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Archive for January, 2013

Weekend Beer Buzz 01/31/2013

Another great week here in Colorado.  Last weekend, we had the opportunity to check out the Denver Winter Brew Fest.  We put together a recap and shared a ton of pictures from our visit to this fun festival.

We also launched the first in a series of collaborative beer reviews that we’re working on with Dave Butler over at Fermentedly Challenged.  Together, we put together an in-depth look at Lugene Milk Chocolate Stout.  So far, the feedback has been very positive.  I know we both enjoyed working on the review, so be on the lookout for more “coblogorative” style reviews in the future.

And now, here we are again, getting ready for a weekend full of great craft beer.  2013 looks to be the year of the new brewery.  I’d say we’re on pace for an average of 1 new brewery to open every week in Colorado this year.  I’m not complaining, but it’s going to be a very busy year in the world of craft beer.  This coming weekend, we’ll see three new breweries open in just four days.  If we keep this up, we’ll have to host two GABF’s.  One for Colorado and one for the rest of the U.S.

Right NOW!

Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids is tapping a few special kegs from Goose Island on Thursday night.

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Matilda, Sofie, Pere Jacques and Mild Winter will all be available.  Wait, I think I’m forgetting one… Hmmm, what could it be?  Oh yeah, Bourbon County Brand Stout!  Now we’re talking.  Get over to Liquids & Solids for this special tapping, which runs from 4 – 6 PM.  Oskar Blues HMLS is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-485-9400.

Our Mutual Friend’s Imperial Belgian IPA will probably kick soon.

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Head over today and don’t miss out!  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Crooked Stave has some tasty treats on tap as well.

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

Over at Yak & Yeti, Head Brewer Adam Draeger tapped his Orange-Chocolate Porter last night.  Only 1 keg was available and it’s long gone.  But fear not, he’s got plenty of other great brews to share. Earlier this week, he tapped the newest release in his Haunted Series. This time it’s “Yak’s R.I.S.”, a big ol’ 10% ABV, 100+ IBU Russian Imperial Stout. Here’s the rest of the lineup for this week.

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Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

This is the final weekend to reserve your seat for Falling Rock’s Annual Barleywine Dinner on Tuesday, February 5th.

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The multi-course menu is still being planned and there are vegetarian options available, if you notify them ahead of time.  In the past, there have been up to a dozen barleywines paired at this dinner. Tickets are $55.  Call or stop by Falling Rock to reserve your seat for this great event.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We’ve got a new brewery opening on Friday!  De Steeg is set to open their doors on Friday at 4 PM.  Owner Craig Rothgery is ready to pour his first beers from the newest brewery to open in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver.

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This weekend, he’ll be pouring a 5.1% ABV English Mild on Nitro, a 5.5% ABV Pomegranate Acai Wheat and an 11% ABV Imperial Pumpkin.  Come out and explore the area as the opening has been coordinated with the Tennyson Street First Friday Artwalk, which spotlights local artisans and restaurants.  De Steeg Brewing is located at: 4342 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-484-9698.

In Aurora, Dry Dock Brewing’s got a Mosaic Dry-hopped IPA ready to roll for Firkin Friday.

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

Jellyman’s tapping “The French Press” for his Deviation this week down at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock.

This is a 6% ABV Coffee Stout brewed with the second runnings of Wilson, their very tasty Russian Imperial Stout (which is getting bottled today).  Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Breckenridge Brewery is back again this month with their Firkin First Fridays.

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This month’s release is their Avalanche Amber Ale with Kaffir lime leaves and dry-hopped with Summit Hops.  Get out and enjoy the nice weather and this great sounding brew.  Tapping at 4 PM.  Breckenridge Brewery is located at: 471 Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80204.  303-573-0431.

Can’t get enough freakin’ firkins?  Then head over to Hops & Pie for their Firkin 1st Friday release. This time it’s with Crooked Stave and their Surette Saison.

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Look for plenty of funk and spices in this 6.5% ABV Saison that was aged in a Downslope whiskey barrel.  Tapping at 6 PM.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Friday is also the kickoff for the “Run the Gauntlet” challenge over at Star Bar.  30 Avery beers in 28 days.  Can you handle it?  Probably not, but you should try anyways, because if you can, you’ll be rewarded with transportation from Star Bar to Avery Brewing for a private tour.  Have you seen the beer list?  Here’s a peek at some of the ridiculously tasty offerings they’re planning to tap:

– The Maharaja Imperial IPA
– The Czar Imperial Stout
– The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest
– Hog Heaven Barleywine
– The Reverend Belgian-Style Quad
– Salvation Belgian Golden
– New World Porter
– Lebenweizen
– Lilikoi Kepolo
– 3Point5 Pale Ale
– Bolder Weisse
– Tweak
…and more!

Star Bar is located at: 2137 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-328-2420.

Over at Falling Rock, it’s the start of “Dain Bramage Month”, with a month-long celebration of Barleywines!

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Owner Chris Black acquired 6 new barleywines last week and plans to tap several vintage kegs Tuesday night for those lucky guests attending the Barleywine Dinner (see above).  These will be available for everyone else beginning on Wednesday.  No word on what will be tapped just yet. They’re still deciding what to pull out of the cellar.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Don’t forget February is the beginning of Stout Month over at the Mountain Sun brewpubs.  Stout Month is always a great time to stop by and enjoy some rich, roast brews.

Look for special beers to be released every Tuesday and Friday, beginning on 2/5 at all three locations.  In addition to their own beers like Addicition Coffee Imperial Stout, Girl Scout Stout and Chocolate Dip, they’ve got plenty of great guest beers lined up as well.  Keep your eyes open for Odell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout, Renegade’s Black Gold Peanut Butter Stout, Wildwood’s S’mores Stout and dozens more.  Mountain Sun is located at: 1535 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302.  Souther Sun is located at: 627 S Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305.  Vine Street Pub is located at: 1700 Vine St, Denver, CO 80206.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

We mentioned Verboten a few weeks ago when they had a soft opening at their location up in Loveland.  But get ready, because their Grand Opening is coming up on Saturday afternoon.

