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Craft Beer Tour 2017: North Carolina

These photos were taken at Bond Brothers Beer Company, Heist Brewery, and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on October 16 and 17 as my Craft Beer Tour 2017 continued into North Carolina.

When I first decided I was going to take this trip I only had five specific destinations; GABF, Three Floyds, Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Yuma, AZ. Everything else would just happen, sort of.

Shortly before I left for GABF I was talking to Beer Paper owner (formerly Beer Paper LA), Daniel Drennon about my plans. Since he knows people around the country, I thought he might have a couple of ideas for stops. He handed me a bundle of the latest issue of Beer Paper and asked me to deliver it to his friend Whit Baker, the Certified Cicerone Brewmaster at Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Ohio

When I left off; my Craft Beer Tour 2017 was leaving the Grand Rapids area and honestly, I was not sure which way I wanted to go. As I saw it, I had two ways I could venture. On the one hand, I have had very little time in New England and the leaves were beginning to change colors, so that would be cool. On the other hand, I knew I was going to head down to the Carolinas, so New England would add another couple thousand miles to my trip. I would have been okay with that, but literally everywhere I went saw their weather worsen with my arrival!

I am not kidding, every evening I would get an alert on my phone that the weather would be anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees cooler the next day. I had people in North Carolina suggest I was Old Man Winter; relatives in South Carolina apologized for not having enough blankets, because “it never gets this cold.” I even heard the Dallas-Fort Worth weatherman say that they may have just experienced their last hot day of the year. Heck, even when I got home it was 102 at 2:00 PM; 24 hours later it was 73. I was getting a little paranoid as I had not really packed for inclement weather. I decided I could not risk the weather in New England and decided to head south instead. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: West Michigan

These photos are of the breweries I visited in Michigan; in order, they were Founders Brewing (two visits), Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Our Brewing, Rockford Brewing, Perrin Brewing, Elk Brewing, and Greyline Brewing Company.

After driving back and forth between Grand Rapids and Detroit, in the pouring rain, and another four hours of technical work, I was ready for Craft Beer Tour 2017 to get back on course. First stop would be the Founders Brewing taproom.

As we were pulling off the freeway it was easy to spot the huge red brick building with “Founders Brewing” emblazoned with yellow letters. As we were parking I could not but help notice the fermenters in the windows; they appeared to be three stories tall, but I could not see clearly enough to see where their feet were. I hoped I would have a good view of the brewhouse, because it looked a little too busy for me to ask for a quick personal tour like I do at the smaller breweries. Continue reading

Founders Brewing Company 20th Anniversary Photos

These photos were taken at the Founders Brewing Company 20 Anniversary party.

Sorry about the delay, but the days have been long and the Internet has been flaky at best. Just to ensure I get one update done tonight, I am going to go out of order for this article and present you photos from the Founders 20th anniversary party.

When I left off, Craft Beer Tour 2017 landed at Three Floyds; I would have loved to visit other places, but I had a real world appointment in Detroit on Wednesday morning, so I had to get to Grand Rapids that night; especially because my sister wanted to take me to dinner at Founders, I was too late to do it that night, so they would have to wait until I got back from Detroit that night. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Iowa and Indiana

By the time I finished exploring the craft breweries in Nebraska, it was getting late Monday afternoon and I had an appointment in Detroit on Wednesday morning, so the road trip of my Craft Beer Tour 2017 suddenly became a drive; which is not nearly as much fun. It did not help that as I continued eastbound, I would lose another hour before I hit Michigan. Anyway, enough complaining.

Exiting Nebraska, I entered Iowa. I drove through Iowa last year and was tempted to divert to Salon and Big Grove Brewery, but I also wanted to go up to Toppling Goliath; but the time thing was becoming an issue. I decided to power through Iowa, because there was a brewery in Indiana that I was stopping at, no matter what. Continue reading

Craft Beer Tour 2017: Nebraska

When the Brewers Association offered me the opportunity to cover the 2017 Great American Beer Festival I decided that I would use the opportunity to visit some of my siblings and perhaps enjoy some craft beer along the way. These photos were taken at Blue Blood Brewing, Zipline Brewing, Upstream Brewing, and Kros Strain Brewing. Continue reading

GABF Day 3, Session 1 Photos

These photos were taken Saturday afternoon during the first session of the 2017 Great American Beer Festival, which was presented by the Brewers Association.

After the awards ceremony everyone headed upstairs for the first session of day three, which would have two sessions. Continue reading

Barrel-Aged Beer Day at GABF with Avery Brewing Company

Friday was day two of the 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF), and it also happened to be Barrel-Aged Beer Day which was very convenient as I was invited to a guided beer tasting with Avery Brewing Company’s Andy Parker, the “Chief Barrel Herder” at Avery Brewing, which was held at Tap Fourteen in Denver. The press-only event featured pours from five different barrel-aged brews; Tweak, Coconut Porter, Amicitia, Ginger Sour, and Islay.

While we enjoyed the various options, Parker gave us a little background on his 10 year history of barrel aging and how when he brought up the idea of buying some barrels to Adam Avery, Avery’s response was so enthusiastic that Parker didn’t bother saying anything else, he just got the barrels and the rest is history. Continue reading

GABF Begins: Day One

These photos were taken Thursday evening at the Colorado Convention Center, where the Brewers Association is holding their 36th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The event runs through Saturday.

If you have never attended GABF, think what it might be like to be a kid locked overnight in a candy factory; where would you begin? That is precisely the predicament I faced as I entered the huge venue, filled with 800 breweries pouring more than 3800 beers. In a word, it is a little overwhelming; I probably wandered around for close to 30 minutes, chatting with friends from various Southern California breweries and taking photos before I had my first beer. I did not want to spend my time drinking beer I can easily get at home, but with 800 breweries to choose from, where do you start? Continue reading

GABF 2017: The Warmups

These photos are from Wednesday in Denver as the city and I prepared for the 2017 Great American Beer Festival.

My day started at the Colorado Convention Center, where I picked up my media credentials for GABF which begins on Thursday evening. Wednesday was set aside for brewers, sponsors and media to get checked in and while I was there a pretty steady stream of participants came in to register. I could peek into the venue, but I will not be allowed in until Thursday so I did not bother trying to photograph it; instead I went looking for a beer. My first stop was Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery. Continue reading

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