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Weekend Beer Buzz 11/29/2012

We’ve got a big weekend folks and I’m dropping bombs!  Say what?  Hey, there’s not one, but two new breweries opening in Colorado this week!  This looks like it’ll be the biggest weekend we’ve had since the GABF circus rolled through town almost two months ago.  Strap on your beer goggles and get ready to go.  Oh and if you really want to enjoy this week’s post, grab your favorite beer and take a swig every time you see the word “BOOM!”.  Hurry up, you just missed one.

Ready?  Alright, let’s do this.

Earlier This Week

Firestone Walker XVI dropped not once, but twice.  BOOM!

The Bad News: It disappeared from store shelves almost as soon as it landed.  The Good News: It’s on tap at Parry’s Pizza right now (11/29/2012 11AM).  Head over and try this unique anniversary blend of 8 different barrel-aged beers!  BOOM!

Deschutes The Abyss hit Colorado.  BOOM!

This inky impy stout is proving to be a challenge to track down as well.  There’s not as much to go around as originally anticipated.  I’m not sure if we’ll be getting a second shipment or if the beer geek boom is stretching the supply thinner than previous years.  Whatever the case may be, if you want some, don’t wait around.  It’s hitting shelves this week and a few stores have already sold out.

Dry Dock bottled their 2012 batch of Bligh’s Barleywine on Tuesday.  BOOM!  This luscious Barleywine has spent the better part of 2012 aging in Stranahan Whiskey Barrels.

I had the opportunity to try a sample a few weeks ago during our interview with Dry Dock Co-Owner & Founder Kevin DeLange and it’s shaped up very nicely.  You’re going to love it.  And if you don’t, you’ll sell your bottles to me and like it.  Dry Dock’s releasing 10 cases at the brewery on Sunday, 12/9 ($20 each / 1-bottle limit), with more cases going to local liquor stores on 12/11.

Brewery Rickoli Ltd. opened in Wheat Ridge on Wednesday.  BOOM!

Brewmaster Rick Abitbol has been brewing along the Front Range for more than a decade.  Rickoli opened with Black Pliny Double IPA, Social Lubricant Scotch Ale, Aldo’s Red, Totally IPA and a Rye Stout.  Stay tuned for a single-hopped Pale Ale series exploring one hop variety at a time, plus a Hoppy Barleywine, a Bourbon Peach Strong Ale, a Dark Chocolate Milk Stout and more!  Brewery Rickoli Ltd is located at: 4335 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.  Mon – Thu: 3 PM – 11 PM & Fri – Sun: 2 PM – 12 AM.  303-344-8988.

Cantillon bottles have been dropping on local retailers too (thankfully no one was injured)!  BOOM!

My most favoritest of the Belgians.  I heart you Cantillon.  Sadly, I’m not too hopeful that I’ll find any. With everyone on the hunt, I figure winning this week’s $400+ Million Powerball jackpot might be easier than finding a little Cantillon on a store shelf around town.  But, hey, at least it’s returned to CO.  More Cantillon news below…

Friday, November 30, 2012

For this week’s Deviation down at Rockyard Brewing, the Jellyman will be pouring JPA – Jelly Pale Ale.

According to Jellyman, this is a 7% ABV that pours a “dark straw with lacy white head”, has aromas of “fruit berry jelly with hints of toffee” and has “a balanced maltiness and citrus hops, punctuated by jam”.  Get your Jelly On at 4 PM!  BOOM!  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Dry Dock Brewing is following up last week’s Ho Ho Ho Slapdown with a very festivus Firkin Friday. Here’s Firkin Friday Surgeon General Walt Chleva modeling an amazing beer and pairing it with this Christmas sweater that’s…  Well it’s…  hmm, oh yeah nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Thanks Mom.

This week’s firkin will feature a Roasted Marshmallow version of Bethla-Yam.  Bethla-Yam is a Sweet Potato Stout, winner of the 2012 Ho Ho Ho Slapdown and creation from Dry Dock Brewer Brett Williams.  The win has secured Brett bragging rights around the brewery for the next 12 months as he beat out fellow brewers Doug Hyndman and John Schneider for the title.