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They’ll be debuting their new brewery with live music, food trucks, beer cupcakes, giveaways and of course BEER!  Verboten will be pouring Orange Blossom Honey Wheat, Lemongrass Wit, IPA, Caramel Porter, Espresso Stout, Kentucky Common Dark Cream Ale and Sour Rum Barrel-Aged Porter.  The party starts at 1 PM.  Be sure to check out this preview of Verboten from our friend Dave Butler over at Fermentedly Challenged.  Verboten Brewing is located at: 1550 Taurus Ct, Loveland, CO 80537.  970-988-6333.

Dry Dock Brewing launched their cans to local retailers last week and that’s cause for celebration. Stop by the brewery for the official “Take it in the Can” launch party on Saturday from 11 AM – 5 PM. Snag a can of Apricot Blonde, Hop Abomination, Hefeweizen or Amber for only $3.

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

Don’t forget to check out the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM760 from noon – 2 PM.

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Don’t quote me, but I believe the boys are back in the studio this week.  They always put on a great show, so be sure to tune in and see what’s on tap for this week.

Over on the FM side, Gary V and Dustin (from Avery Brewing) will be in the studio for American Craft Beer Radio.

This show is live on 102.3 FM ESPN Radio from 1 -2 PM.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Go watch the Super Bowl already.  Or at least watch the commercials and heckle whatever joke of an artist the NFL has chosen for the half-time show.  Do your thing and drink a craft beer or two.  Go Ravens.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Fate Brewing in Boulder, will open their doors on Monday.  They might not have their brewhouse up and running just yet, but that hasn’t stopped Head Brewer Jeff Griffith from getting out and brewing some beer.  He’s already collaborated with multiple brewers in Boulder, including Wild Woods, Twisted Pine and Southern Sun.

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Fate plans to have their collaborations pouring on Monday, along with twenty other Colorado craft beers.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried the Imperial IPA, Cocoa Punk’n Porter and Eisbock and I love what I’ve had so far.  Bring an appetite, as a full food menu will also be available.  Fate Brewing is located at: 1600 38th St, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301.

Beer Hunters, Gatherers, Trappers and Traders

Pliny the Younger Season starts this weekend at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA.

Here in Colorado, we’re still patiently waiting to see what beer bars will be allocated a keg of this beautiful beer.  Try to remain calm and know that we’ll get you the details as soon as we can.  In the meantime, enjoy this fun little documentary we came across last week.

Sour fans might want to consider securing a bottle or two of Cascade’s 2011 Vlad the Imp Aler, when they go on sale through the Cascade website this Saturday.

A little pricey at $30 / bottle, but this is a phenomenal beer.  Mrs. Insane and I visited the brewery a while back for their Anniversary Party and this is one of my favorites from Cascade.  The beer is a blend of Quads, Triples and Blonds and has been aged in select bourbon and wine barrels.  Get some before they’re gone.

Firestone Walker will release their latest batch of §ucaba this week.

Beer hunters should keep an eye out for this barrel-aged American Barleywine to hit the CO market in the next few weeks.  Drink fresh or age for later.  (Or both.)

Lastly, for all the beer traders out there, Foothills Brewing out in North Carolina, will be releasing the 2013 batch of Sexual Chocolate on Saturday at the brewery in North Carolina.

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1800 bottles of this delicious Russian Imperial Stout will be up for grabs during Saturday’s release. It’s well worth the trouble if you’re lucky enough to track down a bottle.

Almost forgot about your German lesson for this week.

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Thanks Bill!  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Man, I’m spent.  Hope that tides you over for a few days.  Have fun, drink well and enjoy the big game.

Cheers!

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Warming Up At The Denver Winter Brew Fest

Well, here we are again, in the middle of our annual “Beer Fest Drought”.  Gone are the days of Summer, when it seemed like we had multiple brew fests every weekend.  Luckily, wedged between January’s Big Beers up in Vail and February’s Firkin Rendezvous down in Colorado Springs, we’ve got the Denver Brew Fest to help get us through these tough times.  The Denver Brew Fest is a semi-annual event, (the Winter Brew Fest is in January and the Summer Brew Fest falls in July), that takes place at the historic Mile High Station.

Mile High Station, which dates back to 1897, was previously occupied by Midwest Steel & Ironworks and at one point, was utilized to help construct ships for the U.S. Navy during WWII. The building has since been renovated and now serves as a popular spot for receptions, corporate events and private parties.  Its’ 2-story layout and unique architectural features, make it the perfect backdrop for a beer festival.

The Winter Brew Fest offers a VIP option, which allows attendees admittance 1-hour early.  All festival goers have unlimited access to more than 100 beers from more than 40 different breweries. In addition to a wide variety of Colorado breweries, there are also quite a few from out-of-state, including Firestone Walker, Stone, Boulevard and Green Flash.  Aside from the great selection of craft beer, the Denver Brew Fest has live music, a beer and cheese pairing, food trucks, photo booths and more.

This was our first time attending this festival and it’s clear these guys know how to run a great event.  A few hours into the night, some bottlenecks and long lines began to form at the more popular tables, but there was plenty of beer to be had and it didn’t seem to get in the way of anyone’s good time.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and took the opportunity to revisit some of our favorite breweries, while discovering a few new ones along the way.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Mark your calendars for the Summer Brew Fest, which is set for July 26th, 2013.  Tickets and full details can be found on the official website.

Cheers!


Elevation Beer Company Expands and Gears Up For State-Wide Distribution

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Press Release:

Elevation Announces 2012 numbers, Blue Series to launch Across Colorado

January 28th, 2013 Poncha Springs, Colorado– Elevation Beer Company is excited to announce that it produced 935 barrels in 2012 making it one of, if not the largest, craft brewery to open in the state of Colorado in 2012 in terms of total production.

“We overshot our projections by nearly 40%,” says Elevation’s General Manager and Co-Founder Carlin Walsh, “We are so thankful to all our wholesalers, accounts, and most importantly our fans that allowed us to almost break the 1,000 barrel mark within only 7 months of brewing in 2012.”

More than 50% of Elevation’s total production was sold through their Blue Series, which includes their First Cast IPA and Little Mo’ Porter.  Both of which were sold in just three Colorado counties in 2012.

Due to the high demand, Elevation has just completed its first expansion, which will triple the capacity of the brewery and vastly improve its bottling speeds with the addition of 3 new fermenters and two Meheen bottling lines. The expansion will allow Elevation to produce as much as 4,000bbls a year.

