Thanksgiving is right around the corner. As you head to the grocery store to pick out your prized bird, overload your shopping cart with sweet potatoes and attempt to learn the real difference between stuffing and dressing, DON’T FORGET THE BEER! It’s
just as even more important than the pumpkin pie!
There’s an ongoing debate about beer vs. wine with food pairings and I’m not going to rehash it on here. But let’s be honest, beer is waaaay better suited to go with your turkey dinner than those old smashed grapes will ever be. But with beer, comes a few tough questions: Where do we start? What do we buy? What will pair best with my desert? What about leftovers?
Relax my friends. The holiday’s are already stressful enough. I’m going to make this as easy as possible for you with a list of quality beer recommendations from local Colorado breweries that you should be able to easily find at most respectable Denver-area liquor stores. Grab a pen and paper (and a beer of course) and let’s break it down.
I admittedly haven’t been to many Thanksgiving meals outside of my family, but both my family and my wife’s side of the family have a tradition of serving shrimp cocktail for an appetizer. We’re also a big fan of artisan cheeses and meats. So for the first round, I’ve chosen one of New Belgium’s newest Lips of Faith offerings, Biere De Garde, which pairs nicely with both seafood and cheese.
Brewed in collaboration with Brewery Vivant, out of Grand Rapids, MI, this 9% ABV offering pours a clear, orange color with a 2-finger, creamy, white head. Plenty of orange, lemon, apricot, yeast and peppercorn throughout the aroma. The taste is very much on the farmhouse side of the spectrum with moderate tartness, spices and earthy notes throughout. The dry finish and high carbonation will have you thinking champagne. A nice start to the meal that will be sure to awaken your taste buds. Readily available at all liquor stores in the Denver-area for $8 / 22oz. bottle.
Alternative suggestions: Boulevard Tank 7, Jolly Pumpkin Oro De Calabaza, Brewery Ommegang Hennepin
The Main Course
Warm up over, stomach stretched, palate cleansed, let’s move onto the main course. Assuming you’ll be going with a traditional turkey dinner, I’ve got two (very) different approaches you can take. The first is that you go with something on the lighter side that will subtly complement your meal. The other is that you go big and bold and add a new layer altogether to the meal and we’ll discuss this approach a little later.
On the lighter side, I’m recommending Deceit from Funkwerks out of Fort Collins, CO. This awesome little brewery up North, specializes in Saisons, and was named Small Brewing Company of the Year at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). They took home 3-medals at GABF this year, one of which was a gold for this particular beer in the Belgian-Style Experimental Ale Category.
Deceit is a Belgian-style Tripel that pours a slightly cloudy, golden, straw color. The 3-finger tall head has notes of clove, Belgian yeast and lemon. Lots of tropical fruits, spices and just a touch of hops round out the flavors in this tasty brew. A dangerously drinkable 9.4% ABV beer that goes down much too easily. Deceit bottles were released for the first time on November 1st and they’re beginning to pop up at stores all over town. I really enjoyed this one and know you will too. A 750 mL bottle will run you about $12.
Alternative suggestions: Funkwerks Saison, La Chouffe, Tripel Karmeliet
I was only going to suggest one on the “lighter side”, but I can’t help myself, so I’m going to hit you with two. The second is Tivoli Helles Lager. This was a beer that basically went extinct when Denver’s Tivoli Brewery closed their doors back in 1969. Fortunately, earlier this year, the Tivoli family collaborated with Bill Eye, head brewer at Prost Brewing, to bring this one back from the grave.
The 5.1% ABV Helles Lager pours a clear, straw color with a 2-finger, white head. Plenty of biscuit, fresh grains, plus some floral notes and a touch of bitterness. Hey, if it came from the Prost brewhouse, you know it’s good. This is a great beer to introduce family members to craft beer. You know the ones that “Don’t drink dark beers” or claim they “Get gas from microbrews!”. Insert Grandpappy voice here: “Damn kids and they’re new fangled beers!”. Yeah, those are the ones that you just might be able to save and convert to craft beer by introducing them to a refreshing lager like this Helles.
