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Archive for December, 2012

Brewtally Insane Best of 2012: Beers, Breweries and Beer Bars

2012.  What a year!  Certainly a HUGE year for beer!  With more than two dozen breweries opening in Colorado this year, there were plenty of new and interesting brews that were introduced into our market.  It’s not easy for a beer geek to keep up with everything…

We did our best to try them all and my liver hates me for it.  But have no fear, all this “research” has good purpose.  There was no way we could have tried everything out there, but here’s some of our personal favorites from 2012.  While I didn’t take availability into account, we did have a few rules that each beer had to meet: 1. available in either bottles or cans.  2. a new release in 2012.  3. made right here in Colorado.

Without further ado, here’s our list of favorite beers, breweries and beer bars from the past year.

10. Odell Brewing – The Meddler

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Big woody notes combine with tart cherries and plums to round out this complex Flanders Oud Bruin.  Such a tasty style that seems to be making a bit of a comeback.  Odell has been rolling out great sours since the emergence of Friek last year and this is a great addition to their already impressive lineup.

9. Oskar Blues Brewery – Deviant Dale’s IPA

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Not only did Oskar Blues give us an IPA this year, but they put it in those big ass 16 oz. cans!  Who do I need to thank for this great gift?  Plenty of grapefruit, caramel, pine and citrus hops galore.  Best addition to the OB family since TEN Fidy.

8. Prost Brewing – Hefeweizen

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We all knew Bill Eye was an amazing brewer, but I don’t think any of us knew German lagers could be sooo damn tasty.  I love the entire Prost lineup, but the Hefeweizen is pretty special.  Fruity, flavorful, refreshing and light enough to make it a sessionable beer.  In addition to being on tap at a variety of restaurants and bars, look for growlers of this tasty brew at liquor stores throughout the Denver area.  Delish!

7. New Belgium – Lips of Faith Tart Lychee

A three-year old wild ale was mixed with lychee fruit and cinnamon to create a unique combination for New Belgium’s summertime Lips of Faith release.  It turned out to be the perfect “lighter” sour brew for the warm summer months.  I liked it so much, I greedily snagged a keg for myself.  I hope they keep this tasty offering in regular rotation.

6. Trinity Brewing – Oh Face Saison Provisional

I credit my wife, Mrs. Insane, with finding this one.  While I was filling my cup with Trinity’s phenomenal sours during GABF, she was discovering Oh Face.  This is another beer in their “Office Space” series, which also includes TPS Report and the upcoming Red Swingline Stapler.  Oh Face is a sensory adventure with plenty of Bretty funk, fruit, cardamom, pepper, coriander, yeast and more.  Another complex masterpiece from our favorite brewery down in the Springs.

5. Funkwerks – Deceit

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The 2012 Small Brewery of the Year just seems to get better and better.  Deceit is a classic Belgian-style Tripel with flavors of tropical fruit, spices and hops.  Look for more interesting one-off’s and seasonals to come out of this Fort Collins brewery in 2013.

4. AC Golden Brewing – Hidden Barrel Apricot

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Low production numbers, a high price tag and no distribution for AC Golden’s first bottled release. Yet, it still managed to tie up phone lines with orders and sold out on the same day it hit store shelves.  And for good reason.  It’s full of sour apricot, barnyard funk and oak.  Hopefully we’ll continue to see more interesting bottles and expanded distribution from AC Golden in 2013.

3. Elevation Beer Co. – Apis IV

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Elevation’s first bottled release was a delicious, complex Belgian-style Quadrupel, that was much more authentic Belgian than American knockoff.  Although Elevation may or may not brew this beer again, they’re clearly on the right track and I’m looking forward to more greatness from them in the years to come.  Awesome beer.

2. Avery Brewing – Uncle Jacob’s Stout

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This 17% ABV Imperial Stout, debuted in April as the 2nd release in Avery’s Annual Barrel Series. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak and booze make up this sticky, sweet stout.  Look for another batch to be released sometime in 2013.  Be sure you don’t miss out!

1. 2012 Beer of the Year: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Persica055

I could have easily picked 5 beers from Crooked Stave to make this list.  They’re just that good. But for me, Persica was the standout and my pick for best Colorado Beer of 2012.  Unfortunately, the only way to try this one was by being a member of Crooked Stave’s 2012 Cellar Reserve, having a generous friend who’s in the Cellar Reserve or were lucky enough to snag a sample at Avery’s Sour Fest.  Ripe peaches and oak mix for this fruity, sour gem.  It’s a shame only a few hundred bottles were made, but the good news is that it’ll be making a return in 2013 to members of the Cellar Reserve.  It’s not too late to sign up, so don’t miss out.

Best Colorado Breweries of 2012

1.  Avery Brewing – Not only do they offer a solid lineup of year round beers, but their seasonals and occasional Barrel-Aged releases are second to none.  The Barrel-Aged series has become so popular, that the releases have turned into mini-festivals at the brewery, where Avery taps unique and hard-to-find beers just for the occasion.  Combine their great beers with their annual Anniversary Party, Sour Fest, IPA Fest and Strong Ale Fest and the new brewery which is expected to open in 2014, and it’s easy to see why Avery Brewing is our favorite brewery of 2012.

2.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Wild Wild Brett Indigo, L’Brett D’Or, Nightmare on Brett, Persica and they even managed to bring Cantillon’s Zwanze Day to Colorado.  Phenomenal job all around!

