The 2020 version of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is underway, which means if you haven’t picked up your GABF passport yet, you still can (greatamericanbeerfestival.com/passport/) and partake in a week’s worth of free and discounted beer from participating breweries. There are plenty to choose from in Boulder County, but if you’ve frequented GABF in the past, then you know the festival is not about the familiar; it’s about the discoveries. So, in that spirit, head down to Lakewood’s Green Mountain Beer Company and give the Whiskey Barrel-Aged Rauch Bock a quaff. It’s a strong lager — made stronger from time in the barrel — brewed with smoked Munich malts. The char is present, but not overpowering, and the smoke exhibits notes of sweet tobacco and barbecue. The flavor is even better: Smooth caramel, candied almonds and a little bite of oaky vanillin. That might give the impression of a dessert beer, but Green Mountain’s Rauch Bock is light in the mouth and finishes as clean as a good lager should. It’s a beaut, but it’s available only to passport holders. And while you’re at it, pick up the official GABF 2020 Brewnited glass (this will certainly be a GABF to remember).
Michael J. Casey