Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anticipations for the GABF

Though I might be more like a Savor guy, that is older and wiser about beer and a need to avoid large rabid crowds, I will be attending my second Great American Beer Fest in Denver a mere two weeks from now.  My brother obtained the tickets, and the timing worked out for me.  While I attended my first in 2009 with him and cousin Daniel, they both went last year as well.  We had some learnings from both.

One learning that I will follow absolutely, including this one, is avoiding the Saturday evening (last) session at all costs.  In 2009 we attended the Saturday session (there is one on Saturday afternoon for industry participants, that one I would attend if I could).  Our session seemed to bring out all the frat boys who made it a bit crazy.  Not the worst part, however, the worst part was that most of the booths were down to the dregs, like a party where it's almost over and the host pulls out the Blatz (no longer Milwaukee's finest!) that has been in the back of the fridge since last Christmas.

Another learning is to make a side trip to Avery, in Boulder, as they pulled out some special brews not to be seen beyond their little brewery pub.  And tastings were emphasized, that is small pours for quite little ($2-$3 bucks a pop).

Finally, the session itself is long, 5:30 to 10pm I believe, far too long to be sampling constantly, and this year the organizers have added lots of side sessions (ala Savor) at the pavilions that seem interesting and worthy of attendance.  This will be a good break, and allow for better consumption patterns.

All in all, a beer lovers mecca with over 2,200 different beers served, and some swag to boot.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Musings on Fort Worth

I have spent at least one week per month since March in Fort Worth, Texas for work with a local company that is growing and needs much assistance, from me a Management Professional. I do enjoy teaching people how to do things right. Never had a complaint afterwards.

In any event among my travels I have found a few gems in the Fort Worth area.

The first that comes to mind is the local NPR station, KXT, a progressive Rock station, or that's my take on it. Lots of vintage tunes, not the anthem rock you here on most oldies, but solid tunes from the classics to Texas rock to plain progressive. It manages to hit the right notes that I find in Chicago-land from WXRT, without the commercials which is a great relief. Always worth popping on the car radio. With online availability, I may make this my go to....a quote on the home page says it all, "The Doors, The White Stripes, and Bob Marley all in one set, just another reason I love @kxtradio."

I can't think of one beer mecca here, but I do like the Flying Saucer. It has a nice bar food lineup, is easy to find in downtown Ft. Worth, has about 80 taps if memory serves. Usually a good local selection, Rahr and Sons, etc. and $3 pints for Texas brews on Sunday, worth a special trip that day. Ginger Man is very good as well, more contained, but try sitting outside at the Flying Saucer on a lazy Sunday afternoon and you can watch the day go by in heavenly bliss.

There is a great deal of good basic barbecue, the kind where you get a two meat platter with 2 veg and cornbread for $12, a pretty standard go-to for lunch or dinner. Though Tex-Mex abounds there is not a whole lot of real Mexican that I've found in a limited time here.

One place I don't miss on my trips is a Chinese place called Szechuan. Their menu has hundreds of items with many variations, from Mu Shu to black beans sauce dishes to hot and spicy. I good place to come if you crave seafood. Another is the Japanese restaurant Tokyo Cafe. Very inventive Sushi chef, recently went and tried a pork fat appetizer, like the fatty part of bacon, lightly grilled, delicious. Pigged out one evening by telling the chef to give me his choices up to $40, I was amazed and bloated afterwards. Just lovely, fresh, and different.

Finally, a parting shot. When I have enough time prior to an airline departure back home, there is a restaurant in the A terminal of the DFW airport that kicks. It is a small chain seafood spot called Pappadeaux's. They have nailed the sauces to go with really nice seafood that will kick your ass. Last time I had a crab cake with a buerre blanche and capers sauce that was sublime.

I hope the heat will be off soon and my remaining trips will be cooler. It is a delightful area.