As I reflect back on my 2018 GABF experience – my first trip to GABF – it was exciting to say the least! Admittedly, I did not know exactly what to expect from the event.  I had heard many stories from friends that had been there in previous years, but I was honestly completely blown away by the sheer scale of the celebration of beer.  I was incredible to see so many breweries out there offering their take on classic and experimental beer styles, and having the opportunity to sample so many was so enjoyable and inspiring.  All in all, it is an event that I recommend any beer lover include on their “bucket” list! I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend with Michael to represent Ignite Brewing Company, especially with our big win!

One of the things that I enjoyed the most was the great dialogue and comradery that we had with so many other breweries that were in attendance and in the Denver area. Michael and I made a point of creating our own local pub crawl in the great Denver area the night we arrived before the event started.  We felt so welcome at every brewery we entered as we explained it was our first GABF and that we had beers up for judging.  I would like to especially thank the team at Woods Boss Brewing who was so welcoming and accommodating to show us around on a busy night!

The highlight of GABF was definitely the silver medal win for our Cherry Blonde in the American-Style Fruit Beer category!!! The win was incredibly exciting to say the least, and frankly a bit surreal.  

Michael and I were talking quietly as the initial medals were being awarded and weren’t looking at the stage at the point they announce ”and the Silver Medal goes to Cherry Blonde”. We both stopped, looked up, and saw “Barberton, Ohio” appear on the screen. We were both dumfounded, excited, and humbled all at the same time. We were so proud to go up and accept the award on behalf of the Ignite team, and also proudly wave the Ohio Craft Brewers Association flag.  After we won the award, it was a lot of fun on the tasting floor as everyone was congratulating us.  We are fortunate to part of such a collaborative industry.  In fact, continuing to focus on collaboration is something that really stuck in my mind as a big opportunity from GABF.

The greater Denver area was a great time and we even found time to escape to the mountains for a day to clear the mind and the lungs.  There are very few places on Earth I’ve been that refresh the mind and soul better than being above 12,000 ft.  

 I already cannot wait for next year’s GABF! Until then, we’re excited to be home, sharing our experiences, and celebrating the win with our Ignite team and family. And we’re so excited to introduce Cherry Blonde to the public for the first time ever in just a couple weeks – hope to see you on November 8th for our first ever tapping!