There’s a craft beer boom hitting our state. Denver was tagged earlier this Summer when Prost, Crooked Stave, TRVE and others began popping up around town, while more new breweries like Our Mutual Friend and Black Shirt are just a few short weeks from making their debut. Now it looks like that boom is making its’ way up to Boulder, where two new breweries have opened in the past week. Meet West Flanders Brewing Co.
Last Monday, West Flanders Brewing opened their doors to give us a special night of beers, food and a glimpse into what the future holds. Their location on Pearl Street Mall couldn’t be better. When the former resident, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse moved out earlier this year, West Flanders owners Mark and Chris Heinritz knew it would be the perfect spot to open their new brewery and restaurant. The brothers, who have owned the popular restaurant, The Sink in Boulder since 1992, are joined by partner Barry Wolfman. Together, the trio is looking to bring a new restaurant to Boulder that will be considered THE place for food and beer.
In addition to an absolutely perfect spot on the popular pedestrian mall, the location came with a 10 BBL brew system already installed. This entirely eliminated hassle of tracking down equipment, the phone calls and worries of damaged and delayed parts and a mountain of other obstacles that comes with securing and building a brewhouse. The team just had to get their license, order ingredients and hire a brewmaster to come and play. But wait, who would be taking on the important role of Brewmaster?
Enter Brian Lutz, formerly of Oskar Blues, Lefthand and Redfish Brewhouse.
Brian, who’s probably best known for helping to create Dale’s Pale Ale with Oskar Blues, introducing cans to craft beer and winning multiple medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, was an obvious choice to take on the brewing for West Flanders Brewery. Despite that face that Brian’s been out of the game for a few years, he was eager to get his boots back on and get back to brewing.
West Flanders Brewery, which officially opened on September 24th, is already serving up six of Brian’s beers.
Angry Monk – a 7.1% ABV, sweet, Belgian-style ale that has a touch of caramel, bitterness and dangerous drinkability.
St. Mark’s Dubbel – a 7% ABV Belgian Dubbel, brewed with Trappist yeast and a nose of clove and bakers chocolate.
Daisy Cutter – a 9% ABV Belgian-style Strong Ale; a big, sweet, oaky ale, also brewed with Trappist yeast and a high ABV that goes down way too easily.
tbd ESB – a 6.2% ABV Extra Special Bitter that has a moderately hoppy, caramel aroma.
Canniption Pale Ale – a 6.8% ABV brew that pours a clear, amber color and clocks in at 70 IBU’s; packs a big, floral hop nose.
Third Kingdom IPA – a 6.7% ABV India Pale Ale, with a big hop aroma and a citrusy taste.
In addition to his core lineup of 6-beers, he’s also working on a Stout, Tripel and a Pilsner. Brian could hardly contain himself at the Grand Opening on Monday night. He spoke of how much the craft beer industry has changed since he began his journey nearly 20 years ago. Many of the ideas he had at his previous breweries, wouldn’t have worked in the early days, simply due to the lack of craft beer knowledge and boundary pushing styles at the time. Fortunately, our palates have evolved and the beer world is finally ready for some of the exciting ideas Brian wants to incorporate into his brews.
At the opening, Brian spoke of the importance of yeast. He believes that the magic of brewing is in mastering yeast strains. Brian also spoke of his plan for creatively incorporating local ingredients into his brews. He has no desire to brew within a restricted style guideline, but would rather brew interesting, fun and flavorful beers. Brian is a brewer who is constantly evolving, in order to keep his craft exciting for both himself and his legion of beer drinking fans.
In the near future, Brian will be moving his grains off-site and installing barrels and barrel racks into the third floor of West Flanders Brewing. The barrels will give him the opportunity to experiment with wild yeasts and the art of blending.
True beer geeks will also appreciate the thoughtful list of guest taps and bottles, ranging from classics like Duvel and St. Bernardus to newer treats such as Houblon Chouffe and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi.
The final piece of the West Flanders Brewing puzzle was filled by Executive Chef Jamie Lucas. Jamie brings a wide variety of foods to the dining room and plans to pair his dishes with Brian’s beers in “new and unexpected ways”.
He makes a delicious entrée called Monk Chops that is a grilled pork chop basted with Angry Monk beer. I also had the chance to try his Smokestack Burger, which is a beef patty basted with Angry Monk BBQ sauce, topped with a layer of thick-cut bacon, followed by a third layer of smoked pulled pork on top. Soooo delicious.
Chef Jamie has also designed a menu with a variety of gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches and my personal favorite, sausage and cheese plates. There’s just something about a well-crafted beer and a slice of smoked Cheddar or Gruyère.
West Flanders Brewing’s amazing location is a given and at just over a week old, their beer and food are already living up to expectations. The next time you’re out and about on the Pearl Street Mall, be sure to stop by for a tasty beer and a nice meal. West Flanders Brewing is located at: 1125 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO. 303-447-2739.
So we did the whole wine festival thing last weekend. Wine, you’re cute, but I dot think this is going to work out. Let’s just be friends. Ok?
The fest was fun, but my heart lies with craft beer. We managed to hit some great breweries and share a few pints with some true beer nerds and good people along the way to the Colorado Mountain Winefest. More to come as we fill in a few more holes in the “Beer Trippin’ on I-70” series.
Not specific to this weekend, but you NEED to get over to Prost and try the Tivoli Helles. Oh man, it’s nice.
Jonathan Shikes over at the Westword, wrote an informative article earlier this week, covering the history of Tivloi and their ties to Prost. Take a peek HERE to learn more.
