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  • Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    Crafting Beer with (512) Brewing Company
    by John M. P. Knox

    "Definitely worth adding to your collection – it’s as good a visual record of the brewing process as I’ve ever seen." -Dave of

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Entries in GABF (23)


The Great American Beer Festival

If dehydration is our enemy, new experiences are our friend at the Great American Beer Festival. The halls of GABF, and even Denver itself are littered with tiny new breweries trying to stand out from the very competitive crowd. Last year, the 2013 GABF, thanks to the media bus, I was able to enjoy a few young breweries in their natural habitat.

Black Shirt Brewing was one notable stop, a family run brewery with a serious devotion to craftsmanship (and craftwomanship!). The owners designed and build just about every aspect of their tap room, from the bar, to their custom glassware, to the unique trays they use to deliver flights.

From BSB's name you might not expect that their beer is red. Every beer is red. Even their porter is red. Red beer is their speciality, a visible and drinkable expression of their devotion to doing one thing well.

As you can see below, their space and their beer reflect their design aesthetic. 

Black Shirt Brewing

Even BSB's bomber fridge looks like a photo from a fashion magazine.

BSB Bottles

Another stop on the GABF media bus was Our Mutual Friend brewery. They have a different take on the small brewery and tap room. OMF feels cozy and organic, with a bar meant for talking, piles of books, and a brew philosoply that focuses on small-batch experimentation.

Our Mutual Friend Brewery

If you're visiting GABF this year, don't forget to try new beers, and don't forget that you can visit a few of the amazing breweries you'll see on the floor.


Winning at the Great American Beer Festival

In terms of professional recognition, are there any honors higher than those awarded by peers? For brewers in the United States, the largest peer judged competition would have to be the Great American Beer Festival. Hundreds of breweries enter thousands of beers to be judged in a blind tasting by judges carefully picked from the beer industry.

If you've watched similar industry competitions, like the Academy Awards, you might imagine evening gowns, tuxedos, and drinks that call for an extended pinky finger. At GABF, folks are a bit more down to earth, even if they feel every bit as excited. Check out these winners:

Winning a Medal

The folks who wear the medals are hot stuff, yet all you really need to meet them and try their beer is a ticket to GABF. Isn't the beer industry great? High five!


A Trip to New Belgium

On the second day of GABF, I was able to join the crews from (512) Brewing Company and Live Oak Brewing Company for a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado. Our first stop was New Belgium Brewing, almost certainly the most beautiful brewery I've ever visited. Not only are the grounds and structures gorgeous, but the folks working there seemed incredibly happy.

Arriving at New Belgium HDR

This is where we signed in to our VIP tour at New Belgium. Check out the table made from bicycle wheels. Bikes, art, and unusual sculptures are a theme here.


You get a nice, big tasting glass inside the visitor center. Along the tour, taps seem to sprout everywhere. Like I said: fantastic place.


Thou Shalt Learn and Grow - a New Belgium core value

New Belgium has a nice keg sculpture featuring some of their values. I don't see too many businesses putting such effort in building their culture. I love it!

Brewhouse Mosaic

Finally, a mosaic surrounding one of their brew vessels. Delicious beer only tastes better in such fantastic surroundings. Beautiful!

Thanks to (512) Brewing Company for driving me out to Ft. Collins and letting me join them on their tour. Thanks again to Independence Brewery for making it possible to attend GABF!

More to come...


Photos from the Great American Beer Festival Day 0

The first day of GABF started at Great Divide's famous industry party. For many brewers, this is the last stop for relaxation before the busy work of GABF begins. When the doors open at the conference center, it's time for pouring beers, talking to fans, trying new beers, and in my case, enjoying cooking demonstrations and beer pairings at the Beer and Food Pavilion. 

Many thanks to Independence Brewing for making it possible to attend GABF this year!

Fermenters and Party The (512) Crew IMG_5021 Sam Signs a Hat The GABF Floor IMG_0421 Pairing IMG_0420 Winning IMG_0483 Cooking with Beer IMG_0450 IMG_0431


Photos from the Great American Beer Festival: Day -1

Tap Wall

The day before GABF is reserved for finding your beer friends and enjoying a few pints before the excitement begins. You can find more of my pre-GABF photos here.