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Weekend Beer Buzz 09/27/2012

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.

Cheers!

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Weekend Beer Buzz and Trade Update

Even on Easter weekend, the beautiful beer state of Colorado has several events planned to prevent you from getting thirsty.  The weekend’s right around the corner, where are you gonna be?

Boulder is topping the list with two big releases this weekend.  First, swing by Twisted Pine for their West Bound Braggot Release.  This is the fourth release in their Artisan Ale Project and is scheduled for Saturday, April 7th, from 4-8PM.  Think sweet honey mead, mixed with exotic Tasmanian pepper berries and fermented with Belgian saison yeast.  Think adventurous and delish!  Stop by the brewery to grab your bottles, meet the brewers and get your bottle signed by the artist who designed the label.

After Twisted Pine, grab a cab and swing by Avery for the Uncle Jacob’s Stout release party.  This will join Rumpkin as the second beer in their Annual Barrel Series.  Uncle Jacob’s Stout is a big ol’ 17.4% ABV stout that’s been aging for 6 months in fresh bourbon barrels.  Maker’s Mark I believe…

Fan boys and girls can grab  bottles for their cellar on Saturday, beginning at 5PM.  12oz. bottles are $10 / each, with a 12 bottle limit.  Even if you’re not looking to score any bottles, stop by for some banjo pickin’, and try the special beers pouring for the event.  Eremita III, Barrel Aged Tweak (aka Meph Addict) and Rumpkin will be flowing along with whatever else Avery pulls out of their stash to share.  You won’t want to miss it.

So you can’t make it Boulder this weekend?  No worries, out on the southwest side of town in Highlands Ranch, Parry’s Pizza is getting ready for an onslaught of Firestone Walker.  Parry’s is putting on a pint night on Saturday, April 7th from 5:30 to 7:30PM.  Word is that they’ll have 21-23 different taps flowing of Firestone Walker deliciousness.  Order a Firestone Walker beer, get a glass to bring home and add to the collection.  You’ll also be entered to win shirts and other prizes.

Sounds like they’ll be bringing out some tasty kegs from the cellar to share with Colorado.  I visited Parry’s for the first time last weekend and had a great time.  Awesome food and amazing tap list.  Stop kidding yourself.  This place is a legit attraction for beer nerds.  Check them out!

On the other side of town in Aurora, Dry Dock’s Firkin Master, Walt Chleva has brewed a Rose Hips Superstition Ale.  This rose hips infused version of their sour mash ale will go on tap on Friday at 3PM, so slip out of work a little early and get your weekend started in the right direction.

Anybody make it last week for the Bacon Maple Ale firkin?  I’m bummed that I missed that one and would love to hear how it turned out.

My last post was all about getting started in the wide world of beer trading.  I’ll be continuing this series soon, but wanted to give you a quick update on where we are with this project.  After my initial post on beeradvocate.com, I had 3 replies in 20 minutes and ended up getting 15 replies in 24 hours.  I’m currently working out the details with a trader who lives in Chicago, IL and is making a trip to Wisconsin to do some beer shopping this weekend.  I’ll be making a few more posts on this and will walk you through the entire process, but just wanted to give you a quick update.

Finally, a few cases of Cantillon have trickled in from Belgium and a few more should be showing up on shelves around town this weekend.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can find a bottle or two, but I don’t have my hopes up.  Gone are the days when Cantillon was readily available all over town.  But good luck beer hunters and if you come across an extra, I’d love to trade you for a bottle.  If you come up empty-handed, just remember, it’s only beer.  There’s always something new and tasty to try coming up on the horizon.

Have a great weekend and Hoppy Easter!  Cheers!


Avery Strong Ale Festival 2012 Recap

I had been looking forward to the Avery Strong Ale Festival for weeks.  Unfortunately, these things always seem to come and go so quickly.  I’m a little sad that another one is in the books, but wanted to share some highlights with you.

My wife and I checked into our hotel at around 2PM on Friday and walked to a nearby restaurant for a big dinner.  We wanted something that would stick with us late into the night and the big ol’ NY style pizza we ordered really hit the spot.  After dinner, we tracked down a few bottles of water and called for a cab to pick us up.

The festival opened at 5PM and we arrived about 20 minutes after the hour.  There was no line, so we strolled right in, but were still early enough that it wasn’t packed with people just yet.  We got our glasses, tasting tickets and a beer list.  Avery was nice enough to post the list on their Facebook page on Friday morning, so atendees could get an early glimpse at what would be pouring.