As for Bethla-Yam, it’s a sweet, moderately spiced stout.  BTW – Dry Dock is still pouring all of the Ho Ho Ho Slapdown entries, so if you’re interested in trying them or grabbing a growler to-go, head over now and get your fix.  As for Firkin Friday, tappings will be at 3 PM & 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wynkoop’s Annual Parade of Darks is lined up for Saturday.

34 breweries bringing 82 brews, all leaning towards the darker side of the force.  BOOM!  Here’s the complete list from Wynkoop’s very own Beer Evangelist, Mr. Marty Jones:

Arvada Beer Co – Jolly Holiday Ale, Foreign to Me Stout
Avery Brewing – The Czar, Old Jubilation, Out of Bounds Stout
AC Golden – Blueberry Sour, Plum Sour,
Bootstrap Brewing– Worthog Stout, Boomer Brown
Boulevard Brewing – Bully! Porter, Dark Truth Stout
Breckenridge Brewery – Oatmeal StoutVanilla PorterExtra ESB, Christmas Ale 
Bull & Bush – Big Ben Brown Ale, Stonehenge Stout, Punk Up The Yams, The Legend Of The Liquid Brain, Captain Funk, Captain Midnight
Caution Brewing – Toaster Bat Black Smoked Porter, Dunkel(er)weiss.
Copper Kettle – Mexican Chocolate Stout, Pumpkin Porter
Denver Beer Co– Graham Cracker Porter, Chill Out Chocolate Chili Stout
Elevation Brewing – Apis, Lil Mo Porter 
Drydock Brewing – Wee Heavy Strong Scotch Ale, Raspberry Porter
Firestone Walker – Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout, Walker’s Reserve Porter, DBA 
Fort Collins Brewery – Double Chocolate Stout
Great Divide – Yeti Imperial Stout, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Claymore Scotch Ale, Hibernation
Green Flash – Double Stout
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse – Master Thief German Porter, Fearless Youth Dunkel Lager, Wee Heavy Barrel-Aged Scottish Strong Ale
Jolly Pumpkin – Bam Noir
Left Hand – Fade to Black, Milk Stout Nitro
Lone Tree Brewing – Acres O Green Irish Red, Toots’s Full-Bodied Oatmeal Stout, Chili Beer Collaboration #2, Old # 99 Rauchbier
Lost Abbey – Lost & Found 
Maui Brewing – Coconut Porter 
Mountain Sun Brewery & Pub — Megatron Imperial Stout, Oatimus Prime Imperial Stout
Odell Brewing – Mountain Standard, Isolation Ale 
Ommegang – Three Philosophers 
Port Brewing – Old Viscosity 
Prost Brewing – Doppelbock, Dunkel
Pug Ryan’s– Brain-teaser Barlywine, Barell-Aged Leap Year Trifecta
Sierra Nevada –Narwhal Imperial Stout,Wine Barrel Aged Dubbel
Ska – Steel Toe Stout, Nefarious, On The Sly Again
Strange Brewing – Pumpkin Porter, Cherry Bomb Stout, Gingerbread Man, Vanilla Rum Porter
Twisted Pine – Espresso Stout, Honey Brown 
Upslope Brewing– Christmas Ale, Brown Ale
Wynkoop Brewing – Gingerbread Stout, 2012 Barleywine, Cowtown Milk Stout, B3K Black Lager, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, Colorojo

As you can tell, this is going to be full of awesome beers for your tasting pleasure.  Tickets are $35 in advance and available HERE or $42 at the door (if they’re not already sold out come Saturday).  The Wynkoop is located at: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-297-2700.

Just up the road from the Wynkoop, Crooked Stave will be hosting Cantillon’s Zwanze Day on Saturday.  BOOM!

This is a world-wide event with a coordinated toast at 1 PM MST.   This is the first time a Colorado location has been picked to participate so don’t miss out.  To quote some snotty teenager somewhere in America, “it’s kind of a big deal”.  BOOM!  For more specifics, check out our article about Zwanze Day from earlier in the week by clicking HERE.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211. 720-508-3292.

