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Weekend Beer Buzz: American & Colorado Craft Beer Week Edition 05/10/2012

If you live in Colorado and like good beer, this is going to be a busy week for you.  It’s not only Colorado Beer Week, but it’s also American Craft Beer Week.  Nearly every brewery in the state has a full calendar of events planned every day.  So I’m a little unsure at where to even begin with the beer buzz for this weekend.

I’ll give you some highlights to look for and some links to find more information, but there’s no way I’m going to be able to cover the 100+ events going on next week.  If there’s a particular brewery or event you’d like more information on, the official list for American Craft Beer Week can be found HERE.  The official list for Colorado Beer Week can be found HERE.

Falling Rock Tap House is getting a jump start on the festivities, by hosting a Russian River event on Friday, May 11th at 5:30 PM.  They’ll be tapping some of the popular beers in the “-tion” series, including Supplication, Temptation and Sanctification.  It’s getting harder and harder to track down Russian River around town, so don’t miss your chance to try these great beers.

Falling Rock has other events planned throughout the week, including a New Belgium “Lips of Faith” Extravaganza on Saturday, May 12th and some hard to find beers from Lost Abbey & Port Brewing on Sunday, May 13th.  A full list of events can be found on their website.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or are new in town, Falling Rock Taphouse is located at: 1919 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Colorado Beer Week officially kicks off over at the Highland Tap and Burger, with a mini-beer festival on Saturday, May 12th.  This event will feature more than 15 local breweries and 2 distilleries, pouring more than 35 beers.  John Turk and the Gubna will be broadcasting their weekly Colorado Craft Beer Radio Show live on 760AM at noon.  Tickets and details can be found HERE.  This will definitely be an awesome way to get the week-long party started.  Highland Tap and Burger is located at: 2219 W 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211.  720-287-4493.

Strange Brewing is kicking off Craft Beer Week with the Grand Opening of their Biergarten on Saturday, May 12th.  They’ve got other events planned throughout the week including a 4-course beer brunch, the tapping of a Cherry Saison Firkin and the release of their 2nd Anniversary Beer – Munich Dunkel.  Check out this list for more details.   Strange Brewing is located at: 1330 Zuni St., Unit M, Denver, CO 80204.  720-985-2337.

Over in Aurora, Dry Dock Brewing will be releasing a different firkin every night of the week.  They will be releasing Hopricot 2.0 on Friday, May 11th at 3 PM for their weekly Firkin Friday.  Starting on Monday, they will tap a new firkin every afternoon at 3 PM.  With beers like Cranberry Wit, Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Mango Pale Ale and Green Chile Double IPA scheduled to be released, there’s definitely something for everyone.  Check out the full schedule on Dry Dock’s Facebook page.  Dry Dock is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO  80014.  303-400-5606.

Up north, towards Loveland, Berthoud and Fort Collins, the breweries have gotten together and planned a game of Bingo.  You can pick up a card at any of the participating breweries and get it stamped for the different beers you sample.  Complete a line and turn it in for a free T-shirt!  Cool idea.

Odell has a full list of events, both in Colorado and around the country, that can be found HERE.

Looking towards the following weekend, be sure to put the inaugural Taste of Tipsy’s Beer Festival on your calendar.  This event, which is scheduled from 11 AM – 6 PM on Saturday, May 19th, will be held behind Tipsy’s Liquor World in Littleton, CO.  This is a family friendly event that will feature face painting and carnival games for the kids, great food, live music and more.  The event is free, but entrance to the beer festival will run you $25 for a 3-hour session.  The beer tasting will feature more than 60 breweries, with proceeds going towards the Dakota Ridge Athletic Foundation.  You can find more information and tickets HERE.  Tipsy’s is located at: 5869 S Alkire St, Littleton, CO 80127.  303-551-7000.

Lastly, Parry’s Pizza is at it again with another Tap Takeover on Saturday, May 19th.  This time they’ve joined forces with Odell’s from Fort Collins, CO.  Parry’s Pizza owner, David Parry, even brewed a special batch of beer with Odell for the occasion!  After hitting up the Avery Tap Takeover last month, I’m really excited for this one.  Odell always has special, tasty one-offs, brewed exclusively for their tasting room.  They seemed to have perfected just about every style of beer imaginable, yet they still continue to push boundaries and come up with new recipes on a regular basis.  I’m really curious to see what they bring down for this event.  Don’t miss it!  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Oh, I almost forgot…  If you’re like me and are one of those “Beer Hunter” types, always trying to track down the latest and greatest, then head’s up, Firestone Walker’s Parabola is in Colorado!  Get off your couch and get some!  This barrel aged beauty is a tasty Russian Imperial Stout, with notes of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, coffee and oak.  This beer is a delicious, high ABV sipper, whose flavors will age well and continue to blend together and smooth out over time.  An amazing beer for sure.  Get it now or kick yourself later.

So that’s all I’ve got for now…  There are events going on all over the state and around the country next week, so get out and have some fun.  I’ll post some updates throughout the week on the Facebook page.  Have an event you’d like to share?  Post it on the Facebook wall or leave a comment on here and I’ll be sure to cover it.

Here’s to Craft Beer Week!  Cheers!


Avery Strong Ale Festival 2012 Recap

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.

Ready to roll with the first 20 beers in the Avery Tap Room.

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.

Surly Five. My favorite beer of the night!

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.

Gary V. and The Gubna. Nothing like a little friendly competition.

“What’s yours?”

They don’t call themselves Strange Brewing for nothing.

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.

The Kitchen, Boulder, CO

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!