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We’ve Moved!!! Go To Brewtallyinsane.com And See What You’re Missing.

If you’re reading this, then you’re on our “old” site.  We’ve found a new home and relaunched our site.  Please update your bookmarks and point your browsers over to our new site, http://brewtallyinsane.com   Come on, what are you waiting for?

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 5 – AleSmith Brewing Company

When I hear the term “Big Beer” in Colorado, I immediately think of Avery Brewing and Great Divide Brewing.  Both have a vast selection of big beers ranging from 8%+ ABV Imperial Stouts, Double IPA’s, Barleywines and so on.  When I hear the term “Big Beer” in reference to Southern California, I think of San Diego’s AleSmith Brewing.  AleSmith has been serving up tasty brews since 1995 and over time, they’ve grown their line to include a variety of fantastic, high ABV beers.

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AleSmith might be best known for their popular Speedway Stout, which is a 12% ABV Imperial Stout brewed with coffee.  Speedway Stout is full of chocolate, coffee and roasted malt flavors.  The thick, creamy mouthfeel lingers and leaves you wanting more.  Speedway variations spring up from time-to-time in the tasting room.  Past experiments have included batches brewed with dried sour cherries, mint chocolate and peanut butter & cacao nibs.  Wow!  Send some to Colorado.  Please??

Old Numbskull Barleywine is an American-style Barleywine that weighs in at 11% ABV.  If you’re not a fan of the big hop flavors found in fresh batches, tuck some away in the back of your cellar for a few years.  The caramel and malt notes that come through once the hops fade after a year or more are divine.  Fresh, aged, both, whatever, it’s a great take on the style.

Scotch Ale fans never seem to have very many options.  That poor beer just doesn’t get enough respect in my opinion.  Luckily, AleSmith gives the style its’ due with their Wee Heavy.  The 10% ABV Wee Heavy is a sweet, smokey, lightly hopped traditional Scotch Ale.

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The Grand Cru might be the most complex beer in their year-round big beer lineup.  This one is a 10.5% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is brewed with dark Belgian candi sugar and fermented with authentic Belgian trappist yeast.  The dark brown brew has flavors of dark fruit, vanilla, brown sugar and caramel.

Don’t forget the Grand Cru’s little brother, known as Horny Devil.  This bad boy is an 11% ABV Belgian Strong Pale Ale.  Like the Grand Cru, the Devil is also brewed with Belgian trappist yeast, but uses a lighter Belgian candi sugar and coriander seeds in the brewing process.  The result is a beautiful golden beer with citrus, bread and spice notes.

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AleSmith has a small barrel-aging project and many of the barrel-aged releases are only available on draft in the tasting room.  They occasionally release 750mL bottles of their Barrel-Aged big beers like Speedway Stout and Old Numbskull, which are only available during release parties at the brewery. Take note beer traders, I highly recommend seeking these bad boys out.

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While the big beers tend to take center stage, don’t ignore the smaller, more sessionable brews like their IPA, Anvil ESB and X Pale Ale or their great seasonals like YuleSmith, My Bloody Valentine or Decadence (their Anniversary beer which is a different style every year).

DSC_0843AleSmith reps at GABF said they’re looking at entering the CO market in the near future.  Cross your fingers folks, because AleSmith would be a great addition to the CO beer scene.

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Drop by the tasting room on your next trip out west to see what they’re all about and grab some bottles to bring back for your cellar.  You’re gonna love ’em!

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AleSmith Brewing is located at: 9368 Cabot Dr, San Diego, CA 92126.  858-549-9888

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 4 – Pizza Port

No beer trippin’ report in San Diego would be complete without a visit to at least one of the Pizza Port locations.  The original Pizza Port was founded in Solana Beach in 1987, by owners Vince and Gina Marsaglia.  Vince began using the restaurant’s extra space to experiment with homebrewing.   5 years later in 1992, a 7 BBL brewhouse was installed and the brewery was born.  In 1997, Tomme Arthur took the reigns in the brewhouse and the rest is history.

Since then, Pizza Port has grown to 4 locations (with 1 more on the way), opened a bottle shop in Carlsbad (offering 600+ of the best beers available in the San Diego area), named 2003 and 2004 Small Brewpub of the Year at GABF (Solana Beach) and 2009 Large Brewpub of the Year at GABF (Carlsbad) and opened a production facility in San Marcos, CA.  The brewpubs have also taken home numerous GABF and World Beer Cup medals.  Tomme Arthur has since moved on to become Director of Brewery Operations at Port Brewing and co-founded the The Lost Abbey line of Belgian influenced beers in 2006.

Each Pizza Port location offers a wide variety of beers brewed on-site, plus a lineup of guest taps from some of the world’s top craft breweries.  The great selection of beers, ranging from west coast hop bombs to authentic Belgian ales, is sure to satisfy even the most hardcore beer nerd.  If you can’t decide which location to visit, let the beer do the talking.  The Pizza Port website has a webcam feed showing all of the beers pouring at each location.

The close proximity to the beach and the laid back vibe, combined with a tasty menu and a ton of great beers, makes Pizza Port one of our favorite places to visit in the San Diego area.  Pizza Port shows no signs of slowing down, as they’re currently working on a new location in Bressi Ranch (near Carlsbad).  I guess we’ll have to add it to the list for next time.

On this trip, we only had the time to visit Pizza Port Carlsbad, but we’ve visited the other locations in the past and encourage you to try them all.  Here’s a handful of pictures from our recent visit.

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Cheers!