Black Bottle Brewing up in Fort Collins, CO will open their doors to beer freaks for the first time this Saturday.  BOOM!

This new brewery, run by Sean Nook, will be pouring their own beers, along with some great craft beer on their 40 guest taps.  They’ll also have a full bar and fermented grape juice for those non-beer drinking types you so unwisely choose to associate yourself with…  I’m freakin’ psyched about these guys.  They’ve gotten great reviews and took second place in the People’s Choice Awards at the 2012 Gnarly Barley Brew Festival.   In the near future, they’ll be working out a barrel-aging program, souring beers and brewin’ up some nice styles of craft beer that they’ll want to drink.  And by the looks of things, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to drink them too.

Their videos are tough to beat.  I mean, have you seen this yet?

Because Craft Beer Rocks!  BOOM!  I can’t wait to visit Black Bottle Brewing and give them a try. Black Bottle Brewing will be open 7 days a week from 11 AM – 2 AM and is located at: 1605 S College Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80525.  970-493-2337.

Over in Boulder, Asher Brewing turns 3 this weekend.

They’ve got a little shindig planned complete with beer, food, beer, music, beer, dogs, games, beer and beer.  Beer, it’s what’s for dinner.  Bet you thought I was going to say “BOOM!”.  I did clown. Now drink!  Two for flinching.  The party runs from noon – midnight.  Asher Brewing is located at: 4699 Nautilus Ct, Suite 104, Boulder CO, 80301.  303-530-1381.

But wait, there’s more.  While you’re up in the People’s Republic of Boulder, swing over to Twisted Pine and grab a bottle or 3 of the last installment in their Artisan Ale Series.  For December, they’re releasing Noel Tripel.

This beer is a 9% ABV Belgian-style Tripel.  750mL bottles will be sold in the tap room beginning at noon.  Twisted Pine Brewing is located at: 3201 Walnut St, Suite A, Boulder, CO 80301.  303-786-9270.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Into next week, New Belgium has planned “The Creator’s Dinner”, where all the beers being poured will be introduced by their creator / brewer.  This is happening over at The Kitchen in Denver on Monday at 6:30.  Check out this lineup:

  • Kick- Presented by Kim Jordan (NBB Co-founder and CEO) and Dick Cantwell (head brewer and owner of Elysian Brewing Co)
  • La Folie- Presented by Peter Bouckaert (Brew Master at New Belgium)
  • Le Terroir- Presented by Lauren Salazar (Wood Beer Blender and Sensory Specialist at New Belgium)
  • Eric’s Ale- Presented by Eric Salazar (Wood Beer Brewer and Blender at New Belgium)
  • Chocolate Coffee Stout- Presented by Grady Hull (Assistant Brew Master at New Belgium)
  • Transatlantique Kriek- Presented by Peter Bouckaert (Brew Master at New Belgium)

BOOM!  There will be incredible food paired with each beer.  This is a really great opportunity to meet and talk with some of the creative minds behind New Belgium’s fantastic beers.  Reservations are $85 and can be made by calling 303-623-3127.  The Kitchen Denver is located at: 1530 16th St, Denver, CO 80202.

That’s it.  Did you make it all the way to the end?  I hope so.  I’m all BOOM’d! out.  Yes, that one counts too, so take your final sip and go grab a nap.  You’re going to need it before the weekend gets here.

Have fun out there.

Cheers!

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Weekend Beer Buzz 11/09/2012

It’s been an interesting week.  We got back an hour of sleep, although my kids still haven’t figured out how to sleep past 5:30 AM…  We survived another election.  I don’t get political on here. Truthfully, I don’t really talk politics at all on here or otherwise.  It’s not my thing.  But, I’m enjoying the fact that the phone calls during dinner, knocks at the door and back stabbing commercials have ceased for the time being.

I spent an afternoon over at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, sipping on a 6-year old Framboise and talking all things beer with owner Kevin DeLange.  Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for a full report on one of Colorado’s top breweries and be sure to stop by Dry Dock this weekend and help them celebrate their 7th Anniversary on Saturday.  Details below.

