So I’m not even sure where to begin this week. So much news to share! I guess I’ll just dive right in and start with the news that’s close to home.
First up, Odell Brewing, in Fort Collins, is getting set to launch their Shenanigans on March 24th. This 8.1% oak aged, Brett brew will be hitting shelves in 750mL corked and caged bottles. If you live in the Odell distribution area, make sure you seek this one out. Their last few big, seasonal beers, such as Friek and Saboteur have been fantastic. I’ve got a feeling this won’t disappoint either.
Odell’s neighbor up in Fort Collins, New Belgium, also has a new beer up their sleeves. This one is a collaboration with Elysian Brewing out in Seattle, WA. The two have combined for a Pink Peppercorn IPA. This 7.5% ABV beer will be bottled and sold in 22oz. bombers. No release date has been set yet.
New Belgium’s also planning their next Lips of Faith release. This line of experimental beers has had some great releases in the past year, but this one could top them all. The 7.5% Tart Lychee, is an intensely sour beer that bases itself around the unusual, tropcial lychee fruit. I’m a huge, huge fan of sour beers and I got to try this one last year at the Avery Sour Festival. Sweet, sour and complex, it was one of my favorites of the day. I’m really excited to see they’re going to bottle this beer. You better hope I don’t get to the beer store before you when this comes out. I’ll be the guy stocking up when it hits the shelf.
New Belgium announced today that they will be entering the Michigan market in August. They’ve been in the news quite a bit lately with rumors surrounding a possible east coast expansion. Although there’s no official word yet, the rumor is that the brewery is looking at property in Asheville, NC. Might not be a bad time to start planning that trip to North Carolina after all.
Down in Colorado Springs, Jason Yester and the Trinity crew are plugging away getting their new 12 barrel brewhouse installed. They worked into the wee hours last night and are back at it again today. They’ll be closed until Wednesday, March 14th to get everything up and running.
Over in Denver, Bill Eye is also hard at work, getting his masterpiece assembled at Prost Brewing. I can’t wait until we can talk about the beers he’ll be pouring when Prost opens. Hopefully it’ll be sooner than later.
In Aurora, be sure to mark your calendars for the Copper Kettle One Year Anniversary Party coming up in April. They’ve got 4 big days planned with music, food and some exciting beers. Check out their website for more info.
To wrap up the local news, if you’re looking for something to do tonight and are in the Boulder area, slide over to Mountain Sun on Pearl Street. If you order a beer, they’ll give you a free Stout Month t-shirt. They’ve got some awesome beers on tap right now including two of my favorites, Hop Vivant Imperial IPA and Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout. If you’re looking for something a little lighter to enjoy with the nice weather, check out their Blackberry Wheat or FYIPA. With 15+ beers on tap, there’s something for everyone, even your light beer drinking co-workers. So grab a beer, get a shirt and watch the world go by. Life is good!
Before we finish up, here’s a little something for all the beer traders: Rob Tod and the gang at Allagash, up in Portland, ME, are getting ready for another one of their small batch, brewery only releases. They just announced a release party for Saturday, March 31st to release Old HLT, a beer that was brewed with cherries and aged in stainless steel for more than 2 years. This one clocks in at 8% and will be sold for $10 / 12.7 oz. bottle, with a 4 bottle limit. I’ve traded for a few of their small batch beers and they never disappoint.
Brewtally Insane is hitting the road this month. We’ll be checking out some breweries and beer bars near Phoenix, AZ, as well as the Los Angeles, CA and Anaheim, CA areas. Got a recommendation or know of some places we should visit? Drop us a line on our Facebook page and let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Until next time, Cheers!
I had been looking forward to the Avery Strong Ale Festival for weeks. Unfortunately, these things always seem to come and go so quickly. I’m a little sad that another one is in the books, but wanted to share some highlights with you.