Falling Rock Tap House Update and Pliny the Younger Details!

Read below for the latest update from Chris Black at Falling Rock Tap House.  This time he gears you up for this weekend’s release of Pliny the Younger and talks about St. Patrick’s Day, Colorado Craft Beer Week and Opening Day at Coors Field.

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Howdy Folks,

It’s the time of the year for Russian River Pliny the Younger ! We have 2 more releases scheduled: Next Saturday February 23rd at 12:30 pm, & next Sunday February 24th at 1pm.  Doors will open at our usual time of 11am. We will be issuing Tickets that allow you to purchase a glass of Pliny the Younger as people arrive. There will be 2 colors of tickets, if you get the first color, relax, sit down, start a tab, get something to eat & a warm-up beer or two, you’re getting a Younger, the second color, well, Maybe. When it comes time to tap Younger, we’ll sell it to all of the folks with the first color, if you are seated & have a tab with a server, you can stay seated because the server will bring it to you. When we finish serving all the folks with the first color we will do a last call for that color ticket then line up the second color tickets in order & start serving those folks. In order to get a Pliny the Younger you need to be here before we do last call for that color of tickets (usually around 25-30 minutes after we start pouring it) or you lose your chance & giving it to the next persons in line. I know it might sound a bit complex, but it’s really simple & has made our Pliny the Younger release days a lot easier, civilized & less stressful for everyone involved. 


Other dates to remember:
March 16th St. Patrick’s Parade. Once again Blake Street Turns Green with The Parade running right in front of the Falling Rock. We will be opening at 9am on Parade Day.

March 17th St. Patrick’s Day. Opening at normal Hour (11am) No Cover.

March 18th Kickoff event for Colorado Craft Beer Week. 7-11pm. We will be closed to the public for a Ticketed Event to kick off the Inaugural Colorado Craft Beer Week. We will be attempting to switch out all of our taps plus a few extra ones to Colorado Breweries for a truly Once-in-a-Lifetime Event. Tickets will go on sale in a few days & will be preceded by another email letting you know when they go on sale. There will only be 250 tickets to this event so watch out for the email & Twitter announcements  (Twitter @FallingRockTap )

April 5th Colorado Rockies Home Opener. We will open at 10am for the game vs the San Diego Padres.

Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Cheers!


The Inaugural San Diego Winter Brew Fest

The team behind the annual Winter and Summer Brew Fests in Denver, known as RightOn Productions, has decided to take their beer, food and fun fests on the road.  Last weekend, they brought the Inaugural Winter Brew Fest to Broadway Pier in lovely San Diego, CA.

Lucky for us, we got invited to come out and cover the event.  Trust me, we didn’t need much convincing.  We LOVE a good brew fest and we love San Diego.  Yep, count us in!

The event was held at the Port Pavilion at Broadway Pier, which is a modern, environmentally friendly Cruise ship terminal.  Port Pavilion is easily accessible by car, bus and train and offers scenic views of the USS Midway and San Diego Bay.

The San Diego beer scene is on fire right now, with more than 63 breweries in operation and 32 more in various stages of planning.  The San Diego beer scene is almost as exciting as the current Denver beer scene.  The inaugural festival gave us the opportunity to try beers from some of the local up and coming breweries such as Iron Fist and Manzanita, but we were just as excited to revisit old favorites from our friends at Mission and Ballast Point.

The food trucks parked outside along the bay were no joke either.  They had prepared beer-centric menus just for the brew-minded crowd.  We couldn’t get enough from the guys at Underdogs, who were serving up some mean sausage creations.  I went with the “Mac Daddy”, which was a Stone Porter Sausage, topped with macaroni and cheese and bacon.  Oh delish.  The cheese sauce on top was made with a Saison from Iron First Brewing.

Inside the pier, the crowd sipped on beer, nibbled on Cabot cheese and grooved to the sounds of local bands.  All in all, a great time and another well run festival from the RightOn crew.  No word yet on whether they plan to expand the event to include a San Diego Summer Brew Fest.  We can only hope.

Until next time, check out some of the sights from the San Diego Winter Brew Fest.

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To see more highlights from our San Diego adventure, visit the Beer Trippin’ portion of our site.

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 3 – Green Flash Brewing

After two great stops at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Port / The Lost Abbey, it was time to start heading South towards San Diego.  So for our last stop of the day, we decided to visit Green Flash Brewing.  This place caught me completely off guard.  From the outside, Green Flash looks like a place where they should be programming satellites or making sketches for the next hybrid car.  Not your average looking brewery by any means.

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While we were scratching our heads on the way in, we slipped through the glass door and made our way down a long hallway lined with beer posters.  The hallway eventually led us to a tasting room surrounded by a large brewery, bottling line and pallets and pallets of beer.  Oh glorious beer!  It was clear we were in the right place.

We happened to hit Green Flash while they were pouring all 10 of their Anniversary Ales.  The brewery releases a different style one-off each year to commemorate the special occasion.  Past releases have included Barleywines, Strong Ales, Double IPA’s, Imperial Stouts and most recently a Flanders Red.  The prices were stupid good at just $1 for a taster and $4 for a full pour.

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In addition to their anniversary collection, there was also a variety of beers to sample from their year-round lineup, seasonals and special one-offs just for visitors to the tasting room.  Palate Wrecker Double IPA is a favorite of mine and I rarely pass up the opportunity to try a splash of this west coast hop bomb.  Luckily for me, a fresh keg was on tap.

