Saturday afternoon and evening were two more sold-out crowds for the third, fourth and final sessions of the 25th Great American Beer Festival. Even though the space for the hall was expanded, it still felt pretty crowded. Believe it or not, there were even scalpers on the street selling the $45 tickets for as much as $150!
Saturday morning for as long as I can remember, Samuel Adams has been having a brunch for the media at a nice restaurant before the award ceremonies begin. This is Jim Koch and me at this year’s brunch.
Then it’s off to the awards ceremony at the afternoon tasting session. It’s the equivilent of beer’s Oscars. The awards go on for over an hour, and it’s especially nice when friends win awards. Case in point, nabbing four medals, Bear Republic Brewing Co. of Healdsburg, California, with Rich Norgrove, won a well-deserved Small Brewery Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. When I ran over to where Rich was coming off the stage to take a picture, I congratulated him and stuck out my hand to shake his but he pulled me in to ggive me a big hug. It was obvious he was very excited to have won the big award and I couldn’t have been more thrilled for him.
From left: Ralph Olson, from HopUnion, Dave Keene, fom the Toronado in San Francisco, California, Natalie’s cousin Inga, Natalie Cilruzo, from Russian River Brewing, Chris Black, from the Falling Rock in Denver, Colorado, and Ralph Woodall, also from HopUnion.
Michael Jackson and fellow beer writer Carolyn Smagalski, who writes on BellaOnline.
A last look at me bigger than life-size. Hey, how often does that happen?
My booth, with Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher and Chris Black, co-owner of the Falling Rock across from me, with Stephen Beaumont out of sight to their left.
While next to me Michael Jackson and Carolyn Smagalski toasted with some rare beers Chris pulled out his cellar.
And Michael and I discussed films and books well into the night. Now I need to add the works of A.J. Liebling to my ever-growing reading list.