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Weekend Beer Buzz: GABF Edition 10/10/12

Where to go?  What to do?  I find myself asking the same questions every year during GABF.  You’ve basically got a year’s worth of great beer events crammed into one week.  So I’m going to give you my picks for some of the best events around town this week.  These are the ones that aren’t already sold out like the GABF and Rare Beer Tasting IV.

Pick a day, any day, and head over to Crooked Stave.  Just look at this menu and list of special tappings for this week.

Deliciouness abounds over there.  Stop by Crooked Stave: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012.

Take a side trip from all the buzz downtown and hit up Parry’s Pizza for their Great Divide Tap Takeover.

Apparently there’s been a Yeti sighting on the south side of town.  Be on the lookout for Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, the new Baby Yeti and more.  In addition to the family of furry beasts, they’ll be bringing out other big guns like Hercules and Hibernation.  The tapping starts at 11AM and runs all day.  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.

Firestone Walker has an amazing beer dinner lined up called The Lion, The Bear & The Brewmaster.

This will feature 4 of Firestone’s previous Anniversary beers and will also be the debut for this year’s Anniversary beer XVI.  Each beer is paired with a different course prepared by Chef Hosea Rosenberg.

Firestone Walker owners Adam Firestone and David Walker, along with brewmaster Matt Brynildson will be in attendance to discuss the beers and pairings between each course.  This is a rare chance for you to try all of these complex and impressive beers that will never be brewed again. Tickets are $75 / each and can be purchased HERE.  This event runs from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at Denver’s Mile High Station: 2027 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012.

Freshcraft’s tapping some beers from the very popular Cigar City Brewery out of Tampa, FL on Thursday at 3 PM.

Get your GABF warmed up with Cinnamon Apple IPA, Guava Grove Saison, Ligero Black Lager, Hotter Than Helles and the delicious Marshal Zhukov’s Russian Imperial Stout.  Freshcraft is located at: 1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.

The first night of GABF wraps up with some great after parties.  The World Brewers Forum, sponsored by The Keg Ran Out Club (KROC), a local homebrew club, is entering its’ 18th year.

This year, they’ll have 3 guest speakers.  Mitch Steele, the brewmaster for Stone Brewing, along with Mark Irvin and John Bryant from the No-Li Brewhouse.  There will be more than 20 homebrews to sample, plus a carving station with roast beef and ham.  This is really a great chance to sit back, relax and catch your great after a busy opening night at GABF.  There will also be drawings for prizes and a silent auction featuring glassware, t-shirts, beer, gift cards and more.  I’ve never left empty-handed.

The event starts at 8PM and runs until Midnight.  Best of all, it’s FREE!, but please RSVP to: WBF@kroc.org  The WBF is being held at: Marriott City Center Hotel, 1701 California St, Denver, CO.

Oskar Blues is gearing up for a big party at the Blake Street Tavern called “It’s All About The Package”.

They’ve been pretty tight-lipped about this so far, but it sounds like this will commemorate the release of a new canned beer.  There will be music, giveaways and even transportation from the Convention Center between 9 – 11PM.  Be sure to print off a ticket HERE or have it ready to show on your phone at the door.  The Blake Street Tavern is located at: 2301 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205.

Thursday is barrel day over at Star Bar.

They’ll have New Belgium’s La Folie, Tart Lychee, Clutch and Kick.  Odell’s is bringing Shenanigans, Saboteur, The Meddler and Deconstruction.  Other breweries and beers will be announced as the event gets closer.  This fires up at noon.

Stop by later that night for some special one-offs from New Belgium’s Wood Cellar.  Look for Dunkel Apple, Funky Friends and more.  Live music starts at 9:30 PM.  Star Bar is located at: 2137 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.

Just a few blocks down on Blake Street, the Falling Rock Tap House is sure to be rockin’ all week-long.  On Thursday, stop by for the tapping of several beers from Sun King Brewery out of Indianapolis, IN.

Look for Osiris (Pale Ale), Cream Dream V (American IPA), Velvet Fog (Belgian Quad) and more to get tapped at 11PM.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Friday, October 12th, 2012.

Friday afternoon means the Annual Kill-A-Keg contest at Falling Rock at noon.  Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale will be racing through the tap lines as owner Chris Black tries to beat last year’s record of draining a keg in just over 9 minutes.  Stop by and help make this happen!