The weekend’s here.  Let’s rock it!

Friday, November 9th, 2012.

You wanted the hops?  You got the hops!  Kick off your weekend with a visit to Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora.  The Firkin Master’s summoning all of Colorado’s Hop Freaks for his Citra Dry-Hopped Osirus Bitter.

Tappings at 3 PM and 7 PM.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Saturday, November 10th, 2012.

It’s all about Dry Dock this week.  I can’t help it.  They’ve got an Anniversary this weekend, they’re gearing up to open their Production Facility, they’ve got cans on the way and I’m sipping on their Barrel-Aged Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout as I type this.  If you missed our 2-part interview with Owner / Founder / Brewer Kevin DeLange, click HERE and HERE to get the full scoop on Dry Dock’s Past, Present & Future.  Dry Dock, here’s to 7 awesome years! Help them celebrate on Saturday at their Anniversary Party.

The party starts at noon and runs until…  I guess until they kick you out, which they’re not very good at.  So just plan on sticking around all day and getting a cab home.  Just glancing at this list of beers getting tapped, I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong.  2010 Wee Heavy, Sour Apricot and the incredibly tasty Ambassador Sour Ale.  That’s good times right there.  Check out Dry Dock’s 7th Anniversary Party and wish them luck with their new Production Facility and 40 BBL Brewhouse.  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

The folks behind The Funk’n Wild Sour Beer Club are back at it again.  This time they’ve wrangled Avery’s Barrel Herder Andy Parker to join the group and talk about and taste all things sour.

Once again, they’ve secured some great beers to share including Crooked Stave’s L’Brett d’Or, Avery’s Dihos Dactylion, New Belgium’s La Folie, Russian River’s Consecration and Bear Republic’s Tartare and that’s just the beginning!  Although I haven’t been able to make it to a meeting yet, I’m loving this group of Sour Beer Enthusiasts.  Fingers crossed I can swing up to Longmont to check it out this time around.

The boys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show will be in the house broadcasting live from this funky event from noon – 2 PM.  Check them out on AM 760.  Somebody buy Turk a La Folie. That boy can’t get enough of that beer.  He’s got good taste.

Stop by Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids from 1 PM – 4 PM and see what Funk’n Wild’s all about.  OB’s HMLS is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80503.  303-485-9400.

Branden and the gang at Black Shirt Brewing are opening their doors once again this Saturday from 3 -8 PM.

Despite their limited hours, Black Shirt Brewing continues to receive positive reviews as they showcase the versatility and complexity of the Red Ale.  If you have the time, I’d recommend getting over there for a visit.  It’s at the top of my list.  Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Lastly, Copper Kettle Brewing Co. will host “A Night of Casks” on Saturday beginning at noon and running until 10 PM.

The Hoppa Fresh Hop hits the hand pumps at noon, with the Imperial Pumpkin Porter going on at 5 PM.  There’s just something about a smooth, flavorful, real cask ale.  Check out this unique twist to CKBC’s brews.  CKBC is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Thursday, November 15th, 2012.

Looking into next week, the Chef N Brew Festival is coming up on Thursday night.

This will pair 12 local breweries with 12 local chefs for an interesting night of tastings and competition.  Come by and see what kind of creative dishes Denver’s top chefs have created to go with beers from Denver’s top breweries like Prost, Crooked Stave and Strange.  This is being held at The Oriental Theatre in Denver.  Tickets are $39 in advance, $49 at the door and can be purchased HERE.

There you have it good people.  Get out and try something new this weekend.  Or something old, that’s fine too.  No matter what it is, have fun and respect your beer.

Cheers!


A Brewer, A Blogger and A Beer at Dry Dock Brewing. Part 2 – The Future.