My wife and I checked into our hotel at around 2PM on Friday and walked to a nearby restaurant for a big dinner. We wanted something that would stick with us late into the night and the big ol’ NY style pizza we ordered really hit the spot. After dinner, we tracked down a few bottles of water and called for a cab to pick us up.
The festival opened at 5PM and we arrived about 20 minutes after the hour. There was no line, so we strolled right in, but were still early enough that it wasn’t packed with people just yet. We got our glasses, tasting tickets and a beer list. Avery was nice enough to post the list on their Facebook page on Friday morning, so atendees could get an early glimpse at what would be pouring.
They set the festival up in alphabetical order by brewery name, so it’s relatively easy to navigate. The Avery tasting room housed the first 20 taps, from A-B. The barrel room had an additional 35 taps, from B-G. The remaining 69 taps, from G-V, were in the warehouse. We figured the least amount of people would be in the back warehouse area and decided to hear there first. Kind of like when you’re a kid going to Disney World. You want to hit Space Mountain first to avoid the long lines later in the day. Same principle.
In the warehouse, I grabbed my first beer, Russian River’s, Pliny the Younger. I couldn’t resist the hoppy goodness and wanted to get a pour before the keg kicked. I figured it wouldn’t last long. It was the perfect start to the night, until I went to reach for my camera… Yeah, so, uhm, no camera… I had left it back in the hotel. A blogger without a camera is like a stormtrooper without his blaster. Pointless. Oh well, I’m new to this. Lesson learned. Still, I wasn’t going to let this get me down. I used my quick thinking, ninja skills and hijacked my wife’s iPhone to use the camera feature.
Anyway, moving on, I headed down a few taps to get a pour of The Bruery’s, Melange No. 3. I’ve got a bottle of this in the cellar at home, but I’ve been been waiting to try this one for a while. It didn’t let me down. Melange # 3 is a blend of three different beers. White Oak Sap, a wheatwine, their Anniversary Old Ale and Black Tuesday, their famous Imperial Stout. Big, sweet nose, chocolate, bourbon and dark fruit flavors. It’s a pretty special beer. Mmm, delish!
Moving on down the line, I found what would prove to be my favorite beer of the night, Surly’s Five. Brewed in honor their recent 5th anniversary, this is a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dark ale, aged in red wine barrels. Sour cherries, oak, along with some tartness and bretty funk. A beautiful brew. I love my sours and this one was top notch. Now for the bad news, Surly doesn’t distribute outside of Minnesota… Sigh. If you’re a beer trader, you’ve got to seek this one out.
We came across plenty of other highlights along the way from all over the U.S. Some of my other favorites were Alpine – Bad Boy DIPA, Cigar City – Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Avery – Bourbon Barrel aged Meph Addict and Pizza Port – Nose Rider DIPA to name a few. The lineup seems to get a little better every year.
We saw lots of familiar faces and good people from around the beer world. Plenty of local brewery representation, bloggers and even some out of state breweries. Avery, Great Divide, Lone Tree (Jason, please bring beers next year!), Strange, Dry Dock, Bull & Bush, Oskar Blues, Redstone Meadery and many more. We also met the gang from COOP Aleworks out in Oklahoma City, OK. These guys were really cool and have some interesting projects going on that they were eager to tell us about. Well worth checking out if you’re ever out that way.
No bathroom lines, the ability to go in and out of the fest to get some fresh air, good food, even better beer and some high school kids laying down some nice jazz tunes. Another job well done by the good folks at Avery!
As the night began winding down, we called for a cab and headed back to our hotel. It was time to head back and grab some zzzz’s.
