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

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

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

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

10. Odell Brewing – The Meddler

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

9. Oskar Blues Brewery – Deviant Dale’s IPA

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

8. Prost Brewing – Hefeweizen

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

7. New Belgium – Lips of Faith Tart Lychee

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

6. Trinity Brewing – Oh Face Saison Provisional

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

5. Funkwerks – Deceit

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

4. AC Golden Brewing – Hidden Barrel Apricot

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

3. Elevation Beer Co. – Apis IV

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

2. Avery Brewing – Uncle Jacob’s Stout

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

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

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

Best Colorado Breweries of 2012

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

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

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

Best Denver Area Beer Bars of 2012

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

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

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

Three Colorado Breweries to Watch in 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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Weekend Beer Buzz 05/03/2012

There are a TON of beery events going down this weekend.  I don’t know if it’s the nice weather, Cinco de Mayo, the Kentucky Derby or just the fact that we live in the “Napa Valley of Beer”, but I like it.  Having options isn’t a bad thing, but it can sometimes make it tough to decide where to go and what to do.

The big news has to be the opening of not one, but TWO new breweries this weekend!  City Star Brewing and Big Choice Brewing will both be opening their doors to the public on Friday, May 4th.

City Star Brewing, located in Berthoud, CO, will be opening their doors for the first time on Friday, May 4th, at 2PM.   They will be pouring: Cowboy’s Double Golden, 6-Shooter IPA, Red Necktar (hoppy American red ale), Bandit Brown, Raspberry Bandit (brown ale fermented with puréed fresh raspberries) and Night Watchman Stout.  If you get the munchies, City Star invites you to bring food into the brewery or visit the food trucks on-site.

City Star Brewing is located at 321 Mountain Ave, Berthoud, CO 80513.  970-532-7827.

Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield, CO, will also be opening their doors for the first time this weekend.  They’ll have a ribbon cutting on Friday, May 4th at 3PM, followed by their first official happy hour, with $1 off pints.  Four beers will be pouring: Disconnected Red Ale, Poblano Stout, Type III IPA and a Saison.

 

The Oskar Blues Bonewagon will be on-site for the party on Friday, with burgers, wings and more for sale.  Saturday will feature a bouncy house for the kids and free BBQ starting at 11AM.  Sunday features a growler happy hour from 4-6PM with $2 off new growlers and $1 off fills.  Bring in your Rockies ticket stub after the game to get a free pint on Sunday afternoon.  Big Choice is located at: 7270 W 118th Place, Broomfield, CO 80020.  303-469-2616.

In other news, Equinox Brewing, in Fort Collins, CO, is celebrating their second anniversary this weekend with live music in the beer garden.  They’ll also be tapping an IPA brewed just for the occasion.  Congrats on two great years!  Equinox is located at: 133 Remington St., Fort Collins, CO 80524.  970-484-1368.

Over in Boulder at Twisted Pine Brewing, they’ll be releasing the latest addition to their Artisan Ale Series on Saturday May 5th.  This month is Big Easy Offbeat Brown, a brown ale brewed with wasabi, ginger, horseradish and honey.  Spicy enough for ya?

Stop by the brewery on Saturday to get your bottles and meet the artist behind the label.  Twisted Pine is located at: 3201 Walnut St, Suite A, Boulder, CO 80301.  303-786-9270.

But wait, there’s more!  Dry Dock Brewing, in Aurora, CO, just tapped a Coffee Milk Stout.  They’ll be doing their weekly Firkin Friday thing on May 4th, with a Brown Ale, dry hopped with Cascade hops.  The beer gets tapped at 3PM.

Go next door and visit The Brew Hut on Saturday, May 5th and take part in the American Homebrew Association’s annual Big Brew.

This is a great opportunity to make a batch of homebrew with friends, introduce new people to the hobby, share recipes and tips with other homebrewers and just have a bunch of fun.  More details and a list of participating stores can be found HERE.

If you make it to The Brew Hut, say “hi” to Gary V., who will be broadcasting live on American Craft Beer Radio, 102.3FM at noon.  Dry Dock Brewing and The Brew Hut are located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Copper Kettle will be releasing their latest creation, “La Palmoa Wit” on Saturday, May 5th at noon.  The ingredients used in this beer include fresh pomelos, grapefruit, key lime zest, agave nectar and coriander.  I’m not much of a wit guy, but this beer sounds amazing!  I’m loving all the citrus they used to brew it.  Can’t wait to give it a try.