A brewer, a blogger and a bottle of 6-year old Dry Dock Framboise.  Where could this be headed? Well, when the brewer is Kevin DeLange, founder and owner of Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, good things are bound to happen.  Join us as we talk brews, brewers and breweries and share some tasty brews along the way. (That’s a lot of brew talk and that’s how I like it!)  In Part 1, we discussed Dry Dock’s Past and Present, going all the way back to their opening in 2005 and working up to the release of Bligh’s Barleywine later this year.  In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Future of Dry Dock Brewing into 2013 and beyond.  Grab a beer, err brew and join us!

Going Big, Staying Local.

Looking back over the past 7 years, a move, multiple expansions and two brew systems later, Dry Dock Brewing has reached capacity at their current location at the intersection of Hampden and Chambers in Aurora, CO.  Head Brewer Doug Hyndman and his team of brewers are currently working around the clock just to keep the tap lines flowing in the Tasting Room.  Owners Kevin and Michelle DeLange knew something had to be done if they were going to meet the ever-growing demand for their beer.

Rather than pick up the brewery and move, they made the decision to add a Production Facility to supplement their current 7 BBL operation in the Tasting Room.  Kevin DeLange said they wanted to keep the brewery local, so this past Summer, they purchased a 30,000 square foot location near I-70 and Tower Road to call home for the new Production Facility.

The additional location will be equipped with a larger brew system and a more efficient bottling line to expand their current lineup of 22oz. bombers.  The 40 BBL (1 BBL = 31 gallons) brewhouse, scheduled for delivery during the week of Thanksgiving, will greatly reduce the pressure currently being put on their 7 BBL system in the Tasting Room.

Doug checking out his new toy before it gets shipped to the brewery.

To put things into perspective, Dry Dock brewed roughly 200 BBL’s during their first year of business in 2005.  In 2012, they’re projected to brew 3,200 BBL’s, which will push their current system to the limits and still not meet consumer demand.  With the addition of their 40 BBL brew system, they plan to produce nearly 15,000 BBL’s in 2013.  The brand new brewhouse will allow Dry Dock to brew a 40 BBL batch (1,240 gallons) every 4 hours, while giving them the potential to pump out more than 100,000 BBL’s of beer a year!  They’re hoping to begin brewing on the new system by the end of 2012.

In addition to the new brewhouse, the Production Facility will also feature a canning line that will initially introduce 4 offerings into the Colorado market beginning in early 2013.  Consumers should keep an eye out for 6-packs, plus a mixed 12-pack of Hefeweizen, Hop Abomination, Apricot Blonde and Amber in January 2013.  The “Booty Box” will offer 3 cans of each of the 4 different beers.  The cans will be dated so beer lovers will know they’re getting the freshest beer money can buy.

Roll Out The Barrels!

For the funky, sour beer fans, a 63 BBL Oak Foeder has been acquired from a California Winery, with the specific goal of producing sour and wild beers.  And YES, they have plans to eventually bottle their sours!  WooHoo!  DeLange crunched some numbers and projects that a full batch in the foeder will produce “somewhere around 900 cases of 750 mL bottles”.  Keep in mind, it’s still a long ways away, largely due to the lengthy process and unpredictability of working with wild yeasts, but it IS coming!

While the 40 BBL Production Facility will focus on canning, bottling and kegging their Flagship Beers (Hefeweizen, Double IPA, Vanilla Porter, etc…), the 7 BBL system at the south-Aurora Tasting Room will be utilized for experiments for Tasting Room visitors.  Head Brewer Doug Hyndman and his team of brewers will have the chance to come up with new recipes, including small batch one-offs, lagers, stouts and sours and allow them the opportunity to get creative and try new things.  The 7 BBL system will offer the team a chance to experiment and deviate a bit from Dry Dock’s Flagship lineup.

Some of the beers brewed on the 7 BBL system will be used to expand the Dry Dock Barrel-Aging Program.  The current program consists of more than 50 barrels from a variety of wineries and distilleries.  Some of Dry Dock’s most popular beers such as Bligh’s Barleywine, Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout and The Ambassador Sour, spent time aging and absorbing the characteristics found in the different barrels. The Barrel-Aged brews can spend months and sometimes even years inside the barrels until they are ready to be kegged, bottled or blended together for the final product.