3.  Odell Brewing – They make some of our favorite CO beers including Friek, Myrcenary and Bourbon Barrel Stout.  I could sit in their tasting room all day, play a little cornhole or just watch the world go by on the patio.  Thank you Odell for another great year of events, tappings and bottled releases.

Best Denver Area Beer Bars of 2012

1.  Parry’s Pizza – Epic tap takeovers, pint nights, great food and a friendly and knowledgable staff made Parry’s our favorite place to sip a pint outside of a brewery in 2012.  Three locations around the Denver area, with more on the way!

2.  The Rackhouse Pub – Aside from great beer, great food and multiple beer events throughout the year, The Rackhouse shares the roof with Stranahan’s Whiskey.  Stop by for a tasting and tour of the distillery, stick around for a bite to eat and a locally brewed craft beer.

3.  Falling Rock Tap House – The classic Denver tap house.  They get the good stuff the for the geeks and always seem to have something special on draft.

Three Colorado Breweries to Watch in 2013

1.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – More barrels, more bottles, a coolship and a brewery at The Source.  Look out!

2.  Dry Dock Brewing – A new production facility, new brewhouse, a 63-BBL foeder, canning line and expanded distribution.  I’m in!

3.  Black Shirt Brewing – I’ve admittedly only tried 3 of BSB’s brews, but if that’s any indication of what’s to come, Denver’s in for a treat in 2013.

With so many great beers, breweries and beer bars around town, this wasn’t an easy list to compile and sadly, many deserving beers didn’t make it.  What were your favorites from 2012?  Leave a comment on our Facebook Page and share with us.

As 2012 draws to a close, I cant wait to see what lies ahead for the Colorado Beer Scene in 2013. It’s an exciting time to be a craft beer lover.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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Weekend Beer Buzz 12/27/2012

Well, we survived the “apocalypse”.  Good job people.  I’m proud of you.

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We went from “the end of the world” right into “the most wonderful time of the year”. Yep, Christmas is here.  I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday.  Did you see our recent post about some of the more complex and unique Christmas brews on the market?  Be sure to check it out HERE and feel free to share your favorites on our Facebook page.

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It’s a pretty quiet week in the world of beer.  I’m off work for a few days, so it’ll be a quick update. After all, I’ve got pirate ships and talking puppies to play with.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Down at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s releasing “Ball Dropper” for this week’s Deviation.  This is an Eis’d Belgian Red Dark Strong.  Jellyman describes this as “truly a fine ale for a world that was supposed to END!  11% ABV.  Think dark fruit and molasses meets good ole funk!”

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

Dry Dock Brewing has a Raspberry Brown Ale ready to roll out for Firkin Friday.

Head over and grab a pint at 3 PM & 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Turk and the Gubna will be broadcasting live from Arvada Beer on Saturday.  That’s right, stop by for a pint and catch the Colorado Craft Beer Show for their monthly broadcast in old town Arvada.

Even if you can’t make it out to Arvada Beer for the live broadcast, be sure to tune into AM760 at noon to catch all the latest brew news.  Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-467-2337.

Over on the FM side, Gary V’s back with American Craft Beer Radio.

He’ll be broadcasting live on Saturday at noon from the Dry Dock Brewing Company in their barrel room.  Tune into 102.3 FM at noon to get the latest updates in the world of craft beer.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.

Copper Kettle Brewing Company’s releasing their Winter Spiced Ale on Saturday at noon.

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Guess two out of the three spices used in the recipe and you’ll win a free growler! Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Denver’s Renegade Brewing will tap their Black Gold on New Year’s Eve at 6 PM.

This is the annual release of their peanut butter stout.  Don’t miss out on this tasty, sweet stout.  Tapping’s at 6 PM.  Renegade Brewing is located at: 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204.  720-401-4089.

Prost Brewing’s having a New Year’s Eve Party.  For $23.15, you’ll get plenty of Prost Bier, a toast at midnight, German buffet and party favors.

The party starts at 7 PM.  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th Ave, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Just down the street, Denver Beer Co. has their own New Year’s shindig planned.

They’ll have plenty of tasty brews flowin’ along with a firkin of Chocolate Graham Cracker Porter at midnight.  Denver Beer Co. is located at: 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-433-2739.

New Brews

We’ve got some great new brews hitting right now.  This week we had Elevation’s Downpour Imperial Red Ale show up in the Denver area.

This is a 7.5% ABV hop-forward red.

Also hitting right now is Ska’s Vinifera Stout.

Vinifera Stout is an 8% ABV, oak aged foreign style stout brewed with Malbec grapes.

That’s it for the Weekend Beer Buzz.  Have a great weekend and be safe on New Year’s Eve.

Cheers!


Crafty Christmas Beers of the World

The holidays are here and it’s my favorite time of year for beer!  Soooo many great beers come out during the winter months.  I love it.  My wallet hates it.  I wanted to share some of my favorite Holiday Seasonals with you, but thought I’d offer a few that you might not be all that familiar with.

Most Colorado craft beer fans know about Great Divide’s Hibernation, Odell’s Isolation and Avery’s Old Jubilation, but what about those crazy Belgian’s and their wacky beers?  And what’s going on outside of Colorado?  Well, I thought I’d take some of the confusion out of the equation and break down a few of those other, maybe lesser known beers that are out there right now.

Here’s a few suggestions to share with those wine snobs in your family, your drunk uncle or just to help get you through dinner with the in-laws.  Whatever your situation is, here’s a guide to some of our favorite holiday brews.

