Beer News, Reviews and More!

Archive for September, 2012

Weekend Beer Buzz 09/27/2012

So here we are, just two weeks out from the Great American Beer Festival and there’s a bazillion fun, beer events happening around town to get you ready.  It seems like every weekend is just building up to the granddaddy of beer festivals.  We’ve got some awesome events to talk about and there’s no time to lose!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 

Yak & Yeti’s Head Brewer Adam Draeger released his Dragon Wort Ale on Wednesday.  The latest addition in his Haunted Series of beers is an 8.5% ABV Belgian-style Ale.  It’s spiced with Dragon Wort (or Tarragon), a versatile ingredient that’s more commonly used for chicken, fish, cake and even soda.

Stop by Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery to try Adam’s newest creation.  Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

So I’ve got nothing for you on Thursday…  Sad, I know.  So why not take a ride over to Boulder for a visit to the new West Flanders Brewing Co. on Pearl Street Mall?

I had the chance to sample all of their beers, along with some items on the food menu on their opening day last week and I was really impressed.  They’re already off to a great start with their menu and 6 tasty beers: Angry Monk, St. Mark’s Dubbel, Daisy Cutter Belgian Strong, Canniption Pale Ale, TBD ESB and Third Kingdom IPA.  Look for a full post about West Flanders Brewing next week, but in the meantime, stop by for a visit.  They’re located at: 1125 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302. 303-447-2739.

LATE ADDITION:  Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar is pouring beers again today!  After some confusion surrounding appropriate licenses for pouring beers in the tap room, the funkiest brewery in Denver is officially back open and ready to pour their tasty blends again.

This is awesome news and I’m glad owner / brewer Chad Yakobson was able to get things cleared up so quickly.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is open Wed – Sat from noon – 7 PM and is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Prost Brewing is kicking off their Oktoberfest on Friday at noon.  They’ll be joined by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, who in true Oktoberfest fashion, will be tapping the first keg of Prost Märzen.

The fun will run throughout the weekend, but you won’t want to miss the tapping on Friday as there will also be live music by The Rhinelanders and their Alpenhorn, while the Prost staff will be decked out in their best German garb.  Bust out your lederhosen and dirndls and come on down for a Maß of the new Märzen.  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-729-1175.

This week’s Firkin Friday over at Dry Dock Brewing is a Cherry Belgian Blonde.  Stop by at 3 PM for a chance to try this round.

Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down at the Rockyard, Jellyman’s brewed Keg Stand Red for this week’s Deviation release.

This is an “amped up version” of Rockyard’s Redhawk Ale.  Sweet toffee and roasted aroma, with a hot hop bite.  First glass gets poured at 4 PM.  Don’t miss out.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Wow, Saturday’s big.  HUGE!!!

Where to begin, where to begin….

Well, first up, Congrats are in order for Scott Witsoe over at Wit’s End Brewing, as they’ll be celebrating their 1-year Anniversary on Saturday.

Stop in from noon – 8 PM on Saturday and raise a glass to Scott and his awesome nano-brewery. They make some great beers and deserve your support.  Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza will be on-site to fill your tummy.  Wit’s End Brewing is located at: 2505 W 2nd Ave, Unit 13, Denver, CO 80219.  303-459-4379.

Speaking of anniversaries, Boulder Beer is having their 33rd Anniversary Party on Saturday.  That’s incredible!  Congrats guys!

They’re hosting a Beer Rave at the brewery from 2 – 6 PM.  Tickets are $30 and include a tasting glass, beer, music and food from Jimmy John’s.  Look for 12 small batch beers from Boulder Beer, plus a variety of beers from more than 30 guest breweries.  This is going to be a great afternoon! Good weather, good beer and the money goes towards the Danny Williams Fund.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Stop by Boulder Beer Co. at: 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301. 303-444-8448.

Oktoberfest!  I already mentioned Prost, who’ll be continuing their German shenanigans throughout the weekend.  Go see them.  You’re not a certified Beer Geek until you’ve visited Prost.  Just sayin’…

On the other side of town, Dry Dock is gearing up for Docktoberfest.  This is a GREAT event and rumored to be their busiest and mostest funnest day of the year.  Pardon my terrible grammar, but it’s an awesome time.

The doors open at 11AM, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan will be tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest at 11:15 and from then on, mayhem and madness will ensue.  Music will be provided by The Rhinelanders and their mighty Alpenhorn.  There’s just something irresistible about accordion music and that huge horn from the Ricola commercials.  Food will be on-site from Helga’s, the best freakin’ German food in town and the staff will be sporting their sharpest German duds.  Mrs. Brewtally Insane will be pourin’, I’ll be drinkin’, it’ll be glorious.  Come by and say hi.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Up north in Loveland, Grimm Brothers will also be hosting their Oktoberfest on Saturday.  This will be your first chance to buy a few bottles of Farmer’s Daughter, their Oktoberfest Lager.

This family friendly event will also feature live music, food, games, contests and limited edition steins for sale.  Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is located at: 623 N Denver Ave, Loveland, CO 80537. 970-624-6045.

I spent some time last week plowing through some tasty Pumpkin Beers and shared my findings in two posts breaking down what’s out there and what’s coming our way.  Click THIS and THAT to catch up.  Which brings us to RUMPKIN!

Avery’s releasing their 2nd batch of Rumpkin on Saturday at 5PM!  This is a glorious, amazingly, tasty, delectable, glorious…  Wait, I already said that….  Damn, it’s good.  And it’s big!  Like The Beast Grand Cru ate a pumpkin patch.  Avery’s resident barrel herder Andy Parker said he had trouble getting enough rum barrels this year, so expect lower production numbers and little-to-no distribution.  If you want some, get your pumpkin lovin’ butt to Avery Brewing on Saturday for this release.

I’ll be there, muling beers back for my fellow geeks that can’t make it.  If you’re lucky enough to attend, Avery always treats their guests to some awesome, small-batch, barrel-aged deliciousness. Just between you and me, I’ve heard Tweak (aka Coffee Meph, aka Meph Addict aka delicious, big stout Mephistopheles brewed with coffee) and Ross’s Mom (blended Red Sour Ale).  There’s plenty more that will be pouring and remember, that’s just between you and me.  OK?

So go up there, get your Rumpkin bottles and you’ll be sitting pretty with your loot.  This high ABV brew is sure to age well for years to come.  Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.  P.S. $10 / 12oz. bottle, 12 bottle limit, CASH ONLY!

