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Archive for November, 2012

Weekend Beer Buzz 11/29/2012

We’ve got a big weekend folks and I’m dropping bombs!  Say what?  Hey, there’s not one, but two new breweries opening in Colorado this week!  This looks like it’ll be the biggest weekend we’ve had since the GABF circus rolled through town almost two months ago.  Strap on your beer goggles and get ready to go.  Oh and if you really want to enjoy this week’s post, grab your favorite beer and take a swig every time you see the word “BOOM!”.  Hurry up, you just missed one.

Ready?  Alright, let’s do this.

Earlier This Week

Firestone Walker XVI dropped not once, but twice.  BOOM!

The Bad News: It disappeared from store shelves almost as soon as it landed.  The Good News: It’s on tap at Parry’s Pizza right now (11/29/2012 11AM).  Head over and try this unique anniversary blend of 8 different barrel-aged beers!  BOOM!

Deschutes The Abyss hit Colorado.  BOOM!

This inky impy stout is proving to be a challenge to track down as well.  There’s not as much to go around as originally anticipated.  I’m not sure if we’ll be getting a second shipment or if the beer geek boom is stretching the supply thinner than previous years.  Whatever the case may be, if you want some, don’t wait around.  It’s hitting shelves this week and a few stores have already sold out.

Dry Dock bottled their 2012 batch of Bligh’s Barleywine on Tuesday.  BOOM!  This luscious Barleywine has spent the better part of 2012 aging in Stranahan Whiskey Barrels.

I had the opportunity to try a sample a few weeks ago during our interview with Dry Dock Co-Owner & Founder Kevin DeLange and it’s shaped up very nicely.  You’re going to love it.  And if you don’t, you’ll sell your bottles to me and like it.  Dry Dock’s releasing 10 cases at the brewery on Sunday, 12/9 ($20 each / 1-bottle limit), with more cases going to local liquor stores on 12/11.

Brewery Rickoli Ltd. opened in Wheat Ridge on Wednesday.  BOOM!

Brewmaster Rick Abitbol has been brewing along the Front Range for more than a decade.  Rickoli opened with Black Pliny Double IPA, Social Lubricant Scotch Ale, Aldo’s Red, Totally IPA and a Rye Stout.  Stay tuned for a single-hopped Pale Ale series exploring one hop variety at a time, plus a Hoppy Barleywine, a Bourbon Peach Strong Ale, a Dark Chocolate Milk Stout and more!  Brewery Rickoli Ltd is located at: 4335 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.  Mon – Thu: 3 PM – 11 PM & Fri – Sun: 2 PM – 12 AM.  303-344-8988.

Cantillon bottles have been dropping on local retailers too (thankfully no one was injured)!  BOOM!

My most favoritest of the Belgians.  I heart you Cantillon.  Sadly, I’m not too hopeful that I’ll find any. With everyone on the hunt, I figure winning this week’s $400+ Million Powerball jackpot might be easier than finding a little Cantillon on a store shelf around town.  But, hey, at least it’s returned to CO.  More Cantillon news below…

Friday, November 30, 2012

For this week’s Deviation down at Rockyard Brewing, the Jellyman will be pouring JPA – Jelly Pale Ale.

According to Jellyman, this is a 7% ABV that pours a “dark straw with lacy white head”, has aromas of “fruit berry jelly with hints of toffee” and has “a balanced maltiness and citrus hops, punctuated by jam”.  Get your Jelly On at 4 PM!  BOOM!  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Dry Dock Brewing is following up last week’s Ho Ho Ho Slapdown with a very festivus Firkin Friday. Here’s Firkin Friday Surgeon General Walt Chleva modeling an amazing beer and pairing it with this Christmas sweater that’s…  Well it’s…  hmm, oh yeah nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Thanks Mom.

This week’s firkin will feature a Roasted Marshmallow version of Bethla-Yam.  Bethla-Yam is a Sweet Potato Stout, winner of the 2012 Ho Ho Ho Slapdown and creation from Dry Dock Brewer Brett Williams.  The win has secured Brett bragging rights around the brewery for the next 12 months as he beat out fellow brewers Doug Hyndman and John Schneider for the title.

As for Bethla-Yam, it’s a sweet, moderately spiced stout.  BTW – Dry Dock is still pouring all of the Ho Ho Ho Slapdown entries, so if you’re interested in trying them or grabbing a growler to-go, head over now and get your fix.  As for Firkin Friday, tappings will be at 3 PM & 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wynkoop’s Annual Parade of Darks is lined up for Saturday.

34 breweries bringing 82 brews, all leaning towards the darker side of the force.  BOOM!  Here’s the complete list from Wynkoop’s very own Beer Evangelist, Mr. Marty Jones:

Arvada Beer Co – Jolly Holiday Ale, Foreign to Me Stout
Avery Brewing – The Czar, Old Jubilation, Out of Bounds Stout
AC Golden – Blueberry Sour, Plum Sour,
Bootstrap Brewing– Worthog Stout, Boomer Brown
Boulevard Brewing – Bully! Porter, Dark Truth Stout
Breckenridge Brewery – Oatmeal StoutVanilla PorterExtra ESB, Christmas Ale 
Bull & Bush – Big Ben Brown Ale, Stonehenge Stout, Punk Up The Yams, The Legend Of The Liquid Brain, Captain Funk, Captain Midnight
Caution Brewing – Toaster Bat Black Smoked Porter, Dunkel(er)weiss.
Copper Kettle – Mexican Chocolate Stout, Pumpkin Porter
Denver Beer Co– Graham Cracker Porter, Chill Out Chocolate Chili Stout
Elevation Brewing – Apis, Lil Mo Porter 
Drydock Brewing – Wee Heavy Strong Scotch Ale, Raspberry Porter
Firestone Walker – Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout, Walker’s Reserve Porter, DBA 
Fort Collins Brewery – Double Chocolate Stout
Great Divide – Yeti Imperial Stout, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Claymore Scotch Ale, Hibernation
Green Flash – Double Stout
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Master Thief German Porter, Fearless Youth Dunkel Lager, Wee Heavy Barrel-Aged Scottish Strong Ale
Jolly Pumpkin – Bam Noir
Left Hand – Fade to Black, Milk Stout Nitro
Lone Tree Brewing – Acres O Green Irish Red, Toots’s Full-Bodied Oatmeal Stout, Chili Beer Collaboration #2, Old # 99 Rauchbier
Lost Abbey – Lost & Found 
Maui Brewing – Coconut Porter 
Mountain Sun Brewery & Pub — Megatron Imperial Stout, Oatimus Prime Imperial Stout
Odell Brewing – Mountain Standard, Isolation Ale 
Ommegang – Three Philosophers 
Port Brewing – Old Viscosity 
Prost Brewing – Doppelbock, Dunkel
Pug Ryan’s– Brain-teaser Barlywine, Barell-Aged Leap Year Trifecta
Sierra Nevada –Narwhal Imperial Stout,Wine Barrel Aged Dubbel
Ska – Steel Toe Stout, Nefarious, On The Sly Again
Strange Brewing – Pumpkin Porter, Cherry Bomb Stout, Gingerbread Man, Vanilla Rum Porter
Twisted Pine – Espresso Stout, Honey Brown 
Upslope Brewing– Christmas Ale, Brown Ale
Wynkoop Brewing – Gingerbread Stout, 2012 Barleywine, Cowtown Milk Stout, B3K Black Lager, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, Colorojo

As you can tell, this is going to be full of awesome beers for your tasting pleasure.  Tickets are $35 in advance and available HERE or $42 at the door (if they’re not already sold out come Saturday).  The Wynkoop is located at: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-297-2700.

Just up the road from the Wynkoop, Crooked Stave will be hosting Cantillon’s Zwanze Day on Saturday.  BOOM!