Hang out for lunch and wait for the Cigar City release at 3PM.  They were able to obtain Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown, Humidor IPA, Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout and more. These are some really nice beers that won’t last long, so get over and get yours.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Got hops?  Then get over to Rock Bottom for this year’s Alpha King Challenge!

This is an annual search for the best hop bomb out there.  Beers under 60 IBU’s need not apply. Stop by and check out the competition which runs from 1 to 4PM.  Rock Bottom Denver is located at: 1001 16th St #100, Denver, CO 80265.

The Rackhouse Pub is running a series of classes this year of Liquid Education that’s all about Beer.

One of the sessions that I’m pretty excited about features Andy Parker from Avery, Chad Yakobson from Crooked Stave and Troy Casey of AC Golden leading a class called Sours 101.  These 3 bad asses of funky brews will be discussing all that is barrel-aging, souring, blending and more.  They will also guide you through a tasting of sour beers from their breweries.  Any one of these brewers would be worth the price alone, but the Rackhouse has put all three together for what is sure to be a fun, informative and tasty event.  Tickets are available HERE.  The Rackhouse is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is opening their doors for a soft opening this Friday and Saturday from 1-10PM.

They’ll be pouring their 5 beers for $5 / pint and $1 / taster.  We met with owner Brandon Proff earlier this summer to get the low down on his new brewery and beers.  Check out the post HERE.  If you’re planning to attend the soft opening this weekend, and you should be, they ask that you please RSVP at this link: http://www.gabfweekend.omfmb.com/  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.

For some late night, post-GABF action, head over to Freshcraft for their Oak Aged Extravaganza at 10PM.

They’ll be pouring Firestone Walker ’12 Parabola and Anniversary XIV, Odell ’11 Bourbon Barrel Stout, The Meddler and more!  Freshcraft is located at: 1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.

Saturday, October 13th, 2012.

You’ve got a long day ahead of you on Saturday, so make sure you start out with a good breakfast. Head to The Cheeky Monk for Breakfast With The Bruery.

The popular Belgian Beer Bar has teamed up with Bruery owner Patrick Rue to bring you a variety of special beers paired with a delicious breakfast menu.  No advanced tickets required.  Breakfast starts at 8AM.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203.

There’s not one, but TWO new breweries opening this weekend.  Black Shirt Brewing is gearing up for their Grand Opening on Saturday.

The new Denver brewery, which will focus on a variety of Red Ales will open their doors on Saturday from 3 – 10PM.  We’ve been waiting a loooooooong time for this, so get over there and show them your support.

Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.

Saturday night, once the afternoon GABF session wraps up, I usually grab dinner, catch my breath, regroup and get ready for Dr. Bill’s Annual GABF Beer Tasting at Falling Rock.  Dr. Bill is the Beverage Coordinator for Stone Brewing and has one of the largest and most extensive beer cellars in the world.  He knows his stuff and can put on one hell of a party.

He takes over the Falling Rock basement each year after GABF to share some amazing beers with all the beer nerds in town.  Last year he brought some great stuff including Cantillon’s Lou Pepe Gueuze, The Bruery’s Black Tuesday, Three Floyd’s Dark Lord and so much more!  He’s back again this year and armed with 100 beers!  Come at 8PM when the corks start getting popped and the caps start flying.  Bring $40, a full stomach and a DD.  RSVP to: bill.sysak@stonebrew.com  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

So there’s my picks for a good weekend of wholesome beer fun.  I hope to see you all around town over the next few days.  This is my favorite weekend of the year and personally, I can’t wait to get out there and enjoy all that is GABF.  Have fun, be safe, try something new and please don’t drive.

Cheers!

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New Brewery Spotlight: Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew

Session beer.  What’s your definition of a session beer?  For me, it’s something with a low ABV (4 – 6% range), well-balanced, yet still flavorful and able to keep me interested over the course of several pints.  I want a nice session beer that will allow me to hang out with friends for a few hours of good conversation, a game of Risk or to discuss our preparations for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  A good session beer will allow me to do this without the threat of getting sloppy or intoxicated.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably realize that I like the big-bad barrel aged monsters, like the Yeti, The Beast and the all-powerful Dark Lord as much as the next guy.  But, the reality is that when I go to Great Divide or Avery or wherever to drink these 8%, 9%, 10%+ ABV beers, I’m limited to one or two at most.  It’s almost as if some of the bigger breweries treat “session” like it’s a 4-letter word.  Not a bad thing, but there’s a time and place for all beer. (Except for maybe Keystone Light…  I gotta draw the line somewhere.)  Sometimes, I just want to sit and enjoy some quality, low ABV beers.  Fortunately for you and me, there’s a new brewery getting set to open in Denver, that’s looking to fill this oh-so-sad hole in our lives.