Black Shirt Brewing is hosting another sneak-peek-teaser event on Saturday.

Black Shirt, you’re killing me!  I want to come by, but not sure I’ll be back in time.  I’ve even got 4 of those swanky Offero glasses longing to be filled with your beer.  On Saturday, they’ll be open from 5 – 8 PM and pouring their wet-hopped Red Ale, brewed with locally harvested Centennial and Williamette Hops from Voss Farms in Arvada.  I heard good things about last week’s sneak-peek. Me wants some!  Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.

Don’t forget our friends on the radio.

The Colorado Craft Beer Show will be live at Arvada Beer.

The show will be live from noon – 2PM on AM 760.  They’ll be joined by Hops & Pie owner Drew Watson (also celebrating their 1-year Anniversary) and will be giving away another pair of tickets to GABF!  You won’t want to miss this.  It’s a great time to visit Arvada Beer, as they’ll be tapping their Pumpkin Ale on Friday, which was brewed with 45 lbs of pumpkins, 1 gallon of vanilla and 5 lbs of spices.  Nom, nom, nom!  Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002. 303-467-2337.

American Craft Beer Radio host Gary V., will be joined by Dustin Lemoine from Avery Brewing on 102.3 FM at noon.  Chris Black from Falling Rock Tap House should be making an appearance and I’ll be there as well to talk about the upcoming Denver Beer Week and all of the Great American Beer Festival events planned around town.

We’ll also be talking about Avery’s Rumpkin release, discussing homebrewing topics with Duane Taylor from The Brew Hut and more.  So grab your calendar and tune in at noon to 102.3 FM to make your plans for the next few weeks.

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

So I hear Falling Rock got their paws on a few bottles of Toronado 25.  Yeah, read that again and just absorb it for a minute.  Close your eyes and go to your happy place.  You read it correctly, Toronado 25!  Toronado 25 is an epic blend from Russian River Brewing, that was made to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the famous San Francisco Beer Bar, Toronado.

Not sure on the price, but, no matter, you won’t want to miss out when bottles make their appearance at 2PM.  I still remember my first (and last…) sip of the incredible 20th Anniversary Blend.  Amazing, complex, once in a lifetime kind of beer.  Here’s the 25th blend:

4% Sonambic (barrel aged for 15 months)
16% Blonde Ale (barrel aged for 8 months)
36% Strong Pale Ale (barrel aged 12 months)
28% Ale Aged with Currants (barrel aged for 8 months)
12% Strong Dark Ale (barrel aged for 12 months)
4% Baltic Porter (barrel aged for 10 months)

Get some on Sunday so I don’t have to wipe away your tears when it’s gone.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Before I wrap up, I just wanted to congratulate Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder.  They opened for the first time on Tuesday, 9/25 with 6 beers: Wildflower Pale Ale, Treeline India Pale Ale, Campfire Red Ale, Ponderosa Porter, Smores Stout and Berry Wheat Patch.

Stop by and check them out on your next visit to Boulder.  They’re located at: 5460 Conestoga Ct, Boulder, CO 80301.  303-484-1465.

I think that’s it.  Man, I hope that’s it.  Saturday is absolutely ridonkulious.  If you can’t find a beer event to attend this weekend, I guess you don’t like beer.  Anybody else notice that we have the potential for 4 Anniversary parties on the same weekend next year?  Boulder Beer will be 34, Wit’s end will be 2, West Flanders will be 1 and Wild Woods will be 1.  Aaah, that makes me happy.

Have fun this weekend, be responsible and be nice.

Cheers!

Advertisements

Pumpkin Beer Guide Pt. 2 – The Locals

Pumpkin Beers Round 2!  Last time, we discussed some awesome Pumpkin Ales and Lagers from around the U.S.  This time, we’re going to talk Pumpkin Beers that are brewed right here in Colorado!  Whether they come in bottles, cans or growlers, there’s a variety of great tasting gourds waiting for you.  Take a look.

Tommyknocker Brewery, Small Patch Pumpkin Harvest Ale.   The Idaho Springs brewery first released their Small Batch Pumpkin Harvest Ale in 2011.  This 5% ABV beer retails for $7.99/ 6-pack. The beer poured a very dark, ruby red color with a 1-finger, off-white head.  The aroma was malt, dark fruit and molasses.  Where’s the pumpkin?  The taste was cherry, raisins, burnt wood and molasses.  I was a little confused by this one as I found very little pumpkin anywhere in the beer.  It seemed one-dimensional and was fairly disappointing.  Score: 2.5/5

Note: My review is based on Tommyknocker’s bottled version.  I had it on-tap at the brewery in Idaho Springs two weeks ago and found it to be a whole lot better.  It’s possible I got a bad bottle.

Dry Dock Brewing, Half Moon Pumpkin Ale.  The ’09 Small Brewery of the Year released this beauty last week and I was able to make it over for the release party.  This 5.2% ABV beauty pours a clear, dark orange color, with a 1-finger, off-white head.  Big pumpkin spice dominates the aroma, along with some notes of cinnamon and brown sugar.  The taste was pumpkin pie spices, brown sugar, molasses and a touch of vanilla.  This is a very spicy, flavorful brew.  Very enjoyable.  Hey homebrewers, The Brew Hut (homebrew shop) next door will set you up with the recipe so you can brew your own batch.  I brewed a batch about 6 years ago and it’s a great recipe.  Score: 3.75/5

Upslope Brewing, Pumpkin Ale.  The Boulder brewery took home a Gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011 with this special beer.  The 7.7% ABV brew pours a clear, copper color with a half-finger, off-white head.  Soft carbonation and faint lacing trim the glass.  Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and malt round out the aroma, while the flavor is pumpkin pie, graham cracker, brown sugar and a touch of hops.  A touch of alcohol and the slightest hop bite in the finish.  Very nice beer.

In addition to sporadic tappings at the brewery, 16oz. cans have been distributed to multiple stores along the Front Range.  You can purchase a 4-pack from the brewery for $15, which also includes a coupon for a free pumpkin from Munson Farms in Boulder.  Baby Bear Pumpkins from Munson Farms were used in the making of this wonderful beer.  Score: 4.5/5

Avery Brewing, Rumpkin.  Wow.  There are pumpkin beers and there are PUMPKIN BEERS!  This is a monster of a pumpkin beer, clocking in at 15.9% ABV!  That’s right, 15.9%!  Avery released this amazing concoction for the first time in bottles last year and most stores were sold out within hours. This brew was barrel-aged in rum barrels and sold for $10 / 12oz. bottle.  I’m reviewing the inaugural 2011 batch, since the 2012 batch is yet to be released.