This is a world-wide event with a coordinated toast at 1 PM MST.   This is the first time a Colorado location has been picked to participate so don’t miss out.  To quote some snotty teenager somewhere in America, “it’s kind of a big deal”.  BOOM!  For more specifics, check out our article about Zwanze Day from earlier in the week by clicking HERE.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211. 720-508-3292.

Black Bottle Brewing up in Fort Collins, CO will open their doors to beer freaks for the first time this Saturday.  BOOM!

This new brewery, run by Sean Nook, will be pouring their own beers, along with some great craft beer on their 40 guest taps.  They’ll also have a full bar and fermented grape juice for those non-beer drinking types you so unwisely choose to associate yourself with…  I’m freakin’ psyched about these guys.  They’ve gotten great reviews and took second place in the People’s Choice Awards at the 2012 Gnarly Barley Brew Festival.   In the near future, they’ll be working out a barrel-aging program, souring beers and brewin’ up some nice styles of craft beer that they’ll want to drink.  And by the looks of things, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to drink them too.

Their videos are tough to beat.  I mean, have you seen this yet?

Because Craft Beer Rocks!  BOOM!  I can’t wait to visit Black Bottle Brewing and give them a try. Black Bottle Brewing will be open 7 days a week from 11 AM – 2 AM and is located at: 1605 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80525.  970-493-2337.

Over in Boulder, Asher Brewing turns 3 this weekend.

They’ve got a little shindig planned complete with beer, food, beer, music, beer, dogs, games, beer and beer.  Beer, it’s what’s for dinner.  Bet you thought I was going to say “BOOM!”.  I did clown. Now drink!  Two for flinching.  The party runs from noon – midnight.  Asher Brewing is located at: 4699 Nautilus Ct, Suite 104, Boulder CO, 80301.  303-530-1381.

But wait, there’s more.  While you’re up in the People’s Republic of Boulder, swing over to Twisted Pine and grab a bottle or 3 of the last installment in their Artisan Ale Series.  For December, they’re releasing Noel Tripel.

This beer is a 9% ABV Belgian-style Tripel.  750mL bottles will be sold in the tap room beginning at noon.  Twisted Pine Brewing is located at: 3201 Walnut St, Suite A, Boulder, CO 80301.  303-786-9270.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Into next week, New Belgium has planned “The Creator’s Dinner”, where all the beers being poured will be introduced by their creator / brewer.  This is happening over at The Kitchen in Denver on Monday at 6:30.  Check out this lineup:

  • Kick- Presented by Kim Jordan (NBB Co-founder and CEO) and Dick Cantwell (head brewer and owner of Elysian Brewing Co)
  • La Folie- Presented by Peter Bouckaert (Brew Master at New Belgium)
  • Le Terroir- Presented by Lauren Salazar (Wood Beer Blender and Sensory Specialist at New Belgium)
  • Eric’s Ale- Presented by Eric Salazar (Wood Beer Brewer and Blender at New Belgium)
  • Chocolate Coffee Stout- Presented by Grady Hull (Assistant Brew Master at New Belgium)
  • Transatlantique Kriek- Presented by Peter Bouckaert (Brew Master at New Belgium)

BOOM!  There will be incredible food paired with each beer.  This is a really great opportunity to meet and talk with some of the creative minds behind New Belgium’s fantastic beers.  Reservations are $85 and can be made by calling 303-623-3127.  The Kitchen Denver is located at: 1530 16th St, Denver, CO 80202.

That’s it.  Did you make it all the way to the end?  I hope so.  I’m all BOOM’d! out.  Yes, that one counts too, so take your final sip and go grab a nap.  You’re going to need it before the weekend gets here.

Have fun out there.

Cheers!

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Zwanze Day 2012 Comes To Colorado!

Zwanze Day is coming to Colorado.  Shhh!!!  There’s not much to go around, so don’t tell anyone, OK?  Don’t even read this post.  You already know too much!

Just relax and take a deep breath will ya?  Zwanze Day is almost here, but there’s no reason to freak out.  Read on to get the latest on this Saturday’s world-wide toast with Cantillon.

Cantillon, the legendary Lambic brewery in Brussels, Belgium, began making Zwanze in 2008 and decide to bottle it for an annual release at the brewery.  Zwanze is a spontaneously fermented Lambic and the bottles that were released at the brewery from 2008-2010 were highly sought after by craft beer lovers around the World.  All was well until 2010, when several bottles appeared on eBay for more than ten times the original price.

So in 2011, the brewery decided to keg the entire batch and send it to some of the finest breweries and beer bars around the world for everyone to enjoy.  This year marks the first time a Colorado location has been chosen to receive Zwanze.  Cantillon’s fourth generation brewer and blender, Jean Van Roy, chose the Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar in Denver to participate in this years’ Zwanze Day, which has turned into a world-wide tapping and toasting party.

On Saturday, December 1st at 1 PM MST, wild beer fans from all over the Rocky Mountain area will descend upon Chad Yakobson’s Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar for a chance to try this unique beer and raise a glass with beer lovers around the world.  Crooked Stave is one of only 35 beer destinations across the globe, 15 of which are in the U.S., to receive the coveted brew.

Chad and the Crooked Stave Team are preparing for a big crowd on Saturday.  They’ll be opening up the Barrel Cellar to accommodate the gathering of loyal beer hunters.   Chad says this will be a first-come, first-serve event and they’ll be using a ticketing system to keep things as fair and orderly as possible for attendees.  The doors will open at noon and ticket holders will be allowed to purchase 2 pours of beer (1 Zwanze and 1 yet unnamed Cantillon) plus a Zwanze day glass for what is expected to be a $20 (CASH ONLY) price tag.

There will only be 150 pours of Zwanze on Saturday and jokes have already started buzzing around about how early beer nerds will begin lining up for the festivities.  Those ARE jokes right guys?  I hope.  I mean, we just survived the Black Friday shenanigans and that was just over TV’s…  This is about BEER, which is obviously way more important than any TV could ever hope to be.  Do we at least have time to run home for a shower and a hot meal before heading back out to line up for Zwanze Day?  A low-key, in-line bottle share has been discussed as well, but it remains unclear if the powers that be (i.e. local laws and surrounding businesses) will allow a bottle share to take place or not.  If not, I’m pretty sure Crooked Stave will have some beauties on tap to share.

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211. 720-508-3292.

Here’s a few more details about this year’s Zwanze Day straight from Cantillon’s Jean Van Roy:

When in early April we brewed a top-fermentation beer which was to become Zwanze 2012, we hoped that it would be ready 3 or 4 months later so that we could organise another Zwanze Day sometime in September.

However, since we are working in the very specific environment of traditional Lambic brewery where natural yeast flora reign supreme, even a top-fermented beer can take control of its own destiny. As such, on the occasion of a final tasting session at the end of June it became crystal-clear that the Zwanze 2012 would not be ready in time and that it would, we hope, become Zwanze 2013.

Seeing that we had received numerous requests to organise a Zwanze Day this year we decided to recreate the very first Zwanze produced in 2008. As a reminder, that year’s vintage had been brought about by soaking rhubarb in Lambic. The ultimate result of that experiment was a very delicate and complex product in which the beer’ acidic taste struck a very nice balance with the plant’s tartness and then lingered long on the palate.

For this new production batch we decided to work with organically-grown rhubarb, and you can really taste this in the beer, which is more structured and full-bodied than the 2008 vintage. We opted to recreate the rhubarb Lambic because very few consumers had been able to taste this beer 4 years ago, when only 300 litres had been produced. On top of this, unlike fruit crops, rhubarb production was not adversely affected by the very poor weather which hit Europe this spring. And finally, the last, perhaps most important reason of all for bringing back Zwanze 2008: my wife tells me it’s one of her favourites.

Of course, because of the delays encountered with the first Zwanze we will not be able to hold this year’s Zwanze Day in September. Instead, Zwanze Day 2012 will take place on Saturday, 1 December at the 30 or so locations around the world listed below.

I wish you all an excellent Zwanze Day!