“We will finally be able to meet demand in our local area, and with the added capacity we are excited to announce that we will be bringing our Blue Series including our First Cast IPA and Little Mo’ Porter to select accounts across the state of Colorado starting in February.”  Says Sales and Distribution Manager Xandy Bustamante.

The Blue Series will launch in pint bottle four packs in conjunction with Elevation’s Fortitude Ski Giveaway promotions at two liquor stores in the Denver Area, Mile High Wine and Spirits in Lakewood, and Hazels Beverage World in Boulder, starting in February.  More off-premise accounts and draft availability should be added in March as Elevation ramps up on production.

“We are hoping we will have our First Cast IPA and Little Mo’ Porter available at beer bars and liquor stores statewide by summer in our pint bottle four packs and draft.” Says Xandy, “Also keep an eye out for our Black and Double Black Series seasonal 750ml bottles and draft as we will be also increasing their availability across Colorado. It has definitely been an exciting and wild ride so far and we are excited for 2013.”

About Elevation

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

 

Odell Brewing Set to Launch Amuste Wine Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter

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Press Release:

Fort Collins, CO. – On February 9, 2013 Odell Brewing will release its first Cellar Series offering of the year. Amuste, an imperial porter brewed with grape must and aged in red wine barrels, is the product of a two year project lead by the brewery’s QA/QC manager, Eli Kolodny.

“They say it takes a lot of good beer to make great wine,” said Kolodny. “After two years of research and development, I can honestly say that the opposite holds just as true.”

In an effort to marry the distinctive qualities of beer and wine, Odell brewers crafted a rich, robust imperial porter and accented it with juice from Tempranillo grapes grown on the Western Slope of Colorado. The brew was then aged in red wine barrels and blended to create a harmonic combination of malt and fruit.

Amuste boasts a hearty malt backbone with notes of chocolate, a subtle sweet grape character, and hints of toasted almond from the oak barrels. It pairs perfectly with peppered red meats, brie cheese, or dark chocolate.

Odell Brewing will celebrate the release of Amuste in the Tap Room on February 9th with live music and local food-truck pairings. Amuste will be available in 750 ml cork and cage finished bottles throughout the brewery’s ten state distribution footprint.

Founded in 1989, Odell Brewing was started by Doug Odell, his wife Wynne, and his sister Corkie. Twenty-three years later, the culture of family and collaboration still thrives fostering a brewery full of beer-centric people. It is this passion for beer that inspires Odell Brewing to create quality, hand-crafted, innovative brews. As a regional craft brewery, Odell Brewing is committed to serving the communities in which it distributes by sourcing local raw materials, and through its charitable giving program known as Odell Outreach. Odell Brewing was recently named a “Top Company of 2010” by ColoradoBiz Magazine and is an award-winning brewery, nationally and internationally: 2012 Brewers Association Recognition Award, 2011 Great American Beer Festival® – gold medal for Friek. 2010 North American Beer Awards – gold medal for Woodcut No. 3. 2009 BrewNZ Awards – gold for 5 Barrel Pale Ale. 2008 World Beer Cup® – gold for IPA. 2007 Great American Beer Festival® – gold medal for IPA.

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Collaborative New Brew Review: Odell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout

Late last year, I had the idea of reviewing beers with fellow bloggers.  The whole idea sprouted from two realizations.  The first being that the majority of the craft beer scene works together as a community, looking out for each other (#savestrange), sharing ideas and ingredients and even brewing beers collaboratively.  I thought this would translate well to beer bloggers on a variety of levels.

The other realization centers around the old proverb that “two heads are better than one”.  Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that sharing and talking about beers with friends, has greatly opened up my sensory experience with beer.  For example, I might have picked up on a certain aroma or flavor, while someone else with the same beer, may have picked up on something entirely different.  Sometimes a beer can be so layered with complexities, that we might not pick up on a certain characteristic until someone brings it to our attention or we’ve had the opportunity to try a beer on numerous occasions.

And so, after a few e-mails, text messages and brainstorming during a late-night bottle share, I was able to team up with Dave Butler (who writes the fantastic Colorado-based beer blog, Fermentedly Challenged), for a series of beer reviews.  For our first “coblogorative” review, we went with Odell Brewing’s newest seasonal, Lugene.  This new release from our friends up in Fort Collins, is a Chocolate Milk Stout, dedicated to Lugene Sas and his family of cows.

The 8.5% ABV beer will be available from January through March.  I paid $8.99 for a 4-pack.

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Appearance

Let me start by saying I love the artwork here.  It sounds odd to call a cow cute, but the label has artwork depicting one of these peaceful creatures chowing down on a brick of chocolate.  What’s not to like?

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Brewtally Insane (BI): I used a moderately slow pour.  The beer pours a deep, dark brown, nearly black color with a 1-finger, mocha head that was gone in the blink of an eye.

Fermentedly Challenged (FC): Dave used a “semi-aggresive pour and got a big 3+ finger head with lots of bubbles and sticky lacing.  Color is dark as night – with just a hint of mahogany edges around the glass.”

Overall: It’s not quite oil dark, but dark enough to hide most of the carbonation inside or permit any light from penetrating.  We both picked up on the mahogany tint toward the edge of the beer, near the wall of the glass.  Looks creamy, thick and inviting.  I can’t wait to taste it.  Score: 4/5

Aroma

BI: Lugene had “big, sweet milk chocolate” notes and came off like a “fine piece of rich Godiva”.  I also detected the “slightest presence of hops, but it’s hidden” along with a “touch of vanilla”.  I initially thought I was smelling peanut butter cups, but we later determined it to most likely be the chocolate smell from the type of chocolate used in candy bars.  Admittedly, my favorite chocolate treat is a peanut butter cup, so maybe the chocolate just triggers my brain to automatically think it’s getting a peanut butter cup.  Weird.  Smells fantastic.

FC: On the other side of the keyboard, Dave picked up “milk sugars in this beer”.  “Lugene has the classic milk stout signature aroma, only this one has a distinct chocolate aroma with the malt roastiness pushed behind it.”  He also got a “hint of bitterness in the nose, but not much”.  Dave agreed on the sweetness factor and picked up some “toffee perhaps, like a Heath bar”.  He went on to say “I pick up a hint of alcohol, but not as rough as some Imperial Stouts”.