This monster pours a hazy, dark amber color, with a 1-finger tan head.  Amazingly sweet notes of rum, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, raisins and booze.  Smells more along the lines of an Old Ale or aged-Barleywine than a Pumpkin Ale.  The taste, ooooohhhhhh, the taste…  Sooo sweet and smooth. Vanilla, rum, raisins, dark fruit, cinnamon, caramelized brown sugar and a slight hint of pumpkin. This is a truly amazing beer and completely different to anything else I’ve tasted while going on this little journey through the land of Pumpkin Beers.  It’s clear that some of the pumpkin flavors have faded since the ’11 release, but that’s part of the beauty of aging beers.  Over time, the layers slowly blend together, harsh flavors mellow out and time can turn sharp notes into smooth ones.  Score: 4.75/5

This is a very special beer and is more along the lines of Avery’s “The Beast” than a standard Pumpkin Ale.  I picture The Beast chowing down in a pumpkin patch.  If you’re looking to grab a bottle from this year’s batch, you had better make plans to visit the brewery on Saturday, September 29th.  Word on the street from Avery’s Barrel Herder, Andy Parker, is that he had trouble tracking down rum barrels and production is lower than last year.  I’ve also heard that there will be no distribution for the 2012 batch.  In other words, get your butt to the brewery on the 29th if you want a bottle.  12oz. bottles will run $10/each, with a 12-bottle limit.  It seems like there’s 826 beer related events going down on the 29th, but I’m going to give it the old “college try” to make it up to Boulder for this.  Hope to see you there!

“But wait, there’s more!”

Keep your eyes out for a variety of other Pumpkin brews that are in various stages of fermentation at your favorite local brewery.  Strange Brewing in Denver is working on a Pumpkin Porter.  Look for it to get tapped sometime around October 8th.

Slaying Pumpkins at Strange Brewing

TRVE Brewing, also in Denver, was cooking their gourds earlier this week.  Owner / Brewer Nick Nunns is naming TRVE’s Pumpkin Ale, “Carving Out The Eyes Of Gourd”.  He’s brewed the beer with 8 different varieties of roasted heirloom gourds and expects it to be in the 8% – 10% ABV range. Nick’s planning to spice it up later with vadouvan, which is a French-influenced curry blend.  I’m excited to try his creative take on the style.

Grilling Gourds at TRVE Brewing

Down in Colorado Springs, Bristol Brewing was picking perfect pumpkins earlier this week for their amazing Venetucci Ale.  This is a very nice beer that can only be purchased at the brewery (guaranteed to sell out!) and proceeds go to charity.

Also down South in the Springs, Trinity Brewing has brewed several batches of this year’s Emma’s Pumpkin Saison.  This is always an impressive beer that can be found on tap at the brewery and in 750mL bottles.

This list is by no means complete, but it’s certainly a great starting point for you to get your gourd on this season.  Grab a pint at your favorite brewery or get a growler to-go.  Many of these won’t last more than a few weeks, while some will be gone in a matter of hours, so get out and enjoy them while you can.  If you’d like to share your favorites, feel free to send me an e-mail or post a picture on the Facebook page.

Cheers!


Pumpkin Beer Guide Pt. 1 – The Tourists

It’s a special time here in beer land.  We’re only a few weeks away from the Great American Beer Festival and getting ready to enter my personal favorite time of year for seasonals.  As the cooler months roll in, I know we’ve got some awesome beers right around the corner.  From big, thick Stouts to spicy Christmas ales to rich, hoppy Barleywines and everything else getting ready to hit our shelves.

Right now, we’re in the midst of Pumpkin season!  There’s quite a few hitting store shelves these days and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  So I sought out some new pumpkin beers along with some old favorites and put together a little guide to help you track down the perfect Pumpkin Ale.  You ready?

First up is a trio from Elysian Brewing out of Seattle, WA.  The Elysian Brewers pride themselves on their Pumpkin Beers.  They brew a variety of interesting traditional and non-traditional beers and even hold an Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, which is entering its’ 8th year.

For those of us here in Colorado, we got three of their releases this year.

Elysian Brewing, Night Owl Pumpkin Ale.  First up, is the 5.9% ABV Night Owl Pumpkin Ale.  This came in a 22oz. bomber that retails for $3.99 / bottle.  The beer poured a slightly cloudy, amber color with a 2-finger tall, tan head.  The aroma was light notes of pumpkin pie spice, cloves and nutmeg.  Taste was very similar, but light and sessionable.  Very balanced and easy drinking. Score: 3.5/5

Elysian Brewing, The Great Pumpkin.  This 8.1% ABV brew is billed as their Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This 22oz. bomber retails for $9.99 / bottle.  This one poured a clear orange color, with a 1-finger tall, white head.  The aroma was pumpkin, graham crackers, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Flavors match the aroma, but this big boy was quite a bit more intense than the Night Owl and tasted more vegetal than pumpkin pie.  Medium carbonation, medium body and a touch of hops finish this off. Really nice beer.  Score: 4/5

Elysian Brewing, Dark O’ The Moon.  This clocks in at 6.5% ABV and is a Pumpkin Stout.  A 22oz. bomber will run you about $5.99 / bottle.  The beer poured nearly pitch black with a thick, 1-finger, toffee colored head.  The aroma was cinnamon, pumpkin spice, anise and roasted grains. The flavor on this was cinnamon, pumpkin bread, caramel and light espresso.  Full mouthfeel and the finish is on the bitter side.  This was a very interesting beer as the flavors weren’t overly done or too sweet. The subtle pumpkin notes combined with the rich stout flavor, made this my favorite of the Elysian Pumpkin series.  Awesome beer!  Score: 4.5/5

Lakefront Brewery, Pumpkin Lager.  The cheeseheads from Wisconsin brew a variety of beers, many of which are lagers.  This one’s running right around $9.50 / 6-pack.  The Pumpkin Lager is a 6% ABV brew that pours a clear orange color, with a 1-finger head.  Big pumpkin spice notes dominate the aroma, along with cinnamon apples and caramel.  The taste was pumpkin pie spices and seemed a bit bread-y.  The body was thin, almost watery.  The spiced up lager didn’t do much for me.  Score: 2/5