DeLange will have the luxury of moving extra brewing ingredients and tasting room supplies out of the Tasting Room and up to the Production Facility.  By doing so, he’ll free up quite a bit more room in the Tasting Room, which will ultimately allow Dry Dock to grow the barrel room and create even more unique beers in the process.

Collaborations with other breweries is an option DeLange may decide to explore in the near future. He said there’s been “some talk with Troy (Casey) over at AC Golden”.  Despite being owned by MillerCoors, Casey and his Hidden Barrel Project at AC Golden are steadily gaining recognition and respect from craft beer enthusiasts for their complex, barrel-aged sour ales and stouts.  Casey’s first round of bottled sours, was released earlier this year and sold out within minutes.  Just last month at the Great American Beer Festival, AC Golden hauled in a medal for their Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout.  While Dry Dock’s focus is clearly on getting their new location up and running, the possibilities certainly seem endless for DeLange and his Dry Dock Team.

A Beer Garden and New Tasting Room in 2014.

Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself “Yeah, but when can I stop by the Production Facility for a beer???”  The north-Aurora Production Facility rests on a 6-acre plot that will be transformed into a Beer Garden sometime in 2014.  The current plans for the project include a dog park, horseshoe pits and even a pond.  The proposed tasting room, also slated to open in 2014, will overlook the brewhouse and production floor, giving beer drinkers a chance to sit back and watch the magic happen while sipping on their favorite pint.  Once the Beer Garden and Tap Room are completed, Delange plans to work with the Colorado Brewers Guild to host and bring a beer festival to Aurora.

When I asked DeLange about his fondest Dry Dock memory, he shared a story about his first trip to the World Beer Cup (WBC) in 2006.  At the time, Dry Dock had only been open for a few months and he decided to enter just two beers for judging in the International Competition.  He assumed that his start-up brewery didn’t stand much of a chance at winning an award at the prestigious competition. So, rather than attend the Brewers Dinner and Awards Ceremony, he decided to sample beers in the lobby and watch the ceremony from a TV outside.  When he heard his H.M.S. Victory ESB announced as a Gold Medal Winner, his initial reaction was “Who stole our name?”.

Within his first year of opening Dry Dock, DeLange had landed a medal at what is essentially the “Super Bowl” of brewery competition and beer judging.  He’d accomplished a feat that some brewers spend a lifetime trying to achieve.  This was just the beginning of what has since become a long list of medals awarded to the brewery and their beers.

In under a decade DeLange has taken Dry Dock from a tiny nano-brewery located behind a homebrew shop and transformed it into one of the nation’s top breweries.  There are great things happening every day at Dry Dock and looking into the future, they show no signs of slowing down. Stop by the Tasting Room this weekend for their Anniversary Party and help them celebrate 7 Years of Great Beers!

Cheers!


A Brewer, A Blogger, and A Beer at Dry Dock Brewing. Part 1 – The First 7 Years.

A brewer, a blogger and a bottle of 6-year old Dry Dock Framboise.  Where could this be headed? Well, when the brewer is Kevin DeLange, founder and owner of Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, good things are bound to happen.  Join us as we talk brews, brewers and breweries and share some tasty brews along the way. (That’s a lot of brew talk and that’s how I like it!)  In Part 1, we’ll discuss Dry Dock’s Past and Present, going all the way back to their opening in 2005 and working up to the release of Bligh’s Barleywine later this year.  In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Future of Dry Dock Brewing into 2013 and beyond.  Grab a beer, err brew and join us!  

Humble Beginnings

Where, oh where does the time go?  It seems like the older I get, the quicker the time passes me by. I noticed it the other day as I was preparing for the upcoming Weekend Beer Buzz.  On my calendar, I had written down the Dry Dock Anniversary Party coming up on November 10th.  When I realized it was their 7th Anniversary, I scratched my head in disbelief.  7 years?!?!  Has it really been 7 years?

