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GABF 2008

October is one of my favorite months. I get to celebrate my birthday, attend the Great American Beer Festival and at the end of the month I get to steal mini candy bars on Halloween night after Sydney goes to bed. All in all, it’s a pretty great month. Chocolate always makes me feel better. Especially when it’s stolen from a 2 and a 1/2 year old. Sorry, I’m sick like that.

This year, I am heading to Denver on October 7th which also happens to be my 35th birthday. Some guys like to celebrate their birthday for a week on end. I suppose that will be me this year since the best beer festival in the world happens to coincide with the annual glorious celebration of my arrival into this world.

The 2008 Great American Beer Festival promises to be liquid chaos for my liver. Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey will arrive in Denver as the 2007 Small Brewery of the Year as well as the 2008 World Beer Cup Small Brewery of the Year. This means that there will be an enormous amount of attention (and pressure) on us to continue our winning ways. I’m fine with that. I personally love the pressure and added expectations that go along with our past success. It’s just part of the business. As in years past, I believe we have an exceptionally eclectic range of beers. AND more importantly, they may even be better than the ones we sent to the competition in 2007. Sometimes, I think I sound like a broken record. But it’s true. We’re becoming better brewers having refined some of our processes and our beers reflect it.

With 8 days left until I board that plane for Denver, I’m most looking forward to this Saturday. This will be the evening tasting of the beers we’ve entered in the competition that we do each year before we leave for Denver. As in years past, all of the brewers will gather to sample each others beers from the bottles we packaged for the fest. It’s one last look into the mindset of our brewers (from Pizza Port) as well as affording me an introspective moment to reflect on our Port Brewing and Lost Abbey beers.

On Saturday, we will gather at Jeff Bagby’s house in Cardiff to sample all of the 2008 entries. This truly is brutal work I might add. You want to talk about having thick skin? You better have Alligator thick skin as we brutally rate each others chances. All told, we’ll sample almost 40 different entries. Port Brewing and Lost Abbey will be sending 11 beers to the GABF in 2008. Typically we would send 8 entries. This year, we couldn’t contain ourselves. We have released so many great beers in the last year that just begged to be entered.

As many of these beers are incredibly unique and easily recognizable, I will wait until Friday October 10th to post my comments on our beers, their categories and what I believe our chances are this year. So please check back in the coming days and maybe, you’ll get an idea of what’s in store for us this year. But, for the sake of a wee bit of a tease. “Yes Noah, I like our chances this year. I like them more than a little. Yours too.”

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