It’s brew fest season here in Colorado. We’re in full swing right now as we inch closer and closer to the Big Daddy, the Great American Beer Festival. Seems like my calendar has some sort of festival or tasting highlighted nearly every weekend. There’s no chance I’ll hit ’em all. My liver couldn’t keep up, but one can dream right?
For me, beer festivals fall into a few different categories. There are a handful of festivals that I probably won’t ever attend again for a variety of reasons (cost, distance, poorly run, etc…). Others, are on the “Maybe” list, which just means it’s a solid beer fest that would be nice to attend again, but life goes on if I can’t make it. While a few make it to the exclusive, “Must-Do!” list, that I make every effort to attend every year. Last night, my wife and I attended the Art and Ale Brew Festival at The Wildlife Experience in Parker, CO and it’s already been added to our “Must-Do!” list for next year.
We went with the Dry Dock crew and spent the evening pouring samples of their Amber, Pale, Hefeweizen and the ever popular Apricot Blonde. We had a great spot outside, in the shade and right next to New Belgium Brewing.
NB Beer Ranger Andrew, kept us stocked with samples of their Peach Porch Lounger, Red Hoptober and Super IPA, their delicious IPA brewed in collaboration with Alpine Brewing out in California. We talked about their sour program for a bit and he mentioned that the next batch of La Folie might be ready as early as this fall. Keep your fingers crossed!
In between pours, we took some time to wander the grounds outside and the halls of the museum inside.
In addition to the 30+ breweries, there were a variety of restaurants, wineries and distilleries in attendance as well.
David Parry, owner of Parry’s Pizza was super-busy all night long handing out slices of their delicious pies. They banged through more than 150 pizzas during the event!
He had just gotten the keg list for his next tap takeover, which will be with Oskar Blues on Saturday, September 15th. There are some mighty fine beers on the list, so mark your calendars now. More details to come.
The gang from Strange Brewing was pouring Cherry Kriek, Colorado’s answer to Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin. God, I love that beer. Thanks again for the full pours guys!
Jim from Rockyard Brewing brought his Redhawk Scottish Ale and Double Eagle Wheat. They also had their chef on duty, who cooked up an amazing batch of Jalapeño Cheddar Soup and Pretzels stuffed with jalapeño cheese. Oh my goodness! Delish!!!
Outside at Elevation Brewing, Xandy was flying through kegs of Mount Blanca Belgian Saison and Apis IV Quadrupel.
Twisted Pine brought three offerings from their monthly Artisan Ale Series.
I finally got a chance to try the Dank IPA from Dad & Dude’s, which was nice and hoppy, but still approachable and very drinkable.
There was even a band inside cranking out 80’s covers from bands like Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. Alcohol + Music + Dance Floor = Best People Watching Ever!
After eating and tasting our way through the festival, we met up with some friends and hit the chocolate fountains for desert. The good peeps from Sir Chocolate brought a variety of things like strawberries, marshmallows and rice crispy treats to dip in three different kinds of chocolate. Nom, nom, nom!
As the sun dipped down behind the mountains, the fire pits lit up and people lounged in the grass around the museum. What a night!
Beautiful weather, plenty of old friends and new ones too, music, amazing beer and food. We’ll definitely be back again next year and so should you!
Anybody else make it out there last night? What did you think?
Big thanks to the staff and volunteers at The Wildlife Experience for hosting a great event. Shoutout to all of the different companies in attendance as well. You guys rock!
Man, there’s another ton of great beers headed to our shelves. Check these out!
Dry Dock is gearing up for the opening of their 2nd location and adding a canning line. Here’s a sneak peek at their Amber and Hefeweizen cans. I’m hoping for an early winter release on these.
Twisted Pine released another addition to their Artisan Ale series over the weekend. On Saturday, they debuted their Wagon Wheel Stout. This big and rich stout was aged for 12 months in Buffalo Trace barrels with fresh, organic cherries.
Remaining bottles will be hitting local shelves shortly.
Trinity Brewing has another yummy Saison headed to bottles.
Le Capataine Petite Bouddha Saison Regal is aged in Chardonnay barrels with cacao and fermented with Brett and Lactobacillus. A 10.4% ABV Saison? Sounds like funky goodness to me.
Elevation Brewing is also getting ready to release a Chardonnay barrel-aged beer this Summer. Look for Signal de Botrange, which is a 7.5% ABV, Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Ale.
This will be Elevation’s first barrel aged release in bottles and is part of their Double Black Diamond, upper-end series of beers. They just signed a deal with Elite Distribution to bring 8 different beers to the Front Range throughout the year. Keep an eye out for these beginning August 10th.