The 9-year old Barleywine was tough to beat too.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a beer that was nearly a decade old and this was my second one in under 4 hours.  (Stone was also pouring beers going back to ’03!)  I think I need to “beer trip” through CA more often.

Visitors can make a day of sampling the more than two dozen offerings in the tasting room.  On brewing and bottling days, guests have the perfect vantage point to watch the Green Flash team go to work.  The small beer garden on the side of the building is a nice little hangout and a great chance to try some of the local food trucks.

While Green Flash may look a little different on the outside, Mama always said it’s what’s on the inside that counts.  And on the inside of Green Flash, is great beer.  Seriously tasty, great beer and that’s what really matters.

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Green Flash Brewing is located at: 6550 Mira Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92121.  858-622-0085

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz: Valentine’s Day Edition 02/14/2013

We had a killer time last week on the left coast.  San Diego is a great, great beer town.  No, it’s not Denver, let’s not get carried away, but it’s solid and growing just as quickly as our local scene.  This was our second visit in 18 months and it’s crazy to see the growth.  We shared some sights and tastes from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey and we’ve got more to come including the Inaugural San Diego Winter Brew Fest, Green Flash, AleSmith and more. Stay tuned!

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And hey, it’s lent.

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Maybe give up something a little more reasonable like eating or shaving (which I happily haven’t done since November).  Do what you gotta do, but don’t give up craft beer.

In other news, the CO brewers won their fight against grocery and convenience stores selling full-strength beer.  Well done boys and girls.  I sincerely hope this is the last time you all have to fight that fight.  Unfortunately, it seems some overpaid assbanana brings it up again year after year.  Until then, Congrats on winning this battle.

And lastly, before we start our weekend run down, Cheers to Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog and CO-native that made us all proud at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  The big guy placed second overall out of 2,500+ pups.  Nicely done!  Now maybe your owner will finally get that furry mop out of your eyes.

And now, it’s time to get serious.  Focus.  It’s time for your Weekend Beer Buzz.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Day of Love is very near and if you love beer, then have no fear, just plant your eyes on this page right here.   Many of the beery events and Valentine’s beer dinners sold out long ago, but here are a few that don’t require tickets and should have plenty of beer flowing for you and your special someone on Thursday night.

Dry Dock has a delicious pair of tappings lined up for Thursday.  Stop by and revisit Rudolph’s Revenge, which you might remember as Head Brewer Doug Hyndman’s Raspberry Pomegranate Porter from the 2012 Ho Ho Ho Slapdown.  Dry Dock also plans to release a firkin of Strawberry Hefeweizen, which I think at one point used to be called Heidi Klum?  Am I wrong here?  Either way, firkin at noon, Rudolph at 4 PM.  Don’t be surprised if a few more treats pop up as well.

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

Black Shirt Brewing is hosting a beer and desert pairing on Thursday.  End your special night with a Chai Red Porter and a specially prepared desert.

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This will run from 5 – 9 PM and is rumored to be your only chance to try this great brew.  The BSB tasting room will now be open on Wednesday’s, with expanded hours throughout the week.  Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Scott and the Wit’s End Gang will have their 2nd Annual Valentine’s Day Beer and Chocolate Pairing from 4 PM – ? (until the chocolate’s gone!).

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Cruise over to the Wit’s End Website and see what they’ve got planned for this year’s event.  The Kitchen Sink Porter is paired with a chocolate-bacon bar.  Need I say more?  Sappy, cheese-filled music provided free of charge.  Wit’s End Brewing is located at: 2505 W 2nd Ave, Unit 13, Denver, CO 80223.  303-459-4379.

Up at Yak & Yeti in Arvada, Head Brewer Adam Draeger released (Yakety Yak) Don’t Talk Bock and Cherry Porter this week.  For Valentine’s Day, he’s bringing back Red Hot Wheat, which is brewed with Red Hots Candies.  Draeger describes the 4.9% ABV bright red brew as a “Dentyne gum flavored dessert wine to share with the sweetheart of your life”.

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

Speaking of Yeti’s, there’s been reports of a sighting over at Great Divide.  They’ll be tapping a Jim Beam Barrel-Aged Version of Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti at 2 PM.  Wow, that sounds amazing.

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Great Divide Brewing is located at: 2201 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-296-9460.

Up in Longmont at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, they’ll have hand carved prime rib and some special Ommegang goodies on draft.

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Homemade Liquids and Solids is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-485-9400.

Lone Tree Brewing will tap The Princess Vidrevitz Russian Imperial Stout and Chocolate Cherry Stout at noon today.  Sounds delish.

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Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124.  303-792-5822.

Here’s the latest from Crooked Stave.

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

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Just in case you don’t have enough spice in your life on Valentine’s Day, Dry Dock’s tapping a Green Chili Double IPA on Firkin Friday.

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Tapping at 3 PM.  I don’t typically reach for chili brews, but this one’s good.  Damn good.  Trust me. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s busting out “The Preacher” for this week’s Deviation.  The Preacher is a Simcoe and Vanguard Pale Ale.

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

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Congrats to River North Brewery, who’ll be celebrating their 1-year Anniversary on Saturday.  Stop by and share a beer from their great lineup of Belgian-influenced ales.  You’ll also have the opportunity to try their newest and biggest beer yet, a 12.5% ABV Imperial Stout that was brewed to commemorate the special occasion.  120 cases produced, so perhaps this’ll see a bit of local distribution.  Keep your eyes peeled fellow beer hunters and gatherers.

