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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
So a few days ago I gave you a little tease about getting into the delicious world of beer trading. We were going to walk through a trade, along with Tony, one of our readers and track down some tasty New Glarus in exchange for some Colorado locals. Did you miss out? If so, click HERE to catch up and come back when you’re ready. (insert Jeopardy theme song…)
So we set up our free account on beeradvocate.com; we made our simple ISO (In Search Of): FT (For Trade) post; we raked in a bunch of responses (about 15 in 24 hours). Now what???
So now you’re wondering, how do I pick a trader to go with? Like I said, we got about 15 responses the first day of our ISO:FT post. I’ve got a few ways to narrow down the trader we’re going to work with. The first way is to go with the first response. Kind of seems fair that the early bird gets the worm. Another way is to go with someone you’ve already traded with.
For me, trading is all about establishing good, friendly relationships with traders from around the country. That way, when a beer comes along in a certain area of the U.S. that I’m looking for, I’ve got someone that might be able to help me out and vice versa. There are several traders that I’ve known for years and we hook each other up with local fav’s, brewery only releases and so on, to share the loot. In this case though, I wanted to start fresh and not fall back on past experiences. I wanted to play the “rookie” and show you that it’s still easy to lock in a trade without knowing someone ahead of time.
So I decided on a response from Kody, who actually lives in Chicago, IL, but makes frequent trips to Wisconsin. Kody’s initial response was simple and to the point. He just stated that he had New Glarus Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart and was looking for Odell and Lost Abbey. We swapped a few more messages and came to the realization that we both had access to the same Lost Abbey beers, but I suggested some beers from Dry Dock, Avery and Funkwerks that he hadn’t heard of and might be interested in.
In the past week, we’ve exchanged about a dozen more messages, narrowing down specific beers to swap and our favorite styles. Turns out, Kody is going to be obtaining bottles of Three Floyd’s Dark Lord later this month, which is considered to be one of the best beers on the planet. I love me some Dark Lord and am always on the hunt for more. So we’re already talking about future trades!
Like I said, beer trading for me, is about making those friendships that will continue for years to come. I enjoy making connections with people like Kody who have the same passion for beer as I do. In the future, I can get beers exclusive to my area that he will enjoy and swap for beers in his area that I will enjoy. This is what makes the beer geek community so cool and unique. Granted, it’s not always this way. I’ve done many “one and done” trades, but more often than not, I trade with the same people, over and over again. Hell, there’s even a guy in Boston, MA that I traded with so many times that I flew him out for the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago.
Anyway, so we’ve locked in our trader, made small talk, locked in the beers we’re going to trade and we’re one step closer to having some delicious New Glarus for our glass. Our next step is to buy our beers, pack, ship and wait for our box o’ goodies to arrive. Questions???? Comments???? I’m going to try and pack our beers this week, so stay tuned!
In other news, I hit the Uncle Jacob’s Stout release at Avery last night. Uncle Who? Click HERE for the details. I got there late, but avoided the line and still got my allocation. The reviews so far have been great. For anybody that went and popped open a bottle, what did you think? Looks like they flipped the line around and ran it into the barrel room and back through the keg room. After attending various Avery releases for the past few years, it seems like Avery has gotten better and better about their small batch releases. They continue to improve the customer experience and that’s a GREAT thing. Big shout-out to Adam, Phil and everyone else over there for their awesome efforts in making these releases run smoother each and every time. I hope to open a bottle soon and will try to share with you when I do.
Lastly, tomorrow is Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies. As a huge baseball fan, I’m really, really looking forward to this. The weather should be perfect and the beer scene will be in full effect. Falling Rock Tap House will be rockin’ with tents set up out front representing your favorite breweries. Freshcraft, Denver Beer Company, Great Divide and the new kid on the block, River North, will be open and ready for the baseball crowd. Rumor has it, Sandlot, at Coors Field, will even be pouring a sour for Opening Day! Patti and I will be there and hope to see you downtown! Drop us a line if you’re going. We’d love to meet up and share a brew with you.
Quite often in this blog, I write about new beers coming out around the country. Last month, I wrote about Cascade’s Sour Blueberry and Russian River’s Beatification. Coming up in April is Three Floyd’s Dark Lord and Ithaca’s LeBleu. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk to your local liquor store and pick up a bottle. Many of these beers will only be sold at the brewery or will see very limited distribution. What’s a beer nerd to do? Relax, grab a beer and let me introduce you to the world of Beer Trading.
Beer trading is a great way to track down limited release beers like the ones mentioned above or maybe track down old favorites that don’t distribute to Colorado. My first trade was nearly 5 years ago when I traded for bottles of New Glarus Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. Basically, I had tried these beers at the Great American Beer Festival and wanted some bottles for my fridge.
If you’ve ever been to GABF, you’re probably familiar with New Glarus and their never-ending line of 50+ people all waiting patiently for a 2 oz. pour of beer. They have a line at their table from the time the doors open on Thursday evening until the beer stops flowing late on Saturday night. And for good reason, they make some amazing beers and their fruit beers in particular are highly respected and sought after. Other than 3 days during GABF, New Glarus beers don’t make it to Colorado. In fact, New Glarus doesn’t distribute outside their home state of Wisconsin. No distribution to Colorado is bad news for us, but the good news is that New Glarus is really easy to find in Wisconsin.