    • America – USA :
      • Armsby Abbey – Worcester, Massachusetts
      • Avenue Pub – New Orleans, Louisiana
      • ChurchKey – Washington, D.C.
      • Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar – Denver, Colorado
      • Holy Grale – Louisville, Kentucky
      • Hop and Vine – Portland, Oregon
      • Lord Hobo – Cambridge, Massachusetts
      • Monk’s Café – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
      • Novare Res Bier Café – Portland, Maine
      • REAL a gastropub – Honolulu, Hawai’i
      • Redlight Redlight – Orlando, Florida
      • Spuyten Duyvil – Brooklyn, New York
      • The Foundry – Kansas City, Missouri
      • The Trappist – Oakland, California
      • Toronado – San Diego, California
      • West Lakeview Liquors – Chicago, Illinois
    • America – Canada :
      • Canada – Montréal : Dieu du Ciel
    • Europe :
      • Belgium – Brussels : Moeder Lambic Fontainas
      • Belgium – Brussels : Moeder Lambic Saint-Gilles
      • Belgium – Arlon : Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon
      • France – Paris : La Fine Mousse
      • France – Lille : La Capsule
      • Great Britain – London : The Earl of Essex
      • Italy Rome : Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà
      • Italy Bergamo : The Dome
      • Italy Nicorvo : Sherwood Pub
      • Italy – Quinto Vicentino : The Drunken Duck
      • Italy – Quartu Sant’Elena : Ristopub Margherita
      • Norway – Grimstad : Nøgne Ø
      • Finland Helsinki : Pikkulitu
      • Denmark Copenhagen : Olbutikken
      • Netherlands – Amsterdam : De Bierkoning
      • Sweden Stockholm : Akkurat
      • Spain – Sant Joan de Mediona : Masia Agullons
    • Asia :
      • Japan – Tokyo: Embassy of Belgium

In all seriousness, everyone just remain calm and good luck this weekend beer hunters!  It’s only beer.  Right?  This post will self destruct in 3… 2… (Cheers!) 1…


Weekend Beer Buzz: Thanksgiving Edition 11/22/2012

Happy Turkey Day Friends!  With the holiday and all, I had seriously considered skipping the Weekend Beer Buzz this week, but there’s just way too much beer fun to be had.  You asked for it, you got it.  Let’s roll.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The blackest of all Friday’s is here.  Skip the shopping and get your breakfast in a glass down at Rockyard in Castle Rock.

Jellyman’s brewed “MBM 5.0”.  Are you ready for this?  It’s a Whopper and Krave Chocolate Cereal Stout!  Say What?!?!  Dude, delicious!  As if that wasn’t enough, he’ll have it pouring ALL DAY starting at 8 AM.  Drop the shoppers in your family off at the outlets and head over to the Rockyard for your fill.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Over at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, they’ll be tapping a firkin of Galaxy Dry-Hopped Pale Ale at 3 PM and another at 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Yak & Yeti Brewpub will be tapping their Sherpa Porter on Friday.

This popular seasonal weighs in at 5.2% ABV and 34 IBU’s.  The beer goes on at 11 AM, with a party beginning at 4 PM.  This beer will serve as a launching pad for head brewer Adam Draeger to kick off his Porter Wednesday series, which begins in December. Here’s the lineup he has planned for the winter months:

  • Dec 5th – Toasted Coconut Porter
  • Dec 12th – Vanilla Porter
  • Dec 19th – Peppermint Porter
  • Dec 26th – Cherry Porter
  • Jan 2nd – Orange Chocolate Porter
  • Jan 9th – 100% Kona Coffee Porter
  • Jan 16th – Repeat of Favorite
  • Jan 23rd – Repeat of Favorite

Keep your browser pointed right here for the latest details in his series of winter releases.  Sounds yummy.  Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Dry Dock brewers will be going head-to-head on Saturday for the annual Ho Ho Ho Slapdown.

This year, head brewer Doug Hyndman brewed a Raspberry Pomegranate Porter, Brett Williams is pouring a Sweet Potato Porter and John Schneider crafted a Gingerbread Amber.  Come on down, try all 3 and vote for your favorite.  I love this event as the brewer’s really work the crowd and campaign to get your vote.  The pours begin at noon and the voting ends at 3 PM, but beers will be pouring all day.

This has also been dubbed “Ugly Sweater Day” at the Dock, so get those tacky Xmas sweaters ready. I’ve already seen a few pics of what they employees will be wearing and they’re BAD!  This should be awesome!  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Big beer time over at Copper Kettle Brewing Company.  On Saturday, they’ll be tapping this year’s batch of Bourbon Breakfast Stout.

This is an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee and chocolate and aged in bourbon barrels.  Oh Daddy! This sounds awesome! Tapping at noon.  CKBC is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Black Shirt Brewing will be open again this Saturday.

Stop by and try their new Fall Harvest Saison, brewed with locally grown squash.  They only brewed 10 gallons, so don’t miss out.  Black Shirt will be open from 4 PM – 8 PM. They’re located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Don’t forget about the boys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show, who’ll be broadcasting live from the Arvada Beer Co on Saturday.

Tebo from Breckenridge Brewery will be co-hosting this week.  Tune in to AM 760 at noon to get the latest news on the Colorado Craft Beer Scene.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looking into next week, Avery Brewing will be releasing this year’s batch of Mephistopheles on Wednesday.

Tickets for their 3-year vertical tasting in the tap room are sold out, but be on the lookout for bottles of this 15 – 17% ABV monster of a stout to hit store shelves very soon.  It’s an amazing beer that ages very well.  Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Blvd, Boulder, CO 80303.

Future Brew News

Looking ahead, Forkly, Eat Boston and Denver Off The Wagon have teamed up to bring us the Denver Bacon & Beer Festival.

Tickets are on sale now for the December 9th tasting.  Look for 25 local chefs to bring their bacon creations and 20 local breweries pouring their beers for this one.  Some of the breweries include Crooked Stave, Prost, Strange, Wits End and Trinity. Check the official website for more details and ticket information.  The Denver Bacon & Beer Festival will be at: Mile High Station, 2027 West Lower Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204.

That’s it peeps.  Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day!  Stop by our Facebook page and share what you’re drinking this weekend.

Cheers!


Craft Beer Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Dinner. Part 2

Alrighty guys, in Part 1 we discussed pairings for your Appetizers and Main Course for your Turkey Day Masterpiece, but now it’s time to dig deeper as we head towards the end of that long day of cooking, eating and football watching.  Time to talk about beers to pair with desert, what nightcap to reach for and even what to sip on with your leftovers on “Black Friday”.

Desert

Pumpkin Pie rocks.  I LOVE the stuff and it’s really the only food I’m responsible for preparing on Thanksgiving (aside from choosing the beers).  There are lots of options for this one, but I’m going with Great Divide’s Hibernation (perfect for Pecan Pie too!).

Oh man, do I love this winter release from the Denver-based brewery.  This is an 8.7% ABV Old Ale that pours a dark, ruby red color with a 1-finger head.  Big nose of malt, caramel, dark fruits, nuts and moderate hops.  Full flavored with notes of brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruits and caramelized raisins.  A beautiful brew that ages really well.  I opened a 7-year old bottle last year and couldn’t believe how well this one holds up over time.  $9 – $11 / 6-pack.

Mrs. Brewtally Insane is leaning towards Bristol’s Winter Warlock to pair with her desert this year.

Winter Warlock is Bristol’s 6.5% ABV Oatmeal Stout.  Look for an all-black pour, with a 2-finger mocha colored head.  Aroma is chocolate, roasted grains, coffee and oats.  The taste backs up the nose with roasted coffee, chocolate and dark fruits.   I’d consider this to be one of Bristol’s best offerings and it’s a great time to grab a 6-pack if you’re not familiar with it.  $8 – $10 / 6-pack.