The only drawback to the Tivoli Helles is that it’s not available in bottles, so you’ll need to get your butt over to Prost and grab a growler to take home with you. Wait, that’s not a drawback at all. In fact, that’s great news! Now you’ve got an excuse to make a trip over to Prost for a Maß of one of their delicious creations while picking up a growler of great beer for your Thanksgiving feast. Maybe you can convince your better half that you’re going “grocery shopping” for beer. Just a thought and if you get busted, you never heard it from me…
Moving on, let’s talk about the other end of the flavor spectrum, and how we can add a big, bold beer to bring a completely new, unique and independent layer to the dinner table. In the past few years, I’ve gone with beers like St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and The Bruery’s 2 Turtle Doves with the main course. These are complex, spicy, Belgian-style beers that have worked well at the dinner table. A very different approach, but for those that like to experiment with pairings, I think this is a fun option. For this round, I’m going to recommend Dry Dock Brewing’s Wee Heavy.
This popular Scotch Ale has pulled in back-to-back medals at the prestigious World Beer Cup. Look for big, sweet caramel flavors and plenty of malt to make up the base of the beer. There’s also a bit of dark fruit, chocolate, spices and smoke in the flavor as well. This 9.5% ABV beer is a slow-sipper, but I’m intrigued by this pairing and looking forward to trying it this year. This is Dry Dock’s Winter Release and it’s on shelves all over town these days. Plan on spending around $8 / 22oz. bottle on this one.
Alternative suggestions: Oskar Blues Old Chub, Great Divide Grand Cru, Odell Isolation
But Wait, There’s More!
We’re off to a good start, but the best is yet to come. DESERT!!! To quote the Kool-Aid Man, “Oh yeah!”. Coming up in Part 2, we’ll discuss beers to pair with desert, the perfect nightcap brew and even what to drink with your leftovers while the rest of the world wrestles over TV’s and iPad’s during the nonsense we like to call “Black Friday”. Stay tuned.
Listen up all my little Sour, Wild and Funky Beer Fans! This Monday, at 10 AM MST, Crooked Stave will be offering new memberships into next year’s Cellar Reserve program. I made the horrible mistake of not joining the club last year, and since then, I’ve been blown away by brewer / owner Chad Yakobson’s amazing beers.
Due to the low volume being produced, the only way to get many of his beers is by becoming a Cellar Reserve Member. So for $300, you’ll be guaranteed a variety of 750mL bottles of Crooked Stave’s best offerings. Here’s the tentative lineup for 2013:
(1 bottle) *Blackberry L’Brett d’Or (First Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Persica – Golden Sour w/Peaches (First Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Raspberry Dark Origins (Second Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Surette Reserva Cognac Barrel (Second Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Surette Reserva Bourbon Barrel (Second Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Nightmare on Brett (Grand Cru barrel) (Third Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *Cherry Origins (Third Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *TBD Dark Sour blend (Fourth Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *TBD Cellar Reserve Blend (Fourth Quarter of 2013)
(1 bottle) *TBD Cellar Reserve Blend (Fourth Quarter of 2013)
*Denotes beer is a Cellar Reserve exclusive.
In addition to the beers listed above, there will be several additional beers available for sale, along with a membership card, exclusive stemmed glassware, Members-only gear, 15% discount at the tap room and the opportunity to attend Members-only events.
I’ll definitely be jumping on board this year. For the out-of-towners, you can have a “trustee” pick up your beers and send them to you. I might be willing to sponsor a beer freak or two, so e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you need help from a Colorado beer mule such as myself.
If you’re interested in joining the club, click HERE for all the details. There’s even a FAQ page which attempts to answer any questions you might have about holding beer at the Barrel Room, setting up a trustee and more.
It’s no accident that Crooked Stave just landed a medal at this year’s GABF in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer Category. They’re making some great beers and have many more planned for you. I may have missed the boat last year, but lesson learned and I’ll be logging on my computer Monday to get my spot for 2013. Hope you can join me for the ride.
Looks like everyone’s still recovering from last weekend’s GABF. It’s been kind of quiet this week. I guess I picked a good week to go out-of-town. At any rate, I’ve still got some fun things to share with my favorite band of beer nuts.
Friday, October 19th, 2012.
We’ve got a new brewery opening this weekend! High Hops Brewery in Windsor, is having their Grand Opening on Friday and Saturday.
They had a soft opening a few weeks ago, but if you haven’t yet stopped by, put it on your calendar. Live music, $1 off pints, food trucks and door prizes will highlight the weekend. From a Wheat Ale to a Double IPA, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to stop by and welcome Colorado’s newest brewery. The fun starts at noon and runs until 9 PM on both days. High Hops Brewery is located at: 6461 Hwy 392, Windsor, CO 80550. 970-674-2841.
