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Drink and Support Local at the All Colorado Beer Festival

Just when you think this year’s Beer Festival season is coming to a close, I’m going to wow you with one that highlights the best of our delicious state of beery goodness.  Meet the All Colorado Beer Festival (ACBF)!

If you were anywhere near Denver earlier this month, you no doubt heard about or even experienced the madness of the Great American Beer Festival.  It was BIG, it was FUN, but it’s gone away until next year. It’s time to get back to our roots.  Time to refocus and revisit the amazing brewers and breweries right here in Colorado.  The ACBF, held annually at the Freedom Financial Expo Center, in Colorado Springs, is your perfect chance to sip some old favorites and seek out some new ones as well.

The ACBF, which is entering its’ 6th year, aims to raise money for Colorado Springs nonprofit organizations.  In five years, the festival has donated more than $85,000 to local charities!  So now you can drink local, while supporting local.  Get on it.  It’s win / win people!

I’ll admit, I’ve never been to the ACBF, but on Saturday, November 3rd, I’m hoping to change all that. The festival offers two tasting sessions, along with a VIP option.  Session 1 runs from 1 – 4:30 PM and Session 2 runs from 6:30 – 10 PM.  The VIP option allows you to get in 1-hour earlier and also grants you access to beers not available to the rest of the attendees.  Tickets are $30/per session ($25 with Military ID), $40 for VIP and $10 for DD.  Tickets, times and other details can be found HERE.  If you act quickly, you might be able to take advantage of the Groupon running right now.

As for the breweries, keep your eye out for your familiar favorites, such as Odell, New Belgium, Ska, Avery, Great Divide, etc…  But what’s really exciting for a big beer nerd like myself, is the abundance of new(er) breweries that will be making an appearance.  Paradox, out of Woodland Park, barrel ages everything! and has been getting quite a few good reviews from my fellow beer nerds.  Rocky Mountain Brewery, out of Co. Springs, recently took home two awards for their fruit beers from the very prestigious World Beer Cup.  I could go on and on, but half the fun is discovering new beers on your own.  More than 30 breweries will be bringing their beers to share at the ACBF this year.  Check out the complete list of breweries to map out your plan for the festival.

This year’s ACBF will also feature a formal judging event, live music, food and more.  The festival is shaping up to be a great day of beer, food and fun, all for a great cause.  Come on out on November 3rd and check it out for yourself.

Cheers!

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Weekend Beer Buzz: American & Colorado Craft Beer Week Edition 05/10/2012

If you live in Colorado and like good beer, this is going to be a busy week for you.  It’s not only Colorado Beer Week, but it’s also American Craft Beer Week.  Nearly every brewery in the state has a full calendar of events planned every day.  So I’m a little unsure at where to even begin with the beer buzz for this weekend.

I’ll give you some highlights to look for and some links to find more information, but there’s no way I’m going to be able to cover the 100+ events going on next week.  If there’s a particular brewery or event you’d like more information on, the official list for American Craft Beer Week can be found HERE.  The official list for Colorado Beer Week can be found HERE.

Falling Rock Tap House is getting a jump start on the festivities, by hosting a Russian River event on Friday, May 11th at 5:30 PM.  They’ll be tapping some of the popular beers in the “-tion” series, including Supplication, Temptation and Sanctification.  It’s getting harder and harder to track down Russian River around town, so don’t miss your chance to try these great beers.

Falling Rock has other events planned throughout the week, including a New Belgium “Lips of Faith” Extravaganza on Saturday, May 12th and some hard to find beers from Lost Abbey & Port Brewing on Sunday, May 13th.  A full list of events can be found on their website.  Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or are new in town, Falling Rock Taphouse is located at: 1919 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Colorado Beer Week officially kicks off over at the Highland Tap and Burger, with a mini-beer festival on Saturday, May 12th.  This event will feature more than 15 local breweries and 2 distilleries, pouring more than 35 beers.  John Turk and the Gubna will be broadcasting their weekly Colorado Craft Beer Radio Show live on 760AM at noon.  Tickets and details can be found HERE.  This will definitely be an awesome way to get the week-long party started.  Highland Tap and Burger is located at: 2219 W 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211.  720-287-4493.

Strange Brewing is kicking off Craft Beer Week with the Grand Opening of their Biergarten on Saturday, May 12th.  They’ve got other events planned throughout the week including a 4-course beer brunch, the tapping of a Cherry Saison Firkin and the release of their 2nd Anniversary Beer – Munich Dunkel.  Check out this list for more details.   Strange Brewing is located at: 1330 Zuni St., Unit M, Denver, CO 80204.  720-985-2337.