I know plenty of people don’t care for Pumpkin Pie, so if you’re having something along the lines of cheesecake, brownies, etc., I’m going to recommend a big stout or a fruit based beer.  Strange Brewing’s Cherry Kriek comes to mind.  This immensely sweet Cherry ale, makes for a great desert beer and reminds me quite a bit of Belgian Red from New Glarus out of Wisconsin.  Although Strange doesn’t put this into bottles, you can grab a growler to-go from their Tasting Room in Denver.  This beer is great on its’ own, but if you want to have some fun, mix it with a little Oskar Blues Ten FIDY Imperial Stout. Cherry FIDY is a yummy little variation you can easily make on your own.

Odell’s Friek is another great offering you might want to consider.  This is a slightly sour beer made with raspberries and cherries and aged in oak barrels.  This year’s batch is making its’ way into our market right now.  Even if you’re not a sour fan, don’t be afraid of this one.  It’s much more sweet than sour and is actually a nice entry-level sour if you’re looking to break into the style.

Alternative suggestions: Great Divide Yeti (any variation), New Belgium Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout, Odell Isolation, Liefmans Fruitesse, Odell The Meddler

Nightcap

If all that eating hasn’t induced you into a food coma yet, finish off the night with something special.  (Assuming you’re not driving of course.)  A nightcap beer is your perfect opportunity to crack open something special from the cellar and settle down after a long day.

Again, you’ve got a lot of options here.  I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be opening this year, but I’m leaning towards Avery’s Rumpkin, which is an 18.1% ABV pumpkin beer that’s been aged in rum barrels.  This is an amazingly complex beer with notes of vanilla, molasses, pumpkin, cinnamon and more in the nose.  The taste is loaded with oak, vanilla, rum, cinnamon and allspice.  It’s hot and boozy and sure to warm you up on a chilly night.  This was $10 / 12 oz. bottle at the release party back in September.

Alternative suggestions: Dry Dock Bligh’s Barleywine, Firestone Walker Parabola, Avery The Beast, The Bruery Fruet, Crooked Stave Sentience

Black Friday Leftovers

The big day’s over and we’ve gotten some rest, but knowing how my family cooks, I’ve got at least 2-3 days worth of leftovers waiting for me.  I think I actually enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers more than the big meal itself.  There’s just something about two slices of bread stuffed with roasted turkey, mayo, lettuce and tomatoes.  Delish!

Come Friday, I’ll be reaching for the classic of canned craft brews, Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale.  And since I won’t be going out to fight crowds and crazy xmas shoppers on Black Friday, I’ll be super-sizing with the new 19.2 oz cans!  This is no tall boy, this is a Man Can!  BOOM!

It’s a classic, flavorful Pale Ale, that’s not too hoppy and not too light.  It’s just a highly drinkable, great tasting, canned craft brew.  These retail for just over $3 / 19.2 oz can.

Alternative suggestions: Renegade Ryeteous Rye IPA, Odell IPA, Dad & Dude’s Dank IPA

Like I’ve already mentioned, nearly all of these beers, with the exception of some of the suggested Nightcap beers, should be relatively easy to track down at any of the Denver-area’s better beer stores.  Any of  the staff at Argonaut, Lukas, Libations, Total Beverage, Liquor Mart, Parker Payless, etc., should be able to find most of these beers for you or offer a similar suggestion.

I hope this little guide points you towards some great local beers to enjoy during the upcoming holiday.  If you’ve got comments, suggestions or want to share your favorite pairings or beer pictures, please head over to our Facebook Page and share with us.  Happy Thanksgiving guys!

Cheers!


Craft Beer Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Dinner. Part 1

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  As you head to the grocery store to pick out your prized bird, overload your shopping cart with sweet potatoes and attempt to learn the real difference between stuffing and dressing, DON’T FORGET THE BEER!  It’s just as even more important than the pumpkin pie!

There’s an ongoing debate about beer vs. wine with food pairings and I’m not going to rehash it on here.  But let’s be honest, beer is waaaay better suited to go with your turkey dinner than those old smashed grapes will ever be.  But with beer, comes a few tough questions: Where do we start?  What do we buy?  What will pair best with my desert?  What about leftovers?

Relax my friends.  The holiday’s are already stressful enough.  I’m going to make this as easy as possible for you with a list of quality beer recommendations from local Colorado breweries that you should be able to easily find at most respectable Denver-area liquor stores.  Grab a pen and paper (and a beer of course) and let’s break it down.

Appetizers

I admittedly haven’t been to many Thanksgiving meals outside of my family, but both my family and my wife’s side of the family have a tradition of serving shrimp cocktail for an appetizer.  We’re also a big fan of artisan cheeses and meats.  So for the first round, I’ve chosen one of New Belgium’s newest Lips of Faith offerings, Biere De Garde, which pairs nicely with both seafood and cheese.

Brewed in collaboration with Brewery Vivant, out of Grand Rapids, MI, this 9% ABV offering pours a clear, orange color with a 2-finger, creamy, white head.  Plenty of orange, lemon, apricot, yeast and peppercorn throughout the aroma.  The taste is very much on the farmhouse side of the spectrum with moderate tartness, spices and earthy notes throughout.  The dry finish and high carbonation will have you thinking champagne.  A nice start to the meal that will be sure to awaken your taste buds.  Readily available at all liquor stores in the Denver-area for $8 / 22oz. bottle.

Alternative suggestions: Boulevard Tank 7, Jolly Pumpkin Oro De Calabaza, Brewery Ommegang Hennepin

The Main Course

Warm up over, stomach stretched, palate cleansed, let’s move onto the main course.  Assuming you’ll be going with a traditional turkey dinner, I’ve got two (very) different approaches you can take.  The first is that you go with something on the lighter side that will subtly complement your meal.  The other is that you go big and bold and add a new layer altogether to the meal and we’ll discuss this approach a little later.

On the lighter side, I’m recommending Deceit from Funkwerks out of Fort Collins, CO.  This awesome little brewery up North, specializes in Saisons, and was named Small Brewing Company of the Year at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).  They took home 3-medals at GABF this year, one of which was a gold for this particular beer in the Belgian-Style Experimental Ale Category.

Deceit is a Belgian-style Tripel that pours a slightly cloudy, golden, straw color.  The 3-finger tall head has notes of clove, Belgian yeast and lemon.  Lots of tropical fruits, spices and just a touch of hops round out the flavors in this tasty brew.  A dangerously drinkable 9.4% ABV beer that goes down much too easily.  Deceit bottles were released for the first time on November 1st and they’re beginning to pop up at stores all over town.  I really enjoyed this one and know you will too.  A 750 mL bottle will run you about $12.

Alternative suggestions: Funkwerks Saison, La Chouffe, Tripel Karmeliet

I was only going to suggest one on the “lighter side”, but I can’t help myself, so I’m going to hit you with two.  The second is Tivoli Helles Lager.  This was a beer that basically went extinct when Denver’s Tivoli Brewery closed their doors back in 1969.  Fortunately, earlier this year, the Tivoli family collaborated with Bill Eye, head brewer at Prost Brewing, to bring this one back from the grave.

The 5.1% ABV Helles Lager pours a clear, straw color with a 2-finger, white head.  Plenty of biscuit, fresh grains, plus some floral notes and a touch of bitterness.  Hey, if it came from the Prost brewhouse, you know it’s good.  This is a great beer to introduce family members to craft beer.  You know the ones that “Don’t drink dark beers” or claim they “Get gas from microbrews!”.  Insert Grandpappy voice here: “Damn kids and they’re new fangled beers!”.  Yeah, those are the ones that you just might be able to save and convert to craft beer by introducing them to a refreshing lager like this Helles.