Dry Dock Brewing is releasing Madagascar Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Ale for this week’s Firkin Friday.
Tapping’s will be held at 3 PM and 7 PM. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Jellyman’s Deviation at Rockyard Brewing is called “Here’s Smoke In Your Eye”.
A hand pecan wood smoked german malt and rye ale. Stop by at 4 PM for the tapping and order the special appetizer made specifically to pair with the beer. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.
Saturday, October 20th, 2012.
The boys on the Colorado Craft Beer Show have a great show lined up for you on Saturday.
Upslope Brewing’s Alex Violette and Chad Peiper will be on the show and hopefully bringing some of their delicious pumpkin beer to share. Justin Tilotta from Twisted Pine Brewing and Dave Cole from Utah’s Epic Brewing will also be on air. Tune in and get the latest update on Epic’s plan to open a brewery in Denver next year. The Colorado Craft Beer Show is on AM 760 from noon – 2 PM.
Copper Kettle Brewing Company is bringing back their Black IPA, which will get tapped on Saturday at noon.
This English Style Black IPA is really tasty and will hopefully stick around for a few months. I think I need to make a little run over there and get some growlers filled. Tapping at noon, with Little India food truck arriving at 5 PM. CKBC is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247. 720-443-CKBC.
Sunday, October 21st, 2012.
Arvada Beer is gearing up for their 1st Anniversary, coming up on October 27th, by releasing a new beer every day next week.
Here’s the full lineup:
- 10/21 – Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Wit
- 10/22 – Both White House Ales
- 10/23 – Nitro Russian Imperial Stout
- 10/24 – Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Aged Belgian IPA
- 10/25 – Russian Imperial Stout
- 10/26 – Batch 100 Wheat Wine
- 10/27 – Syrah Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
I don’t know about you, but to me, these sound DELISH!!! Three different Russian Imperial Stout’s! Wow, get your butt over to Arvada beer and check these out. This all leads up to their Anniversary Part next Saturday, which will include an all ages Halloween costume contest and a live broadcast with the Colorado Craft Beer Show. Can’t wait! Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002. 303-467-2337.
Prost is getting into the Spirit of Halloween by hosting a pumpkin carving contest on Sunday.
$5 gets you a pumpkin and a chance to show off your pumpkin carving creativity. Pumpkins will be on display and customers will get a chance to vote for their favorites. The top three winners will be announced on Halloween and will receive either $25, $50 or $75 worth of credit at Prost. The contest runs from noon – 8 PM on Sunday. Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211. 303-729-1175.
Not a ton of events this week, but after last weekend, it’s probably safe to assume that our livers need some rest. In the meantime, here’s a little tease for next month.
The All Colorado Beer Festival is right around the corner. Look for a full post with all of the details in the near future. Until then, mark it on the calendar for Saturday, November 3rd and I hope to see you there.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Another Great American Beer Festival has come and gone. It was a weekend spent with old friends, meeting new ones and sampling beers from all over this great country. Oskar Blues launched Dale’s Pale Ale in 19 oz. cans, I got to try a beer brewed with Rocky Mountain Oysters (tasty!) and local Colorado brewers took home 35 medals, including Small Brewing Company of the Year, which was awarded to Funkwerks out of Fort Collins. Congrats to all the winners!
The awards ceremony was moved downstairs to the Wells Fargo Theatre, which allowed for more room in the main hall of the Convention Center. In past years, it was nice to give attendees a chance to watch the presentation, but the extra space was a very welcome addition to the festival this year. I didn’t experience the cramped spaces or bottlenecks that I remember being a problem during past GABF’s. The inevitable lines at popular breweries like Dogfish Head and Russian River were fast-moving and not an issue. Things just seem to run very smoothly this time around. I’ll drink to that. Oh wait, I already did.
It’s been such an amazing weekend. Once again, Congratulations to all of the medal winners. Check out the full list of GABF Winners and see if your local brewery took home some hardware this weekend.
And without further ado, here’s a photo recap of GABF 2012.
It’s been an amazing weekend. Hope everyone had a blast!
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: email@example.com 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.
Here we are, just a few short days away from the Great American Beer Festival and I’m as giddy as a little schoolgirl. But whether you’re a seasoned veteran or this is your first time attending, the GABF can be a little overwhelming. 580 breweries pouring 2000+ beers will do that to you. You’ve got to have some sort of plan of attack.