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River North will also be offering tours of their barrel room.  The party starts at 1 PM and you won’t want to miss out.  River North Brewery is located at: 2401 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-296-2617,

The Tasty Weasel is also gearing up for an Anniversary Party.  The Oskar Blues Tap Room in Longmont will be celebrating 4 years with a super secret beer release, food trucks and of course skee ball. They’ll be joined by the Colorado Craft Beer Show, who’ll be kicking it off at noon on AM 760.  Better yet, stop by and watch the show live.

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The Tasty Weasel is located at: 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-776-1914.

The 3rd Annual Winter Beer Fest is right around the corner.  On Saturday, the Woodland Park Cultural Center will be turned into a beer garden as Prost Brewing, Arvada Beer Company, Trinity Brewing and others set up shop for the afternoon.

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Tickets are only $15, but hurry, as they’ll jump to $30 if you wait to buy them at the door.  Ticket price includes taster glass and unlimited tastings.  This event runs from 2 – 6 PM.  More details and ticket info can be found HERE.  The Woodland Park Cultural Center is located at: 210 E Midland Ave, Woodland Park, CO 80863.

Pliny the Younger Update

The Younger kegs are slowly invading Denver.

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So far, we’ve got two tapping times confirmed.

Backcountry Pizza and Tap House will tap their keg on Sunday, February 24th at noon.  Tickets are $9 / 11 oz. and will be sold at 11 AM.  Backcountry Pizza and Tap House is located at: 2319 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.  303-449-4285.

The Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe in Denver will have TWO tappings!  The first will hit tap lines on Monday, February 25th, the second will get tapped on Thursday, February 28th.  Both will start pouring at 6:30 PM.  $10 / glass, first come, first serve.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203.  303-861-0347.

Until next time, here’s your German lesson for the week.

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Pretty sure they didn’t teach you that in High School.  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

It’s been fun.  Let’s do it again next weekend.

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 2 – Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey

Just a short drive from our first stop at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, is Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, CA.  Although only separated by a few miles, the two breweries feel like they’re worlds apart.  Unlike Stone, you won’t find any zen gardens, koi ponds or fancy restaurant here.  Instead, you’ll find a tasting room that’s situated right next to a buzzing brewery and a row of bubbling fermenters.  Here you can choose from an assortment of beers that range from hop-forward American ales to Barrel-Aged wild ales and Belgian-style masterpieces.

Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey is situated at the original location where Stone was founded back in 1996.  The Port / LA crew bought the building in 2005, when Stone moved to their current location down the road in Escondido.  Stone’s original brewhouse (pictured below), is still being used today by Port / LA.

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The Lost Abbey portfolio consists of more than a dozen Belgian-influenced masterpieces, ranging from Saisons to Quads to Wild Ales.  Sour fans can’t seem to get enough of Tomme Arthur’s Barrel-Aged goodies like Red Poppy, Framboise de Amorosa and Cuvee de Tomme.

In 2007, the brewery founded a beer club that shipped beer directly to member’s homes.  Popularity grew very quickly and it was later split into two clubs.  The Patron Saints club offered the year-round LA lineup, while the Patron Sinners club offered a variety of seasonals, one-offs and rarities like Duck, Duck Gooze and Isabelle Proximus.  Sadly, these clubs were shut down in 2011, in order for the brewery to better focus on expanding distribution and in order to ease the stress the club placed on the brewery staff.

The Port side of the operation leans toward bold, flavorful American-style beers.  Port is no stranger to hoppy Red’s, big IPA’s, high ABV stouts and other tasty brews.  The brewery is currently gearing up to release “Board Meeting” (pictured below), a brown ale brewed with generous amounts of Ryan Brothers coffee beans and TCHO cocoa nibs.  The result is a delicious chocolate, coffee ale that you won’t want to pass up.

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No matter what styles your palate prefers, Port / LA is there to fill your needs.  Grab a spot at the bar and get a feel for the working life of a brewery.  Stop by on a brew day and let the aromas flood your senses.  If you’re lucky, maybe the resident brew cat will even grace you with his presence.

Big Thank You to Lead Brewer Matt Webster and the rest of the gang at Port / LA for their generous hospitality.  You might know Matt from his starring role in the Angel’s Share video below.  We truly appreciate his willingness to give us a glimpse into the operation and share the brewery with us.

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Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey is located at: 155 Mata Way, Suite 104, San Marcos, CA 92069.  800-918-6816.

Cheers!


Beer Trippin’ in California. Part 1 – Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.

What can I say about Stone Brewing that hasn’t already been said?  While I won’t bore you with facts and figures or the latest production numbers, I would like to strongly encourage every craft beer drinker out there, to at some point, make the pilgrimage to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido, CA.

The 1-acre garden is full of streams, waterfalls, bridges, stone formations, canopies and pathways, and is easily the most picturesque beer garden I’ve ever laid eyes on.  To step foot inside, is to be whisked away to beer nirvana.  Combine the peacefulness of the gardens, with the deliciousness of the beer and one can easily lose a day just watching the world go by.

Greg Koch and his team at Stone have gone to great lengths to make Stone a “destination” and not just another place to stop for a brewery tour.  And yet, just a short distance from the peace and quiet in the gardens, sits a modern brewhouse and bottling line that’s continually pumping out beer 24 hours / day.

The world-class bistro offers the best of both worlds, with tables overlooking the gardens, plus a panorama into the brewhouse.  On warm days, guests can sit at one of the stone tables on the outside patio and order from the back bar.