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Punkin Ale.  The Delaware brewery has been pumpin’ out this hot seller for nearly two decades.  The beer, which is named after the famous Punkin Chunkin games from out east, is also the first beer Dogfish ever released.  Plan on dropping $11.50 / 4-pack.  The 7% ABV brew poured a clear amber color, with a thick, creamy, 1-finger head.  Plenty of carbonation and heavy lacing coat the glass.  Aroma is pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, nutmeg and caramel. The taste is full flavored and complex with pumpkin pie spices, toffee, brown sugar and a touch of salted caramel and hops.  This is an excellent brew and one that I used to buy by the case when I lived back east.  You might have to do a little hunting around for this one, but it’s still out there and well worth it.  Score: 4/5

Uinta Brewing, Punk’n.  This one, from Salt Lake City, UT, was a new one for me that retails for $8.50 / 6-pack.  Pours a slightly hazy amber color, with a 1-finger head.  A steady flow of carbonation with moderate lacing around the glass.  The aroma was predominately pumpkin pie spice with a bit of malt.  Taste matched the aroma, plus a touch of nutmeg.  Very drinkable and sessionable with a low 4% ABV.  I was pretty happy with this one as it was a well-crafted, easy-drinking beer with an affordable price tag.  Score: 3.5/5

It’s still early in the Pumpkin Beer hunting season.  Keep your eyes out in the next few weeks for The Bruery’s Autumn Maple (brewed with 17 lbs. of yams in each barrel!), Jolly Pumpkin’s La Parcela (Pumpkin Ale with a sour twist) and Uinta’s Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin (Oak Aged Pumpkin Ale). These should be showing up very soon and all offer their own unique take on the style.

For the beer traders out there, I’ve come across quite a few interesting Pumpkin Ales over the years that don’t make it out to our awesome state of CO.  If you’re willing to put in the extra effort, I’d highly recommend Southern Tier’s Pumking, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Heavy Seas The Great’er Pumpkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin.  You won’t be disappointed.

That about wraps up this round for our out-of-state Pumpkin Beer Guide.  Stay tuned as next time we’ll be talking about some of the tasty Pumpkin Ales brewed right here in Colorado.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 09/20/2012

So we did the whole wine festival thing last weekend.  Wine, you’re cute, but I dot think this is going to work out.  Let’s just be friends. Ok?

The fest was fun, but my heart lies with craft beer.  We managed to hit some great breweries and share a few pints with some true beer nerds and good people along the way to the Colorado Mountain Winefest.  More to come as we fill in a few more holes in the “Beer Trippin’ on I-70” series.

Not specific to this weekend, but you NEED to get over to Prost and try the Tivoli Helles.  Oh man, it’s nice.

Jonathan Shikes over at the Westword, wrote an informative article earlier this week, covering the history of Tivloi and their ties to Prost.  Take a peek HERE to learn more.

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

It’s Pumpkin Ale Season again!  Dry Dock Brewing is releasing their Half Moon Pumpkin Ale on Thursday at noon.  Stop by for your first chance to try this tasty, spicy brew.  I was in the brewery when they were brewing this puppy last year and I’ll never forget how nice the smell was.  Hey, Yankee Candle, try sticking that in a jar!

Anybody remember this beast?

Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Got an update from Jellyman down at Rockyard Brewing last night.  He’s got a good soundin’ brew with a sweet name for this week’s Deviation.

This one’s called “Comfortably Numb” and is a 7.5% ABV American IPA with a “full malty raisin and date-like presence” to balance out all those hops.  4 PM people!  “I can ease your pain, And get you on your feet again.”  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Firkin Friday’s back and this week Dry Dock’s got a Cranberry Wit with your name on it.  As much as I don’t want to think about snow storms, xmas shopping, hanging up holiday decorations and all those other festivus-type things, this beer sounds pretty tasty.  It might be a bit early to bust out the ugly holiday sweater, but for now, step up to the bar and try this holiday tinged brew.

The firkin gets tapped at 3 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Saturday is the first official day of Oktoberfest!  Denver will be waiting for you when the 43rd Annual Oktoberfest celebration begins this weekend and runs into next weekend as well.

This has been ranked one of the best in the U.S. by both USA Today and Maxim Magazine.  A brat eating contest, live music and fireworks highlight the festivities.  There’s no entrance fee, so be sure to stop by and check out all the fun on 20th & Larimer.  More details, coupons and a full schedule of events can be found HERE.

More Oktoberfest fun is on tap at Lone Tree Brewing.  They’ll be tapping their Oktoberfest Bier at 11 AM.

Come on out and celebrate with some tasty brews, live music and food trucks.  Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124.  303-792-5822.

Don’t forget about Copper Kettle, who’ll also be taking part in the fun with their Oktoberfest Tapping.  Their Oktoberfest lager is returning and will hit the tap lines at noon on Saturday.

They’re teaming up with Helga’s, the best damn German restaurant in town, to pair some authentic German cuisine with their beers.  Food at 5 PM, Accordion Music at 6 PM.  Get your fix with Copper Kettle at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

For our friends up in the Fort, check out the 4th Annual Fall Harvest Brewfest.  The $35 ticket includes samples from more than 25 breweries like Odell, Stone, Upslope, New Belgium and more.

There’ll be plenty of food, distilleries, cider, music and other fun things for those, gasp, non beer drinkers out there.  Proceeds benefit the Animal House Shelter.  This is being held at The Drake Centre, 802 West Drake Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526.  Ticket info and more details can be found by clicking HERE.

Don’t forget about your friends on the airwaves.  Gary V from American Craft Beer Radio will be hanging out at Davidsons Liquors.  He’ll be broadcasting live on 102.3 FM and will be giving away not one, but two! pairs of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival.

Davidsons Liquors is located at: 5555 Boatworks Dr, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-224-0444.

Turk from the Colorado Craft Beer Show will be joined by Garret Frase, the manager of Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom.  They’ll be broadcasting live from the American Homebrewers Assoication Rally at the Tasty Weasel from noon – 2PM on AM760.  Don’t miss out as they’ve got GABF tickets to give away!

As part of the Rally, the Bonewagon will be on-site with food, the mobile canning until will be around, hourly brewery tours are scheduled and plenty of special beers will be pouring.  Don’t miss out!