For me, I print out the GABF Map and mark the breweries that I’d kick myself if I were to miss. The floor is divided up by regions of the U.S. I can generally breeze through the Colorado breweries since I’ve either had or can easily get most of the beers pouring in that area. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stop by and say hi to your favorite brewers. It’s also worth nothing that some are planning on bringing some pretty special beers. Avery Brewing will be pouring both Oud Floris and Odio Equum from their hard-to-find Barrel-Aged Series, while Crooked Stave is rumored to be bringing the super delicious and rare Persica. I’d certainly recommend spending some time in the Mountain Region at the GABF, but for me, I’ll probably limit my time there and focus on breweries I don’t normally have easy access to.
So where do we begin? Russian River, Lost Abbey / Port, Cigar City, Dogfish Head all seem like obvious choices, but there are some really interesting, smaller breweries that don’t distribute out this direction at all. Jonathan Shikes wrote a great article in the Westword last week with his picks, many of which would have made my list as well. Three Floyds, Bell’s and Cambridge are all top-notch breweries. Check out the entire article HERE. I’d like to add a couple more of my favorites for you to check out this weekend.
1. The Bruery, Placentia, CA. Patrick Rue is brewing up an empire and a loyal following through his Reserve Society and awesome lineup of beers. Whether it’s mouth-puckering sours or thick, inky stouts, you can’t go wrong. While they do distribute a handful of beer to Colorado, quite a few never leave California. Recommendations: Oude Tart, Black Tuesday.
2. Upland Brewing, Bloomington, IN. Upland makes quite a few quality beers, but their Lambics are not to be missed. The bottles, which are sold online a few times a year, always sell out within minutes. Recommendations: Any of their fruit Lambics, which range from Strawberry to Kiwi to Persimmon to Peach.
3. Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center, MN. Beer for a glass, from a can. For the hop heads, they make two great ones, called Furious (IPA) and Abrasive (Double IPA). They’ve also got a Coffee Brown called Coffee Bender that goes great with a brownie or doughnut. Keep an eye out for any of their big, seasonals like Darkness (Russian Imperial Stout) or this year’s anniversary ale, SYX (Strong Ale). Recommendations: Anything.
4. Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME. The little brewery from Maine makes some might fine Belgian-style beers. As a sour fan, I’ll be looking for anything from their Coolship series. If you lean towards the sweeter side, look for their Dubbel, Grand Cru or Quad. Recommendations: From sweet to sour, you can’t go wrong.
5. Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem, NC. As the South catches up to the craft beer movement, Foothills has taken the lead with their big stouts and barrel-aged experimentation. They produce solid beers across the board. Recommendations: Seeing Double IPA, Sexual Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout.
6. Iron Hill Brewery, PA, NJ and DE. This east coast brewpub, which has 10 locations in 3 states, always brings a huge beer selection to the GABF Floor. From sweet to sour, light to dark, hoppy to malty, they’ve got something for everyone. There’s a reason why they’ve won a GABF medal, every year, for the past 15 years. Stop by they’re multiple tables and get ready to be impressed. Recommendations: With an ever-rotating beer menu, there’s no telling what they’ll be pouring this year. But, they always have detailed descriptions of every beer and plenty of brewers around to answer your questions.
7. Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI. Where to begin? I don’t remember ever seeing Founders at a previous GABF, so when I saw them on this year’s list, I got pretty excited. These guys are famous for their KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), which is brewed with vanilla and coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. In addition to their seasonal and specialty brews, they make an exceptional lineup of year-round beers. Recommendations: Centennial IPA, Devil Dancer (Triple IPA), Cerise (Cherry Beer), Backwoods Bastard (Scotch Ale) or any of their Stouts (KBS, CBS, Breakfast Stout or Imperial Stout).
8. Shorts Brewing, Bellaire, MI. I think I did enough preaching for Short’s earlier this week with my post about their limited release of 6-packs to Denver for the GABF. Still, I want to make sure you’ve got them on your list. They love to experiment and take chances, which makes for some very fun and unique brews. Recommendation: Peaches & Creme and any of the other experimental brews they decide to bring with them.
9. Weyerbacher, Easton, PA. Another east coast gem serving up a wide variety of beers, ranging from Belgian-Style Ales to American IPA’s. Although their distribution range has steadily grown over the past few years, they still haven’t made it to our market. Recommendations: Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Riserva Sour, Heresy Imperial Stout and Double Simcoe IPA.
10. Société Brewing, San Diego, CA. Founded in 2012 by Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, who met while working together at The Bruery. They decided to join forces and open their own brewery this past June. Since then, they’ve been releasing west-coast IPA’s, Belgian-Style Ales and a Russian Imperial Stout. They’ve also got a spacious barrel room, with a variety of sour beers aging away. Recommendations: This brewery’s only been open for a few months and I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but I’ve heard good things and would highly recommend stopping by their booth for a sample or two.
I hope this list helps introduce you to at least a couple new breweries this year at GABF. Get out there, have fun and discover some new beers. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other suggestions you might have. Hope to see you this weekend!
Short’s is coming back! That’s right, the little brewery making the big beers out of Bellaire, Michigan is gearing up to distribute three of their beers to various stores around the Denver area to coincide with the Great American Beer Festival.
They brought 6 beers to our market last year and are planning to return with 3 beers this year. This time around, keep your eyes out for Huma Lupa Licious, Pandemonium Pale Ale and Autumn Ale.
Huma Lupa Licious: This gem is honored with the name of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus, and is Short’s best selling India Pale Ale. It has such an abundant amount of hops that it sensually provides a punch to the palate. The numerous hop varieties used in its creation render a delicious bitter taste and enticing citrus aroma. The hearty malt bill melds with the hops to create a perfect balance. 6.8% ABV 96 IBU
Pandemonium Pale Ale: This coppered colored American pale ale lends its hue to hearty two-row malts and hand selected specialty grains. American hop additions balance the wort, resulting in a tasty union of malt sweetness, bright floral citrus flavors, and earthy aromas. Behold the bitter hysteria! 5% ABV 35 IBU
Autumn Ale: A London Extra Special Bitter (ESB) that is true to style. It has a medium body, amber color, and full flavor. This beer exhibits a wonderful balance of initial malty sweetness with subtle lingering floral hop bitterness, resulting in an ideal bridge between malty and hoppy beer styles. It is a silver medal winner at the 2006 GABF. 6% ABV 31 IBU
15 lucky liquor stores will be getting allotments of the three beers, which will be arriving in 6-packs over the next few weeks. If you’re on the hunt (and you should be), here’s the list: Argonaut, Tipsy’s, Total Beverage (Westminster), Applejack, Mile High Wine & Spirits, Lukas, Daveco, Mondo Vino, Davidsons, Colorado Liquor Mart, Highlands Wine & Liquor, Little’s, Mr. B’s, Mayfair, Joy Wine & Spirits.
Longing for some Short’s on draft? We’ve got you covered there too. A small amount of Huma Lupa Licious will be arriving in kegs and pouring at: FreshCraft, Hops & Pie, Cheeky Monk (Denver), Star Bar and of course Falling Rock Tap House. Falling Rock will be receiving a few bonus specialty kegs which will be tapped on Friday, October 12th at 11PM. Stop by FRTH and grab a seat at everyone’s favorite post-GABF headquarters. In addition to Huma Lupa Licious, they’ll also be tapping Agave Peach White, Imperial Spruce India Pilsner and Ale La Reverend.
If you’re attending GABF, make sure to check out the Short’s booth, which will surely be rockin’ on the end spot in booth D18. Click HERE for the GABF Floor Map. Short’s makes some innovative and tasty beers, using all kinds of ingredients, from roma tomatoes to blood oranges to key limes, you never know what they’re going to come up with next. Last year, they brought 20 beers to the Convention Center floor and had a crowd throughout the entire weekend at their 1/2 circle end cap spot.
For more Short’s fun, check out their website, pay them a visit at GABF next week and get your beer huntin’ britches on for some tasty brews hitting our market this month.
So here we are, just two weeks out from the Great American Beer Festival and there’s a bazillion fun, beer events happening around town to get you ready. It seems like every weekend is just building up to the granddaddy of beer festivals. We’ve got some awesome events to talk about and there’s no time to lose!
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Yak & Yeti’s Head Brewer Adam Draeger released his Dragon Wort Ale on Wednesday. The latest addition in his Haunted Series of beers is an 8.5% ABV Belgian-style Ale. It’s spiced with Dragon Wort (or Tarragon), a versatile ingredient that’s more commonly used for chicken, fish, cake and even soda.
Stop by Yak & Yeti Restaurant and Brewery to try Adam’s newest creation. Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002
Thursday, September 27th, 2012
So I’ve got nothing for you on Thursday… Sad, I know. So why not take a ride over to Boulder for a visit to the new West Flanders Brewing Co. on Pearl Street Mall?