My wife and I discovered Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora within the first few months of their opening in 2005 and it didn’t take us long to become adopted as “regulars”.  I can still remember sitting in the original, tiny tasting room, behind The Brew Hut homebrew supply shop, sipping on their small batches of hand-crafted brews.  The Dry Dock of 2005 and 2006 was a family.  A pretty goofy one for sure, but a family nonetheless.  Everyone knew each other and we looked out for one another. Dry Dock came along and filled Aurora’s craft beer void and began producing great beers in the process.

While the small, 800 square foot tasting room, with its’ maximum capacity of 24 people (this may or may not have been exceeded on occasion…) might be extinct, Dry Dock and their beers have risen and gone on to rank among some of the finest in the land.  Walking into Dry Dock these days, one can’t help but notice the wall of awards in the Brewery located at the corner of Hampden and Chambers.

A ton of medals decorate the brewery, coming from a variety of sources, including the Colorado State Fair, Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup.

Let’s not forget they were crowned U.S. Small Brewery of the Year in 2009.  This all happened in less than 4 years!

Dry Dock Brewing 2.0

By 2009, Dry Dock had outgrown their humble home behind The Brew Hut and were forced to expand further down in the Aurora strip mall they called home.   They upgraded to a 7 BBL brewhouse and jumped into their current 9,000 square foot location, which gave beer drinkers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy themselves.

Dry Dock brought The Brew Hut with them, which has evolved into the area’s leading retailer for supplies, ingredients and know-how with regards to homebrewing, wine making, cheese making and more.  The new location has also played host to many popular events like the annual Docktoberfest and the Ho Ho Ho Slapdown.

Over the years, owners Kevin and Michelle DeLange have recruited a team of world-class brewers that bring a variety of different beer backgrounds and resumes into the brewhouse.  The Dry Dock brewers keep things interesting for even the most adventurous of beer geeks with an ever rotating selection of seasonals, one-offs, firkins and barrel-aged rarities that supplement their award-winning Flagship lineup of beers.

The team is led by Head Brewer Doug Hyndman, who has previously brewed at Ska and Green Flash.  Hyndman took the reigns at Dry Dock when former Head Brewer Bill Eye departed to open Prost Brewing in Denver earlier this year.  Hyndman has already begun to make a name for himself, by bringing the West Coast to Colorado, with his big, citrusy, hop-centric Double IPA’s.  The delicious flavor of his Hop Abomination (a favorite of mine!), will be squeezed into cans for the first time early next year.  (More on Dry Dock’s entrance into the canning business in Part 2).

For Dry Dock’s weekly Firkin Friday releases, Brewer / Firkin Master Walt Chleva has been given carte blanche to come up with new and interesting batches of beers for the Friday afternoon tappings.  He tries to pair his releases with the seasons and looks to “use local ingredients as much as possible”.

Many of the beers don’t make it past the first hour of getting tapped on Friday evenings.  Not much of a surprise considering he’s created beers like Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Double Dry-Hopped Double IPA and his personal favorite, Toasted Coconut Porter.  In the Toasted Coconut Porter, Chleva says he “uses a pound of hand toasted coconut for each firkin”, which he’s happy to point out, “makes my house smell great!”.

Although not every beer is a sure-fire winner, (Wasabi Rice Pale anyone?) and he’s still fine tuning his Maple Bacon Amber Ale recipe, but the majority of his Firkins leave Dry Dock customers thirsting for more.  In the past month alone, he’s released a Boysenberry Sour, Madagascar Vanilla Bean Porter and a Cherry Belgian Blonde.  He’s already looking towards next Summer, when he’s hoping to “make a Palisade Peach Ale and maybe a Fresh Hop Firkin”.

Do yourself a favor and get over to Dry Dock on a Friday to see what he’s brewed for the week.  Keep up to date with what Chleva has planned by checking our Weekend Beer Buzz.  Firkin Friday Tappings occur at 3 PM and 7 PM.  Don’t be late or you might get stuck listening to your friends tell you about the one that got away.