The only drawback to the Tivoli Helles is that it’s not available in bottles, so you’ll need to get your butt over to Prost and grab a growler to take home with you.  Wait, that’s not a drawback at all.  In fact, that’s great news!  Now you’ve got an excuse to make a trip over to Prost for a Maß of one of their delicious creations while picking up a growler of great beer for your Thanksgiving feast.  Maybe you can convince your better half that you’re going “grocery shopping” for beer.  Just a thought and if you get busted, you never heard it from me…

Moving on, let’s talk about the other end of the flavor spectrum, and how we can add a big, bold beer to bring a completely new, unique and independent layer to the dinner table.  In the past few years, I’ve gone with beers like St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and The Bruery’s 2 Turtle Doves with the main course.  These are complex, spicy, Belgian-style beers that have worked well at the dinner table.  A very different approach, but for those that like to experiment with pairings, I think this is a fun option.  For this round, I’m going to recommend Dry Dock Brewing’s Wee Heavy.

This popular Scotch Ale has pulled in back-to-back medals at the prestigious World Beer Cup.  Look for big, sweet caramel flavors and plenty of malt to make up the base of the beer.  There’s also a bit of dark fruit, chocolate, spices and smoke in the flavor as well.  This 9.5% ABV beer is a slow-sipper, but I’m intrigued by this pairing and looking forward to trying it this year.  This is Dry Dock’s Winter Release and it’s on shelves all over town these days.  Plan on spending around $8 / 22oz. bottle on this one.

Alternative suggestions: Oskar Blues Old Chub, Great Divide Grand Cru, Odell Isolation

But Wait, There’s More!

We’re off to a good start, but the best is yet to come.  DESERT!!!  To quote the Kool-Aid Man, “Oh yeah!”.   Coming up in Part 2, we’ll discuss beers to pair with desert, the perfect nightcap brew and even what to drink with your leftovers while the rest of the world wrestles over  TV’s and iPad’s during the nonsense we like to call “Black Friday”.  Stay tuned.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 11/15/2012

I declare Shenanigans!  In September, the good people at Strange Brewing Company here in Denver, were threatened with a potential lawsuit from Strange Brew Homebrew in Marlboro, MA over the use of the term “Strange Brew”.  You can get all the details in this great article from our friend Jonathan Shikes over at the Denver Westword.

I wasn’t going to chime in on this debate, but I can’t help it, so I’ll try to keep it short.  To me, this just comes off as sad and lame.  Seems like Strange Brew is trying to get a little publicity from the success of Denver’s Strange Brewing Co.  Show your support to the Strange gang by clicking “Like” on Keep Strange Brewing Strange on Facebook.  This page was started by fans of our local brewery and has been keeping people up to date with the latest in this drama filled battle.

This whole situation makes me sad.  I’m not necessarily surprised, just let down that Strange Brew Homebrew isn’t willing to work with Strange Brewing here in Denver to figure this out.  You’re talking about a term that’s been around for ages and is referenced in music, movies and more…  Hey, if Avery and Russian River can settle their differences and collaborate together to brew “Collaboration Not Litigation”, I’m pretty sure these two can come up with a better solution rather than wasting time and money on lawyers…  Stay tuned to watch this one unfold.

Time for something positive.  I found out on Monday that we were nominated for a Westword Web Award in the Best Booze Blog category!  I’m really excited to have made the list of 4-finalists.  Denver Off The Wagon, Fermentedly Challenged and Colorado Wino are also in the running.  Man, am I in good company or what?  All of these sites are run by good people and without a doubt, deserve to win.  I’m just happy to be mentioned.  We’ve come a long way since I started this journey 9-months ago and I can’t Thank You guys enough for your continued support. So Cheers to you!

Alright friends, we’ve got a big weekend to talk about.  Roll Tide!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012.

Beer Craving is gearing up for their first beer festival.  They’ve created Chef N Brew, which will pair 12 locally brewed beers with 12 dishes from local chefs in an event / challenge to come up with the perfect pairing.

Want a teaser of what to expect?  How about Prost Brewing’s Dunkel paired with pasta, handmade meatballs, cheese tortellini, cinnamon custard and savory pie crust from Panzano’s.  Or how about Elevation’s Apis IV Quad, paired with smoked lamb neck shepherd’s pie, with goat cheese whipped potatoes in a honey whole wheat crust.

In addition to the tasting, pairing and competition, there will be a silent auction and raffle. Head over to The Oriental Theatre for this fun and one-of-a-kind event.  Tickets are $49 at the door and the event runs from 6 – 9:30 PM.  More details can be found HERE.  The Oriental Theatre is located at: 4335 W 44th Ave, Denver, CO 80212.  LATE UPDATE – This is now SOLD OUT!

Over at Crooked Stave, Chad’s got another lineup of amazing sour brews pouring in the Barrel Room.

Man, I need to get over and try Cellar Blend #1.  Sounds awesome!  Crooked Stave is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.  720-508-3292.

As for us, we’ll be hitting the Westword Web Awards on Thursday.  This looks to be a pretty sweet event that recognizes writers, photographers, twitterererers, bloggers and just about anybody else covering the great city of Denver via the internets.  The complete list of finalists can be found HERE. Winners will be announced in more than 40 different categories.

Odell Brewing will be pouring #OhMyGourd, a small-batch pumpkin beer, which was brewed specifically for the event.  The tap handle logo was designed by Jeff Herndon, who had his winning creation chosen by Odell in a recent contest.  Awesome design in my opinion.

Despite being an invitation only event, there will be some extra tickets available via the Denver Westword’s Facebook page on Thursday morning.  Get on it if you’re interested and come cheers us on in the “Best Booze Blog” Category.  The Web Awards run from 7 PM – 11 PM at Denver’s RedLine, located at: 2350 Arapahoe Ave, Denver, CO 80205. Wish us luck!

Avery releases the 2012 batch of Czar today at 5 PM.  This big, bold Russian Imperial Stout is a tasty release from their “Dictator Series” and is one of those beers that drinks well both now and later. Don’t be afraid to grab a few for the cellar.

Stop by the Tasting Room and bring some non-perishable food items with you.  You’ll get a 10 oz. pour of Czar for every 3 items you donate.  You’ll also have a shot at winning a 5 gallon keg or 2-cases of Czar.  Good Beer for a Good Cause.  Win / Win.  The Avery Tasting Room is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is open with regular hours!

Hours will be: Thu 4 PM – 10 PM, Fri 4 PM – 12 AM, Sat 2 PM – 12 AM and Sun 2 PM – 10 PM.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.  Stop by and welcome them to Denver!

Friday, November 16th, 2012.

Down in Castle Rock, the Jellyman’s got another of his Deviations ready to roll at Rockyard.  This week, look for “Verbal Warning”, a 6.0% ABV version of their Redhawk Scottish Ale lagered with semi-sweet chocolate.

Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109.  303-814-9273.

Over at Dry Dock, Firkin Master Walt, has brewed a Chestnut Brown Ale.

Tapping’s at 3 PM & 7 PM.  Don’t be late.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Parry’s Pizza in Highlands Ranch is hosting another Pint Night.  They’ll have Odell in the house for this round.

Stop by and try the yummy Haven and Hale Peach Ale and get a pint glass to take home.  Ryan Odell will be in the house handing out Odell swag from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

So you’re in the Parry’s Pizza Ale Yeah club right?  I hope so.  It’s the only way to find out about special tappings and events at Parry’s before they happen!  Oh, and it’s FREE!  There’s a special tapping coming up next Wednesday that Sour-heads won’t want to miss, so get over there and sign up today!  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Saturday, November 17th, 2012.

Turk and The Gubna are headin’ North on Saturday.  They’ll be broadcasting live from the Foeder Forest at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins.

Man, we had a tour of that area earlier this summer and I’m still having funky, sour dreams because of it.  Such a cool place.  New Belgium better lock up the La Folie.  Turk can’t resist that beer.  Tune in and listen live on AM 760 from noon – 2 PM or grab the podcast on their website. LOVE their show!

10 Years of Dale’s Cans?!?!  Nicely done Oskar Blues!  Crazy to think the can movement has grown from OB into more than 200 breweries canning beers in the U.S. today. Head over to the original OB, the OG of cans if you will, for their CANiversary.  On Saturday, stop by their Lyon’s location and raise a pint can to the OB gang.

