The Great American Beer Festival, the nation's largest, staggers into the Colorado Convention Center this weekend. Last year, 46,000 attendees sampled nearly 3,000 beers, and this year's Fest is already sold out. Check the Cafe Society blog through the week for survival tactics and beer recommendations from some of the breweries bringing their wares to Denver.
Laughing Dog Brewing: Ponderay, Idaho Q&A with Owner Fred Colby
Fred Colby and Michelle Douglass founded Laughing Dog Brewing in the Selkirk Mountains of Idaho in 2005. Their yellow lab, Ben, appears on the beer labels and is listed as a co-owner on the web site. This year, Laughing Dog will produce over 2,000 barrels of beer. This is only their second trip to the Great American Beer Festival, but they won two North American Brewers Association medals in 2007 -- a bronze for their cream ale and a silver for their ESB.
Westword: If people only try one of your beers, which should it be? Fred Colby: The Alpha Dog Imperial IPA. It's a big, hoppy IPA.
WW: Other than your own, what is your favorite beer? FC: Allagash Brewery in Allagash, Maine. I'm not a big Belgian beer fan, but they make some of the best Belgian beer I've ever had.
WW: What is the best thing about the Great American Beer Festival? FC: I like the exposure, and I like the fact that it's part of the brewers association.
WW: What is the best way to avoid liver damage at this year's festival? FC: Drink responsibly.
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WW: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only drink one beer for the rest of your life, what would it be? FC: Alpha Dog IPA. I'm an IPA fanatic.
WW: What prizes do you think you have a good chance of winning this year? FC: Looking at the competition that's out there, it's tough to say. I'd say everyone's got an even shot. I wouldn't even want to jinx myself.
WW: What should people know about your brewery? FC: We're one of only two packaging microbreweries in the state of Idaho.