The Tasty Weasel recently underwent a major expansion, so get out there and take a look at all the great work they’ve done.  AHA Members grab your cards; Non-Members, this is a great chance to sign up and get involved in the beer community.  The Rally runs from 11 AM – 3 PM.  The Tasty Weasel is located at: 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-776-1914.

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Hungry yet?  Like Yoda said, “You will be, you will be”.  So why not plan on hitting up Dry Dock’s Salsa & Guacamole Competition on Sunday?!?!

Send an e-mail to salsa@drydockbrewing.com to get your butt entered in one of the 4 different categories: Mild Salsa, Hot Salsa, Sweet / Other Salsa and Guacamole.  Stop by the brewery on Sunday with your entry and a bag of chips by 1 PM and grab a beer, while their panel of world-class, highly trained, salsa and guacamole judges, try out your recipe.  And just in case you didn’t catch the address above, Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Is that enough?  Can I put the computer away now?

Really, you want one more?  Can you take one more?!?!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

How’s a new brewery sound?  You greedy little monkeys!  Fine, you got it!

West Flanders Brewing is gearing up for Opening Day on Monday!

They’ll be focusing on Belgian Beers and are being led by Brewmaster Brian Lutz, formerly of Oskar Blues, Left Hand and Redfish.

I’m still working on getting the full list of beers they’ll be pouring on Monday, but it sounds like authentic Belgian-style beers and a full menu are planned for the new brewery.  There’s a soft opening planned for Saturday and for $20, you’ll get a peek inside, food and two beers.  The money raised from the soft opening will benefit Community Food Share, a non-profit in Boulder dedicated to ending hunger.  Send an e-mail to beer@wfbrews.com or call 303-447-2739 between 1 and 4 PM to make a reservation.

West Flanders Brewing Co. will be open 7 days a week in the old BJ’s location on the Pearl Street Mall. Check out West Flanders Brewing at: 1125 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302.  303-447-2739.

Put ’em on your radar as it sounds like they’ve got great things planned.

That’s it guys.  I need a beer.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Cheers!


Brewery Spotlight: Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery, Arvada, CO

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the corner “Stammtisch” (aka the Regulars) table over at Prost Brewing, sharing a few beers with some brewers and beer lovers from around town.

Among them was Adam Draeger, the head brewer over at Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery. After meeting Adam and talking about his brewery, I knew it was time to get over there and try his beers.

So, after swapping a few e-mails, I finally made the trip over to visit Adam at Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub in Arvada.  My first line of business was to get my monkeys fed.  The kids had just gotten out of school and were “starving”.  Yak & Yeti specializes in cuisine from Nepal, India and Tibet. They’ve got a full menu, but we couldn’t decide on just one thing, so we went with the lunch buffet.

For just under $10, the all you can eat lunch buffet, offers pretty much everything, from soup and salad, to entrees and desert.  I took full advantage of the buffet by creating my own sampler.  I gotta say, it was good.  Damn good.  My wife, who hasn’t had the opportunity to enjoy good, quality Indian food in nearly 10 years, could be heard whispering sweet nothings to herself.  I remember the term “Heavenly” coming up over and over again.

The food’s delish and kid approved.  During the lunch buffet, kids 6 and under eat free with a paying adult, which is tough to beat.   There’s a scan of their To-Go Menu at the bottom of this post.

I like a good meal as much as the next guy, but I arrived at the Yak & Yeti primarily in search of good beer.  I ordered a pint of the Himalayan IPA, which took a Gold Medal in the 2010 Great American Beer Festival.  Hoppy, bitter and highly drinkable.  Just how I like my IPA’s.  It was the perfect complement to my spicy plate of Curry Chicken and Tandoori Chicken.  Patti headed for the opposite end of the spectrum, by ordering a Watermelon Wheat.  The mouth-watering aroma and refreshing fruit flavor made for a tasty combination.  We were off to a great start.

After wrapping up our lunch, I caught up with Adam to get the full tour of the restaurant and brewery.  The original Yak & Yeti Restaurant opened in Westminster back in 2001.  In 2007, a second location in Arvada was added, in what was previously the “Cheshire Cat Brewpub”.  The Arvada location is housed in a Victorian home that was built way back in 1864.  It’s a beautiful place that features a large bar area and surrounding rooms that have been converted into dining areas for guests.

So many old buildings have a story to tell and the Yak & Yeti is no exception.  The building has a warm and inviting feel about it, despite the fact that employees believe it to be haunted.  Cora Van Voorhis, a former resident, fell down a flight of stairs to her death and it’s believed that her spirit still remains in the house.  Many of the employees at Yak & Yeti have had experiences with Cora, from getting pushed to hearing footsteps when all else in the restaurant is quiet.

I love a good ghost story, spooks, goblins and all that, but who’s thirsty?  On to the beer!  Adam walked us through his brew system, which is a 7 BBL setup that was pieced together from former dairy equipment.

The wort is pumped into a series of 14 BBL fermentation tanks located in the basement.  As we headed down the stairs towards the fermentation tanks, the sunlight faded away and suddenly I found myself in a cool, damp, almost cave-like environment.  I can take the ghost stories and I don’t mind hanging out in the basement during the day time, but I’m not so sure how I’d feel down there, by myself at night.  Still, I’m strangely pulled in and could see myself enjoying a beer or two down there, completely oblivious to the outside world.

Adam has an office in the chilly, stone basement that looks like it could belong to a mad scientist. His desk is covered with unique ingredients he’s chosen for upcoming brew days, along with tools and replacement parts for pieces of the brewery.  On the wall hangs his diploma from the well-respected, Siebel Institute of Technology, a Brewing University in Illinois.

Behind his office lies a wall of grains and other common brewing ingredients.  Further down the hall is a chilled room, lined with serving tanks and kegs, with tap lines heading upstairs to the bar above.

Adam’s also got a storage room with a full line of hand-made tap handles, brew supplies, a beer fridge and a Leopold Bros. Rye Whiskey Barrel that is currently filled with Himalayan IPA.

Eventually, we left the basement and headed back up two flights of stairs to the upper dining room area.  The upstairs is a series of rooms with extra seating for guests on busy nights.  The old house continued to grow on me as I noticed each room had a very different feel to it.  One room is a library, while another has an intimate theater set up inside.

After the tour, Adam led me back to the bar and walked me through his complete lineup of beers.