American Craft Beer Radio host Gary V. had asked us to help him with his show on Saturday. He was broadcasting from the Avery lot on Saturday morning and wanted us to pull some winners from his facebook page for a few brewery prizes he had to give away. The good people at “The Kitchen” offered their upstairs bar for us to set up shop and connect with Gary. His show is on 102.3FM from noon-1PM on Saturday’s.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that The Kitchen people really know their beer. If you’re ever up in the Boulder area, check them out. They’re right on the Pearl Street Mall and have a huge beer list. They were pouring not just tasty locals like Avery IPA, but also harder to find beers like Russian River Supplication and Firestone Walker XV. They also host beer dinners and have a Dry Dock beer dinner scheduled this week. The food looked good too. Being a sucker for cheese, they had a pretty impressive selection. Like I said, check ’em out. The radio show went off smoothly and it’s always fun to help when we can.
After we wrapped up, we cruised the Pearl Street Mall for a bit and headed back to Avery to do a little beer trading. I had set up a trade ahead of time and just needed to make the switch. I left with a case of Avery bombers, so be on the lookout for some upcoming reviews. The weather was perfect and people were really digging the outside patio area.
Again, awesome weekend, great people, amazing beer and perfect weather. Avery, you guys rock! Let’s do it again next year. Cheers!
So it’s been an exciting week for me. We had more than 300 hits in the first week of Brewtally Insane. It’s awesome to see such a positive response. Thank You!
As I get ready to have my face melted at the Avery Strong Ale Festival tonight, I wanted to share a few pieces of beer news that I came across over the past few days.
First up, Prost Brewing is hard at work getting their brew system up and running. Prost is led by Bill Eye, the former head brewer over at Dry Dock in Aurora, CO. Since leaving Dry Dock, he bought a brew system over in Germany, had it shipped to the U.S. by boat and has been hard at work getting it ready to fire off some tasty German style beers. Bill and the gang at Prost are aiming for a Spring 2012 opening. Prost will be located at 2540 19th Street, Denver, CO 80211. Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on their progress, participate in surveys and see pictures of everything, from construction to glassware.
Speaking of Dry Dock, their Firkin Friday release today is Hop Project:X. Firkin master, Walt Chleva, says this is a dry hopped pale ale with an experimental hop. First firkin at 3PM, second firkin at 7PM.
12 hours from now, the Strong Ale Festival up at Avery will be in full force. Here’s a few teasers for you from two of my favorite breweries. First up, Surly. They sent kegs of Smoke, which is a smoked lager and Five, which is a sour ale they brewed for their 5th anniversary. Surly doesn’t distribute very far from their brewery up in Minnesota, so be sure to check these out if you’re attending this weekend.
Oskar Blues also has some intersting “one-offs” for you to enjoy at the festival. They’re bringing four beers this time around. Look for a wine barrel aged G’Knight, an oak aged version of Gubna and a Double Deviant. That should satisfy the hopheads in the crowd. If double IPA’s aren’t your thing, they’re also bringing a Wild Turkey barrel aged version of Ten FIDY, their Russian Imperial Stout. Personally, I’m really looking forward to giving that a try.
American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live for a pre-festival, tailgate-like show at Avery from 11-noon tomorrow. Joining host Gary V. on the show tomorrow will be Surly head brewer, Todd Haug and Avery barrel master, Andy Parker. American Craft Beer Radio is on 102.3 FM, ESPN Radio. At noon, you can flip over to 760 AM for the Colorado Craft Beer Show and here all the local happenings with John Turk and from Oskar Blues, Chris Katechis, aka “The Gubna”. I love both of these programs and it’s nice that they’re going to be on at staggered times this weekend so listeners don’t have to flip back and forth.
Oh and real quick, Three Floyds has announced that tickets for their 2012 Dark Lord Day release will go on sale on March 17th. The release date is set for Saturday, April 28th. I’ll have more info on Dark Lord Day soon, but if you’re thinking about going, check out their website and mark your calendars. This is one of the biggest releases of the year and is sure to be a good time.
Again, thanks for a great first week. Business cards have arrived. They look pretty sharp if I may say so and have a tip chart on the back so you’ve got no reason not to take care of your bartenders around town. Give me a shout and I’ll give you some to pass along to your beer loving friends. Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook to get updates, beer releases, reviews and links shared with you throughout the week.