Under Review: Sesh Fest ’15

Until I moved to Denver about three years ago, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a stout and a pilsner. My idea of a fantastic beer was a Blue Moon with an orange slice (#basicbitch). These days, the mere site of a “Lite” beer makes my liver cringe. I’ve crossed over to the beer snob life and haven’t looked back. I will say, its both tough and wonderful trying to keep up with all the local breweries this city has to offer. My typical brewery scene consists of an establishment with those garage like windows that open when its nice out, with dogs leashed at every other table, no televisions, a food truck out front, and an array of various beer flights to sip and explore.

This Saturday marked a new era in my hipster journey, my first Beer Festival! Imbibe and the Colorado Brewers Guild teamed up on this sunny afternoon to bring the Second Annual Sesh Fest to Sculpture Park. Over 40 Local Breweries featuring a multitude of beers all under 5% ABV. Even though I love my darker beers from time to time, that’s kind of the last thing my palette desires on a 90 degree summer day. Each Sesh Fest guest received an ideal sized souvenir tasting glass, and had unlimited access to a vast multitude of crisp and refreshing craft brews. They were also handing out checklists with all of the breweries in attendance so that guests could keep track of which breweries they had tried, and take some notes. My friend and I loved this feature and eagerly decided to try them all! Easier said than done. I figured since the beers were lighter I would be unstoppable. Not today! Eventually those “little samples” began to catch up with me and I had to get a little choosier with my sipping selections. Even though it was hard and the competition was fierce, I’ve taken the liberty to narrow down and share a handful of favorites:

Perk– A French Saison with Coffee, brewed by family-owned microbrewery Diebolt Brewing Company right here in Denver. I’m not usually the biggest saison fan but when it comes to coffee, I can hang. This brew comes in at 4.9% ABV, bringing it just south of the qualifying limit. The subtle bitterness was complimented by the aromatic richness of the coffee, making it one of the stronger, more distinctive beers of the day.

Good Juju – A delightful summer beer brewed with organic ginger for a crisp spiciness. Made by Left Hand brewing Company in Longmont, this malty descendant of the pale ale perfectly accentuates the flavor of ginger without being too sweet. A smooth golden color and a light refreshing after-taste made this one hell of an easy beer to drink. I recommend this beer as an option on any hot sunny day!

Baere-liner Weisse – Okay, this one had to be my guilty pleasure of the day. I know a lot of people who are prejudice against sour beers, but screw you guys! Sour beers are delicious. This one in particular, is Baere Brewing Company‘s take on a very tart and acidic German brew. The traditional standard called “Berlinger Weisse,” is fermented with both yeast and bacteria. The bacterial strain used in this case is called Lactobacilis, a type of bacteria that converts sugar into lactic acid. I suppose that would explain why this beer initially reminded me of kombucha. First I had it served straight up and then the Denver-based brewers had me taste it with some homemade “Woodruff Syrup,” served traditionally in shot form to balance the tartness of the beer. The syrup took it to a whole other beer drinking experience. I hadn’t thought that adding syrup to my beer sounded very appetizing, but if you think about it, it really isn’t so different from adding cream or sugar to your coffee. Thank you Baere Brewery for opening my eyes to something new and delicious!

Overall, we had SUCH a great time at Sesh Fest this year and can’t wait to return. In addition to all the delicious beers we tried, there was live music by Josh Moorehead & The Guestlist, very chic lawn games provided by Deny Designs, and some great food truck options. I tried Amazeballs, a gourmet meatball truck that I often see parked outside the Denver Beer Company. I had the “Buffalo Bleu Balls,” chicken mini meatballs doused in their homemade buffalo sauce and served with bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks. Couldn’t have asked for a better post-buzz pre-drunk snack to accompany an afternoon of beer drinking. We didn’t even plan on staying the whole time because it was so hot outside, but once we got there the time just flew by and we ended up staying for the entire duration of the festival. Everyone we talked to was in such cheerful spirits, which I suppose is to be expected at any event that revolves around alcohol consumption. Big shout to to everybody who helped put such a fun and memorable event together. Can’t wait till next year. Cheers!


Photos (unless otherwise indicated) by Madison Watson. Thanks for helping me peruse so many tasty brews!