We began with the Victorian Sunrise Wheat.  It’s a 4.5% ABV German Wheat beer that gets used quite a bit for Adam’s experiments.  He’s had an ongoing project this summer called “Wheat Wednesday”, where he infused different ingredients into his base wheat beer.  My wife had the Watermelon, which was the most recent offering.  He’s also infused it with Hatch Chili’s, Cherries, Colorado Peaches and a variety of other fun ingredients.

Here’s the full beer menu from our visit:

Victorian Sunrise Wheat – Hefeweizen

Watermelon Wheat – part of Adam’s ongoing “Wheat Wednesday” series

Namaste Pilsner – Pilsner

AbominAle Mild – English Mild

Gluten Free Apple Ale – Fruit Beer

LoonyToon Tripel – Belgian Tripel, brewed with yeast from Canada’s Unibroue Brewery

Jalapeno Lena – Chili Beer

Chai Milk Stout – spicy, complex Milk Stout

Fenugreek Belgian – fenugreek is an ingredient used in Indian food.  Adam made a small batch of this Belgian-style ale as part of his rotating “Haunted Series”.

Himalayan IPA – India Pale Ale

West Coast Glutton DIPA – Big, west coast Double IPA

There was also a soda tap that he reserves for his Lemon Honey Ginger soda.  It was really good too!

I was thoroughly impressed with Adam’s lineup of beers.  He’s got a passion for the craft that really shines through his expansive lineup of styles.  I really appreciate Adam’s playfulness and willingness to experiment with ingredients and recipes.

The solid beer lineup, combined with the tasty menu and one of a kind atmosphere make Yak & Yeti a must-visit for beer geeks.  But, it’s also a place you’ll feel comfortable bringing the whole family for a nice night out and a filling meal.  Stop by and say “Hi” to Adam and the rest of the friendly Yak & Yeti team. Oh, and keep your eye out for the spirit of Cora while you’re there.

The actual brewery is located in Arvada, but you can dine and enjoy their lineup of beers at either location: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002 and 8665 N Sheridan Blvd, Westminster, CO 80003.

Cheers!

 


Elevation Beer Company Expansion and New Beers

Have you heard the news?!?  Elevation Beer Company, the brewers behind the very yummy Apis IV Belgian Quad and a slew of other great beers, is expanding!  I heard a hint about their expansion when Xandy was recently interviewed by Turk and Gubna on the Colorado Craft Beer Show.  This morning, the press release appeared in my inbox, so IT’S ON!

Read the press release below for all the details on their upcoming releases, addition of new fermenters, automated bottling line and expanded barrel-aging program.  Oh wait, you should probably pour yourself a beer before you read anymore.  Won’t you join me?

Cheers!

September 18th, 2012 Poncha Springs, Colorado- Elevation Beer Company is announcing its first expansion just 4 months after opening its doors.  The expansion will add two 60-barrel and one 30-barrel fermenters which will more than double brewing capacity at the brewery and includes the addition of a fully automated bottling line.

 
“We are absolutely shocked by the local community support for our brewery and we hit our current max capacity within just 3 months of opening,” Exclaims General Manager and Co-founder Carlin Walsh.
 
Elevation was planning on producing between 500-700 barrels of beer in its first seven months of operation, but due to overwhelming demand the brewery is looking to break at least 1100 barrels in its first year.
 
“We are all excited to see our local community and the greater Colorado beer community welcome us with such open arms.” Says Head Brewer Christian Koch, “This expansion will allow us to brew around 4,000 barrels a year and to keep up with our local demand and our demand for our barrel-aged and specialty beers across Colorado’s Front Range.”
 
Elevation has already ramped up production on its next two releases; Downpour, a hoptastic Double India Red Ale, and Oil Man, an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels from Breckenridge Distilling.
 
“Downpour should hit Denver in mid-October, and will replace our Apis IV in the Black Series.’ Says Christian, ‘While Oil Man will be available come mid-November and will replace Signal de Botrange in our Double Black Series.  We are very excited about these beers as they already are tasting pretty fantastic.”
 
With the increase in production and the expansion Elevation will look to have over 100 oak barrels for aging beer in their facility by the end of January, making their barrel room one of the larger in the state. 
 
“This expansion will allow us to keep making big beers like Signal de Botrange, Oil Man, and Downpour,’ says Carlin, ‘We are excited to be one more example of what happens when people decide to drink locally and choose to support their local craft breweries.”

About Elevation
Elevation Beer Co. is an artisan microbrewery located in Poncha Springs, Colorado, just minutes from Salida, Monarch Ski Area, Arkansas River Headwaters, and over seven 14,000-foot peaks.  Elevation specializes in brewing large adventurous beers for the craft beer fanatic, while trying to elevate the perception of what beer can be.

Christian, Carlin, and Xandy during a recent barrel tasting.

Road trip anyone?  Need to secure a case of Oil Man for the winter.

Cheers and Congrats to Elevation Beer Company!


Weekend Beer Buzz 09/13/2012

I love weeks like this.  You know, the ones where you get to partake in so many beery events, that it just flies by.  This past week, I made it over to Crooked Stave for the Grand Opening of their Taproom and Barrel Cellar, got the full tour and tasting with Head Brewer Adam Draeger over at Yak & Yeti (blog is forthcoming), attended Avery’s Inaugural IPA Festival and because they’re just sooo dang good, went back to Crooked Stave for another visit and got the all access tour and tasting with Owner / Brewer Chad Yakobson.  It’s been so much fun, I kind of want to do it all over again.

Unfortunately, the DeLorean’s in the shop, so let’s just start a new week!

Thursday, September 15th, 2012.

Prost Brewing is getting the weekend kicked off right, with the tapping of Bill Eye’s Helles Lager.

The beer has been named Tivoli and is a nod to the Tivoli Brewery, which operated in Denver from 1866-1969.  Click HERE for a good read about Prost that ran in The Denver Post earlier this week. Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-729-1175.

Copper Kettle is getting a jump start on the weekend too, with their Beer & Cheese Pairing Series. This monthly event is a tag-team tasting, coordinated with the amazing cheese Fromager’s from Denver’s Truffle Cheese Shop.