Brasserie d’Achouffe – N’Ice Chouffe

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The little gnomes from the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium know how to make a great beer.  N’Ice Chouffe pours a deep, dark brown with a 2-finger, off-white head and huge carbonation.  Notes of dark fruits, candi sugar, orange peel and Belgian yeast dominate the nose, while the flavors take on raisins, cinnamon, oranges, biscuit and malt.  A lovely winter brew that will age for 2-3 years.  In fact, the bottle has an “enjoy by” date two years out from the original bottling.  750 mL bottles retail for $10 – $12. Score: 3.75 / 5

Brasserie Fantôme – Fantôme De Noel

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Another Belgian classic, this one from brewer Dany Prignon and his quaint, farmhouse brewery in the small town of Soy, Belgium.  Fantôme De Noel pours a hazy, copper color with a 3-finger tan head and moderate lacing around the glass.  The aroma is fresh fruit (apples, cherries, pears), earth, oak and a touch of hops.  The flavor brings out more fruit and candied apples, biscuit and like most Fantôme beers, there’s a bit of funk as well.  The carbonation is crazy on this one and mine was a gusher.  Folks, have your glass(es) ready!  750 mL bottles retail for $12 – $15.  Score: 3.5 / 5

P.S. All of the Fantôme beers are corked.  My wife and I opened this one at the “haunted” Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and I forgot the corkscrew!  Oops.  Don’t be me!

Brouwerij Het Anker – Gouden Carolus Noël

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Founded in 1471!  Are you kidding me?!?!  Belgium has some serious brewing history.  Why must it be sooo far away from the U.S.?  The Noël pours a hazy, ruby-red with a one-finger, tan head.  The aroma is raisins, plums, malt, caramel and anise.  The flavor is on the spicy side with notes of caramel, cinnamon, anise, brown sugar, cherries, dates and other dark fruits.  An interesting sipper for sure and one that opens up and becomes more complex as it warms.  Personally, I enjoy the subtleness of the spices.  All too often American breweries over spice and almost “dumb down” their beers for us, whereas Belgian breweries are masters at creating layer upon layer of complexity for us to seek out and discover.  This one is no exception.  A nice 10% ABV brew that should age well for 2-4 years.  This one goes for $4 – $6 per 11.2 oz bottle or $12 – $15 for 750 mL bottles.  Score: 4.25 / 5

Brasserie Dupont – Avec Les Bons Vœux

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This next one from Belgium is a Saison from Brasserie Dupont.  Dupont is a master of the Saison style and this is their 9.5 % ABV Winter release.  Avec Les Bons Vœux translates to “With Best Wishes”.  The beer pours a cloudy yellow color, with a huge, 4-finger white head.  The aroma is lemon, Belgian yeast, earthy hops and pepper, while the flavor has notes of lemons, peaches, apricots, pepper, spices and sweet malt.  This is a beautifully balanced, almost champagne-like beer.  Xmas morning beer-mosas anyone?  Light and dry, it’s a great beer for the non-craft drinkers, yet complex enough to keep the sophisticated drinker interested.  Hard to believe it packs a 9.5% ABV punch, as the alcohol is very well hidden.  A 750 mL bottle will run you $11 – $14.  Score: 3.5 / 5

Brauerie Schloss Eggenberg – Samichlaus

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Samichlaus, which translates to “St. Nick”, is a monster of a holiday beer.  This comes in at a whopping 14% ABV and for a long time, held the title of being the World’s Strongest Lager.  It’s brewed only once a year on December 6th and spends the next 10 months aging.  Samichlaus pours a clear, dark amber color with a tiny, quickly diminishing head.  Looks more whiskey than beer. Huge notes of caramel, raisins, cherries, brown sugar and leather in the nose.  The high ABV gives the taste an expectedly warming and boozy feel with notes of dark fruits, honey, nuts, vanilla and rum.  Samichlaus is a thick, syrupy brew with a sticky, full mouthfeel.  Very tasty and a great candidate to cellar away for a few years.  11.2 oz bottles run $4 – $6.  Score: 4 / 5

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Noel de Calabaza

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Jolly Pumpkin is a Michigan-based brewery, well known for making some funky, yet very approachable sour beers. Noel de Calabaza is a winter release that pours a dark ruby-red color, with a  4-finger!, foamy, tan head.  The aroma dances with sour cherries, oak, brown sugar and pepper. The flavor is moderately tart with notes of dark fruits, vinegar, oak and a touch of spices.  A very nice gateway beer into the world of sours, that also ages well.  750 mL bottles sell for $13 – $16.  I wouldn’t call this one a “gusher”, however a slow, steady stream of foam poured out of my bottle for 5+ minutes.  Score: 4 / 5

The Lost Abbey – Gift of the Magi

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This unique, Brettanomyces-based brew from The Lost Abbey in California is a funky, Farmhouse / Biere de Garde. Gift of the Magi is a 10% ABV brew that pours a hazy, copper color with a 3-finger, bubbly tan head.  The aroma is all fruit here with loads of pineapple, pear, apricots and apples.  In the back, you can pick out caramel, malt and a touch of funk.  The flavor is expectedly sweet and fruity with caramel apples, bread and a small dose of hops.  Very dry mouthfeel that leaves you wanting more.  Another candidate for cellaring, I’ve had some nice ones in the 2-3 year range.  750 mL bottles sell for $12 – $15.  Score: 3.75 / 5

Hair of the Dog – Doggie ClawsDSC_0513

This Oregon brewery is known for their deep, rich Old Ales and Strong Ales.  Doggie Claws, is an American Barleywine that is released every November.  Reader beware, this is NOT available in Colorado.  This one’s for the beer traders, pac-NW travelers or beer freaks that have creative ways of getting ahold of beers that aren’t distributed to our great state.  In other words, it’s going to take a little more work to track one of these down.  I’ve also seen it for sale online from liquor stores that are willing to pack and ship.  Is it worth it?  Let’s find out.