They set the festival up in alphabetical order by brewery name, so it’s relatively easy to navigate.  The Avery tasting room housed the first 20 taps, from A-B.  The barrel room had an additional 35 taps, from B-G.  The remaining 69 taps, from G-V, were in the warehouse.  We figured the least amount of people would be in the back warehouse area and decided to hear there first.  Kind of like when you’re a kid going to Disney World.  You want to hit Space Mountain first to avoid the long lines later in the day.  Same principle.

Ready to roll with the first 20 beers in the Avery Tap Room.

In the warehouse, I grabbed my first beer, Russian River’s, Pliny the Younger.  I couldn’t resist the hoppy goodness and wanted to get a pour before the keg kicked.  I figured it wouldn’t last long.  It was the perfect start to the night, until I went to reach for my camera…  Yeah, so, uhm, no camera…  I had left it back in the hotel.  A blogger without a camera is like a stormtrooper without his blaster.  Pointless.  Oh well, I’m new to this.  Lesson learned.  Still, I wasn’t going to let this get me down.  I used my quick thinking, ninja skills and hijacked my wife’s iPhone to use the camera feature.

Anyway, moving on, I headed down a few taps to get a pour of The Bruery’s, Melange No. 3.  I’ve got a bottle of this in the cellar at home, but I’ve been been waiting to try this one for a while.  It didn’t let me down.  Melange # 3 is a blend of three different beers.  White Oak Sap, a wheatwine, their Anniversary Old Ale and Black Tuesday, their famous Imperial Stout.  Big, sweet nose, chocolate, bourbon and dark fruit flavors.  It’s a pretty special beer.  Mmm, delish!

Moving on down the line, I found what would prove to be my favorite beer of the night, Surly’s Five.  Brewed in honor their recent 5th anniversary, this is a 100% Brettanomyces fermented dark ale, aged in red wine barrels.  Sour cherries, oak, along with some tartness and bretty funk.  A beautiful brew.  I love my sours and this one was top notch.  Now for the bad news, Surly doesn’t distribute outside of Minnesota…  Sigh.  If you’re a beer trader, you’ve got to seek this one out.

Surly Five. My favorite beer of the night!

We came across plenty of other highlights along the way from all over the U.S.  Some of my other favorites were Alpine – Bad Boy DIPA, Cigar City – Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Avery – Bourbon Barrel aged Meph Addict and Pizza Port – Nose Rider DIPA to name a few.  The lineup seems to get a little better every year.

We saw lots of familiar faces and good people from around the beer world.  Plenty of local brewery representation, bloggers and even some out of state breweries.  Avery, Great Divide, Lone Tree (Jason, please bring beers next year!), Strange, Dry Dock, Bull & Bush, Oskar Blues, Redstone Meadery and many more.  We also met the gang from COOP Aleworks out in Oklahoma City, OK.  These guys were really cool and have some interesting projects going on that they were eager to tell us about.  Well worth checking out if you’re ever out that way.

Gary V. and The Gubna. Nothing like a little friendly competition.

“What’s yours?”

They don’t call themselves Strange Brewing for nothing.

No bathroom lines, the ability to go in and out of the fest to get some fresh air, good food, even better beer and some high school kids laying down some nice jazz tunes.  Another job well done by the good folks at Avery!

As the night began winding down, we called for a cab and headed back to our hotel.  It was time to head back and grab some zzzz’s.

American Craft Beer Radio host Gary V. had asked us to help him with his show on Saturday.  He was broadcasting from the Avery lot on Saturday morning and wanted us to pull some winners from his facebook page for a few brewery prizes he had to give away.  The good people at “The Kitchen” offered their upstairs bar for us to set up shop and connect with Gary.  His show is on 102.3FM from noon-1PM on Saturday’s.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that The Kitchen people really know their beer.  If you’re ever up in the Boulder area, check them out.  They’re right on the Pearl Street Mall and have a huge beer list.  They were pouring not just tasty locals like Avery IPA, but also harder to find beers like Russian River Supplication and Firestone Walker XV.  They also host beer dinners and have a Dry Dock beer dinner scheduled this week.  The food looked good too.  Being a sucker for cheese, they had a pretty impressive selection.  Like I said, check ’em out.  The radio show went off smoothly and it’s always fun to help when we can.

The Kitchen, Boulder, CO

After we wrapped up, we cruised the Pearl Street Mall for a bit and headed back to Avery to do a little beer trading.  I had set up a trade ahead of time and just needed to make the switch.  I left with a case of Avery bombers, so be on the lookout for some upcoming reviews.  The weather was perfect and people were really digging the outside patio area.

Again, awesome weekend, great people, amazing beer and perfect weather.  Avery, you guys rock!  Let’s do it again next year.  Cheers!