I had the opportunity to attend a pairing back in July and it was pretty damn delish.  Four Copper Kettle beers are matched with four artisan cheeses for participants to sample, learn, talk about and enjoy.  The cheese gets cut at 7 and tickets are $20.  Grab a ticket at the brewery or reserve your spot by sending an e-mail to: info@copperkettledenver.com

This will also be your first opportunity to get a sneak-peek into Copper Kettle’s expansion.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Friday, September 14th, 2012.  

Dry Dock Brewing is waiting for you.  Firkin Friday will bring a version of their Mild Ale that’s been dry-hopped with Kent Goldings hops.

The Mild barely clocks in at 3% ABV, so help yourself to another before it’s gone.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

The Rockyard’s got a Belgian IPA lined up for this week’s Deviation.  Tapping’s at 4 PM.  Don’t be late!

Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109.  303-814-9273.

Saturday, September 15th, 2012.

Parry’s Pizza is at it again, this time with an Oskar Blues Tap Takeover!

16 delicious treats will be on tap just for you.  Check out this amazing lineup: Nitro G’Knight, Nitro Old Chub, Nitro Dale’s Pale Ale, TEN Fidy, Gubna, Deviant Dale’s, Mama’s Lil’ Yella Pils, Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Mama’s Lil’ Yella Pils, Red Wine Barrel-Aged G’Knight, Barrel-Aged Gubna, Barrel-Aged TEN Fidy, Barrel-Aged Chub, Dave’s Pale Ale, Legends India Brown, Homeskillet (Black IPA) and Chaka.

Let’s be honest, that’s a ridiculous lineup of beers.  Don’t miss this.  You’ll only kick yourself when it’s over.  When you’re done kicking yourself, I’ll kick you too.  I had a few of these beers at the Avery IPA Fest last weekend and they’re awesome.  As if the beer isn’t enough, the food at Parry’s is amazing too.  The poster says “Barrel Aged Passion”.  So wrong, but oh, so right!  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Don’t miss this people.  I’m serious!  Do it for the children!

So what if I told you, I’m not going to Parry’s Tap Takeover on Saturday?!?!  Will you still love me tomorrow?  Truth be told, I can’t.  Mrs. Brewtally Insane and I are hittin’ the road with our peeps for some camping and a stop at the Colorado Mountain Winefest in Palisade.  Yep, this is a beer blog, I’m quite aware…

I look at the Winefest as a chance to get a professional palate cleansing by some of the state’s best wine makers.  I’m resetting my taste buds so I can better enhance my beer drinking experience.  It’s to better mankind.  Yeah, that makes it sounds better.  Whatever…

Don’t worry, we’ll be hitting a few breweries along the way and have a trunkload of beer to enjoy and share with any beer nerds we meet.  I’ve already talked to Danny, the Head Brewer at Palisade Brewing Company and he’s going to meet up for a few pints.  See, I’m not turning into some sort of wine snob on you.

And look, if wine’s your thing, the CO Mountain Winefest is apparently a pretty big deal.  50 wineries, unlimited tastings, live music, food and more.  It’s also a great excuse to leave things behind, hit the road and get away for a few days.  Grab a ticket and get all the details HERE if you’re interested.

Palisade is loaded with wineries and orchards and sometimes the delicious fruit finds its’ way into a brew kettle.  Copper Kettle is releasing two firkins of their Peach Saison on Saturday at noon that was made with Palisade peaches.  These peaches are amazing!  I can only imagine how good this beer is going to taste.

Copper Kettle Brewing is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

The boys at the Colorado Craft Beer Show are hittin’ the road for a trek over to Telluride for the 19th Annual Blues & Brews Fest.

A huge variety of breweries will be pouring.  From the smaller breweries like Bonfire, Horsefly and Revolution, up to the big boys like Stone, Deschutes and Sierra Nevada.  Grab a beer and enjoy the tunes from Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule, The B-52’s, Little Feat and dozens more.  It’s like Bonnaroo without the hipsters and humidity.  Yeah, I said it.  To hell with that east coast humidity.

This looks solid.  Click HERE for all the details, ticket info and more.

Can’t make it?  Tune into the show on AM 760 at noon and see what you’re missing.  I’m going to miss the broadcast since I’ll be with the winos in Palisade, but you can always catch the podcast over on coloradocraftbeershow.com  Now you’ve got no excuse.

The Fight Fire With Beer Festival will be held on Saturday at Boulder’s 29th Street Mall.

This family friendly event runs from noon – 10 PM and features 10 breweries, food and live music. The beer flows from 3 – 7 PM at 1710 29th Street, Boulder, CO.

The Vine Street Pub is hosting their third annual Uptown Block Party at 1PM.  10 Breweries will compete in the Brewer’s Olympics for bragging rights around town.  Watch the fun while sipping on more than 30 beers pouring in the beer garden.

Live music and tasty food will be available as well.  Vine Street Pub & Brewery is located at: 1700 Vine St, Denver, CO 80206.  P.S. Bring cash if you’re going to attend as Vine Street doesn’t take plastic.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a new brewery opening their doors for the first time on Saturday from noon – 7 PM and again on Sunday from noon – 5 PM.  High Hops Brewing in Windsor is ready to share a beer with you on this weekend, but keep in mind this is a soft opening.  Look for their Grand Opening sometime in October.

They’ll be pouring 4 beers at their Hop Hut: The Golden One – Lemon Pilsner, The Honeyed One – Sweet American Red, The Noble One – Belgian Ale brewed with Noble Hops and The Dark One – Milk Stout.  High Hops is a family run brewery, hop farm, homebrew shop and garden center.  They’re brewing on a 10 BBL system and grow 35 different varieties of hops on their own hop farm!  I’m looking forward to stopping by for a pint on my next trip up north.  High Hops Brewery is located at: 6461 Highway 392, Windsor, CO 80550.  970-686-9771.

Oh, does anybody know anything about the twitter?  My agent signed me up with an account and I’m supposed to be twittin’ about beer stuff I guess.  Look for my bird and follow Brewtally Insane please.  I’ll figure it out eventually.

That’s it for this round guys.  Get out and take advantage of the nice weather before Old Man Winter rolls in.

Cheers!


Brewery Spotlight: Backcountry Brewery, Frisco, CO

A few months back, we did a little bit of “Beer Trippin'” up into the High Country and visited some great, great breweries along the I-70 corridor.  Along the way, we stopped at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco, CO.  Click HERE for the original post.

