Great American Beer Festival – One Man’s Dream Realized: My Top 9 Brewery Booths To Visit (That Distribute To Illinois)
I’m sitting here with a little less than 24 hours until I’m on a big metal bird heading west to the great state of Colorado. I’m still grinnin’ ear to ear with excitement and not sure that I still believe it’s real. So earlier I put together a list of brewery booths to visit that don’t distribute to Illinois. Now it is time to compile the list of breweries whose booths I will be rushing to that DO distribute to Illinois. We get some great Craft Beer here in Illinois and there are people behind those beers that I would love to personally meet. Well, that and I’ve heard that a lot of breweries brew special releases just for GABF or that they’ll bring rare brews to the event. Warning: this is going to turn into a huge ass-kissing list but these truly are my favorite. Here is my Top 9 Hit List of Brewery booths that I will be visiting (more than likely with drool pouring out my mouth):
Two Brothers Brewing Company – despite being the closest brewery to me, I have yet to get over there for a tour or to meet Jason or Jim Ebel. If you haven’t had the pleasure of drinking a Two Brothers brew, you are missing out. They consistently produce some of the best Craft Beers around and one of the Midwest’s best.
Breckenridge Brewery – this is another one of my favorite breweries. Again, Breckenridge Brewery produces some of the most consistently excellent brews anywhere. Their 471 IPA is my beer of choice when spending a night at my favorite pub, Finnegan’s. Aside from the beer, I am hoping to not only get to the brewery itself, but I am hoping to get a chance to meet Todd, whom I’ve had correspondence with via email but never met in person.
Ska Brewing Company – one word, Modus!! Well, it’s not the only one I love but this is another Colorado brewery whose beers are music to my taste buds. I love Craft Beer in cans and I love the fact that I can head to the store and grab me up some Modus or Pin Stripe in all their canned glory. I’m also hoping to get to meet Dave from Ska as I’ve also had the pleasure of exchanging emails with him in the past…and Dave, I’m sorry I couldn’t get the league together but there’s always next year.
Bell’s Brewery – this is a Michigan brewery who not only carries a special place in Wes’ heart but brews one of my top 10 all time favorite Craft Beers, Hopslam. Of course, there’s also Two Hearted, which usually you can always find at least one in the fridge at all times and is one of my favorite go-to brews around the house.
Founders Brewing Company – here is another Michigan brewery who’s line-up is second to none. I can honestly say that of all the breweries out there, they are one of our favorites and one of our most reviewed breweries. Their Red’s Rye P.A. is another one that consistently stays in my fridge on a constant rotation. I love Founders and I’m dying to get to meet some of the crew behind their amazing brews.
Green Flash Brewing Company – this is a west coast brewery that again produces one of my favorite brews, West Coast IPA. I love em’ hoppy & bitter and West Coast IPA personifies that to a T. Their Hop Head Red is also equally delicious.
Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company – I am praying to get the opportunity to meet Fred Karm from Hoppin’ Frog. My Craft Beer circle of friends’ talk highly of Fred, not to mention that they make great brews and I love that they stick to and are committed to only selling their brews in 22oz bombers. From what I understand one of the reasons is that they believe that it promotes in sharing of the beers with friends and I can say that there’s nothing more I enjoy that sharing the Craft Beer experience with friends.
Three Floyds Brewing Company – this northwest Indiana brewery is another one that makes my mouth water. Alpha King is by far one of the best Pale Ales out there and one of these years I’ll make it out to Dark Lord Days. From Dreadnaught, Blackheart, Apocalypse Cow and Arctic Panzer Wolf they produce one of a kind brews that let you know it’s a Three Floyds!
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – last but certainly not least this is one brewery that I think we can all agree is one of the best in the world. They brew my all time greatest beer, Squall IPA. Sam and the crew at Dogfish Head have taken Craft Beer to where no one believed it could go. For quality and consistency, there is no better. 60, 90 and 120 Minute IPAs are staples in Craft Beer enjoyment and that doesn’t even begin to cover their line-up of Craft Brew awesomeness. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get to meet Sam while out at GABF as this would be one of the highlights of my trip, I’ll keep you posted!