A seat at either the indoor or outdoor bar, will reward you with a selection of more than 30 taps and an ever-changing selection of 100+ bottles from some of the best breweries in the world.  The food menu is nothing short of fantastic and ranges from stinky cheese plates to pasta to sandwiches to bone-in steaks.

During our visit, it was the annual “Stone Winter Storm”, which features 100 unique Stone kegs and bottles.  This year, Stone was pouring everything from 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale to Special Releases, Barrel-aged variants and more.  I started my visit with a pour of 2004 Old Guardian Barleywine.

If you’re lucky enough to visit during one of the many events, you might even learn a thing or two.  Stone offers classes through their “Beer U” tastings, “Master Pairings with Dr. Bill” and some of the best festivals on the West Coast, including the very popular Sour Fest and the upcoming Oakquinox (a celebration of Barrel-Aged beers).

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is one of those places that needs to be on the “Bucket List” of every craft beer enthusiast.  Whether you’re a fan of their beers or not, it’s just something that needs to be experienced to truly be appreciated.  This wasn’t our first visit and I can assure you, it won’t be our last.

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Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens is located at: 1999 Citracado Parkway, Escondido, CA 92029.  760-294-7866.

Where will you find us next?  Stay tuned.  More to come!

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 02/07/2013

Another glorious week here in old Colorado.  The little varmint didn’t see his shadow, so maybe that explains the 50 degree weather all week.

Animals turn Humans into clowns.  Babies seem to have that ability as well.

In other news, we visited The Source last week to check out the future digs for a variety of local artisans, but specifically Crooked Stave.

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An update can be found HERE.  We’ve extremely excited about this new venture and we’ll be keeping you updated along the way.

Breckenridge Brewery announced their plans to open an environmentally friendly new brewery, farmhouse, hop farm and more over in Littleton along the Platte River.  They plan to break ground in 2013 and open in 2014.

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Another very exciting turn of events in our world of CO breweries.  Check out their page for the official announcement.

Lastly, congrats to De Steeg and Fate Brewing, who both had successful openings last week.  We can’t wait to stop by for a visit and a chance to try your brews.

Grab a beer and let’s toast to Animals, Babies, Crooked Stave, Breckenridge, De Steeg and Fate on an awesome week.  Now, sit back, grab your calendar and start planning your weekend.  It starts…  wait for it…  get ready…  NOW!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Renegade Brewing launches their next wave of cans today!  Cans of Elevation Triple IPA and 5:00 Afternoon Ale have been showing up at better beer stores around town all week.  To celebrate the release, Renegade’s hosting a party on Thursday from 6 – 10 PM.

Stop by for a pint and grab some cans to-go.  Renegade Brewing is located at: 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204.  720-401-4089.

Yak & Yeti Head Brewer Adam Draeger has plenty of great options to pick from this week, including a newly tapped Vanilla Porter, brewed with real Madagascar vanilla beans.

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Tune in next week, when Adam taps a Bock, Cherry Porter and Red Hots Wheat, his special Valentine’s Day brew made with Red Hots candies.  Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora has your firkin fix this week.  Stop by and try this week’s Firkin Friday release, which is a Lavender Dark Saison.

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

Down South at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s got a 4.5% ABV Ginger Ale made with “fresh ginger, French oak and a tin of ginger Altoids”.  This one’s called “NOT MARIANNE”.  See if you can figure out the connection between the name and the beer.

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

Parry’s Pizza is hosting “Firkin Right Friday” and tapping some Barrel-Aged West Coast IPA from California’s Green Flash Brewing on Friday at 4 PM.  Love this beer.  To see a Green Flash firkin in CO is a rare treat.  Get some.

Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Still not enough firkins fir ya?  Then get the firk over to High Hops Brewery and Hop Farm in Windsor for their Inaugural Firkin Fest.  Look for 14 taps to be pouring, plus special one-day only firkins, food and live music.  The beer starts flowing at noon.

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High Hops Brewery is located at: 6461 Hwy 392, Windsor, CO 80550.  970-674-2841.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew will tap their new Weizenbock on Friday at 7 PM.

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7% ABV, 31 IBU’s.  Stop by and check out one of Denver’s newest breweries.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Somewhat quiet Saturday around town this week, so we’re heading to California for the Inaugural San Diego Brew Fest and a visit to some of our favorite West Coast breweries like Lost Abbey and Stone.  Keep an eye on the Facebook Page for updates.  We’ll have a full report next week.

In the meantime, get your brew news fix with our friends Turk and the Gubna on the Colorado Craft Beer Show.

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This week, they’ll be joined in the studio with Brian Hutchinson, who formerly brewed at Mountain Sun and is now brewing at Cannonball Creek Brewing Company, which just opened in Golden last month.  They’ll also have David Zuckerman and Dan Weitz from Boulder Beer in the studio. Tune into the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM 760 from noon – 2 PM on Saturday.

Odell will release Amuste at the brewery on Saturday.  This is an “Imperial Porter aged in oak wine barrels accented with juice from Tempranillo grapes grown on the Western Slope of Colorado”.

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Pick up a bottle to-go and stick around for a glass at the brewery.  Sales will begin at 11 AM, with live music at 4 PM.  This should hit local shelves very soon, so keep an eye out.  Odell Brewing is located at: 800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  970-490-9070.

Copper Kettle Brewing Company is bringing back their Smoked Porter this weekend.

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Tapping at noon, food truck at 4 PM and live music at 6 PM.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Don’t forget this week’s German lesson with Bill Eye from Prost Brewing.