Enter Brandon Proff, Andrew Strasburg and Bryan Leavelle of Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew (OMF).

The team of three behind OMF are setting out to make delicious craft beers that are low in alcohol content, highly sessionable and pleasing to the beer geeks palate.  They’re creating a place that will draw in the after-work crowd with great beers, engaging conversation and a comfortable hangout that feels like your buddy’s garage (only with better beer).  Simple, yet modern and inviting, with a small beer garden on the side.

A small record player in the corner and I’m taken back to my high school days.  I feel like they should have a drum set and a couple of guitars in the corner for when those creative juices really get going.

Last week, we met with OMF Director of Operations, Brandon Proff, to discuss OMF’s concept, upcoming beers and future plans.

The idea behind OMF had been getting tossed around for over a year.  Brandon had been eyeing the location at 2810 Larimer Street for months and when it finally went up for sale, the OMF team jumped on it.  They put their business plan into action, moved into the location on May 1st and now are just a few short weeks away from their opening day.

Brandon and OMF are going to offer local beers, made with local ingredients.  Local hops and local specialty ingredients will be used whenever possible.  They’re taking a very hands-on approach in their brewery by malting their own grains, something no other brewery (as far as I know) in the area has tried to do.  This gives them total control over their product, allowing them to fine tune and experiment even more with their recipes.  They’ll be a true nano-brewery, using a 1-BBL system, hand-crafting each batch, one keg at time.

The beers themselves are simple and true to style, but will surely be appreciated by both craft beer geeks and those still stuck in the dark ages of macro swill.  OMF will be pouring 5-beers for their official opening: Saison, IPA, Pale Ale, Porter and the only beer with an actual name, the Cream Ale called Proletariat.  There’s an extra tap line reserved for seasonals and experiments and another line reserved for Root Beer for those responsible DD’s or little ones in the crowd.

Click on the picture for a description of each beer.

Have no fear barrel-aged freaks, there’s already talk about procuring wine barrels from their wine-making neighbors down the street at The Infinite Monkey Theorem.  Or if coffee’s your thing, they’re right next door to local artisan coffee roasters, Huckleberry Roasters.  In other words, there’s plenty of opportunity for brewmaster Bryan to play.

Brandon is planning on serving pies from The Humble Pie Store, which makes the best damn pie I’ve ever had in my life!  Such a nice change from the typical pretzels and popcorn offered by many other breweries in town.

OMF has also created a Beer Appreciation Society for a small number of devotees.  The $85 price tag will reward members with a LIFETIME of benefits including:

– 1 custom printed 32 oz growler

– 1 Beer Appreciation Society t-shirt

– 1 OMF notebook for tasting notes, journaling, ransom letters, etc.

– 1 laminated membership card

– 6 (FREE) growler fills (regular price $7, a $42 value)

– 12 (FREE) pints (regular price $4, a $48 value)

– 10% off your bar tab FOREVER

– Invites to all special tasting parties we do

– Secret Beer Society meetings where awesomeness will happen (guest brewer hangouts, collaboration beers, etc)

OMF isn’t even open yet and more than half of the memberships have already been claimed.  If you think you’d like to sign up, I’d recommend doing so sooner than later.  For more information, shoot an e-mail to OMF using this address: hello@omfmb.com

While it might seem like Denver is getting overrun with new breweries these days, each one is quickly finding their own niche in town.  Prost is doing the German thing, River North is leaning towards Belgian-styles, Crooked Stave continues to lay down the funk and Black Shirt (when they open later this year) will be taking the classic Red Ale and twisting it in a variety of interesting ways.  Our Mutual Friend will be a welcome addition to the quickly growing Five Points neighborhood in Northeast Denver with their classy, sessionable brews.

They’re targeting an opening date on September 15th and will be open Thu – Sun from 1 – 10 PM. Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Cheers!