GABF week kicks off with beers, balls and a message from the Falling Rock's Chris Black

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Great American Beer Festival week kicked off, as it has for the past fifteen years, at the Falling Rock Taphouse on Monday, when the clock hit 000 00 00 00.0 But things were a little different this year, says Chris Black, who owns and runs Denver's most famous craft-beer bar. "Some people thought we were crazy," he says of the party, which has always been on a Monday, and was just about the only game in town as recently as five years ago.

See also: - Best Beer Swag of Great American Beer Festival 2012 - Great American Beer Festival 2012: The People - Great American Beer Festival 2012: The Beer

This year, however, Falling Rock was competing with at least six other GABF kick-off events around Denver -- which speaks to how the city has evolved as a craft-beer Mecca, Black says. Still, there were at least sixty people on hand when the clock struck zero, and about 150 to 170 people in the house an hour later, drinking some of the amazing brews that Black tapped. Oh, and Black has a message for his friends and customers that you can find on the next page. It's also printed on all his menus during GABF.

One of those competing events was the tapping of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout at the Wynkoop Brewing Company -- a ballsy beer made with one of this region's specialties. Although RMOS began as an April Fool's joke earlier this year, it turned into the real thing when the Wynkoop acquired 25 pounds of bull testicles and made 350 gallons of this meaty foreign-style stout.

"I can't believe how much interest there has been," says Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown, adding that the Wynkoop overnighted two cans of the beer to Anderson Cooper of CNN (the Wynkoop is considering canning the beer in the future). "The funniest thing people say, that I hear the most, is that, 'Hey, it doesn't taste that bad.'"

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is a certainly a solid beer. Dark and heady, it has the bitter chocolate you'd expect from a foreign-style stout and a (Yeti-like) soy-sauce note that comes from the sea salt that Brown used. The balls were not detectable.

Okay, and now for that message from Chris Black: It's important, and it's on the next page: Here it is, and it's printed on every menu.

The list is a guide to the beers that we will have fairly steady for the GABF week. The really neat Special Beers are written on the chalkboards inside; they change so often I'd have to spend my whole time printing up lists and deforesting Colorado. Brewers from all over send the Falling Rock some of their favorite beers to put on tap during GABF week. Most of these beers are only a single keg (and a five-gallon one at that) and aren't for very long. Please don't get upset if the beer you wanted has run out. Take a deep breath and try something else. I'm sorry if your life-list depended on it. Relax and try just drinking the beer and savoring the moment with the folks you meet along the way. Please remember your server; they are really great people trying their best to attend to your needs in a hectic situation. -- Chris Black (King, Founder and Head Beer Geek)



's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.