Anderson Cooper of CNN (the Wynkoop is considering canning the beer in the future). "The funniest thing people say, that I hear the most, is that, 'Hey, it doesn't taste that bad.'"
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is a certainly a solid beer. Dark and heady, it has the bitter chocolate you'd expect from a foreign-style stout and a (Yeti-like) soy-sauce note that comes from the sea salt that Brown used. The balls were not detectable.
Okay, and now for that message from Chris Black: It's important, and it's on the next page: