AC Golden Colorado Native Kriek Noir: A stunningly tart beer aged two years with cherries and then bottle-conditioned for another two, It will take your taste buds to the edge with its complexity and ultimately reward them.
Avery Promiscuus: Very few brewers have used Madeira and port barrels to age their wares, and it's a shame. This beer, which I've only had in the Boulder Brewery's taproom, is bold and funky, and you'll swirl it around again and again to discern the flavors.
Black Project Cygnus Double Montmorency: The great joy of Black Project is never quite knowing what its spontaneous fermentation will produce. But when the brewery takes three different years of barrel-fermented coolship ale and tosses them together with pounds and pounds of cherries, you know it will be special.
Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter: America's oldest microbrewery may have hit on the best recipe in its 38-year history when it created this creamy, sweet and full chocolate porter that will give you a different taste to consider.
Broken Compass Coconut Porter: This mountain-town brewery not only cemented its reputation by winning a medal for this at its first GABF, it actually started to draw people out of the Denver area up to Breckenridge to seek this out.
Caution Brewing The Earl: Lakewood's finest brewery employs a lot of unusual ingredients in its beer, but its use of Earl Grey tea to add a leafy presence to a surprisingly full-bodied English mild creates the most unique taste in its portfolio.
City Star Belle: Arguably no brewery in Colorado has improved as much this year as City Star, which wowed earlier this year with its Wood Belly barrel-aged imperial IPA. So when the brewery decides it's going to uncork a barrel-aged sour oatmeal pale ale aged with passion fruit, you just want to see what it can do with that combination.
Comrade Fresh Hop Superpower IPA: The year-round version of this beer is becoming the Colorado standard-bearer IPA for some hop heads. And this is the kicked-up version that is only available for a limited time.
Copper Kettle Snowed In Mocha: Snowed In, a bourbon-barrel imperial oatmeal stout, is one of the finest Christmastime beers in the state. So, what will a little coffee and chocolate do to the body? That's kind of the point to buying tickets to the GABF.
Crooked Stave Trellis Buster: These guys are some of Colorado's sour kings. But when they pour a beer they describe as their hoppiest beer ever, you eagerly ask for this dry-hopped double IPA.
Dry Dock Pumpkin Double Porter: The double hazelnut brown ale and the double hazelnut coffee porter were out of this world. This is the next iteration of the concept, and appropriate for the season.
Fate Brewing Pinot Noir Gose: Take one of your signature beers, age it with pinot noir grape must, sit back and enjoy.
Funkwerks Nelson Sauvin: This beer combines one of the most appealing hops available today with the body of a saison to produce a rainbow of flavors.
Great Divide The Smoothness: First offered last year, this Jameson-barrel-aged dark lager has enough body to stand up to Irish whiskey overtones but not too much to render the barrel moot.
Horse & Dragon Sad Panda Coffee Stout: As good a year-round dark beer as is made in Colorado, this gives you not just the roasted taste of the coffee but also the vanilla mouthfeel of a creamer that was placed into it.
Jagged Mountain Grouse Mountain Gose: The underlying beer is good, but when it's made with blood oranges, coriander and sea salt, it becomes damn good.
Jessup Farm Cross-Drinker: Whiskey Sour: Strong ale aged in whiskey barrels, blended with a dark sour, all mashed up with lemon puree. Expect this to be maybe the most complex Colorado beer at the festival.
Locavore Two Fingers IPA: This is the IPA that you're not drinking but should be. Hints of orange and mango highlight a full body that won Beer Fight Club II, defeating some of the state's best IPAs in the process.
Mountain Sun Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Chocolate Thunder Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout: Stout Month comes just once a year at the Mountain Sun pubs, so when they take some aged stash of one of their monster darks and offer it up more than half a year later, it's worth a visit.
New Belgium Le Terroir with Amarillo and HBC #522: It's the brewery's phenomenal hopped sour ale, barrel aged and then dry-hopped with experimental hops. Just say that over and over again while you wait for the line to subside.
New Image East Coast Transplant: This hazy double IPA from the under-the-radar Arvada brewery is no less than the second-best Colorado example of this hot style. And it's a brewery to know.
Odell-Avery Collaboration Stout: Made specifically for GABF, this white stout/dark stout combo is only the product of two of the best breweries in Colorado. How could you go wrong?
Ratio Beerworks New Wave Strawberry Berliner Weisse: Arguably the most tart yet approachable Berliner Weisse made in Colorado, this summer seasonal had a too-short stint on the brewery's menu, but now it's back.
Ska Brewing Tart Mexican Logger: Ska's new Mod Project is all about creating experimental new flavors. And here's guessing this may be the only sour Mexican lager on the GABF floor.
Strange Craft Beer Strangely Epic: This blend shouldn't work. Yet, the combination of Strange's Cherry Kriek and Epic Brewing's Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout does, and it's memorable.
Telluride Face Down Bourbon Brown: The beer that kick-started Colorado's brown ale revolution is served up after aging in bourbon barrels. Bring it on.
The Intrepid Sojourner Basil IPA: Though a recent addition to the Colorado portfolio, this Denver brewery quickly has gained a reputation for thoughtful and unusual beers. This is a combination that someone should have thought of before.
Verboten Little Nonsense: This whiskey-barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout is a dangerous beer, so smooth and tasty at 11 percent ABV that you may think you can drink several. Good thing it comes in a one-ounce sample for GABF.
Weldwerks Extra Extra Juicy Bits: The key phrase you need to know about this New England-style double IPA is "more than 11 pounds of Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hops per barrel." Read it and weep for joy. -Denver Business Journal