Overall: No surprise to find plenty of chocolate and candy bar sweetness in Lugene.  We both noticed the slightest presence of bitterness and while I got vanilla, Dave picked up toffee and a touch of alcohol.  Score: 4.5/5

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Taste

BI: Lugene is sweet, creamy and chocolate-y.  I felt it drank like a “rich, melted candy bar” and with a well hidden ABV, it was “very creamy and dangerously smooth”.  There’s a “touch of bitter hops on the tongue”.  This is a great dessert beer, and thankfully it’s not overpowering.  This is what I would expect from a Milk Chocolate Stout, but it’s “not too big that they (flavors) turn you off and they’re not too small that you’re hunting with your nose crammed in the glass trying to find some sign of chocolate”.  It’s sweet, rich, thick, bold, flavorful and quite yummy.

FC: “First thing I got was a semi-sweet chocolate taste.  Reminded me of baking chocolate with some additional sweet in there.  The beer was more sweet than bitter.  Smooth going down.  The roast is subdued also.  The chocolate really comes through on this.  Definitely a dessert beer.  Can’t really pick up on the higher ABV initially.  It’s well hidden, probably one to sneak up on you.”  Dave wrapped up by saying “the chocolate took center stage”.

Overall: We’re both fans of Lugene and appreciate what Odell did with this recent release.  A very nice, sweet dessert beer.  Score: 4/5

Mouthfeel

BI: Lugene leans toward the thick side, which I found to be “perfect for a beer like this”.  Personally, “I think too many stouts fall short by being watery and thin”.  Odell’s Chocolate Milk Stout is “not necessarily oily”, but rather “creamy and dangerously smooth”.

FC: Dave referred to Lugene as a “tongue coater”.  He goes on to say that it “leaves a nice coating over the tongue that lingers.”

Overall: Excellent, thick mouthfeel that only gets better as it warms.  No complaints here.  Score: 4.5/5

Final Score

Odell Brewing continues to impress me by releasing new and well crafted beers into their already stellar lineup of beers.  Lugene is a rich and decadent chocolate milk stout that has won us over with its’ heavenly aromas and balanced flavors.  This seems to be flying off the shelves, so get out and grab a 4-pack before they’re gone.  Highly recommended.  Score: 4.25/5

Barrel-Aging, Food Pairings, Cellaring & Final Thoughts

We kicked around some thoughts about how barrel-aging might change this beer.  Personally, I’m a little fearful of the barrel characteristics overpowering the chocolate, but we both agreed that a little time in a rum or bourbon barrel would be a fun experiment.  (Odell, you reading all this?)

About halfway through the bottle, we started getting the munchies and began talking about possible food pairings.  Dave mentioned “vanilla bean chocolate milk stout”, while I thought of fresh strawberries or a fruity cheesecake.  At the end of the night, I think we were both interested in making a beer float or milkshake with Lugene.  Nom, nom, nom.

We also tried to imagine how a year in the cellar would change this beer.  It seems like the alcohol warmth would fade away, along with the slight bitterness on the tongue.  My only fear would be losing too much of the sweetness from the chocolate.  Lugene tastes great fresh.  Only time will tell how cellaring will treat this beer, but I’d suggest enjoying it fresh and if you’ve got the willpower, maybe tucking one away in the cellar for comparison next year.

As for this format of conducting a beer review, I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed working on it.  I’d like to extend a big Thank You to Dave Butler over at Fermentedly Challenged for taking part in this review.  What I envisioned as the two of us chatting online about beer for an hour or so, turned into 3+ hours of two beer blogging buddies, geeking out and discovering a great beer together and discussing a wide variety of topics about the world of craft beer.  Don’t be surprised if you see more of these “coblogorative”, “Fermentedly Insane” or “Brewtally Challenged” reviews from us in the future.

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Thanks to Odell Brewing for creating this great beer, Thanks to Dave Butler for putting the time and effort into this and Thank You all for reading.  Click HERE to see Dave’s review of Lugene at Fermentedly Challenged and don’t forget to follow him on Facebook.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 01/24/2013

The weekend’s nearly here.  Big weekend of beer, combined with a beautiful forecast.

The Kool-Aid Man always knows the right words to say.  Chicks dig the big guy too.

Oh, before we get started, Mile High Wine & Spirits deserves a HUGE shout out for bringing De Dolle Stille Nacht back to Colorado.  Yep, the bestest ever xmas beer made a return appearance in our great state last week.

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I don’t know how Andre does it, but he does.  Keep on, keeping on my friend.  The Reserva lasted about 11.3 seconds, so don’t waste your time calling to get a bottle.  I don’t know if he’s got any Stille Nacht left.  He shouldn’t.  If I had made it over, he wouldn’t.  But either way, I applaud Andre and his beer department for continuing to track down the very best offerings from around the globe. If you haven’t checked them out yet, make it a priority.  They care about bringing the very best beers to Colorado.  Mile High Wine & Spirits is located at: 435 S Vance St, Lakewood, CO 80226. 303-936-0272.

Right Now

Crooked Stave has a killer menu every week and they’re at it again with this great lineup.

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

Get over to Yak & Yeti sometime soon for a chance to try some of Head Brewer Adam Draeger’s awesome creations.  Right now, he’s got everything from a Chipotle Porter to a Oaked IPA, the latest release in his Haunted Series.

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Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Dry Dock Brewing Company will tap a Maple Smoked Porter at 3 PM for this week’s Firkin Friday release.

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

Jellyman’s got “The Honey Bird” lined up for this week’s Deviation.

This is a 6% ABV filtered American Wheat Braggot.  Look for a mead and malt nose, nicely balanced flavor and big time drinkability.  Tapping at 4 PM.  When it’s gone, it’s gone, so leave work a little early and get on over for this one.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

As for us, we’ll be attending the Winter Brew Fest at Mile High Station on Friday.

It sold out earlier this week, but I hope to see some familiar faces in attendance.  More than 40 breweries will be pouring including Elevation, Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues and Stone.  Doors open at 6 PM for VIP and 7 PM for GA.  Mile High Station is located at: 2027 W Lower Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204.

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Saturday is stupid.  It’s too big for its’ own good.  Saturday is so bad, it should be in detention.

Over at Falling Rock Tap House, the King’s cleaning out his cellar.