2010 vintage.  Doggie Claws pours a cloudy orange color, with a 1-finger, sandy head.  Light carbonation comes up through the beer and leaves a touch of lacing around the glass.  The aroma is super sweet with loads of toffee, rum-soaked raisins, leather, oak and a bit of bourbon.  The taste brings out notes of leather, tobacco, brown sugar, booze and caramel.  Another great candidate for the cellar.  Over time the hops will drop out and the rich flavors will blend together like a fine wine. Plan on shelling out $5 – $7 for a 12 oz. bottle.  Score: 4.5 /5

De Dolle Brouwers – Stille Nacht

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I saved my favorite for last.  De Dolle Brouwers or “The Mad Brewers” out of Esen, Belgium, releases Stille Nacht annually to ring in the holiday season.  This was actually distributed to CO at one point (as was Hair of the Dog mentioned above), but for one reason or another, hasn’t made it out here in a good 5 years or more.  I’ve previously ordered bottles at Falling Rock Tap House, but I’ve got a feeling those days are over.  Regardless, it’s distributed to quite a few states and if you happen to be traveling or have a way to get some, I highly recommend it.

Stille Nacht pours a rusty-brown color with a two-finger, creamy, off-white head.  Slow carbonation rises through the beer and leaves a thick coating of lace around the glass.  The aroma is a combination of oak, candi sugar, figs, apple and funky Belgian yeast.  The taste is sweet and is layered with apple, honey, cherries, cinnamon, port wine and the ever so slightest hint of sour.  Stille Nacht is ridiculously complex and only gets better as it warms.  It’d be tough to put this into a category, but it bounces between an English Barleywine and a Belgian Quad.  Words just can’t do justice to this beer.  Get out and track one down for yourself.  It’s also another for the cellar.  I’ve had bottles aging for 7+ years and they’re still holding up well.  11.6 oz. bottles sell in the $6 – $7 range.  Score: 5 / 5

I hope this list gives you a reason to try something new this holiday season.  There are hundreds and hundreds of great beers to reach for during this time of year and this list is by no means complete. Stop by our Facebook Page and share what you’re drinking during the winter months.  Aside from the last two picks, all of these beers were purchased in the Denver area.  Head to the better beer store in your neck of the woods and try them out for yourself.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz: Doomsday Edition 12/20/2012

Great week here in Colorado.  Busy, but it’s that time of year.  We hit the Denver Only Beer Festivus last weekend.  Awesome, awesome event.  Big shout out to Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe Denver for putting on such a kick ass event.  Get the full scoop and a ton of pics from the Mrs. and I right HERE.

So with the end of the world upon us, I highly suggest you put down the PBR and reach for something a little more sophisticated this weekend.  I’m just saying…  Whether or not you think Doomsday is actually going to rear its’ ugly head on 12.21, you’ll have plenty of great drinking options to choose from on what could be your last night on this big blue planet.

No time to lose.  There’s beer to be drank and zombies to be killed.  (In that order).

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Dry Dock Brewing is at it again and Firkin Master Walt has brewed up a batch of Peppermint Porter for this week’s Firkin Friday.

Just in time for xmas.  Head over and grab a pint at 3 PM & 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s releasing “CranBlaaager” for this week’s Deviation.

He describes it as a “Nicely balanced mead/Munich Helles with a clean finish and cranberry notes floating in and our of perception.  If the end is near then this is just the ticket.”  Tapping at 4 PM. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Our friends over at Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew are hosting a Winter Celebration & Food Drive from 4 PM – 12 AM.

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Donate two non-perishable food items on Friday and they’ll give you a free OMF stemmed glass with the purchase of a beer.  Click HERE for more details and a list of items they’re looking for.  This is awesome glassware that’ll be a great addition to your collection.  Or maybe you get one and gift it to the writer of one of your favorite blogs since he can’t make it.  Wait, what?  How’d that get in there?!?  Seriously though, this is a great deal and they’ve only got 100 glasses to go around, so don’t miss out.  Limit 1 glass per person.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Just down the road at Black Shirt Brewing Co., they’ll have plenty of tasty Red Ales pouring for you on Friday night.

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They’ll open at 4 PM so you can “drink red before you’re dead”.  BSB was my pick for best beers at the recent Denver Beer Festivus and I can’t wait to check them out to try more.  Black Shirt Brewing Co. is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Over in Highlands Ranch, Parry’s Pizza is gearing up for their End of the World Party on Friday.

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They’ll be pouring Doomsday-inspired brews along with firkins from Oskar Blues and Odell.  Stop by for a very cool “Last Supper” influenced menu and songs about the end of the world.  I’m interested to see how far they went with their playlist.  I came up with a list of tunes that hint at the end of the world and there are quite a few out there.  I mean R.E.M.’s cute and all, but there are some really good ones that aren’t so obvious, ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Medeski, Martin & Wood.  The fun starts at 6 PM at Parry’s Pizza Highlands Ranch – 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 and in Castle Rock – 5650 Allen Way, Castle Rock, CO 80108.