I had the chance to sample all of their beers, along with some items on the food menu on their opening day last week and I was really impressed. They’re already off to a great start with their menu and 6 tasty beers: Angry Monk, St. Mark’s Dubbel, Daisy Cutter Belgian Strong, Canniption Pale Ale, TBD ESB and Third Kingdom IPA. Look for a full post about West Flanders Brewing next week, but in the meantime, stop by for a visit. They’re located at: 1125 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302. 303-447-2739.
LATE ADDITION: Crooked Stave Barrel Cellar is pouring beers again today! After some confusion surrounding appropriate licenses for pouring beers in the tap room, the funkiest brewery in Denver is officially back open and ready to pour their tasty blends again.
This is awesome news and I’m glad owner / brewer Chad Yakobson was able to get things cleared up so quickly. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is open Wed – Sat from noon – 7 PM and is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.
Friday, September 28th, 2012
Prost Brewing is kicking off their Oktoberfest on Friday at noon. They’ll be joined by Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, who in true Oktoberfest fashion, will be tapping the first keg of Prost Märzen.
The fun will run throughout the weekend, but you won’t want to miss the tapping on Friday as there will also be live music by The Rhinelanders and their Alpenhorn, while the Prost staff will be decked out in their best German garb. Bust out your lederhosen and dirndls and come on down for a Maß of the new Märzen. Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80202. 303-729-1175.
This week’s Firkin Friday over at Dry Dock Brewing is a Cherry Belgian Blonde. Stop by at 3 PM for a chance to try this round.
Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Down at the Rockyard, Jellyman’s brewed Keg Stand Red for this week’s Deviation release.
This is an “amped up version” of Rockyard’s Redhawk Ale. Sweet toffee and roasted aroma, with a hot hop bite. First glass gets poured at 4 PM. Don’t miss out. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.
Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Wow, Saturday’s big. HUGE!!!
Where to begin, where to begin….
Well, first up, Congrats are in order for Scott Witsoe over at Wit’s End Brewing, as they’ll be celebrating their 1-year Anniversary on Saturday.
Stop in from noon – 8 PM on Saturday and raise a glass to Scott and his awesome nano-brewery. They make some great beers and deserve your support. Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza will be on-site to fill your tummy. Wit’s End Brewing is located at: 2505 W 2nd Ave, Unit 13, Denver, CO 80219. 303-459-4379.
Speaking of anniversaries, Boulder Beer is having their 33rd Anniversary Party on Saturday. That’s incredible! Congrats guys!
They’re hosting a Beer Rave at the brewery from 2 – 6 PM. Tickets are $30 and include a tasting glass, beer, music and food from Jimmy John’s. Look for 12 small batch beers from Boulder Beer, plus a variety of beers from more than 30 guest breweries. This is going to be a great afternoon! Good weather, good beer and the money goes towards the Danny Williams Fund. It doesn’t get much better than that. Stop by Boulder Beer Co. at: 2880 Wilderness Place, Boulder, CO 80301. 303-444-8448.
Oktoberfest! I already mentioned Prost, who’ll be continuing their German shenanigans throughout the weekend. Go see them. You’re not a certified Beer Geek until you’ve visited Prost. Just sayin’…
On the other side of town, Dry Dock is gearing up for Docktoberfest. This is a GREAT event and rumored to be their busiest and mostest funnest day of the year. Pardon my terrible grammar, but it’s an awesome time.
The doors open at 11AM, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan will be tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest at 11:15 and from then on, mayhem and madness will ensue. Music will be provided by The Rhinelanders and their mighty Alpenhorn. There’s just something irresistible about accordion music and that huge horn from the Ricola commercials. Food will be on-site from Helga’s, the best freakin’ German food in town and the staff will be sporting their sharpest German duds. Mrs. Brewtally Insane will be pourin’, I’ll be drinkin’, it’ll be glorious. Come by and say hi. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Up north in Loveland, Grimm Brothers will also be hosting their Oktoberfest on Saturday. This will be your first chance to buy a few bottles of Farmer’s Daughter, their Oktoberfest Lager.
This family friendly event will also feature live music, food, games, contests and limited edition steins for sale. Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is located at: 623 N Denver Ave, Loveland, CO 80537. 970-624-6045.
I spent some time last week plowing through some tasty Pumpkin Beers and shared my findings in two posts breaking down what’s out there and what’s coming our way. Click THIS and THAT to catch up. Which brings us to RUMPKIN!