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Hey, if you’re going to learn a foreign language, you better at least know how to speak Beer.  Thanks Bill!  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Pliny the Younger Update

The Pliny’s been raging this week out at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA.

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No word yet on when we’ll see kegs around town, but we should have some information at some point next week.  Stay tuned!

Dark Lord Day 2013

Speaking of hyped, big beers.  Dark Lord Day 2013 is coming.  Last week, Three Floyds Brewing unveiled a new logo for their über popular Russian Imperial Stout.  I guess they ran out of different colors of wax, so it was time to change the label in order for us beer nerds to differentiate between the vintages.

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Looks pretty sharp.  And angry!  There are rumors that Three Floyds will move this year’s event to a location away from the brewery, in order to better accommodate the crowds.  We’ll keep you posted with updates as we get ’em.

That’s it for this weekend.

Cheers!


Breaking Ground at The Source

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at The Source, a high-end, European-style market set to open in Denver in June 2013.  Kyle Zeppelin, the brains behind this massive undertaking, chose a 26,000 square foot, former ironworks building in River North to call home for this project.  The red-brick building, which dates back to the 1880’s, is being renovated and given new life by Zeppelin, who is signing on some of the very best local artisans to bring their respective crafts to The Source.

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A variety of businesses have signed on, including Mondo Food, which will offer gourmet cheeses and cured meats; Proper Pour, which in addition to selling fine wines, liquor and bartending supplies, will also feature a wine cellar, where local residents can rent storage units and store their wine collection on site; Babette’s, a bakery that will feature fresh breads, croissants and sandwiches; The Source will also feature a coffee roaster, distillery, two restaurants, chocolatier and more.

As a beer lover, I’m particularly excited that The Source will be the home for Crooked Stave’s new brewhouse.  Crooked Stave Owner/Brewer Chad Yakobson, plans to install a 20-BBL brewhouse on site, along with a coolship, one of only a handful of open fermentation vessels found throughout the U.S.  This will allow him endless possibilities for experimentation and the ability to make a wide variety of wild and sour beers.

The Source looks to be one-stop shopping for beer connoisseurs, wine aficionados and foodies alike.  Although still a few months away from completion (the opening date is anticipated to be June 2013), it’s a very exciting time to be in Denver.  We’ll keep you updated as the opening date gets closer, but in the meantime, here’s some pictures from last week’s Groundbreaking ceremony and a glimpse into The Source.

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The Source will be located at: 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO.

Cheers!


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!


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!


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!


New Brew Review: Elevation’s Downpour Imperial Red Ale

Ever since I tried my first sip of Elevation Beer Co’s Apis IV (their first bottled release) last summer, I’ve been closely following this fledgling Colorado brewery.  From what I’ve seen so far, they consistently put out high quality beers at a price that’s relatively easy on the beer geek’s wallet.  So when their newest release, Downpour Imperial Red Ale, hit the Denver-area market a few weeks ago, I thought it was time for a review.

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The Story

Straight  from the label:

Downpour is named after the sudden thunderous downpour that hit the Elevation Team during a “team building” trip of paddle boating and beer at Chaffee County’s Cottonwood Lake.  The hot day on the lake and its enlivening, bitter, cold downpour inspired us to create an Imperial Red Ale with a combination of the fresh bitterness of 4 different types of hops and the warming of a big malt backbone.  This beer is perfectly balanced for the warmth of summer sun and the cold of fall rain. 

Downpour balances on the border between malt and huge hop flavors, mulch like the balance between warm summer days and the bitter cold thunderstorms we get here in the high country of Colorado.  The beer pours a hazy redwood red with a white fluffy head.  Hops dominate the nose with pine, earth and grapefruit, balanced slightly by caramel malt flavors and hints of our fruity London Ale yeast.  The beer hits the palate with bitter hop notes and is balanced by bready malt.  A beer for the hop freaks among us.

The Review

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Appearance:  Poured from a 750 mL, corked and caged bottle into a tulip glass, the beer is, well, it’s red.  Says so right on the bottle.  There’s no foolin’ there.  No sediment, just a nice, dark, ruby red with a steady, controlled stream of carbonation throughout.  The head shapes up 3-fingers tall and is frothy, off-white, and resembles a creamy latte.  Plenty of lacing to coat the walls of my glass all around.  Downpour just looks awesome.  Score: 4.5/5

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Aroma:  Piney hops, sweet caramel and bread make up the bulk of the aroma.  There’s also a touch of citrus and if you close your eyes there’s a bit of wood and honey.  Mmmmm….  Score: 4/5

Taste:   First sip is biscuit, nuts and citrus hops.  It’s as if I’m eating a slice of hop bread baked by a mischievous baker.  Second sip, more hops jump out, with pineapple, peaches and mango lurking in the background.  It’s leaning towards an IPA, but never quite crosses that line.  The bottle says 90 IBU’s, but it’s not overly bitter by any means.  That’s where the “Red” comes in.  The malty, rich, caramel notes keep the hops in check and prevent this brew from becoming just another bitter hop bomb.  West coast Red mixes with a malty ESB.  To hell with style guidelines.  What you should know is the combo works and it’s freakin’ tasty.  Score: 4/5

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Mouthfeel:  Downpour is full flavored and brings a medium, yet not too heavy or syrupy mouthfeel to the table.  It finishes on the bitter side and like a red wine, it leaves your palate dry.  What to do, what to do???  Whet that thing and drink some more!  Score: 4.5/5

The Verdict

Overall:  People, I only paid $8.99 for this 750 mL bottle and it didn’t disappoint on any level.  It brings a beautiful pour, aroma, flavor and finish to the table.  As prices on the craft beer market continue to rise, sometimes approaching ridiculous levels (cough, Woodcut, cough, cough), Elevation keeps it in check by offering well crafted AND affordable beers. It’s beers like Downpour that allow the macro-crap drinkers to make the switch over to high quality, craft beer.  Score: 4.25/5

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Add Elevation Beer Co to your list of Colorado breweries to watch and seek out your own bottles of Downpour while they last.  You won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!