For our friends down south, get your butts over to Trinity for the Little Death Ride Release & Death Costume Party.

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This is a collaboration beer made with John Schneider of Black Fox Brewing.  Little Death Ride is a “Super Saison” brewed with a slew of Mayan ingredients, with everything from red Aji chiles to pumpkin to wild white cinnamon and more and finally aged in clay pots.  Put your zombie costume on and grab some Little Death Ride.  They’ve got 1 and ONLY 1 keg that’ll be getting tapped at 5 PM.  They’ll also have 750 mL bottles available.  If we survive, there’s a toast planned at midnight. Trinity Brewing is located at: 1466 Garden of the Gods Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.  719-634-0029.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Uhm, what?  We’re closed Dummy!  The world’s gone to crap and the Zombie Apocalypse has arrived!  Every man / woman / zombie for themselves.  Did you make it?  Then get your ass over to Right Coast Pizza for their Apocalypse Survival Bonfire Bash.

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They’ll have 18 beers pouring from Great Divide & Ska along with Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and plenty of food.  The party runs from 6 PM – 11:30 PM.  Right Coast Pizza is located at: 7100 W 38th St, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.  303-431-6077.

Copper Kettle Brewing Company will be pouring their Bourbon Breakfast Stout on Cask on Saturday.

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There’s no comments needed.  This is a great beer that speaks for itself, so I repeat: Bourbon Breakfast Stout on Cask on Saturday.  Done deal.  Head to Copper Kettle Brewing Company at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Post Apocalyptic Brew News

New Belgium’s got a new Lips of Faith in the works.

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Cascara Quad is a Belgian-style Quad brewed with date sugar and blended with the fruit that surrounds coffee beans (called cascara).  No release date yet.

That’s it for this round guys.  Have a good weekend, stay safe and I hope this isn’t my last blog… Signing off for now.

Cheers!


Miracles Happen At The Denver Only Beer Festivus!

We had the opportunity to attend the Denver Only Beer Festivus last Saturday.  This is a new (and hopefully recurring) beer festival that was presented by Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe Denver. The event was held at the recently renovated McNichols Building at Civic Center Park in Denver and featured ONLY Denver breweries (all 18 of them!).  Despite having sold out weeks ago, the inaugural Festivus had no lines, great beer, a DJ and dance area, plenty of room to move about and brewers working their booths and supporting their craft beers.  At one point, my wife whispered in my ear “This might be my new favorite beer festival”.  It was truly a Festivus Miracle!

TRVE Brewing just keeps getting better and better.  Owner / Brewer Nick Nunns was pouring Diotima, a Smoked Tea Saison and Stout O))), a thick and roasty American Stout.  Stop by the brewery and give these brews a try if you haven’t already.  Stout O))) was one of my favorite beers of the night.  It’s a hearty brew and perfect for those cold winter nights that lie ahead.

Crooked Stave brought the funk and crushed it as usual.  No shocker there.  Amazing brews.

There was a Yeti sighting at the Great Divide table.  They brought Oak-Aged Yeti, Titan IPA, Hibernation Ale and their upcoming Belgian Tripel called Orabelle.  Keep an eye out for Orabelle in 12oz. bottles sometime in January.

Prost is awesome, but you already knew that.

Strange Brewing always brings a great lineup and the Festivus was no exception.  Head Brewer Tim Myers brought his “Beers Made By Walking” release called Eldorado Juniper Bel-Jin Dark, along with the very tasty Pumpkin Porter and Le Bruit du Diable Farmhouse Ale.

I geek’d out for a good 20 minutes at the River North Brewery table.  They brought some big and impressive beers for all the geeks in the house.  They were pouring a barrel-aged version of Avarice (Belgian-style Imperial Stout), along with Quandary (Quadrupel) and Hoppenberg Uncertainty Principle (Belgian-style Double IPA).  Awesome stuff.

The standout of the night for me was Black Shirt Brewing and their Imperial Red Rye IPA.  This a hop heads wet dream.  Man, I was blown away by this beer with its’ full and complex flavor profile.  I also tried their Saison and Red Ale, both of which were really tasty.  There was reportedly a keg of Red Hubbard Squash Saison, but it was so popular that they ran out before I got a pour.

Black Shirt Brewing Co-Owner Branden Miller has been really helpful with providing information and answering questions for the blog and it was nice to finally meet and taste his beers.  Guys, I’m excited about this one.  Black Shirt Brewing looks to be the real deal.  Miller said that going forward, they plan to open every Saturday, so check the Weekend Beer Buzz for updates on what they’ll be pouring in the Tap Room.

And that’s just a few of the many great breweries that were in attendance at the Festivus.  Don’t forget Our Mutual Friend, CAUTION, Denver Beer Co., Wynkoop, Wit’s End, Renegade and on and on! Denver is lucky to have so many great, young brewers that are crafting some awesome beers these days. It’s really impressive to see so many high quality beers coming out of places that are so new to the brewing community.  I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in 5 years.

So that’s just a quick recap on the Festivus scene and the many great beers that were flowing. Again, awesome, awesome time.  Thanks again to Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe Denver for hosting a great event.  Now, on to the pictures.

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Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 12/13/2012

Howdy Beer Freaks!  How was 12.12.12?  I spent the night in a haunted hotel drinking spooky beers. Anybody have any tasting stories or notes to share about the Stone Vertical Epic series?  Falling Rock Tap House held a 03.03.03 through 12.12.12 tasting.  I’m holding my tasting later this month or early next month.  I’m really curious to see how these have held up.  Drop us a note on our Facebook page to share your experience.