Thursday, September 20th, 2012
It’s Pumpkin Ale Season again! Dry Dock Brewing is releasing their Half Moon Pumpkin Ale on Thursday at noon. Stop by for your first chance to try this tasty, spicy brew. I was in the brewery when they were brewing this puppy last year and I’ll never forget how nice the smell was. Hey, Yankee Candle, try sticking that in a jar!
Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Friday, September 21st, 2012
Got an update from Jellyman down at Rockyard Brewing last night. He’s got a good soundin’ brew with a sweet name for this week’s Deviation.
This one’s called “Comfortably Numb” and is a 7.5% ABV American IPA with a “full malty raisin and date-like presence” to balance out all those hops. 4 PM people! “I can ease your pain, And get you on your feet again.” Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.
Firkin Friday’s back and this week Dry Dock’s got a Cranberry Wit with your name on it. As much as I don’t want to think about snow storms, xmas shopping, hanging up holiday decorations and all those other festivus-type things, this beer sounds pretty tasty. It might be a bit early to bust out the ugly holiday sweater, but for now, step up to the bar and try this holiday tinged brew.
The firkin gets tapped at 3 PM. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Saturday is the first official day of Oktoberfest! Denver will be waiting for you when the 43rd Annual Oktoberfest celebration begins this weekend and runs into next weekend as well.
This has been ranked one of the best in the U.S. by both USA Today and Maxim Magazine. A brat eating contest, live music and fireworks highlight the festivities. There’s no entrance fee, so be sure to stop by and check out all the fun on 20th & Larimer. More details, coupons and a full schedule of events can be found HERE.
More Oktoberfest fun is on tap at Lone Tree Brewing. They’ll be tapping their Oktoberfest Bier at 11 AM.
Come on out and celebrate with some tasty brews, live music and food trucks. Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124. 303-792-5822.
Don’t forget about Copper Kettle, who’ll also be taking part in the fun with their Oktoberfest Tapping. Their Oktoberfest lager is returning and will hit the tap lines at noon on Saturday.
They’re teaming up with Helga’s, the best damn German restaurant in town, to pair some authentic German cuisine with their beers. Food at 5 PM, Accordion Music at 6 PM. Get your fix with Copper Kettle at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247. 720-443-CKBC.
For our friends up in the Fort, check out the 4th Annual Fall Harvest Brewfest. The $35 ticket includes samples from more than 25 breweries like Odell, Stone, Upslope, New Belgium and more.
There’ll be plenty of food, distilleries, cider, music and other fun things for those, gasp, non beer drinkers out there. Proceeds benefit the Animal House Shelter. This is being held at The Drake Centre, 802 West Drake Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526. Ticket info and more details can be found by clicking HERE.
Don’t forget about your friends on the airwaves. Gary V from American Craft Beer Radio will be hanging out at Davidsons Liquors. He’ll be broadcasting live on 102.3 FM and will be giving away not one, but two! pairs of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival.
Davidsons Liquors is located at: 5555 Boatworks Dr, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126. 303-224-0444.
Turk from the Colorado Craft Beer Show will be joined by Garret Frase, the manager of Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom. They’ll be broadcasting live from the American Homebrewers Assoication Rally at the Tasty Weasel from noon – 2PM on AM760. Don’t miss out as they’ve got GABF tickets to give away!
As part of the Rally, the Bonewagon will be on-site with food, the mobile canning until will be around, hourly brewery tours are scheduled and plenty of special beers will be pouring. Don’t miss out!
The Tasty Weasel recently underwent a major expansion, so get out there and take a look at all the great work they’ve done. AHA Members grab your cards; Non-Members, this is a great chance to sign up and get involved in the beer community. The Rally runs from 11 AM – 3 PM. The Tasty Weasel is located at: 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, CO 80501. 303-776-1914.
Sunday, September 23rd, 2012
Hungry yet? Like Yoda said, “You will be, you will be”. So why not plan on hitting up Dry Dock’s Salsa & Guacamole Competition on Sunday?!?!
Send an e-mail to email@example.com to get your butt entered in one of the 4 different categories: Mild Salsa, Hot Salsa, Sweet / Other Salsa and Guacamole. Stop by the brewery on Sunday with your entry and a bag of chips by 1 PM and grab a beer, while their panel of world-class, highly trained, salsa and guacamole judges, try out your recipe. And just in case you didn’t catch the address above, Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Is that enough? Can I put the computer away now?
Really, you want one more? Can you take one more?!?!
Monday, September 24th, 2012
How’s a new brewery sound? You greedy little monkeys! Fine, you got it!
West Flanders Brewing is gearing up for Opening Day on Monday!
They’ll be focusing on Belgian Beers and are being led by Brewmaster Brian Lutz, formerly of Oskar Blues, Left Hand and Redfish.
I’m still working on getting the full list of beers they’ll be pouring on Monday, but it sounds like authentic Belgian-style beers and a full menu are planned for the new brewery. There’s a soft opening planned for Saturday and for $20, you’ll get a peek inside, food and two beers. The money raised from the soft opening will benefit Community Food Share, a non-profit in Boulder dedicated to ending hunger. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-447-2739 between 1 and 4 PM to make a reservation.
West Flanders Brewing Co. will be open 7 days a week in the old BJ’s location on the Pearl Street Mall. Check out West Flanders Brewing at: 1125 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302. 303-447-2739.
Put ’em on your radar as it sounds like they’ve got great things planned.
That’s it guys. I need a beer. Hope you all have a great weekend!