Avery’s releasing their 2nd batch of Rumpkin on Saturday at 5PM! This is a glorious, amazingly, tasty, delectable, glorious… Wait, I already said that…. Damn, it’s good. And it’s big! Like The Beast Grand Cru ate a pumpkin patch. Avery’s resident barrel herder Andy Parker said he had trouble getting enough rum barrels this year, so expect lower production numbers and little-to-no distribution. If you want some, get your pumpkin lovin’ butt to Avery Brewing on Saturday for this release.
I’ll be there, muling beers back for my fellow geeks that can’t make it. If you’re lucky enough to attend, Avery always treats their guests to some awesome, small-batch, barrel-aged deliciousness. Just between you and me, I’ve heard Tweak (aka Coffee Meph, aka Meph Addict aka delicious, big stout Mephistopheles brewed with coffee) and Ross’s Mom (blended Red Sour Ale). There’s plenty more that will be pouring and remember, that’s just between you and me. OK?
So go up there, get your Rumpkin bottles and you’ll be sitting pretty with your loot. This high ABV brew is sure to age well for years to come. Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303. P.S. $10 / 12oz. bottle, 12 bottle limit, CASH ONLY!
Black Shirt Brewing is hosting another sneak-peek-teaser event on Saturday.
Black Shirt, you’re killing me! I want to come by, but not sure I’ll be back in time. I’ve even got 4 of those swanky Offero glasses longing to be filled with your beer. On Saturday, they’ll be open from 5 – 8 PM and pouring their wet-hopped Red Ale, brewed with locally harvested Centennial and Williamette Hops from Voss Farms in Arvada. I heard good things about last week’s sneak-peek. Me wants some! Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.
Don’t forget our friends on the radio.
The Colorado Craft Beer Show will be live at Arvada Beer.
The show will be live from noon – 2PM on AM 760. They’ll be joined by Hops & Pie owner Drew Watson (also celebrating their 1-year Anniversary) and will be giving away another pair of tickets to GABF! You won’t want to miss this. It’s a great time to visit Arvada Beer, as they’ll be tapping their Pumpkin Ale on Friday, which was brewed with 45 lbs of pumpkins, 1 gallon of vanilla and 5 lbs of spices. Nom, nom, nom! Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002. 303-467-2337.
American Craft Beer Radio host Gary V., will be joined by Dustin Lemoine from Avery Brewing on 102.3 FM at noon. Chris Black from Falling Rock Tap House should be making an appearance and I’ll be there as well to talk about the upcoming Denver Beer Week and all of the Great American Beer Festival events planned around town.
We’ll also be talking about Avery’s Rumpkin release, discussing homebrewing topics with Duane Taylor from The Brew Hut and more. So grab your calendar and tune in at noon to 102.3 FM to make your plans for the next few weeks.
Sunday, September 30th, 2012
So I hear Falling Rock got their paws on a few bottles of Toronado 25. Yeah, read that again and just absorb it for a minute. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. You read it correctly, Toronado 25! Toronado 25 is an epic blend from Russian River Brewing, that was made to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the famous San Francisco Beer Bar, Toronado.
Not sure on the price, but, no matter, you won’t want to miss out when bottles make their appearance at 2PM. I still remember my first (and last…) sip of the incredible 20th Anniversary Blend. Amazing, complex, once in a lifetime kind of beer. Here’s the 25th blend:
4% Sonambic (barrel aged for 15 months)
16% Blonde Ale (barrel aged for 8 months)
36% Strong Pale Ale (barrel aged 12 months)
28% Ale Aged with Currants (barrel aged for 8 months)
12% Strong Dark Ale (barrel aged for 12 months)
4% Baltic Porter (barrel aged for 10 months)
Get some on Sunday so I don’t have to wipe away your tears when it’s gone. Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202. 303-293-8338.
Before I wrap up, I just wanted to congratulate Wild Woods Brewery in Boulder. They opened for the first time on Tuesday, 9/25 with 6 beers: Wildflower Pale Ale, Treeline India Pale Ale, Campfire Red Ale, Ponderosa Porter, Smores Stout and Berry Wheat Patch.
Stop by and check them out on your next visit to Boulder. They’re located at: 5460 Conestoga Ct, Boulder, CO 80301. 303-484-1465.
