Can You Get Craft Beer Overload?

Yes.  Yes you can.

This happened to me this past Friday at GABF.  The day started with a flight, not of beers, but on an airplane.  I was up at 4:30am in New Jersey and in Denver at 10am local time, where Don greeted me at the gate.  I was impressed that he had held off and hadn’t grabbed a beer yet.  Anyway, an early start to what promised to be a very long day.

We got settled in and headed over to the Wynkoop Brewery for the Pints for Prostates Rare Beer Tasting.  As we’ve said, it was awesome and we both had many, many samples of some of the best beers on earth.  It was heaven.  But we were running on fumes.  

After the Wynkoop, we headed out for an early dinner at one of the places along the 16th Street Mall where we both ordered a beer.  And then we just stared at them.  We’d had a lot of good beer that day, and I was actually getting a little tired of it.  It wasn’t a drunk thing, it was the weariness that comes with drinking in the afternoon of a very long day. It can make you bone tired.

But we soldiered through our beers (or halfway through at least), hit the hotel room for a little break, and then headed to our first night of the GABF.

As we started sampling beers, I quickly realized that I couldn’t taste much.  Most beers tasted a little sweet upfront, a little bitter on the back and nothing much in between.  My palate was fried from a day of drinking.  Don agreed that his was as well.

But being professionals, we pressed ahead and continued sampling.  My senses returned and I was once again able to taste most of what was in my glass.  That was great news, because Fred Kolby and the boys from Laughing Dog let us have a very special taste of a Belgian Strong Ale they had been barrel aging for a year – it was masterful.  It’ll be at the Pints for Prostates Rare Beer tasting next year, and I’m sure it’ll be one folks talk about.

That night Don and I left it all on the floor of the GABF.  No, not the contents of our stomachs, but we were totally beat after a long day of sampling beers.  I was done.  I didn’t want to see another beer for, well, forever.

That’s right, I considered retiring from beer as we walked back to the hotel that night, and Don and I joked about how the Great American Beer Festival killed our blog.

So it’s true you can get too much of a good thing, and at the Great American Beer Fest I had too much good craft beer, at least on day one.  I never was drunk, but I did get to the point to where I was almost totally desensitized to the wonders of great beer. Now I know what it’s like to be a porn star (or Hugh Hefner).  I was suffering from craft beer overload.

Fortunately, I awoke the next day born again, ready to take on the wonderful world of beer.  I’m glad I hung in there, because we had a wonderful time at Great Divide and at the Convention Center, where we even scored a couple of very generous samples of 2009 Utopias.  We also met lots of good folks on the floor that second night as well.

So I guess the lesson is that if you ever suffer from craft beer overload, get a little rest, drink lots of water, and get right back on the horse!  Yippe Kiyaaa!


Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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6 Comments on “Can You Get Craft Beer Overload?”

  1. bierfesten
    September 20, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Think the beer overload is a common phenom at the event and especially for such a great beer week. Missed this year, but last year and the year before we were quite systematic about our water consumption, meals and ensuring only beers were ordered in half pints. 2 Sessions of the festival is maxium for me, as there is so much taste sensations, a break and rest is required..

    • September 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

      Yeah, we paced ourselves and I drank lots of water (Don is anti-water, I dunno why) but after a day of drinking beer I was at the point of sensory overload.

      Next time I’d do either Thursday night or Saturday afternoon at GABF and the Rare Beer Tasting and that’s it.

  2. Don
    September 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    The picture proves it! I always said you were and ass!

    • September 20, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

      Zing! Sometimes I make it too easy…


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    […] one of us will match our beer totals from a week ago, but I’m happy to say that my “Craft Beer Overload” has subsided and I’m eager to drink some nice […]

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    […] You can have a great beer when you’re not in the mood for it, and most of its charms will be lost on you.  This happened to me a few times by the tail end of GABF, when I was totally beered-out. […]

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