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Owner Chris Black has been digging deep to share some of his cellared treasures with Denver beer geeks and he was kind enough to give us an exclusive sneak peek into what’ll be available.  You want this?  Are you ready?  Me too, but first, a few points I was asked to keep in mind:

– Quantities are LIMITED!  Falling Rock will have a tally board to keep track of what’s available, but when it’s gone, it’s gone.  No cry babies, so get there early if you see something you MUST have.

– Beer must be consumed on-site.  Sorry, but that’s standard CO law.  No growlers, no takeaways, no flasks and no crazy camelbacks to sneak out your beloved beer.  Bring a friend, a wife, a girlfriend, your friend’s girlfriend, your friend’s boyfriend, an enemy, an enemy’s friend or whoever to imbibe with…  Open, share, enjoy, repeat.

– Prices weren’t given to me, but I was told beers “will be at a much lower price than they would be offered at the bar any other time”.

The list below is only about 1/2 of the 60+ different beers that will be available on Saturday.  You’ll have to come by on Saturday to see the full list, but here’s what we know so far:

Beer Year Size
A Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout 2003 11.2oz
A Le Coq Imperial Extra Double Stout 2009 9.3oz
Alaskan Smoked Porter 2003 16 oz.
Alaskan Smoked Porter 2006 22oz
Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 22oz
Alaskan Smoked Porter 2009 22oz
Avery Beast 2004 22oz (Batch #2!)
Avery Beast 2009 12oz
Avery Brabant 2009 12oz
Avery Czar 2003 22oz
Avery Czar 2004 22oz
Avery Mephistopheles 2006 12oz
Avery Mephistopheles 2008 12oz
Avery Samael 2005 12oz
Avery Samael 2008 12oz
Avery Samael 2009 12oz
Bridgeport Old Knucklehead 1997 12oz
Carnegie Porter 1997 8.8oz
Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout 2008 750ml
Full Sail Old Boardhead 2003 22oz
Gale’s Prize Old Ale 1999 9.3oz
Gale’s Prize Old Ale 2005 9.3oz
Great Divide Barrel Aged Old Ruffian 2008 22oz
Great Divide Barrel Aged Old Ruffian 2009 22oz
Lost Abbey Bourbon Barrel Aged Angels Share 2009 375ml
Lost Abbey Judgment Day 2011 750ml
North Coast Old Stock 2003 12oz
Odell Old Curmudgeon 2003 12oz
Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale 2008 750ml
Rogue Old Crustacean 2006 750ml
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 1999 12oz

There’s a sexy little rumor floating around that there might be a special appearance from some early 2000’s J.W. Lees Harvest Ales as well, but you didn’t hear that from me…

Thanks to Chris and Beth over at Falling Rock for getting us this list.  Beer Geeks, do your part on Saturday and help the King make some space in his cellar.  The sale starts at noon and runs until 6 PM.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Over at Parry’s Pizza, we’ve got a Dry Dock Tap Takeover lined up for Saturday.  But, not just at the Parry’s in Highlands Ranch.  No sir, this’ll be going down at their Castle Rock location as well.  Now you’ve got no excuse to miss it.

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They’ll be pouring everything from Apricot Blonde to Hop Abomination.  (Side note – you ever mix the Apricot with the Hop Abomination?  The Dry Dock staff calls it a Hopricot.  I call it splendidly delish!  Try it.)  Brewery reps will be on hand at both locations to answer your questions and give away some great Dry Dock merchandise.  The takeover runs from 11 AM – 10 PM.  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 and 5650 Allen Way, Castle Rock 80106.

Hops & Pie is gearing up for another round of Denver’s Littlest Big Beer Fest.  This time they’ve teamed up with Green Flash Brewing from San Diego, CA to bring some seriously big-ass brews to you.

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The party starts at noon.  Take a cab.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 S Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Saturday will also be the premiere of Our Mutual Film, a film about Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew.

Come out for a pint and enjoy the movie at the brewery.  The movie begins at 7:30 PM and the filmmakers will be on hand to answer your questions.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

While you’re drinking all this great beer around town, tune into AM 760 from noon – 2 PM for the Colorado Craft Beer Show.

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This week, they’ll be broadcasting live from Arvada Beer and chatting with Jeff Griffith from Fate Brewing in Boulder, which is set to open at the end of the month.  Stop by Arvada Beer for the live broadcast.  Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-467-2337.

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The local breweries are rallying around Strange Brewing this weekend in the ongoing, Strange vs. Strange battle.

The Rackhouse Pub will play host to more than two dozen breweries in an event designed to raise funds for Strange Brewing’s legal defense.  This event is sold out.  No tickets will be sold at the door.  Click HERE for a full list of breweries that’ll be participating on Sunday.  The Rackhouse Pub is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.  720-570-7824.

Up in Boulder, Backcountry Pizza and Tap House will celebrate their 2nd anniversary with an “Epic Avery Tap Takeover”.  More than 30 kegs from Epic Brewing and more than 30 kegs from Avery Brewing will be flowing at Backcountry for this killer event.  No tickets, no bull, just show up and enjoy some great beers (and food).

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On the Epic side, Brewmaster Kevin Crompton will be in attendance and will be pouring beers like Elder Brett, Big Bad Baptist and for the first time ever, Brainless IPA.  I haven’t seen the Avery lineup yet, but come on, you can practically walk to the brewery from Backcountry.  I’m sure they’ll have plenty of awesome things on tap to share.  Backcountry will have a buffet for $15 from 11 AM – 4 PM, plus giveaways throughout the day.  Backcountry Pizza and Tap House is located at: 2319 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.  303-449-4285.

Schoolhouse Rock! with Bill Eye and Prost Brewing

And now for your German lesson of the week with Prost Head Brewer, Bill Eye.

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Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

That’s it for this round my beer-lovin’ friends.  Hope to see you all around town this weekend!

Cheers!


River North Brewery Announces 1st Anniversary Celebration

rivernorthDenver’s River North Brewery will celebrate their 1-year anniversary next month.  To celebrate, they’re planning a party on Saturday, February 16th, where they’ll also release a new Imperial Stout and open their barrel garden to the public. Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss out on this great event.  Read the press release below for the full scoop.

Press Release:

River North Brewery Celebrates One Year

As River North Brewery rapidly approaches one year of operation, Head Brewer Matt Hess has been harboring a dark secret, a concoction unlike any other the brewery has produced to date.