I think that’s it. Man, I hope that’s it. Saturday is absolutely ridonkulious. If you can’t find a beer event to attend this weekend, I guess you don’t like beer. Anybody else notice that we have the potential for 4 Anniversary parties on the same weekend next year? Boulder Beer will be 34, Wit’s end will be 2, West Flanders will be 1 and Wild Woods will be 1. Aaah, that makes me happy.
Have fun this weekend, be responsible and be nice.
Get ready, get set, GO! Tickets for the 2012 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), go on sale this week. The event, which is entering its’ 31st year, is scheduled for October 11-13 in Denver, CO. Tickets will go on sale to American Homebrew Association (AHA) Members on Tuesday, July 31st at 10 AM MST and Thursday, August 2nd at 10 AM MST, for the rest of the beer-loving world.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sit around and wait to buy your tickets. If you want to go, buy them now. We’re in the middle of a major craft beer boom, and as a result, it’s getting harder and harder to get tickets to these great events. Just a few months ago, Avery’s Sour Beer Festival sold out in less than 90 seconds. Ommegang’s Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival this past weekend, sold out in less than 60 seconds!
I’m not saying the GABF will sell out in minutes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it sold out in less than a week. It wasn’t but a few years ago that tickets could be purchased at local breweries and restaurants around the Denver Metro area. While all 4-days of the event were guaranteed to sell out, you could still find tickets available months after they went on sale. For better or worse, those days are over.
These days, tickets for the GABF are sold exclusively through Ticketmaster.com
GABF is THE event for craft beer lovers in the U.S. 400+ breweries will be pouring nearly 2000 beers for you this year. GABF is also a great opportunity to rub elbows with your favorite brewers, try unique beers from brewers across the nation and see who will take home the crown in more than 80 categories of beer judging. It’s a beer-lovers dream and pretty much my favorite holiday next to Christmas!
Tickets will run $65/each for Thu, Fri and Sat nights, while the AHA members-only session on Sat afternoon will run $55. I’ve had a sneak-peek at the brewery layout and the awards stage had to be moved just to make room for all of the amazing breweries that will be in attendance this year. The awards will now be presented in the adjoining Wells Fargo Theater. While I will certainly miss watching the award presentations, more room on the convention center floor, means more beers getting poured! Not a bad trade-off.
The good people organizing this years GABF have already published a list of attending breweries. Check it out HERE.
This is just a friendly little reminder to grab your tickets so you don’t miss out. I’m pumped and I hope to see you there!
Several years ago, somewhere amidst the madness that is the Great American Beer Festival, I got my first glimpse of an awesome product called the Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado (BDG2C). I snatched one up and over the years, it’s helped me plan out weekend road trips with my wife and track down breweries all over the state. Over time, the explosion of breweries in the state has taken its toll on my little map. It’s out of date and ready to be retired.
A few weeks ago, the 6th edition of the Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado was released and filled the holes in my outdated guide.
If you’re not familiar with the guide, it’s a 39 x 26 inch, color map of the state. Pint glasses dot the map and denote the 168 breweries and brewpubs across Colorado. They’ve done their homework and planned ahead by including many breweries that are going to be opening in the near future, like TRVE and Black Bottle Brewery. If you’re not sure about a brewery, call ahead to make sure they’re open and will have beer flowing when you arrive.
The flip side has a ton of useful information, including breakdowns of different beer styles, a list of CO State Parks and 14ers, drive times between cities, homebrew shops around the state and most importantly, addresses, phone numbers, hours and other details about all those breweries you’ll be checking out. The newly updated map has everything a beer lover in Colorado could ever want.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep you happy, the brains behind the map have also put together an awesome collection of coupons to help you save some money while you drink your way across this great state. The coupon book has exploded since my last map purchase. It’s set up like a check book that’s full of coupons you can redeem for free beer, taster trays, discounts, glassware and more!
There are 44 coupons in total, which are valued at more than $250 and don’t expire until January 1, 2014. Grab one now and you’ve got 18 months to do some serious damage across the state!
Right about now, you’re probably wondering how to get your very own, super snazzy, handy Beer Drinker’s Guide to Colorado. Head over to their official website and order one online. They’ve got traditional, folded map versions along with rolled maps for $13.95 each. There’s also a laminated, man-cave approved version for $42.95.
If you’re in a hurry and need to have one right now, click HERE for a list of breweries, homebrew shops and liquor stores that have the BDG2C for sale. This is a great map and awesome coupon book that should be in the glove box of any good beer nerd’s ride. Now get out and explore!