The Beast is back!
This year’s batch of Beast Grand Cru was recent released at Avery Brewing on August 1st. This was the 10th release of this monstrous brew and it ages extremely well. Grab one fresh, but grab a few to stash away for the next decade or for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Look for a 14%-18% ABV on this bad boy, so be nice or it’ll bite!
Dad & Dude’s Breweria has teamed up with Prost Brewing to bring you their Dank IPA in cans.
There was a huge release party at Dad & Dude’s Breweria on August 4th. This 6.5% ABV IPA should be on any hop heads radar. Look for 16oz. cans hitting the CO market shortly.
From our out-of-state friends, look for Stone Brewing to release their 16th Anniversary beer in the next few weeks. This year is a 9.4% ABV, lemon-tinged Double IPA.
They’re also gearing up to release “Enjoy By 09.21.12 IPA”. This is an 8.5% ABV IPA that is a hoppy, citrusy, bitter brew. Just like the label says, drink it fresh and live for the now!
I always enjoy Stone and these look to be a pair of great summer releases. Both will be making their debut at the Stone Anniversary Party in Escondido, CA on August 18th, 2012. Plan on bombers hitting local shelves soon after.
Over in Deschutes country, keep an eye out for The Dissident sour brown ale.
This 11.4% ABV brown ale is brewed with cherries and aged in French oak wine barrels. Don’t let the “brown ale” trick you… This is Flanders Oud Bruin. It’s sour, fruity and complex. Grab one if you see it as they won’t last long!
A little further down the road is The Abyss.
This is typically a November / December release, so I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but I can’t help it. This is an absolute favorite of mine! The Abyss is a blend of beers aged in Bourbon barrels, Oak barrels and Wine barrels. This 11.0% ABV Imperial Stout has notes of licorice, chocolate, molasses, caramel, coffee and more. So complex and yummy, this also ages exceptionally well. My earliest bottles will be turning 5 this year. Might be about time for a nice, big vertical tasting. An amazing beer, but save me some will ya?
In my last bit of news, I’m a little sad to announce that Head Brewer Tod Mott has left The Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. Tod has been leading New Hampshire’s amazing brewpub for more than 8 years and has really helped to put them on the map, particularly with Kate the Great, his decadent Russian Imperial Stout. There’s an entire day devoted to the release of this beer. At one point, Kate the Great was considered to be the best beer on the planet!
Patti and I have visited The Portsmouth Brewery several times over the years and they never disappoint. Tod will be replaced by Tyler Jones, who has served as Tod’s assistant for the past four years.
As for Tod, last week he announced that he will be opening a new brewery somewhere in Southern Maine. While no further details have been released, he plans to brew about 500 barrels a year and will be releasing Kate the Great at his new brewery. He mentioned that the name will be change, since it’s owned by Portsmouth Brewery, but he owns the recipe and plans to release it under a new name in the future. I wish him the best of luck.
Real quick y’all. I’m on vacation after all!
The Jellyman has a super tasty concoction coming up for this Fridays’ Deviation. Swing by The Rockyard to sample his “Cab-Beret”, a Cabernet Barrel-Aged Belgian Tripel.
He describes it as a “very fruity and tart tripel, with a strong oak presence”. 10+% ABV. Sounds delish! I’m pretty sad that I’ll be stuck on an airplane when this gets tapped. I’ll miss out, so grab one for me. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109.
Also, up in Loveland, CO this weekend is the annual Gnarly Barley Brew Festival.
This event is scheduled for Saturday, August 4th from 1-6 PM. This is a great chance to try brews from local favorites like Grimm Brothers, New Belgium, Odell, along with newer breweries like City Star and Loveland Ale Works. It’ll also be a chance to preview Black Bottle Brewing, which is planning to open later this summer and a brewery I’m really excited about. Head’s up, there’s even a free shuttle running from The Mayor of Old Town in Fort Collins to the brew fest. Get all your Gnarly Barley details HERE.
Don’t forget Avery’s 19th Anniversary Party is coming up on Sunday, August 5th in Boulder, CO.
The $30 ticket covers 5 beers, BBQ, live music and more. All money will be donated to the Colorado Wildfire Relief Fund, so get out and support this great cause. Avery always puts on a great party and this is a great way to spend a nice, sunny afternoon. Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.
That’s it guys. Like I said, I’m keeping it short. I don’t want to leave you hanging, so don’t forget about the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM 760, American Craft Beer Radio on 104.3 FM and the Dank IPA Release party from Dude’s Brews (sister project of Dad & Dude’s Breweria) on Saturday, August 4th. I’m on vacation. Back to the grind next week.