So, we either need to make a road trip up to visit those cheese heads (approx. 30 hours round trip from Denver) or we can swap a few e-mails with a Wisconsin local and set up a trade. I’m going to be munchin’ on marshmallow peeps and hiding easter eggs for the kids this weekend, so I can’t make a road trip anytime soon, but I can probably spend a few minutes in front of the computer and arrange a beer trade.
One of our readers, we’ll just call him “Tony”, (mainly because that’s his name) has volunteered to let me walk him through a beer trade and share with you his experiences along the way. One of the first things I asked Tony was whether or not he had an account on beeradvocate.com. If you’re not familiar with beeradvocate, it’s a website where you can share reviews and learn about beer, but they have an area with forums that allow beer geeks to interact with each other. One of the forums is set up specifically for trading.
Turns out, Tony already has a beeradvocate.com account. If you don’t have one, they’re free and will give you access to the forums. The trading forum is called “ISO:FT”. “ISO”, means “In Search Of” and “FT”, means “For Trade”. So our post will look something along the lines of ISO: New Glarus, FT: Colorado Locals. Simple and to the point.
Head’s up, if you’re going to post on beeradvocate.com, read the rules first. The Bros. that run the site can be a little strict at times, but they mean well. Just make sure you don’t offer anything other than beer for beer trades. No trading your wife for beer, tickets for beer, pet goldfish for beer and definitely don’t offer to buy or sell any beer. It’s a no-no and will only get your post deleted.
There are other sites out there, but I think Beeradvocate has a pretty wide audience and I’ve been using it for nearly 6 years. I’ve met a lot of great people through the site, have made some good friendships and have a regular network of people around the country that I trade with, so I’m a little partial to it. Like I said, there are other sites that will allow you to meet other beer traders, but Beeradvocate is the one I prefer.
So we want New Glarus, specifically Belgian Red, maybe Raspberry Tart and Tony mentioned he also wanted to track down some Spotted Cow, which is their Cream Ale. These are fairly easy to find in Wisconsin and wouldn’t be hard for a local to pick up. In return, we’re going to offer beers that are local to us here in Colorado.
In simple trades like this, I will typically offer some of my favorite locals that don’t get distributed very far. For me, I’m leaning towards Odell, Dry Dock, Funkwerks and Crooked Stave. These are good breweries, making good beers that are fairly easy for me to find and will be enjoyed by the recipient. It wouldn’t make sense to offer beers from breweries like Avery, New Belgium and Great Divide, mainly because they have a huge distribution footprint. The vast majority of their lineup can be found across the U.S. and our recipient is going to want to trade for beers that he can go to a store and buy. There are still small batch releases and brewery exclusives that we can trade, but that’s a little advanced at this point. Let’s keep it simple for now. We can also offer breweries that distribute to Colorado, but might not distribute to Wisconsin. Maybe Russian River or Firestone Walker from California or Deschutes from Oregon.
When trading locals for locals, your best bet is to try to keep it dollar-for-dollar. In other words, if your recipient is spending $25 for your beer, expect to send $25 worth of beer to them.
I think we’re about ready to make our ISO:FT post. Click HERE to check it out. Now we sit back and wait for a response. I’ll keep you updated along the way. Warning, trading can become an addicting habit. In the meantime, enjoy the pic below. 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.
OK, here we go, another blog in a world already over saturated with forums, social networks and weblogs. Then why? Why should you bother reading another blog from an average joe like myself? What makes this blog worthy of your valuable time? Well, if it helps, I’ll say that I like Beer. It’s delicious! I like it so much, I’ve decided to make this blog all about the stuff. The sweet, sweet fermented goodness that brings me joy and satisfaction at the end of my day (and sometimes the beginning and middle of my day too).
So my blog, my piece of property in internet infinium, will be dedicated (mostly) to Beer.
I’m not exactly an expert. My name’s Mark and I’ve got a somewhat normal job, an amazing wife and two awesome kids. I don’t work for a brewery or have my cicerone certification, nor am I a certified beer judge. But, I am passionate about the stuff and am ready to share this knowledge with you.
My goal and purpose of this blog is to keep you, my wonderful reader, up to date on the happenings in the wonderful world of beer. I’ll cover what’s going on both close to home, here in Colorado and around the U.S. and maybe even the world. I want to take you with me on adventures to breweries around town and on road trips and festivals throughout the year. Come with me and explore different styles, learn about well-known, popular breweries, but also obscure, lesser known breweries from across the globe. Dive into my beer cellar and dust off some aged bottles to sample and learn what, how and why to properly cellar beer in your own home. We’ll meet some of the masterminds and artists behind our favorite beers and see what inspires them to do what they do. Maybe we’ll even brew a batch of beer together.
Want the buzz on the latest upcoming releases around town? We’ll talk about it. Ever find yourself wondering what would pair well with a nice, thick, hearty steak or a stinky, veiny chesse? I’ve got you covered there too. Should I keep my beer in the bottle or pour it into a glass, and if I need a glass, what kind of glass should I use? Does it really matter? Absolutely! Maybe you’re having a party and want some suggestions for appetizers that will pair well with beer or want some recipes for beer infused food. I’ll even walk you through a beer trade and give you some tips on how to track down a bottle of New Glarus Belgian Red or maybe even the elusive Three Floyd’s Dark Lord!
Along the way, you’ll meet my lovely wife, Patti as we bring you with us on our trips and adventures. She’s a beer nerd, just like me.
Like I said, I’m no expert, but I’ve been all around the globe in search of good beer and now it’s time to share some of that knowledge with anybody that’s willing to listen.
Care to join me? Grab a pint, here we go!