There’s a concert by The White Buffalo, sorry, it’s sold out…  But, the rest of the party is FREE and runs from 6 PM – midnight.  There’s even a special CANlaboration beer debuting at the party.  OB teamed up with Ska to brew “oSKAr the G’Rauch”, an 8.5% ABV, smoked IPA that will debut in 19.2 oz cans this weekend.

Come on out for some great food, beer, silent disco and more!  Oskar Blues is located at: 303 Main St, Lyons, CO 80540.

Sunday, November 18th, 2012.

And on the 7th Day, He rested (and had beer for breakfast at Copper Kettle Brewing Company). Bourbon Breakfast Stout is back!

On Sunday, Copper Kettle is hosting a breakfast and beer pairing, which will give you the only chance to try last year’s batch of Bourbon Breakfast Stout, alongside this year’s batch.  The $25 ticket includes 3-courses and 4-beers. Stop by the brewery or send them an e-mail (info@copperkettledenver.com) to reserve your spot at either the 9:30 AM or 11 AM meals.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at:  1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC. Oh, and if you can’t attend Sunday’s breakfast, you’ll still have a chance to try this year’s batch. The tapping is scheduled for next weekend.  Keep your browser pointed right here for all the details.

The Littlest Big Beer Fest is back at Denver’s Hops & Pie.  Killer freakin’ lineup this time with the FiftyFifty crew out of Truckee, CA.

Some sick brews will be flowing.  Man (or WoMan) up and order a glass of the Eclipse, aged for 300 days in 12 Yr. Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrels.  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  Their stouts are not for the faint of heart, not easy to find and certainly not to be missed.  Want. To. Drink. The. Eclipse. I. Do.  said Master Yoda in odd, punctuated speak.  LBBF starts at 2 PM.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

That’s it for now friends.  Once again, Thank You for getting us nominated for a Denver Westword’s Web Awards tonight!  Have a great weekend.

Cheers!


Colorado Artisans Collaborate to Debut New Brews in Trendy Glassware

When it comes to appreciating craft beer, glassware is an important, but often overlooked component of the drinking experience.  I’ve always been fascinated by glassware and I’m constantly on the hunt for new and interesting pieces.  If we were to just go grab a beer out of the fridge and drink straight from the bottle, we’d be robbing ourselves of the appearance, aroma and other nuances that the brewer intended for us to enjoy.  Glassware allows us to experience all those little details and unique characteristics found in our craft beer.  After all, as much as 90% of what we taste comes from our sense of smell.

Recently, I came across Offero glassware, when it was featured in BeerAdvocate Magazine earlier this year.

The design blew me away.  It was a completely new take on a very traditional wine glass.

But the Offero wasn’t initially designed with the beer drinker in mind.  Gasp! The first Offero release was actually a coffee mug.

Earlier this year, it was named Best New Product by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.  As the line of coffee cups began taking off, Mitch Bangert, owner and designer of the Offero, had the idea to design a glass for Scotch, Beer and Wine.  Behold the Offero Omnis.

Was it possible that Bangert had reinvented the wheel with his line of Offero glassware?  I needed to find out for myself.  After contacting Bangert and getting the full scoop, I was ready to take it out for a test drive.  Brewtally Insane style.

As you put the glass to your face, your mouth goes on the lowest part of the rim, allowing the tall, curved back of the glass to wrap around your nose, which essentially traps the aromas for your enjoyment.  It’s a modern twist on a classic design and I’m happy to tell you that it really works.

I’ve been testing the glasses for the past few months (a tough job indeed) and I love them!  They’ve quickly become my “Go-To” beer glasses for everyday beer tasting.

If you’re a Denver local, you won’t have to go far to give the Omnis a test drive for yourself.  Just head over to Black Shirt Brewing Co. (BSB), one of Denver’s newest breweries, where they’re using the glassware exclusively in their tasting room.

BSB Co-Founder and Head Brewer Branden Miller says his brewery worked with Bangert and the Offero Omnis to test prototypes before they went into production.  Miller goes on to say BSB believes the Offero Omnis glass is “the best beer glass in the world!”, largely due to the fact that it not only “drives aroma, but directs it in a very precise manner”.

BSB Customers enjoy the Omnis too.  Miller says “Everyone is blown away by them”.  The Omnis have “changed and elevated the experience of drinking a beer at BSB”.  He’s witnessed craft beer drinkers at BSB “stop…and consider what it is that they are smelling and subsequently, the flavors that are coming through”.

I’d highly recommend this glass to any craft beer drinker.  For those of you that enjoy hosting tastings and writing reviews, I’d consider the Omnis to be a “must have” for your glassware collection.  With its’ unique shape, it’s not just a conversation starter, but also a functional and very thoughtfully constructed piece of glassware.

The Omnis come in both stemmed and non-stemmed versions.  A quick search on the internet revealed that a pair of glasses retails in the $21 – $28 range.  Do yourself a favor, save on shipping charges and pick up a set during your next visit to the BSB Tasting Room, where Miller sells them in pairs.

Black Shirt Brewing, one of Denver’s newest breweries to hit the ever-growing craft beer scene, is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  Keep your eyes on our Weekend Beer Buzz for weekly updates on BSB tappings and hours of operation.

Offero is also based out of Colorado and can be reached here: OFFERO Vessels, 58 South Holman Way, Golden, Colorado 80401.

The collaboration of these two up and coming local companies is both exciting to see and a tribute to our amazing craft beer scene.  It’s just another reminder of how lucky we are to live in the great state of Colorado!  So raise a glass and pour yourself a beer to toast these guys.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 11/09/2012

It’s been an interesting week.  We got back an hour of sleep, although my kids still haven’t figured out how to sleep past 5:30 AM…  We survived another election.  I don’t get political on here. Truthfully, I don’t really talk politics at all on here or otherwise.  It’s not my thing.  But, I’m enjoying the fact that the phone calls during dinner, knocks at the door and back stabbing commercials have ceased for the time being.

I spent an afternoon over at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, sipping on a 6-year old Framboise and talking all things beer with owner Kevin DeLange.  Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for a full report on one of Colorado’s top breweries and be sure to stop by Dry Dock this weekend and help them celebrate their 7th Anniversary on Saturday.  Details below.

The weekend’s here.  Let’s rock it!

Friday, November 9th, 2012.

You wanted the hops?  You got the hops!  Kick off your weekend with a visit to Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora.  The Firkin Master’s summoning all of Colorado’s Hop Freaks for his Citra Dry-Hopped Osirus Bitter.

Tappings at 3 PM and 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012.

It’s all about Dry Dock this week.  I can’t help it.  They’ve got an Anniversary this weekend, they’re gearing up to open their Production Facility, they’ve got cans on the way and I’m sipping on their Barrel-Aged Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout as I type this.  If you missed our 2-part interview with Owner / Founder / Brewer Kevin DeLange, click HERE and HERE to get the full scoop on Dry Dock’s Past, Present & Future.  Dry Dock, here’s to 7 awesome years! Help them celebrate on Saturday at their Anniversary Party.

The party starts at noon and runs until…  I guess until they kick you out, which they’re not very good at.  So just plan on sticking around all day and getting a cab home.  Just glancing at this list of beers getting tapped, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong.  2010 Wee Heavy, Sour Apricot and the incredibly tasty Ambassador Sour Ale.  That’s good times right there.  Check out Dry Dock’s 7th Anniversary Party and wish them luck with their new Production Facility and 40 BBL Brewhouse.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

The folks behind The Funk’n Wild Sour Beer Club are back at it again.  This time they’ve wrangled Avery’s Barrel Herder Andy Parker to join the group and talk about and taste all things sour.