Epic Brewing To Open A Brewhouse And Taproom In Denver

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Back in October, during the Great American Beer Festival, Epic Brewing of Salt Lake City, UT, announced their intentions to open a brewery in Denver.  They’ve secured a location and plan to be in production by March.   Never a dull moment here in Colorado.  Read on for more details from the press release.

Epic Brewing Arrives in Denver

Salt Lake City, UT, January 4 – Following a year-long search, Epic Brewing is proud to announce its expansion plans to the Denver, CO area.

Co-founders Dave Cole and Peter Erickson have signed a lease at 3001 Walnut Street, located in the River North area of the city.  The building is approximately 19,000 square feet and Epic plans to install a 20-barrel brewhouse and taproom, along with a space for retail sales.  The new facility will use a twin-kettle system, allowing for a significant increase in production, and have an initial 480-barrels for fermentation.

Epic plans to be in production at the new facility by late March 2013, with an anticipated opening in April.  The new production facility will focus on brewing Epic’s Exponential series of brews with a large emphasis on its popular barrel-aging program.

“We anticipate that we will be using approximately 1,000 wood barrels within the year,” said Epic’s Brewmaster, Kevin Crompton.

The brewery will also produce Epic’s four Elevated series of brews (825 State Stout, Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale, Copper Cone Pale Ale and Hopulent IPA) and a “Classic series-like” line of three beers, to include a Lager, IPA and hoppy Pale Ale.

Kyle Rossman, a brewer at the current Salt Lake City brewery, is anticipated to become the Lead Brewer in Denver.  Epic will be hiring many locals for brewing, packaging, sales and taproom staff at the new facility in the coming months and is looking forward to becoming a part of the community.

Cole wants to be clear that the addition of the new facility does not mean any changes for the existing brewery in Utah. “Epic Brewing is not leaving Salt Lake City,” said Cole, “This is a much-needed expansion to meet demand in the region and our markets further to the east, which are continuing to grow.”

American Eagle currently distributes Epic brews in the Ft. Collins and Loveland areas of Colorado.  Epic anticipates signing an agreement with Elite Beverage very soon to distribute to the remaining areas of the state.

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Epic Brewing Company, LLC was opened in May of 2010. Epic Brewing Company was founded in 2010 in Salt Lake City and is known for its passion for brewing award-winning, boutique, full strength, real Ales and Lagers.  Epic is distributed in the following States: Utah, California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Ohio, Virginia & DC, New Jersey, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Michigan.

For more information on Epic Brewing Company visit: www.epicbrewing.com
For more information on American Eagle visit: http://www.americaneagledistributing.com
For more information on Elite Beverage visit: http://elite-brands.com


January Events at Falling Rock Tap House

Falling Rock Tap House owner, Chris Black, has unveiled a bunch of events for January and February. He’s got some great things planned, including an Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout kickoff tonight, a Cantillon tapping on Sunday, multiple vertical tastings and a Vintage Beer sale at the end of the month.  Read on for all the details.

Howdy Folks,
Happy New Year. Here at Falling Rock we’ve finished up our Frenzy of Holiday Projects during the days we were closed. The Floor has been given its annual refinishing, plus this year the bar top was given a new coat of epoxy (and you thought that we just took the days off…). We’ve got a few things scheduled for the month of January so let’s get started:

Friday January 4th, 5:30pm Odell Lugene Kickoff Party. This new Seasonal offering from Odell Brewing is an 8.5% Milk Stout with Milk Chocolate. From the label “If you’ve ever been to our brewery, you’ve likely seen the old, beat-up truck that hauls away our spent grain. (That truck belongs to Lugene, who’s been feeding his dairy cows the hearty malt for over a decade. Named in his honor, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate. (The rich and creamy brew reminds us of a cold glass of chocolate milk and our hometown “Aggie” roots)”

Sunday January 6th, 2pm Cantillon Kriek Tapping. I usually don’t tap a keg of Cantillon till I have the next one in the bar, but since it’s been 4 years since I’ve received one I’m gonna blow out my last one. I remember 15 years ago ordering Cantillon beers, back when our local distributor (not a particularly good one) would only order from that importer twice a year, and needing to order enough to last me close to 6 months, they weren’t cheap & things were a bit leaner then, and I prayed the utility company wouldn’t call for a few days after we paid for the order. Fast forward 15 years later & things have progressed, we now have a good Distributor, theoretically we have a sales rep in the state, but I can barely get any bottles of their beer & it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen a Keg. Despite all this I still Love Cantillon’s beers & this keg is particularly tasty (I had to try it out the other day to make sure it would pour correctly & still taste acceptable) Come on out & let’s enjoy it, if it blows quickly, don’t worry, I’ll tap into something else tasty & sour like one of Russian River’s Sour Beers, let’s see, now which one is back there….