Quick update this weekend.

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora has a Cocoa-Weizen planned for this week’s Firkin Friday release.

First batch hits at 3 PM, followed by another batch at 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s releasing a Deviation called “Parli-Funki-Fication”.

Copper in color, spicy and fruity in the nose, with a malt forward, tangy farmyard funkiness.  They’ll be givin’ up the funk at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe have joined forces to bring us the Denver Only Beer Festivus on Saturday.

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19 Denver Breweries, local vendors, food trucks and live music.  This should be a blast. Unfortunately, it sold out quickly.  It was announced during GABF in mid-October and tickets were gone by early November.  We’ll be there and hope to see you there too.  The Festivus is being held at the recently renovated McNichol’s Building in Civic Center Park at 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO. The fun runs from 2 PM – 6 PM, with an after party featuring Great Divide at 6:30 PM.  More details on the Festivus and After Party can be found HERE.

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Copper Kettle Brewing Company in Denver is hosting “Pints and Painting” on Sunday from 2 PM – 5 PM.

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My wife “dragged” me to some sort of “Canvas and Cocktails” deal a few weeks ago and I gotta admit, it was a a lot of fun.  The beer sucked, I actually drank wine.  Gasp!  Copper Kettle on the other hand, has awesome beer.  So I can only imagine how much fun this is going to be.

Let your creative side shine as you’re walked through step-by-step instructions on how to create your own masterpiece of the chosen painting for the night.  I’m telling you guys, the ladies love it and it’s actually a lot of fun.  Not to mention, it’s at a brewery!  What more could you ask for?

Reservations are $35, which includes all materials, instruction and your first beer.  Click HERE for more details.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St, #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

That’s it for this round.  Have fun this weekend.

Oh, and if you’re out beer huntin’ this weekend, Westvleteren probably came and went by the time you read this.  Buy yourself some St. Bernardus Abt 12 and close your eyes.  You’ll never know the difference.

But, AC Golden’s Ctayt, barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout is hitting shelves right now.  This GABF medal-winner is limited to 1344 bottles.

Check the latest round of New Beers and Beer News for more new brews to watch for.

Good luck beer hunters.  And Be Nice to each other!  No chinese finger traps, feces throwin’ monkeys, tazers or anything like that.  It’s only beer people!  Great beer, but it’s still only beer.

Cheers!


Stone’s Vertical Epic Series Culminates At Falling Rock On 12.12.12

12.12.12.  It just sounds Epic.  It’s big and bad and has a lot of 12’s.  Well, it’s HERE!  12.12.12. is tomorrow!  No, it’s not the end of the world, that’s next week.  12.12.12 marks the end of an era. The end of the Stone Vertical Epic Series.  You know, the one that started way back in 02.02.02 when Stone decided to put 300 or so cases out and kick off a decade long journey exploring a variety of beer styles along the way.

The idea was simple.  Stone would release one beer per year in the series, each release coming 1 day, 1 month and 1 year after the previous release.  Beer nerds would buy a bottle and cellar it until 12.12.12, when the whole collection was meant to be tasted together.  Very cool concept. It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to trying for years, picking up the many releases along the way.

Collecting the entire set turned out to be more than a little difficult.  I’ve actually tracked down all but the elusive 02.02.02 and I’m ok with that.  For one, 02.02.02 is a Witbier, which is typically not a style of beer that ages very well.  For another, it comes with a hefty price tag.  In the past few years, bottles have popped up on various online sites for $500+.  Think of all the amazing beer you can buy with $500 and then compare it to one bottle of a 10-year-old Witbier.  A little hard to pull the trigger don’t ya think?

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With the craft beer explosion that has occurred over the past few years, it’s a safe bet that a lot of craft beer enthusiasts don’t have the earlier releases.  If you find yourself in this boat, but still want to try the series, Falling Rock Tap House in Denver is here to help.

On Wednesday, 12.12.12, Falling Rock will have Stone Rep Chris Cantrell in the house and they’ll be tapping the entire lineup, except for 02.02.02.  I told you that was one elusive little bastard… Flights of 03.03.03 through 12.12.12 will be available beginning at 1:12 PM for $25.

Or for you high society types, Falling Rock will have a VIP option, with the same beers flowing, but paired with 5 appetizers, beginning at 6 PM.  In addition to the Epic Series, they’ll also have 3 barrel-aged variants available for VIP attendees.  Both events are ticketed ($25 for the flight, $60 with the appetizers) and expected to sell out.

Don’t miss out on this truly once in a lifetime event.  Stop by and get your tickets before they’re gone. Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

And if you go, be sure to let me know what you think of the beers.  I’ve got a group tasting planned which unfortunately won’t happen until later this month or next.  That is unless, the end of the world really happens on 12.21.12…  Hmm, might have to reschedule that tasting.

Cheers!


New Beers and Beer News 12/10/2012

Beer News!  Beer News!  Get Yer Beer News Here!  We’ve got a million-and-one things to talk about in the beer world and there’s no time to lose.  In fact, this monster update is sooo big, I’m cutting this sucker in half.  So here’s part 1.  Ready, Set, Go!

New Beers

First up, we’ve got lots of new brews and brew labels to talk about.

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora just released Bligh’s Barleywine.  Daddy snagged one Sunday morning during the release at the Brewery.  I briefly spoke with one of their in-house distributors and he said bottles will begin hitting local stores on Monday.