Clocking in at 12.5% ABV, the River North 1st Anniversary Imperial Stout is the brewery’s highest-gravity offering thus far. It will release Saturday, February 16th at 1pm to kick off the brewery’s first-anniversary party, when the brewery will open its barrel garden to the public. Both draft pours and bombers-to-go will be available.

This celebration represents the culmination of a productive first year for River North. Including the anniversary beer, the brewery released nine unique “mainline” ales this past year, in addition to seven barrel-aged varieties of those brews. Since acquiring its first two whiskey barrels in March, the barrel program has grown to include more than 30 whiskey, wine and rum barrels of varying brands.

Additionally, the brewery released weekly “Wayward” beers – experimental five-gallon variations on existing recipes – which allowed customers to taste how subtle changes in yeast or hops can add entirely new flavor profiles to a brew.

Aside from cranking out creative and unique beers, River North Brewery has cemented itself in Denver’s new beer district, RiNo, establishing close and personal relationships with local residents and businesses. In addition to promoting a “drink local” mentality, River North connects with customers through social media. The brewery hosted a Twitter contest where followers could submit suggestions for fermenter names, with the winning suggestions going on the tanks. The two winners: “Think Tank” and “The Louis Pasteur Cultural Events Center.”

Matt and Jessica Hess opened River North Brewery in downtown Denver on February 18th, 2012. Matt, who walked away from his engineering job in the aerospace industry, heads the brewing operation and focuses on Belgian-style beers and Belgo-American hybrids.

River North Brewery produced 295 barrels in 2012, a number expected to triple this year.


Weekend Beer Buzz 01/17/2013

What a week.  I’m still recovering from last weekend’s Big Beer Fest in Vail.  It was unbelievably great.  Insanely Great.  Insanely Great x 2!  Yet the world continues to turn and time keeps ticking away…  Right into this weekend!  What looked like it was going to be a slow weekend, has transformed into one filled with plenty to drink and do.

Right NOW!

Delicious sours abound over at Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.

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

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Down in Castle Rock at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s releasing “Tibanna Tan” for this week’s Deviation.  Described as having a “carbonite copper” color and being a “creamy malt forward ale with balanced hop flavor”.  Tapping at 4 PM.

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Another subtle Star Wars reference from Kjell this week.  I dig.  Bonus points from the nerds out there who know Tibanna and picked up on the carbonite reference.

No clue what’s going on right now?  You can go about your business.  Move along.  Move along. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Over in Aurora, Dry Dock’s got another batch of their Kona Coffee Stout ready to roll out for Firkin Friday.

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Love, love, love this brew.  3 PM for this one.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Out at the Denver Beer Co., they’ve got a beer dinner planned for Friday.  They’ll be hosting in their brand spankin’ new Barrel Room.

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Five small batch brews, paired with four dinner courses for $60.  There’s still a handful of tickets left.  Call Denver Beer Co. to get your name on the list.  Denver Beer Co. is located at: 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-433-2739.

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

If you’re headed to the mountains this weekend, swing by Backcountry Brewery in Frisco for their Expansion Party.  The fun starts at 1 PM with $2 pints in the bar, tours of the new expansion and a chance to check out the new 12oz. bottles.

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We were up that way last weekend and the new fermenters look great.  We’re excited to see more bottles hitting the Denver-area soon.  Backcountry Brewery is located at: 730 Main Street, Frisco, CO 80443.  970-668-2337.

Just a short-haul down I-70 and you’ll find Crazy Mountain in Edwards.  They just happen to be turning 3 this weekend.

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They’ll be pouring $2 select pints and will have live bluegrass music in the tap room.  The party starts at 6 PM.  Crazy Mountain Brewing is located at: 439 Edwards Access Rd, B-102, Edwards, CO 81632.  970-926-3009.

It doesn’t seem a weekend goes by without a new brewery opening up around here.  Over in Golden, Cannonball Creek will crack their doors for a soft opening at 3 PM.

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This is led by two former brewers from Mountain Sun in Boulder, so look for plenty of big hop bombs and Belgian-influenced brews.  Can’t wait to give them a try.  Cannonball Creek Brewing is located at: 393 N Washington Ave, Golden, CO 80403.  720-427-8453.

Not enough for you?  Hall Brewing, a new brewery currently in the works in Parker, is having a tasting at Cornerstar Wine and Liquor in Aurora, from  2 PM – 6 PM on Saturday.  They’ll have their IPA, Stout and Red Ale to sample and bombers to-go.  This will be your first chance to try this new brewery, so don’t miss out.

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Cornerstar Wine and Liquor is located at: 15404 E Briarwood Circle, Aurora, CO 80016.  303-360-9463.

Our friends on the radio will be back in the studio this weekend.  The Colorado Craft Beer Show will be on AM 760 at noon and will feature Bootstrap Brewing from Niwot, CO.  In the meantime, check out last week’s podcast from Vail’s Big Beers, where the guys had a chance to talk with everyone from Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey to Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave to Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker and many more.  It was an awesome show.

Random Brew News

Lastly, I’ve got some real quick news clips to share before we wrap up this Weekend’s Beer Buzz.

Dry Dock fired up their new canning line earlier this week and pumped out a batch of Apricot Blonde.

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Look for cans from this batch to hit local store shelves before the end of the month and a release party next weekend (details to come!).

Crooked Stave and Anchorage Brewing collaborated this week on a 100% Brett beer.

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This was brewed at the Anchorage Brewery (yeah, all the way up in Alaska!) and will ferment in foeders until the beer says “Hey guys, I’m Ready!”.  No word on distribution plans yet.  Cross your fingers for some Colorado Love.

And to wrap up the week, how ’bout a round of applause for New Belgium Brewing on becoming 100% employee owned.  That’s such awesome news for this fun-loving Colorado brewery.  Cheers to that!

And if that wasn’t enough, New Belgium also announced “Lost in the Woods”, a party to kick off this year’s La Folie release.

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This will be a unique chance for sour beer lovers to gather in the Foeder Forest for an evening with New Belgium’s sour experts Peter Bouckaert, Eric Salazar and Lauren Salazar.  There will be live music, food pairings and plenty of beer.  Tickets are on sale HERE for $25 and includes a bomber of beer to take home.  New Belgium is located at: 500 Linden St., Fort Collins, CO 80524.