Once again, they’ve secured some great beers to share including Crooked Stave’s L’Brett d’Or, Avery’s Dihos Dactylion, New Belgium’s La Folie, Russian River’s Consecration and Bear Republic’s Tartare and that’s just the beginning!  Although I haven’t been able to make it to a meeting yet, I’m loving this group of Sour Beer Enthusiasts.  Fingers crossed I can swing up to Longmont to check it out this time around.

The boys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show will be in the house broadcasting live from this funky event from noon – 2 PM.  Check them out on AM 760.  Somebody buy Turk a La Folie. That boy can’t get enough of that beer.  He’s got good taste.

Stop by Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids from 1 PM – 4 PM and see what Funk’n Wild’s all about.  OB’s HMLS is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80503.  303-485-9400.

Branden and the gang at Black Shirt Brewing are opening their doors once again this Saturday from 3 -8 PM.

Despite their limited hours, Black Shirt Brewing continues to receive positive reviews as they showcase the versatility and complexity of the Red Ale.  If you have the time, I’d recommend getting over there for a visit.  It’s at the top of my list.  Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Lastly, Copper Kettle Brewing Co. will host “A Night of Casks” on Saturday beginning at noon and running until 10 PM.

The Hoppa Fresh Hop hits the hand pumps at noon, with the Imperial Pumpkin Porter going on at 5 PM.  There’s just something about a smooth, flavorful, real cask ale.  Check out this unique twist to CKBC’s brews.  CKBC is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Thursday, November 15th, 2012.

Looking into next week, the Chef N Brew Festival is coming up on Thursday night.

This will pair 12 local breweries with 12 local chefs for an interesting night of tastings and competition.  Come by and see what kind of creative dishes Denver’s top chefs have created to go with beers from Denver’s top breweries like Prost, Crooked Stave and Strange.  This is being held at The Oriental Theatre in Denver.  Tickets are $39 in advance, $49 at the door and can be purchased HERE.

There you have it good people.  Get out and try something new this weekend.  Or something old, that’s fine too.  No matter what it is, have fun and respect your beer.

Cheers!


A Brewer, A Blogger and A Beer at Dry Dock Brewing. Part 2 – The Future.

A brewer, a blogger and a bottle of 6-year old Dry Dock Framboise.  Where could this be headed? Well, when the brewer is Kevin DeLange, founder and owner of Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, good things are bound to happen.  Join us as we talk brews, brewers and breweries and share some tasty brews along the way. (That’s a lot of brew talk and that’s how I like it!)  In Part 1, we discussed Dry Dock’s Past and Present, going all the way back to their opening in 2005 and working up to the release of Bligh’s Barleywine later this year.  In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Future of Dry Dock Brewing into 2013 and beyond.  Grab a beer, err brew and join us!

Going Big, Staying Local.

Looking back over the past 7 years, a move, multiple expansions and two brew systems later, Dry Dock Brewing has reached capacity at their current location at the intersection of Hampden and Chambers in Aurora, CO.  Head Brewer Doug Hyndman and his team of brewers are currently working around the clock just to keep the tap lines flowing in the Tasting Room.  Owners Kevin and Michelle DeLange knew something had to be done if they were going to meet the ever-growing demand for their beer.

Rather than pick up the brewery and move, they made the decision to add a Production Facility to supplement their current 7 BBL operation in the Tasting Room.  Kevin DeLange said they wanted to keep the brewery local, so this past Summer, they purchased a 30,000 square foot location near I-70 and Tower Road to call home for the new Production Facility.

The additional location will be equipped with a larger brew system and a more efficient bottling line to expand their current lineup of 22oz. bombers.  The 40 BBL (1 BBL = 31 gallons) brewhouse, scheduled for delivery during the week of Thanksgiving, will greatly reduce the pressure currently being put on their 7 BBL system in the Tasting Room.

Doug checking out his new toy before it gets shipped to the brewery.

To put things into perspective, Dry Dock brewed roughly 200 BBL’s during their first year of business in 2005.  In 2012, they’re projected to brew 3,200 BBL’s, which will push their current system to the limits and still not meet consumer demand.  With the addition of their 40 BBL brew system, they plan to produce nearly 15,000 BBL’s in 2013.  The brand new brewhouse will allow Dry Dock to brew a 40 BBL batch (1,240 gallons) every 4 hours, while giving them the potential to pump out more than 100,000 BBL’s of beer a year!  They’re hoping to begin brewing on the new system by the end of 2012.

In addition to the new brewhouse, the Production Facility will also feature a canning line that will initially introduce 4 offerings into the Colorado market beginning in early 2013.  Consumers should keep an eye out for 6-packs, plus a mixed 12-pack of Hefeweizen, Hop Abomination, Apricot Blonde and Amber in January 2013.  The “Booty Box” will offer 3 cans of each of the 4 different beers.  The cans will be dated so beer lovers will know they’re getting the freshest beer money can buy.

Roll Out The Barrels!

For the funky, sour beer fans, a 63 BBL Oak Foeder has been acquired from a California Winery, with the specific goal of producing sour and wild beers.  And YES, they have plans to eventually bottle their sours!  WooHoo!  DeLange crunched some numbers and projects that a full batch in the foeder will produce “somewhere around 900 cases of 750 mL bottles”.  Keep in mind, it’s still a long ways away, largely due to the lengthy process and unpredictability of working with wild yeasts, but it IS coming!

While the 40 BBL Production Facility will focus on canning, bottling and kegging their Flagship Beers (Hefeweizen, Double IPA, Vanilla Porter, etc…), the 7 BBL system at the south-Aurora Tasting Room will be utilized for experiments for Tasting Room visitors.  Head Brewer Doug Hyndman and his team of brewers will have the chance to come up with new recipes, including small batch one-offs, lagers, stouts and sours and allow them the opportunity to get creative and try new things.  The 7 BBL system will offer the team a chance to experiment and deviate a bit from Dry Dock’s Flagship lineup.

Some of the beers brewed on the 7 BBL system will be used to expand the Dry Dock Barrel-Aging Program.  The current program consists of more than 50 barrels from a variety of wineries and distilleries.  Some of Dry Dock’s most popular beers such as Bligh’s Barleywine, Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout and The Ambassador Sour, spent time aging and absorbing the characteristics found in the different barrels. The Barrel-Aged brews can spend months and sometimes even years inside the barrels until they are ready to be kegged, bottled or blended together for the final product.

DeLange will have the luxury of moving extra brewing ingredients and tasting room supplies out of the Tasting Room and up to the Production Facility.  By doing so, he’ll free up quite a bit more room in the Tasting Room, which will ultimately allow Dry Dock to grow the barrel room and create even more unique beers in the process.

Collaborations with other breweries is an option DeLange may decide to explore in the near future. He said there’s been “some talk with Troy (Casey) over at AC Golden”.  Despite being owned by MillerCoors, Casey and his Hidden Barrel Project at AC Golden are steadily gaining recognition and respect from craft beer enthusiasts for their complex, barrel-aged sour ales and stouts.  Casey’s first round of bottled sours, was released earlier this year and sold out within minutes.  Just last month at the Great American Beer Festival, AC Golden hauled in a medal for their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout.  While Dry Dock’s focus is clearly on getting their new location up and running, the possibilities certainly seem endless for DeLange and his Dry Dock Team.

A Beer Garden and New Tasting Room in 2014.

Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself “Yeah, but when can I stop by the Production Facility for a beer???”  The north-Aurora Production Facility rests on a 6-acre plot that will be transformed into a Beer Garden sometime in 2014.  The current plans for the project include a dog park, horseshoe pits and even a pond.  The proposed tasting room, also slated to open in 2014, will overlook the brewhouse and production floor, giving beer drinkers a chance to sit back and watch the magic happen while sipping on their favorite pint.  Once the Beer Garden and Tap Room are completed, Delange plans to work with the Colorado Brewers Guild to host and bring a beer festival to Aurora.

