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!
Get yer brew news! Yep, the weekend is almost here and the forecast is perfect. You ready?
Friday, August 17th, 2012.
Kick things off over at Dry Dock with Firkin Friday. This week, they’ve taken Doug’s Hop Abomination VI and double dry-hopped that bad boy.
Because obviously a single dry-hopping just wasn’t enough. Hop Abomination is a great, great beer and I can’t wait to see its’ debut in cans later this year. In the meantime, stop by and try the latest batch. Hop heads won’t want to miss this firkin. The beast gets unleashed at 3 PM. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Sadly, I will miss this week’s firkin, but I’ll be happily pouring beers at the Art and Ale Brew Festival at The Wildlife Experience in Parker.
This is a new one for us, but the list includes Deschutes, Avery, Elevation, Trinity, Uinta and 30+ other breweries. There’s also several wineries, distilleries and restaurants on the list. I’m really excited to finally attend this one. A beer fest in a museum is an awesome idea and I can’t wait. Tickets are $35 for members of The Wildlife Experience, $40 for non-members and $25 for DD’s. More details can be found HERE.
We’ll be pouring at the Dry Dock booth, so stop by and say hi! The Wildlife Experience is located at: 10035 Peoria St, Parker, CO 80134. 720-488-3300.
Oh, and if you’re out that way, don’t forget about Parry’s Pizza. They’ve got a location right across the street at: 12501 Lincoln Ave, Englewood, CO 80112.
Don’t forget that Friday will be your first chance to grab tickets for Avery’s Inaugural IPA Festival. This is taking place at Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO on Saturday, September 8th from noon – 5 PM.
Saturday, August 18th, 2012.
On Saturday, head over to Stapleton for the third annual Stapleton Beer Festival.
This year, check out dozens of local breweries serving up their tasty offerings from 4 – 8 PM. Look for Great Divide, Wit’s End, Copper Kettle, CAUTION and an additional 20+ breweries to be on-site. Two bands will perform and nearly a dozen food trucks will be there as well.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the event. Call 303-388-0724 to purchase tickets in advance or get more information.
If you’re looking to get out-of-town, head up to Central City for the Great Central City Beer Festival. American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live from the festival on 102.3 FM from noon – 1 PM on Saturday. The Beer Festival runs from noon – 7 PM.
I got my history lesson on Central City’s rich brewing history last weekend from Dave Thomas of Dostal Alley Brewing. Dave recently wrote a book on the history of brewing in Gilpin County and this past weekend, he was a featured guest on the Colorado Craft Beer Show.
The Great Central City Beer Festival will celebrate the rich, 150 year brewing history of Central City and will feature hayrides, live music and more than 40 beers to sample from breweries like Prost (oh yeah!!), Backcountry Brewing and Dostal Alley Brewing. This is an all ages event and tickets are on sale for $20. Click HERE to check out some pics from our trip to Dostal Alley Brewing earlier this summer.
And speaking of the Colorado Craft Beer Show, the guys will be hanging out at Hops & Pie this week as they broadcast from noon – 2 PM on AM760. Head over to Hops & Pie at noon to check out the live show, as they give you all the latest and greatest brew news and take part in Denver’s Littlest Big Beer Fest.
This month’s lineup is from Elevation Brewing. Elevation, from Poncha Springs, CO, will be bringing a bunch of tasty beers like their Apis IV Quad, Signal de Botrange Belgian Ale, several barrel-aged variations, a firkin and more! Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212. 303-477-7000.
Don’t forget about Bull & Bush’s 41 Beer in 41 Days event that rolls on all month-long.
This weekend, they’ll be tapping their own Captain Funk, and on the guest list is J.W. Lee’s 25th Anniversary Harvest Ale and d’Achouffe’s Biere Du Soleil. A full list can be found HERE. Bull & Bush Brewery is located at: 4700 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80246. 303-759-0092.
Sunday, August 19th, 2012.
The 2nd Annual Colorado Distillers Festival hits the Rackhouse Pub from 1 – 5 PM on Sunday.
Check out some delicious spirits from Breckenridge Distilling, Deerhammer Distilling, Peach Street Distillers and more. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door and includes admission, a tasting glass and a tour of Stranahan’s Distillery. More details can be found HERE. The Rackhouse Pub is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.
Monday, August 20th, 2012.
Stretch your weekend clear into Monday as Euclid Hall will be hosting Tom Korder, brewer from Goose Island at 8 PM. Yep, that would be Chicago’s Goose Island. Goose Island recently announced they’ll be bringing their full line of beers into the Colorado market, beginning in September. There’s talk that they may even begin brewing some of their famous recipes out this way too. Time will tell. But, on Monday, visit Euclid Hall to try some of their Vintage Beers brought out to CO just for this event.
The chefs at Euclid Hall have created some unique dishes to be paired alongside the beers. Euclid Hall is located at: 1317 14th St, Denver, CO 80202. 303-595-4255.
I’m glad to hear that Goose Island will be expanding their distribution to include our market. For the past few years, we’ve seen bits and pieces of the Goose Island portfolio, but it’s been pretty hit or miss and some of my favorite styles never made it out this way. It sounds like they’re planning to bring nearly the entire lineup to us. I had the chance to visit Goose Island last year and if you’re not familiar with them, you’re in for a treat. They have an awesome lineup of beers and an enormous barrel-aging program that includes everything from big, bold stouts to sour, belgian-style ales. I can’t wait to track down some more Bourbon County Brand Stout, as my supply is dwindling. For more details on Goose Island’s expansion into Colorado, check out the recent article by Jonathan Shikes over at the Westword.
If you’re just looking to hang out at home and enjoy a new beer this weekend, keep an eye out for Stone’s 16th Anniversary beer, a new batch of Cantillon (which is probably already gone by now…), The Bruery’s tasty Tart of Darkness and some interesting new Brettanomyces beers from Anchorage Brewing.
Looking into the crystal ball, Prost Brewing will officially open on Thursday, August 23rd at noon. I’m hoping to get a sneak-peek at the finished place and try the lineup on Wednesday. Absolutely can not wait for them to open! Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80202.
Grab your calendar and save the date of Saturday, September 29th. That’s the big date for the upcoming Fall Beer Classic. Turk and The Gubna from the Colorado Craft Beer Show are hosting their very own beer fest! These boys know beer and how to have fun. Sounds like the perfect combo for a beer fest! Think of it as a warm-up for the Great American Beer Festival.
I’ll get you all the details in the coming weeks, but for now, be sure to “Like” them on their Facebook Page.
Hey, “Like” us too while you’re at it. I’ve got more beer to give away, but you’ll need to follow the Facebook page if you want a chance to win.
That’s it y’all. My fingers are done, my mind is blown, it’s time for a beer!
Have a great weekend!
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.