Going Big With Bligh’s

Dry Dock’s flagship lineup, which consists of USS Enterprise IPA, Apricot Blonde, HMS Victory Amber, Breakwater Pale Ale, Vanilla Porter, Double IPA and Hefeweizen, continue to draw in appreciative craft beer drinkers and regularly introducing new palates to Colorado’s craft beer movement.  Dry Dock also continues to deliver the goods with their big, experimental, boundary pushing, world-class releases.

Take for example, last year’s inaugural release of Bligh’s Barleywine, an English Barleywine, aged in Stranahan Whiskey Barrels.  Bligh’s was so well received by craft beer aficionados that it catapulted the beer onto the “Top 100 Beers on Planet Earth” as ranked by BeerAdvocate.com.

Later this year, Dry Dock will release a new batch of Bligh’s Barleywine in 22oz. bombers.  This highly anticipated, 10% ABV English Barleywine has spent the past year in Colorado Whiskey Barrels, absorbing notes of vanilla, oak and caramel along the way.  DeLange was kind enough to pull a nail from one of the many barrels housing Bligh’s and share a sample of this year’s batch.  You’re not going to want to miss this one!

With a target release date of 12/15/12, it’s the perfect beer to warm up with at the end of a cold, winter day.  In addition to 22oz. bombers, Bligh’s will also be pouring in the Tap Room for a limited time. Sorry, but NO Growler fills, in order to allow as many people as possible to try this extremely popular beer.

From There to Here, But Now Where?

In 7 years, Dry Dock has gone from a nano-brewery in the back of a homebrew supply shop to one of the top breweries in the nation.  But what’s next for Kevin and Michelle DeLange and their team of skilled brewers and dedicated employees?  Check back soon for Part 2 as we continue our chat with Kevin DeLange and talk about what lies ahead for the Aurora-based brewery.  This is BIG!  Trust me, you won’t want to miss this!

Cheers!


Pints in Pictures: Docktoberfest, Craft Beer Radio, Wild Woods Brewery, Rumpkin Release and the New Dry Dock

Awesome weekend.  You can read about it later.  For now, just look.

On Saturday, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan tapped the first keg of Oktoberfest at Dry Dock Brewing with owners Kevin and Michelle Delange.

Next stop, off to ESPN Radio to talk beer on American Craft Beer Radio with host Gary V. and special guests, Chris Black, owner of Falling Rock Tap House, Dustin Lemoine from Avery Brewing and Duane Taylor of The Brew Hut.

Then it was off to Boulder’s newest brewery, Wild Woods.

And eventually over to Avery for the release of this year’s batch of Rumpkin.

Then a little cookout, football and sneak peek into the new Dry Dock facility on Sunday.

Busy, busy weekend.  Plenty of things to write about, I just wanted to share a few pics and hopefully ease your “Case of the Mondays”.

Cheers!


Dry Dock Announces Plans To Open A Second Location!

Have you heard the big news yet?  Hmm, have ya???  Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, kicked off Colorado Craft Beer Week by revealing their plans to open a second brewery later this year.  The 30,000 square foot facility, which sits on 5.7 acres near the intersection of I-70 and Tower Road, will give Dry Dock the ability to greatly increase production and take their microbrewery to the next level.

The location will house a new 40 BBL brew system, 6 fermentation tanks and 2 bright tanks.  With the increased production capacity, Dry Dock is planning to purchase a canning line and begin canning 4 beers later this year.  The new facility will also allow them to explore distribution opportunities outside the state of Colorado as early as 2013.  If all goes as planned, they hope to be brewing in their second location by Halloween 2012.  At first, this will be a production facility, but there’s talk of eventually opening a tasting room on the second floor mezzanine.

The new facility will take a great deal of pressure off their current 7 BBL system, which is currently running around the clock to keep up with demand.  Once the 40 BBL system is up and running, the current 7 BBL system will primarily be used to brew for their tasting room on Hampden Ave, and will allow the brewers to experiment more with one-offs, seasonals and barrel aged beers.  The current Dry Dock tasting room will remain at: 15120 E Hampden Rd, Aurora, CO 80014.

Huge news and a big shout out to Kevin, Michelle and the rest of the Dry Dock Crew!  I’m really excited for you guys.

Cheers!