That’s it for this week peeps.  It’s a great week to be a craft beer freak.  Especially a freak living in Colorado.

Cheers!


Going Big In Vail With Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines

I Love me a good beer fest and here in Colorado, there’s no shortage of good beer fests.  We’ve got plenty to choose from throughout the year.  But, it’s the Great Ones that keep me up at night.  The Great Ones that get me excited like a kid on Christmas morning.  The Great Ones that I’d jump on a flight to attend if I ever moved out-of-state.  (Gasp!)  The annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines in Vail is a Great Beer Fest.

Big Beers (or BBB or #Bigbeers for you twitterers / hash tag types), is a world-class event that educates beer lovers, brings us closer together with tastings and bottle shares and when all’s said and done, leaves us thirsting for more.  How the hell have I not been back to this event for the past 6 years!?!?  No clue, but I guarantee it won’t happen again.

On The Road Again

Our adventure began on Friday morning with a trip up old I-70.  No trip through the mountains is complete without a stop at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco.

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Within a few minutes of arriving, our group had secured spots at the bar and I had a glass of Old Beer Wagon Barleywine sitting in front of me, courtesy of Backcountry’s Head Brewer Alan Simons. The perfect beer to warm up with from the sub-freezing temperatures and blowing snow outside. We enjoyed lunch and I got my fill of Alan’s amazing Barleywine and hearty Breakfast Stout.

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Just as we were preparing to press on to Vail, Alan re-appeared and offered us a tour and the chance to check out Backcountry’s recent expansion.

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In addition to the new family of fermenters, Backcountry has a new bottling line that should be rolling out 6-packs down the mountain shortly.  Alan was kind enough to share some special treats with us like his GABF award-winning Imperial Saison, Imperial Saison w/ Brett and Tart SaiZin, which was aged in Zinfandel barrels.  Another great visit to Backcountry.  Their great beers and hospitality can’t be beat.  Be sure to pay Backcountry a visit on your next trip up that way.

Warming Up With A Bottle Share

We pressed on and in no time, found ourselves pulling into Vail.  We hadn’t even checked into our condo yet, when I realized Gary V from American Craft Beer Radio was trying to catch up with us for a beer.  With not much else planned for the day and bone chilling, sub-zero temperatures outside, we decided to coordinate a bottle share for the night.

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Nice photo bomb Gary!

We had a solid group of craft beer enthusiasts including Dave from Fermentedly Challenged, John from Backcountry Pizza, Lauren from Napa of Beer, plus several homebrewers and our host Gary from American Craft Beer Radio.  It was a lot of fun just to sit around, taste and share a variety of beers from Cigar City to Jester King.  Surly Five is such a tasty, barrel-aged Brett beer.  Three Floyds Dark Lord seems to show up at every tasting we attend and I can’t get enough of the rich, inky stout. And Cantillon continues to be my favorite Belgian Brewery.

We talked and tasted into the wee hours.  Thanks to everyone involved for a great time!

The Main Event

On Saturday, with no kids to wake me up at 5 AM, I managed to sleep in until all of 7 AM.  A quick check on the phone revealed a lovely temperature of -15 F.

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Yeah, -15 F is pretty special.  No reason to fight it.  We just got the gang together, got the fire going, started a pot of coffee and whipped up pancakes, sausage and eggs.  Who forgot the bacon???

Before I knew it, we were off to the Commercial Tasting Session.

Starting things off right with some Rochefort and Orval.

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Hair of the Dog!  Love me some Adam!  DSC_1041

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Great to see Allagash back in Colorado!DSC_1034

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Brian and Great Divide had plenty of big beers, plus a special keg of Peach Grand Cru and a variety of cheeses to pair with their beers.DSC_1052

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Breckenridge Brewery brought out their big beers to share, including their Barrel-Aged Holidale.  DSC_1049

Jim, Kjell and Melissa from Rockyard Brewing brought a bunch of small batch, big brews, along with their collaborative Buddha Nuvo to share.DSC_1055

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Look for Strange Brewing to bottle their award-winning, Dr. Strangelove Barleywine in the coming weeks.  This will only be available at the brewery in very limited quantities, so don’t miss out.  DSC_1057

Danny from CAUTION: Brewing showing off his newest growler design.  Emperor’s Royal Guard Red for those keeping score at home.  DSC_1032

Crooked Stave brought pretty much everything, including the kitchen sink!  DSC_1061

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Awesome as always.  Thanks guys!  DSC_0002

I finally had the opportunity to sample the variety of sours from Colorado’s Three Barrel Brewing. They are hoping to get bombers into the Denver market later this year.  I really enjoyed all of their beers and if you’re a sour fan, I’d definitely keep an eye on them.
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Dry Dock Head Brewer Doug Hyndman was happy to share some Bligh’s Barleywine.
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Sam Adams 10th Anniversary of Utopias was flowing during the fest.  At nearly $200 / bottle, it was probably my last chance to try this big, rich and tasty beer.  DSC_0015

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Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione was almost as excited as we were when Bell’s “lost shipment of beer” showed up to the tasting.  DSC_0034

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Xandy from Elevation was pouring Apis IV, plus their next two beers, Oil Man and Señorita.  You won’t want to miss these upcoming bottle releases.
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Goose Island had plenty to choose from, including Bourbon County Brand Stout and Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout.DSC_0086

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Keep an eye out for Roadhouse Brewing from Jackson Hole, WY.  They won’t open until later this Spring, but already have a tasty IPA, Saison and Belgian Strong Ale.  DSC_0112

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Brewtally Best of Show

With so many amazing beers, covering a wide variety of styles, it was nearly impossible to narrow down a favorite.  But here are three that stuck with me.

Big Beer: Bell’s Brewery – Raspberry Wild One.  With the ridiculous amount of stellar beers pouring, I could easily list 10 as my “Favorite Big Beer”, but I’ve done my best and narrowed it down to this one.  The Wild One.  The tartness, mixed with the sweet fruit, was what made me enjoy this one so much.  It’s got complexity and depth with the oak presence, acidity and sour notes. Raspberry Wild One was just a great beer that really stuck out in my mind from the weekend.  Great job Bell’s!