Copper Kettle is now open on Tuesdays, so you can get your fix 7 days a week.  $1 from every pint sold on Tuesday’s will go towards charity.  This program is called “Pints for Purpose” and will feature a different charity each week.  Copper Kettle is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Have you been waiting patiently to try the line of AC Golden Beers?  Then head over to The Rackhouse Pub on Saturday, May 5th for the AC Golden Tap Takeover.  Don’t let the Coors building fool you, these cats know how to brew.  I’ve only had a couple of their beers, but I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve tried so far.  They’ve got 15 beers ready to be tapped this weekend including a Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, a Belgian Saison, a Baltic Porter and 5 different sours!  The full lineup can be found HERE.

The Rackhouse Pub offers a full menu and is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.  770-570-7824.

If you don’t see your favorite brewers around town this weekend, don’t be surprised.  Most of them are out in sunny San Diego, CA for the bi-annual World Beer Cup.  This is an international beer competition that has a judging system very similar to the Great American Beer Festival.  For 2012, more than 800 breweries from 56 countries have submitted nearly 4,000 beers into the competition.  Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

The Brewing Network will be broadcasting live from the awards ceremony on Saturday.  Click HERE to follow the action live.

Lastly, there’s a ton of great beers just waiting for you around town this weekend.  Stone Imperial Russian Stout (just had an ’06 bottle – ages really, really well), Sierra Nevada Hoptimum in 4-packs, Funkwerks White, New Belgium Tart Lychee, Avery Nineteen and Samael’s, Great Divide Barrel Aged Old Ruffian, some fresh Jolly Pumpkin and Dogfish Head and so much more!  There’s are so many great beers available right now.  If you need help tracking something down, give me a shout.

Man, that was a lot of news.  I love Colorado!  Hope you find something to keep you busy this weekend.

Time for a beer.  Cheers!


New Beers and Beer News 05/01/2012

Just a quick blog with some new beers on the shelves now and others that should be dropping soon.
First up is New Belgium’s newest addition to their Lips of Faith series, Tart Lychee.  I mentioned this beer a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to trying it in bottles.  I had the draft version at Avery’s SourFest last year and it was phenomenal.  If you like sours, I’d seek this one out.  It’s around town and shouldn’t be too hard to track down.  
Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale is showing up around town as well.  They say bacon makes everything better and until recently, I would have agreed with that statement.  That was until I tried this beer.  I hate to knock it, knowing that quite a few people have been patiently waiting to try it, but it’s just not for me.
I came across some bottles out in Arizona this past spring and at the time, was excited to finally give it a try.  It poured the color of maple syrup and had a ton of smoke aroma and flavor.  It was just too much for me.  I couldn’t finish my glass.  I actually gave it a second shot at room temperature, with my breakfast the next morning and enjoyed it a tad more, but still wasn’t sold on it.
 
I’ve enjoyed Voodoo Bacon Maple doughnuts and I’ve enjoyed Rogue beers, but the two didn’t mix well for me.  Still, if sweet, smoked beers are your thing, give it a shot.  If nothing else, it comes in a cool bottle…
AC Golden has delayed their first run of sour beers.  The “Hidden Barrel Room” project over at Coors in Golden, CO, was hoping to release their Peche, Kriek and Apricot sours in early May, exclusively at Mile High Wine & Spirit’s in Lakewood, CO.  Unfortunately, some labeling issues have delayed them for a few more weeks.  Once everything gets cleared up, they should be ready to roll out.

Aged in wine barrels filled with locally grown fruit and fermented with wine yeast and brettanomyces.  These should be some tasty lambics.  Don’t be scared off by the Coors name, the AC Golden guys know what they’re doing.  I’ve had the opportunity to try two of these over the past year or so and they are awesome!  These should sell for $21.99 / 750mL bottle.  Again, the only place to get these will be at Mile High Wine & Spirit’s in Lakewood, CO.  They are located at: 435 S Vance St., Lakewood, CO  303-936-0272.

Oskar Blues is set to release the CAN-laboration beer they brewed with Sun King from Indianapolis, IN.  The beer’s being called Chaka and will be released in 16 oz. aluminum bottles.  Chaka is an 8% ABV Belgian Style Ale, brewed with ingredients from each breweries home state.

6-packs of Chaka will be sold at The Tasty Weasel Taproom for $15.99 / 6-pack.  No word on whether or not this will see distribution.  The Tasty Weasel is located at:  1800 Pike Rd., Unit B, Longmont, CO  80501.  303-776-1914

Pssst, Parabola is coming!  Stay tuned!

Cheers!