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Jeanine Fritz

"Under no circumstances can you bring Kevin to Denver," Liz said to me. "Your lovely red truck is grounded. You're going to the Great American Beer Festival, and you're taking the bus, Fritz. Deal with it."

I hate taking the bus. People touch you — not in a purposefully creepy way, for the most part — just in a I-Need-To-Reach-Into-My-Pants-Pocket-and-Simultaneously-Bump-Your-Sideass-While-Doing-It way. My sideass is MY sideass and I wanna choose who touches it.

But I got on the ever-lovin' bus because I love good beer more than I love not riding the bus. Girl's gotta have priorities, plus it seemed wise to listen to Liz, who basically grew up at the festival. (She may have been born under a booth there, I haven't asked.)

Jeanine Fritz
Jeanine Fritz

I was prepared: I had cash, pretzel necklace building materials, and a large burrito base to efficiently absorb beer. I'd even forsaken the Oktoberfest dirndl for a more serious beer-drinking outfit: A variety of layered tops to stave off both biting winds outside and the inevitable heat produced when hundreds of people stand together in a closed environment drinking beer and gassing. I even wore jeans that'd slowly stretch as I filled my belly with beer. (What can I say? I'm smart AND pretty.)

GABF is like Disneyland — you can either stand in a very long line for beer on par with the "It's a Small World" ride, or you can wait an excruciatingly long time in Dogfish Head's "Space Mountain" line. Either way, the reward is brief and you're immediately queuing up somewhere else.

Unlike some folks, Liz and I dumped the beers we didn't like instead of slamming them. I have to assume Liz was doing it because she's a beer snob — I imagine if she drank a Corona Light in front of her family, her father would smack it out of her hands, toss her stuff on the front lawn and proclaim loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear: "You are DEAD TO ME!"

My reason for dumping bad beer out, such as the horrifying pale ale that tasted like buttered popcorn, is my new-found enthusiasm for joining The Inebriati. Membership basically involves never having more than slightly less than two beers. As the Mitchell and Webb skit points out: "Beyond that state of mildly intoxicated perfection lies drunken madness, third pints, kebabs, and destruction."

Tossing bad beer out seemed crucial to that plan, but because the glasses are toddler-sized, I remained deadly sober. The bus ride was all for naught but, if I go next year, I plan to draw up a map, plan a route systematically hitting the booths in a specific order, and make a necklace of sandwiches instead of pretzels.

So guess I'll see you in a year, RTD.