Belgian: Brasserie d’Orval – Orval.  This is the Trappist that goes against the grain.  While the other Trappist monasteries brew some of the finest Dubbels and Quads around, Orval takes a different approach with their dry, slightly hoppy and funky Brettanomyces brewed beer.  I could drink Orval all day.  Drink it fresh for the hops, or age it for a little more Bretty funk.  Orval is a delicious beer and the only one the brewery puts into bottles.

Barleywine: Strange Brewing – Dr. Strangelove.  This is an American Barleywine with tons of sweet, caramel malt, balanced by a generous does of hops.  Head Brewer Tim Myers, said he hopes to bottle Dr. Strangelove later this month and sell bottles at the brewery shortly thereafter.  Job well done.  Beer hunters, snag some if you can.

With 200+ beers pouring this past weekend, it’s downright unfair to pick just 3, so here are a few others that definitely deserve a mention: Wynkoop – The Chancellor Barleywine, AC Golden – Peach Sour, Mission Brewing – Double IPA, Hair of the Dog – Adam, Three Barrel – Penitente Chimayo, Surly – Abrasive, Rockyard – Buddha Nuvo, Trappistes Rochefort – 10, Renegade – Black Gold (Peanut Butter Cup Stout), Oskar Blues / Ska – OSKAr the G’Rauch, Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Elevation – Oil Man Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Boston Beer Company – Utopias 10th Anniversary, Crooked Stave – L’Brett d’Or, Backcountry – Imperial Saison with Brett, Grimm Brothers – Wee Heavy Bourbon Barrel Brett and on and on and on.  As you can see, the list was phenomenal!

Here’s some links to last week’s radio shows, both of which were live from Vail:

Colorado Craft Beer Show

American Craft Beer Radio

Vail Big Beers gives beer lovers a rare chance to sample some of the finest beers on the planet AND talk to the brewers that create them.  Such a great weekend and a BIG Thank You to all involved.  We can’t wait to go back next year.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz: Vail Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Edition 01/10/2013

It’s been a good week here in Colorado.  I was able to attend a fun little bottle share last weekend with some local craft beer lovers.  It was a great group of people and the tasting featured everything from Cigar City Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Hunahpu to Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise to Hill Farmstead Anna.  A few of us collaborated on a Czar vertical from ’05 to ’12.  I like to call it the Czar Voltron.

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It’s tough to beat a good bottle share and it was great to see the dedication and generosity of the local beer geek community.

Last Friday, Epic Brewing of Utah, announced their plans to open a brewery, barrel room and tasting room in Denver this Spring.  All the details can be found in the Press Release.

Also last week, I had the opportunity to review Elevation Beer Co’s Downpour Imperial Red Ale and try Odell’s Lugene Milk Chocolate Stout (review coming soon!).

But enough about last week, there’s a new weekend right around the corner and we are READY!  The 13th Annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival hits Vail over the next few days.  After a long hiatus, we’re excited to be heading back up the mountain for this amazing festival.  Anybody else headed up that way?  Wait.  Let’s back up, I’m getting ahead of myself.  Deep breath.  Alrighty, here we go!

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Colorado gets a new brewery today!  Over in Boulder, J Wells Brewery will pour their first beers at 1 PM.

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Stop by and check out the new place and try one of the three beers on tap: Jamie’s Pale Ale, Chocolate Milk Stout and Hop Haze IPA.  J Wells Brewery is located at: 2516 49th St., Boulder, CO 80301.

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Get your firkin fill over at Dry Dock Brewing with Firkin Friday.

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This week’s tapping is Turncoat Amber.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s releasing Darth Cherry for this week’s Deviation.

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Darth Cherry is a Dark Cherry Stout.  Stop by for the 4 PM tapping.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Verboten Brewing will open their doors for the first time on Friday.

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This new brewery up in Loveland will be open from 3 – 9 PM on Friday and 1 – 9 PM on Saturday.  For opening day, they’ll be pouring: Belgian Wit w/ Lemongrass, IPA and Caramel Porter on both nitro and CO2.  Verboten Brewing is located at: 1550 Taurus Ct, Loveland, CO 80537.  970-988-6333.

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Vail is THE place to be this weekend with the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines (BBB) festival going on Thursday, Friday & Saturday at the Cascade Lodge.  Although the festival kicks off on Thursday with the Brewmasters’ Dinner (with Avery and Dogfish Head), continues Friday with a homebrew competition, Cicerone exam and another Brewmaster’s Dinner (with Dry Dock Brewing), the real fun is the seminars and commercial tasting on Saturday.  Although no official list of beers has been released, there should be more than 200 beers pouring from some of the best breweries in the world.

The Commercial Tasting runs from 2:30 – 6 PM, with seminars beginning as early as 10 AM. Unfortunately, the tasting sold out earlier this week, but tickets to a few of the seminars are still available.  A complete schedule of events can be found HERE.

Both the Colorado Craft Beer Show and American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live from BBB on Saturday.  Be sure to stop by and show your support for these great shows.  They’re doing a great job of spreading the word of craft beer.  If you’re not heading up to Vail, pour yourself a beer and tune in to see what you’re missing.  Colorado Craft Beer Show will air on AM760 after the CU game, around 2:30 PM and run until 5 PM.  American Craft Beer Radio will air on 102.3 FM at 2 PM.

Broncos fans should know that the BBB directors are trying to figure out a way to broadcast the game inside during the tasting.  No promises, but they’re working on it.

Into The Future

Looking towards next weekend, Denver Beer Co. is hosting an Inaugural Beer Dinner in their new Barrel Room on Friday, January 18th.  This will be your very first chance to see the newly completed barrel room and expansion.

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The $60 ticket includes dinner and a chance to try some of Denver Beer Co’s first barrel aged brews. Denver Beer Co. is located at: 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-433-2739.

Also coming up on Sunday, January 27th, is a benefit at The Rackhouse Pub to raise money for Strange Brewing’s legal defense fund.  The whole Strange vs. Strange has gotten a little out of control and the Colorado Craft Beer community is rallying behind our Strange Brewing to help them through this tough time.  So far, two dozen local breweries have generously donated beer for this event, which runs from 3 – 6 PM on 1/27.  Tickets are only available online for $25 and can be purchased HERE.  The Rackhouse Pub is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.  720-570-7824.

That’s it for this weekend guys!  If you’re driving from the Denver-area up to Vail, be safe.  Snow is on the way.

See you soon!

Cheers!