When I asked DeLange about his fondest Dry Dock memory, he shared a story about his first trip to the World Beer Cup (WBC) in 2006.  At the time, Dry Dock had only been open for a few months and he decided to enter just two beers for judging in the International Competition.  He assumed that his start-up brewery didn’t stand much of a chance at winning an award at the prestigious competition. So, rather than attend the Brewers Dinner and Awards Ceremony, he decided to sample beers in the lobby and watch the ceremony from a TV outside.  When he heard his H.M.S. Victory ESB announced as a Gold Medal Winner, his initial reaction was “Who stole our name?”.

Within his first year of opening Dry Dock, DeLange had landed a medal at what is essentially the “Super Bowl” of brewery competition and beer judging.  He’d accomplished a feat that some brewers spend a lifetime trying to achieve.  This was just the beginning of what has since become a long list of medals awarded to the brewery and their beers.

In under a decade DeLange has taken Dry Dock from a tiny nano-brewery located behind a homebrew shop and transformed it into one of the nation’s top breweries.  There are great things happening every day at Dry Dock and looking into the future, they show no signs of slowing down. Stop by the Tasting Room this weekend for their Anniversary Party and help them celebrate 7 Years of Great Beers!

Cheers!


A Brewer, A Blogger, and A Beer at Dry Dock Brewing. Part 1 – The First 7 Years.

A brewer, a blogger and a bottle of 6-year old Dry Dock Framboise.  Where could this be headed? Well, when the brewer is Kevin DeLange, founder and owner of Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, good things are bound to happen.  Join us as we talk brews, brewers and breweries and share some tasty brews along the way. (That’s a lot of brew talk and that’s how I like it!)  In Part 1, we’ll discuss Dry Dock’s Past and Present, going all the way back to their opening in 2005 and working up to the release of Bligh’s Barleywine later this year.  In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Future of Dry Dock Brewing into 2013 and beyond.  Grab a beer, err brew and join us!  

Humble Beginnings

Where, oh where does the time go?  It seems like the older I get, the quicker the time passes me by. I noticed it the other day as I was preparing for the upcoming Weekend Beer Buzz.  On my calendar, I had written down the Dry Dock Anniversary Party coming up on November 10th.  When I realized it was their 7th Anniversary, I scratched my head in disbelief.  7 years?!?!  Has it really been 7 years?

My wife and I discovered Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora within the first few months of their opening in 2005 and it didn’t take us long to become adopted as “regulars”.  I can still remember sitting in the original, tiny tasting room, behind The Brew Hut homebrew supply shop, sipping on their small batches of hand-crafted brews.  The Dry Dock of 2005 and 2006 was a family.  A pretty goofy one for sure, but a family nonetheless.  Everyone knew each other and we looked out for one another. Dry Dock came along and filled Aurora’s craft beer void and began producing great beers in the process.

While the small, 800 square foot tasting room, with its’ maximum capacity of 24 people (this may or may not have been exceeded on occasion…) might be extinct, Dry Dock and their beers have risen and gone on to rank among some of the finest in the land.  Walking into Dry Dock these days, one can’t help but notice the wall of awards in the Brewery located at the corner of Hampden and Chambers.

A ton of medals decorate the brewery, coming from a variety of sources, including the Colorado State Fair, Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.

Let’s not forget they were crowned U.S. Small Brewery of the Year in 2009.  This all happened in less than 4 years!

Dry Dock Brewing 2.0

By 2009, Dry Dock had outgrown their humble home behind The Brew Hut and were forced to expand further down in the Aurora strip mall they called home.   They upgraded to a 7 BBL brewhouse and jumped into their current 9,000 square foot location, which gave beer drinkers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy themselves.

Dry Dock brought The Brew Hut with them, which has evolved into the area’s leading retailer for supplies, ingredients and know-how with regards to homebrewing, wine making, cheese making and more.  The new location has also played host to many popular events like the annual Docktoberfest and the Ho Ho Ho Slapdown.

Over the years, owners Kevin and Michelle DeLange have recruited a team of world-class brewers that bring a variety of different beer backgrounds and resumes into the brewhouse.  The Dry Dock brewers keep things interesting for even the most adventurous of beer geeks with an ever rotating selection of seasonals, one-offs, firkins and barrel-aged rarities that supplement their award-winning Flagship lineup of beers.

The team is led by Head Brewer Doug Hyndman, who has previously brewed at Ska and Green Flash.  Hyndman took the reigns at Dry Dock when former Head Brewer Bill Eye departed to open Prost Brewing in Denver earlier this year.  Hyndman has already begun to make a name for himself, by bringing the West Coast to Colorado, with his big, citrusy, hop-centric Double IPA’s.  The delicious flavor of his Hop Abomination (a favorite of mine!), will be squeezed into cans for the first time early next year.  (More on Dry Dock’s entrance into the canning business in Part 2).

For Dry Dock’s weekly Firkin Friday releases, Brewer / Firkin Master Walt Chleva has been given carte blanche to come up with new and interesting batches of beers for the Friday afternoon tappings.  He tries to pair his releases with the seasons and looks to “use local ingredients as much as possible”.

Many of the beers don’t make it past the first hour of getting tapped on Friday evenings.  Not much of a surprise considering he’s created beers like Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA and his personal favorite, Toasted Coconut Porter.  In the Toasted Coconut Porter, Chleva says he “uses a pound of hand toasted coconut for each firkin”, which he’s happy to point out, “makes my house smell great!”.

Although not every beer is a sure-fire winner, (Wasabi Rice Pale anyone?) and he’s still fine tuning his Maple Bacon Amber Ale recipe, but the majority of his Firkins leave Dry Dock customers thirsting for more.  In the past month alone, he’s released a Boysenberry Sour, Madagascar Vanilla Bean Porter and a Cherry Belgian Blonde.  He’s already looking towards next Summer, when he’s hoping to “make a Palisade Peach Ale and maybe a Fresh Hop Firkin”.

Do yourself a favor and get over to Dry Dock on a Friday to see what he’s brewed for the week.  Keep up to date with what Chleva has planned by checking our Weekend Beer Buzz.  Firkin Friday Tappings occur at 3 PM and 7 PM.  Don’t be late or you might get stuck listening to your friends tell you about the one that got away.

Going Big With Bligh’s

Dry Dock’s flagship lineup, which consists of USS Enterprise IPA, Apricot Blonde, HMS Victory Amber, Breakwater Pale Ale, Vanilla Porter, Double IPA and Hefeweizen, continue to draw in appreciative craft beer drinkers and regularly introducing new palates to Colorado’s craft beer movement.  Dry Dock also continues to deliver the goods with their big, experimental, boundary pushing, world-class releases.

Take for example, last year’s inaugural release of Bligh’s Barleywine, an English Barleywine, aged in Stranahan Whiskey Barrels.  Bligh’s was so well received by craft beer aficionados that it catapulted the beer onto the “Top 100 Beers on Planet Earth” as ranked by BeerAdvocate.com.

Later this year, Dry Dock will release a new batch of Bligh’s Barleywine in 22oz. bombers.  This highly anticipated, 10% ABV English Barleywine has spent the past year in Colorado Whiskey Barrels, absorbing notes of vanilla, oak and caramel along the way.  DeLange was kind enough to pull a nail from one of the many barrels housing Bligh’s and share a sample of this year’s batch.  You’re not going to want to miss this one!

With a target release date of 12/15/12, it’s the perfect beer to warm up with at the end of a cold, winter day.  In addition to 22oz. bombers, Bligh’s will also be pouring in the Tap Room for a limited time. Sorry, but NO Growler fills, in order to allow as many people as possible to try this extremely popular beer.

From There to Here, But Now Where?

In 7 years, Dry Dock has gone from a nano-brewery in the back of a homebrew supply shop to one of the top breweries in the nation.  But what’s next for Kevin and Michelle DeLange and their team of skilled brewers and dedicated employees?  Check back soon for Part 2 as we continue our chat with Kevin DeLange and talk about what lies ahead for the Aurora-based brewery.  This is BIG!  Trust me, you won’t want to miss this!

Cheers!