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Such a great beer.  We popped a ’11 at the release and it’s drinking nicely as well.  Although, I think I prefer it fresh.  Just my opinion.  Either way, get some.  It’s tasty.  This is going for $20 / 22oz. this year.

Renegade Brewing in Denver is hooking up with the Mobile Canning Unit again to bring you the very bestest, freshest and tastiest of canned goodness.  Their Ryetous IPA hit cans earlier this year and has done so well, they’ve decided to introduce Elevation Triple IPA and 5:00 Afternoon Ale in cans as well.

The 11% ABV, 100 IBU, Elevation Triple IPA is a hopheads delight, while 5:00 Afternoon Ale is a 5% ABV blond, session-ale.  Look for these to hit local stores in the very near future.

AC Golden is gearing up to release Ctayt, their Russian Imperial Stout that took a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival this year.  This bad boy spent over a year in Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrels before it was put into bottles.

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Look for 750 mL’s to hit a few select stores around the Denver area later this month.  This won’t last long, so get out and grab one when it hits.

Out of Poncha Springs, Elevation Beer Company has not 1, not 2, but 3! great beers lined up to release in the upcoming winter months.  Downpour, an Imperial Red Ale should be out any day now.

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Hop Heads will want to grab one of these for the hops, grapefruit and pine notes that dominate this one.

Elevation also has an Imperial Stout lined up to release later this month, called Oil Man, an 11% ABV brew that was aged in Bourbon Barrels from Breckenridge Distilling.  Elevation Co-Founder Xandy Bustamante said they’ll be “blending Oil Man next week so it should be out in time for Christmas”.

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This one has hints of coffee, chocolate and bourbon throughout and will be just what you’ll want after a day on the slopes.  Or after snowball fights and making snowmen, for the baby daddy’s out there.

Looking into next year, Elevation plans to release Señorita, a Horchata Imperial Porter.  I’ve only been able to try a handful of beers from Elevation, but the Apis IV Quad quickly became one of my favorite beers of 2012 and these guys know how to make great beer.  I feel confident telling you these should be on your radar.  All of these beers will be released in bottles throughout the Denver area.

Up in Fort Collins, Odell Brewing also has something crafty up their sleeves.  They’ll be releasing Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout on January 6th at the brewery and featuring it at the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail on January 12th.

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This will be released in their 10 state distribution range in 4-packs.

Also, keep an eye out in the coming months for Amuste, a Wine Barrel Aged Imperial Porter.

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Amuste is brewed with Colorado Tempranillo grapes and will debut in 750mL bottles next year.  This has my interests…  Hmm, grapes and wine barrels for a porter.  Yeah, I’ll be looking to track one down.

While we’re talking about our friends up in the Fort, New Belgium should be releasing my favorite beer from their Lips of Faith series before too much longer.  Their 2013 La Folie should hit stores during the first part of next year.

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Keep your eyes out.  Sour heads stock up!  Mr. and Mrs. Insane really love this one.

Speaking of sours, Crooked Stave is working on bottling several of their beers this week.  Some are exclusive to Cellar Reserve members, while others will be available for sale in the tap room.  L’Brett d’Or was bottled this morning!

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L’Brett d’Or is a 100% Brettanomyces fermented, dry-hopped, golden sour that was aged for 18 months in french oak barrels with Lacto and Pedio.  I love, love, love this beer.  375mL bottles will retail for $11.

Great Divide Brewing also has two new seasonals ready to roll in 2013.  Look for HeyDay, a Belgian-style White Ale and Orabelle, a Belgian-style Tripel.

Both should hit in 6-packs during the first quarter of 2013.  They’ll be replacing Samurai and Wild Raspberry Ale.

That’s it for now.  Lots and lots and lots of great stuff.  Some for now, some for later.  Stay tuned for Part 2, later this week.  Happy hunting friends!

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 12/06/2012

Hope you guys had a good week.  Last weekend’s Zwanze Day was pretty insane and will surely be one for the ages.  Thanks again to Chad and the Crooked Stave staff for hosting such an amazing event.  I’m off work for the next week and starting it off right with a little Beer and Broncos shindig tonight.  Go Beer!  Don’t worry, I’ve still got your Weekend Beer Buzz ready.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Down at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s ready to get your weekend started right.  For this week’s Deviaton, he’s releasing “Eric The Red” Braggot (a blend of mead and beer).

Tapping and specially paired appetizer will be on at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Over at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, Hop Heads are rejoicing with last week’s release of Hop Abomination.  This is the 9th version of the beer and it’s another winner.  I tried the new recipe last weekend and I enjoyed the low(er) ABV on this batch.  It’s 5.8% this time, with 100 IBU’s.  As if that wasn’t enough, for the upcoming Firkin Friday, it’s been double dry-hopped!.

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

It’s First Friday time over at Breckenridge Brewery in Denver.  For this month’s Firkin First Friday, they’ve brewed a Christmas Cookie Ale.

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Get out and give this one a try before the cold weather moves in this weekend.  Tapping at 4 PM. Breckenridge Brewery is located at: 471 Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80204.  800-328-6723.

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Lone Tree Brewing is celebrating their 1-year Anniversary this weekend.

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In addition to special tappings like a Peppermint Mocha Porter and Chili Pepper Red, Gary V from American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live on 102.3 FM on Saturday at noon and there will be a Customer Appreciation Brunch at noon on Sunday.  Check the above flyer for all the tapping details, food trucks and music schedule.