I had been itching to get back to Backcountry ever since and finally had the chance a few weeks ago. Before heading up, I got in touch with Backcountry’s Head Brewer, Alan Simons, who was kind enough to give us a behind the scenes tour, share some cellared treasures and let us look into Backcountry’s upcoming expansion.

When we arrived at the brewery, Alan was wrapping up from a long day of brewing.  We grabbed a table at the bar and hunkered down for what I still think is the Best Happy Hour in the Breckenridge area.  No doubt.  1/2 price appetizers and $2.50 beers.  Repeat $2.50 beers!  And just check out the view!

Alan had just finished brewing a batch of his delicious Breakfast Stout, which should be ready just in time for the Great American Beer Festival.  Once Alan wrapped up the glamorous job of washing and polishing the brewhouse, he took us down to the lower level to walk through the brewhouse and check out his office.

Backcountry has really maximized their small space with floor to ceiling stainless steel.

Serving vessels, kegs and party pigs line the cooler walls.

There’s even a little space for some barrel-aging experimentation.  We might even see some more barrels with the new space on the way!

The upcoming expansion will give Backcountry more room to play.  It will also allow them to extend their range of distribution.  Each circle on the floor represents space for a new fermentation tank.

I hope we see bombers of these bad boys in the Denver area sooner than later.

After the brewhouse tour, Alan pulled up a chair with us at the bar and shared some treats from the cellar.

On the left is a barrel-aged American Barleywine.  This was a beautiful beer that was rich and complex.  On the right is a Sour Saison.  Both were awesome.  Really awesome.  We also tried the Weizenbock, Black IPA, IPA, Imperial Saison and Porter.

Alan’s certainly working hard to ensure Backcountry brings high quality, well crafted beers to little ol’ Frisco, CO.  With a large tourist crowd coming through the brewery all year-long, he’s doing a great job of satisfying both novice beer drinkers, while still creating complex, upper-end beers that are sure to please the hard-core beer geeks.

I look forward to watching Backcountry’s upcoming growth and expansion.  Take a trip up and see for yourself.  In addition to a bar overlooking Dillon Reservoir, there’s also a full dining room and a lounge area, complete with big, comfy couches and a fireplace.

The Breakfast Stout alone is worthy of a drive up for a snifter.  Winter’s right around the corner and those roasted coffee notes are sure to pair well with those chilly nights.  Their Happy Hour is second to none and the knowledgable staff is happy to give you a personal recommendation or offer a beer pairing with your food.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?  Backcountry Brewery is located at: 720 Main St, Frisco, CO 80443.  970-668-2337.

Cheers!


Pints in Pictures: Avery Brewing Inaugural Boulder IPA Fest

This past Saturday, Avery Brewing hosted their Inaugural IPA Festival.  The weather was beautiful, the crowd was mellow and the beers were delicious.  With 90 beers on the menu, I was blown away by the huge variety of hoppy, lupulin-doused, bitter creations from both local and out-of-state breweries.  Whether you were able to make it out for the event or not, any true hop head can appreciate the beer menu and pictures below.

MUCH love to my dear wife, who took one for the team and played the starring role of DD this weekend.  Thank you!  Love you!

Cheers!


Behind The Scenes At Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.  Wow!  You haven’t even been open a week and I’m already wondering how I’ve survived so long without you.

In honor of Sour Beer Day, I’m bringing you a full report on the newly opened Crooked Stave Tap Room and Barrel Cellar.  You ready?!?!

I made the trip over on Wednesday to partake in the highly anticipated Grand Opening of the Taproom and Barrel Cellar.  More HERE.  They opened the doors at 2 PM and within ten minutes, the room was already full.  I’m not complaining and I’m glad they’re off to a great start, but they definitely had their hands full.  I decided to take the fam back on Thursday because there were just too many tasty beers left to try and I wanted to see if things had quieted down a bit.

The beers are amazing.  They’ve currently got 5 barrel-aged beers on tap that include a variety of unique ingredients, from Colorado Blue Spruce Tips to Vignole Grapes to Blueberries.  There’s also a non-alcoholic, barrel-aged Kombucha drink, made with jasmine, green and sumac teas, mangosteen and blueberries that tastes like a cross between fruit juice and iced tea.  It’s tasty and refreshing.

Things were definitely a bit more relaxed on Thursday and owner / brewer Chad Yakobson was kind enough to spend over an hour giving me what was probably the most thorough and interesting brewery tour I’ve ever had in my life.  He shared the entire process and discussed his plans for the newly opened Barrel Cellar and Taproom, as well as The Source, which is set to open in 2013.

Come on in!

At the taproom, three additional foeders are getting delivered this week, 375mL bottles will soon be hitting the market, bright tanks and more barrels are on the way and a lab for culturing yeast is in the works.  For now, brewing will continue at Prost and River North.

A tour of the Barrel Cellar included a bit of barrel history.  Each barrel really has its own unique story, characteristics and personality.  Some were from New Belgium, others from various wineries and distilleries.  One famous barrel is even from Vinnie’s herd at Russian River.  Beer geek’s take note and meet pH2.  Beatification anyone?

Chad even pulled the nail out from a few barrels to check the progress on some of his beers.  He’s got a Sour Quad in the works which is tasting awesome.  I believe his exact words were “bourbon marshmallows”.

He’s also got several different Saisons, a Sour Porter, a Dark Sour and fingers crossed, another batch similar to Persica.  Persica’s a Sour Peach beer that was only available to members of his Cellar Reserve club.  I tried it at the Avery Sour Fest earlier this year and is by far, my favorite beer of 2012. Amazing beer!

As for the upcoming brewery over at The Source, a 20 BBL brew system will be installed and a coolship is in the works.  Yep, a freakin’ coolship!  It just keeps getting better and better!  Just in case you don’t know what a coolship is, it’s a flat, shallow, open vessel, designed to allow the wort to cool, while permitting exposure to wild, airborne yeasts.  All those wild critters in the air create sour, funky traits that are highly desirable in this style of brewing.  Many lambic brewers in Belgium use coolships, but only a handful have them in the U.S.  Glorious!

Here’s a view of the coolship at Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium.  Note the windows to allow the wild yeasts to enter and infect the beer.

Chad’s a master at his craft and Denver is lucky to have him.  If you haven’t been to his place yet, you owe it to yourself to pay him a visit.  I can’t say enough good things about his beers and his hospitality is second to none.  My mind is blown from everything I learned this week.  Thanks Chad and once again, Welcome to the neighborhood!

Cheers!