Thursday January 17th, 5:30pm. Alaskan Smoked Porter Vertical. We’re breaking out kegs of Alaskan Brewing Company’s Classic – Smoked Porter. We have kegs going back to 2009, so come on down & check it out. It’s not often that you get to try multiple years of this on tap, but we saved some just for this kind of event.

Thursday January 24th, 5:30pm. Avery Czar Vertical. I went into the stash & pulled out kegs of Avery’s Czar Imperial Stout. How far back you might ask, we will have every year of Czar back to 2008 (that’s 5 years worth). Once again It’s a rarity to get this kind of vertical tasting, come take advantage of it!

Saturday January 26th, Noon-6pm. Vintage Beer Sale. It’s been a few years since we’ve done one of these & my cooler looks like it. We’ve got a few too many bottles of different vintages in our vintage cellar so what’s a poor Publican to do but put it on sale & move it on out. We’ll put up a big dry-erase board of all the different beers we’re clearing out & the quantity available for purchase (at substantial discount I might add) as we sell one we’ll update the board & countdown till we’re out. Tasty, well cellared beers will abound.

JANUARY – ALL MONTH LONG.  As you may have guessed we are going through our cellar & using it for its intended purpose, to give our customers special treats not often found (let’s just say that accountants REALLY hate this ‘Cellaring Beer’ concept, that & because it takes up so much room is why so few places really do it, especially to the extent we do). All month long we will have a few dedicated ‘Cellar Taps’ just to go through some of these beers, there are some truly amazing things hidden in the back… Want to know what we’ve just tapped? Follow us on Twitter ( @FallingRockTap ) & get the latest tapping Info.

Plus remember that February is Dain Brammage Month (Barleywine Month) here at the Falling Rock. The Barleywine Dinner is Feb. 5th @ 7:30pm, Tix on Sale starting Jan. 5th (Tomorrow) $55 per person (tax & Gratuity included) through Feb 1st @ 7pm, $65 after that. (P.S. it is really helpful when people buy their tix in advance, it helps Chef Cheryl plan better & not go crazy which in turn makes my life easier, I’m jusy saying…)

Cheers,

Chris


Weekend Beer Buzz 01/03/2013

It’s 2013 and we’ve only got 52 weekend’s to enjoy this year.  Don’t let one pass you by.  Plenty to do, plenty to see and most importantly, plenty to drink.  You ready?  Need a little motivation?  Click HERE for a reminder of what 2012 brought us.  NOW are you ready?  Thought so.

Friday, January 4th, 2012

Crooked Stave’s ready for the weekend.  Stop by the tasting room for some funky goodness.

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Grab something on tap or a bottle to-go (thee’s still a few bottles of L’Brett D’Or for sale).  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.  720-508-3292.

My friend Firky D. Firkin, made his way down to Rockyard to brew with Jellyman and help bring you this week’s Deviation.

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This week is “A Firkin Brown Ale”, which is described as “A Firkin balanced malty brown, with assertive bitterness and clean finish”.  Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Over at Dry Dock in Aurora, they’ll be tapping a Centennial Dry-Hopped Pale Ale.  Tapping at 3 PM.

Last week, Dry Dock brewed for the first time at the new production facility.  Kevin, Doug and the rest of the gang made a monster batch of Apricot on their new 40 BBL brew system.  Look for cans coming very soon!  Click HERE to watch the live feed and see what they’re up to in the new digs.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, January 5th, 2012

Copper Kettle Brewing Company will release their Annual Mystery Beer on Saturday.

This is a tradition where Copper Kettle taps a “mystery beer” on the first Saturday of the new year. Last year’s mystery beer was a Belgian Quad.  Stop by and check out this year’s mystery beer beginning at noon.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Hops & Pie is hosting a “Vertically Epic Tasting of Stone Vertical Epic Ale” on Saturday afternoon.

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They’ll be tapping kegs from the Vertical Epic series back to 08.08.08, including a special keg of 10.10.10 that was aged in French Oak barrels.  The fun starts at noon.  Don’t miss out on this rare chance to try multiples VE beers at the same time.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St., Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Also on Saturday, don’t forget to check in with Turk & Gubna on the Colorado Craft Beer Show.

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They’ve got your weekly dose of Colorado craft beer news.  Tune into AM760 on Saturday at noon to listen live.

Sunday, January 6th, 2012

Odell Brewing will release Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout on Sunday.  What’s a new beer without a new beer release party?  Odell has you covered with live music, food trucks and plenty of Lugene on tap and in 4-packs.

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The beer starts pouring at 11 AM, with live music at 4 PM.  Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is named after local Fort Collins dairy farmer Lugene Sas.  Click HERE to see a day in the life of Lugene and his family of lovely bovine sweeties.  Odell Brewing Co. is located at: 800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524.

Into The Future

January’s not exactly a big month for beer festivals, but this is Colorado and there’s ALWAYS something on the horizon.  It’s not too late to book a trip to Vail for Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines, which is coming up next weekend.

Ticket info, hotel deals and a full schedule of events can be found HERE.  We haven’t been since ’07 and are excited to be going back.

And later this month is the Winter Brew Fest in Denver at Mile High Station.

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This is on Friday, January 25th and you can click HERE for all the details.

Facebook Contest

Lastly, I noticed last night that the Facebook Page is approaching 300 Likes.  Thank You all for your continued support!  As a Thank You, I’m giving away something special to lucky #300.  Not sure what yet, but we’ll hook you up with something any craft beer lover will enjoy.  So check us out on Facebook and “Like” us if you haven’t already.  Thanks again guys!  We really appreciate you.

Happy New Year Friends!

Cheers!


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!