Lone Tree’s also got an expansion in the works and new fermenters have been springing up around the brewery.

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Two 20 BBL fermenters were delivered this week and two more are scheduled for delivery in 6 weeks. They even have plans to begin bottling soon!  Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124.  303-792-5822.

The guys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show are back in the studio after taking last week off.  Tune it to AM760 at noon for updates from the Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado, learn about the Großen Bart Brewery and get the lowdown on Renegade Brewing’s upcoming canned releases and to hear about their plans to open a restaurant and beer bar near DU!

Down in Colorado Springs, Eric Steen and his team at Focus on the Beer, are celebrating two year’s with a party at Trinity Brewing.

They’ve rounded up some special beers to share: Crooked Stave – L’Brett d’Or, Wynkoop – Barrel Aged Barleywine, Backcountry – SaiZin and a whole bunch more.  The party runs from 5 – 11 PM. Trinity Brewing is located at: 1466 Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.

Lastly, there’s snow in the forecast for Colorado on Saturday.  Stranahan’s Whiskey is releasing their latest Snowflake on Saturday.  If you’re not familiar with their Snowflakes, this is basically their one-off / experimental series of fine spirits.  This latest release is called Mount Shavano Malbec.

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Sales of this beauty begin at 9AM, but I’m sure the line will being EARLY on Saturday morning.  $99 / bottle, 3-bottle limit.  And just in case you’re wondering, YES, this will sell out on Saturday.  They always do.  I know Stranahan’s is Whiskey and this is a beer blog, but so, so many great beers kiss their used barrels.  Not to mention, The Rackhouse is the adjoining pub / restaurant and is a tremendous supporter of Colorado Craft Beer.  It’s definitely worth mentioning in this lil’ ol’ beer blog.  Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is located at: 200 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Bacon & Beer Festival hits Denver on Sunday.  Sadly, this is sold out…  But, I’m sure if you had your eyes (or stomach) on this one, you snatched up your tickets well in advance.

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I slacked and missed out….  BooHoo for me.  Have fun out there if you’re going.  I’d love to see some pics or hear some feedback on this one.  I really hope this turns out to be an annual event for our great state.

As for me, I’ll be hitting up Dry Dock for their Bligh’s Barleywine release on Sunday morning.  Did you know that Bligh’s is currently the highest rated beer coming out of the Mountain States on Beeradvocate.com?  Didn’t know that did you?  Me neither.  Not until about 5 minutes ago anyway.  I knew it was up there, but didn’t realize it was #1!  It’s currently #91 in the U.S. if you were wondering.  Rankings aside, it’s a phenomenal beer.  This is a great beer to drink now AND later, so grab a couple for the cellar.

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Sunday’s release will be at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora on Sunday at 11 AM.  1 bottle per person, $20 each, 120 bottles.  The remaining 160 cases will be distributed to local stores on 12/11.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

That’s it for this weekend guys!  Have fun, stay warm, be good and Go Broncos!
Cheers!

Colorado Beer Lovers Celebrate Zwanze Day At Crooked Stave

Wow, what a weekend of beer.  Even if you only had half as much fun as I did, you’re still in great shape.  My only complaint is that the weekend still isn’t long enough for my liking.  I’m still campaigning to cut the work week down and get a 3-day weekend every week, but that hasn’t happened yet…

On Saturday, we were lucky enough to attend Zwanze Day over at Crooked Stave.  After a weekend of good beer, I typically like to let the pictures do the talking, but I have some thank you notes and quick observations to share with you.

First of all, a HUGE Thank You to Chad Yakobson and his team over at Crooked Stave.  They had their hands full with the hundreds of sour beer freaks that started showing up on their doorstep as early as 3 AM on Saturday morning.  The Crooked Stave gang did an outstanding job of handling the large turnout and keeping everyone happy on a very busy day.  Thank you guys!  You rock!

Second, big shout out to the Colorado Craft Beer Community. The pre-Zwanze bottle share was nothing short of awesome and the generosity was unreal.  Huge thanks to everyone that brought beer and food to share.  I was camped out next to the table that was full of beer bottles, hoplava (hoppy baklava), doughnuts and 5 pounds of freshly grilled bacon.  If that’s not reason enough to get up at 4 AM, I don’t know what is.  You guys rock and I’m proud to be part of this enthusiastic, friendly and generous group of beer lovers.

Finally, Thank You to Jean Van Roy and Brasserie Cantillon for sending some of your amazing beer to Colorado and sharing it with us.  As if the highly anticipated Zwanze wasn’t enough, you spoiled us with Fou’ Foune on draft and bottles of Lou Pepe Framboise, St. Lamvinus, Classic Gueuze and Iris. Not to mention, my wife finally got that Cantillon shirt she’s been trying to track down for too many years to count.  Thank You Cantillon, I hope Colorado made you proud.  Cheers!

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Chad handing out the magic tickets

Chad handing out the magic tickets

Hmm, Does two dates mean I have the option to buy two pours?

Hmm, Does two dates mean I have the option to buy two pours?

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The international toast at 1PM MST

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Hope you enjoyed this round of pictures.  If you have comments, pictures or anything you’d like to share from your Zwanze Day experience, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment on our Facebook Page.  I’m sorry we missed Parade of Darks at Wynkoop and the Grand Opening of Black Bottle Brewery up in Fort Collins, but I’ll never forget Zwanze Day.

Good to the last drop!

Good to the last drop!

Cheers!