Over in Aurora, Dry Dock Brewing will be releasing a different firkin every night of the week.  They will be releasing Hopricot 2.0 on Friday, May 11th at 3 PM for their weekly Firkin Friday.  Starting on Monday, they will tap a new firkin every afternoon at 3 PM.  With beers like Cranberry Wit, Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Mango Pale Ale and Green Chile Double IPA scheduled to be released, there’s definitely something for everyone.  Check out the full schedule on Dry Dock’s Facebook page.  Dry Dock is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO  80014.  303-400-5606.

Up north, towards Loveland, Berthoud and Fort Collins, the breweries have gotten together and planned a game of Bingo.  You can pick up a card at any of the participating breweries and get it stamped for the different beers you sample.  Complete a line and turn it in for a free T-shirt!  Cool idea.

Odell has a full list of events, both in Colorado and around the country, that can be found HERE.

Looking towards the following weekend, be sure to put the inaugural Taste of Tipsy’s Beer Festival on your calendar.  This event, which is scheduled from 11 AM – 6 PM on Saturday, May 19th, will be held behind Tipsy’s Liquor World in Littleton, CO.  This is a family friendly event that will feature face painting and carnival games for the kids, great food, live music and more.  The event is free, but entrance to the beer festival will run you $25 for a 3-hour session.  The beer tasting will feature more than 60 breweries, with proceeds going towards the Dakota Ridge Athletic Foundation.  You can find more information and tickets HERE.  Tipsy’s is located at: 5869 S Alkire St, Littleton, CO 80127.  303-551-7000.

Lastly, Parry’s Pizza is at it again with another Tap Takeover on Saturday, May 19th.  This time they’ve joined forces with Odell’s from Fort Collins, CO.  Parry’s Pizza owner, David Parry, even brewed a special batch of beer with Odell for the occasion!  After hitting up the Avery Tap Takeover last month, I’m really excited for this one.  Odell always has special, tasty one-offs, brewed exclusively for their tasting room.  They seemed to have perfected just about every style of beer imaginable, yet they still continue to push boundaries and come up with new recipes on a regular basis.  I’m really curious to see what they bring down for this event.  Don’t miss it!  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Oh, I almost forgot…  If you’re like me and are one of those “Beer Hunter” types, always trying to track down the latest and greatest, then head’s up, Firestone Walker’s Parabola is in Colorado!  Get off your couch and get some!  This barrel aged beauty is a tasty Russian Imperial Stout, with notes of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, coffee and oak.  This beer is a delicious, high ABV sipper, whose flavors will age well and continue to blend together and smooth out over time.  An amazing beer for sure.  Get it now or kick yourself later.

So that’s all I’ve got for now…  There are events going on all over the state and around the country next week, so get out and have some fun.  I’ll post some updates throughout the week on the Facebook page.  Have an event you’d like to share?  Post it on the Facebook wall or leave a comment on here and I’ll be sure to cover it.

Here’s to Craft Beer Week!  Cheers!


Beer Trading Part Four: The Beer is Here!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced you to beer trading and walked you through a simple trade.  Just in case you missed something, in Part One, we talked about how to set up a trade.  In Part Two, we picked a trader and agreed on beers to trade.  In Part Three, we packed and shipped our beers.  We’ve waited patiently for our package to be delivered and it’s finally here!

Yep, this is my favorite part, opening the big box of goodies.  When I open a box of beer, I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning.  Even when I know what’s inside, it’s still exciting to dig in and unwrap all the beers.

Our New Glarus loot in all its’ glory!  Yeah, we pulled a ton of tasty brews from Wisconsin.  If you’ve never had the Belgian Red or Raspberry Tart, make sure you move them to the top of your list.  Big, fruity flavors that are appreciated even by non-beer lovers.  Drink it straight or get crafty and pour it over vanilla bean ice cream or mix it with some Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.  Fun, tasty beers.

At this point, I’ll e-mail our trader to thank them and let them know that I got everything in one piece.   I’ll also ask if they got the package I sent.  If something breaks, it’s typically the responsibility of the shipper to replace the beer(s) or do something to make up for the loss.  Just another good reason to take the extra time to pack things up safely the first time.

After checking with our trader, Kody, he told me that our package arrived safely with no issues.  At this point, the trade is done.  Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy your beers.

I keep a list of people I’ve traded with and will generally trade with the same people over and over again.  For example, after trading with Kody, I know that in addition to New Glarus, he’s got pretty good access to beers from Goose Island and Three Floyds among others.  We’re already working on setting up our next trade.  It doesn’t take long to develop a network of contacts and beer traders around the country.  It’s that easy.

Hope this little trading guide answered some questions and encouraged you to take the plunge.  If anything’s unclear or you’ve got questions, by all means, let me know.  It’s a great hobby.  Hope you enjoy it!

Big shout out to all of the brewers that won awards over the weekend at the World Beer Cup in San Diego, CA!  The complete list of winners can be found HERE.  I’m really excited to see so many Colorado brewers bring home medals, including Oskar Blues, Dry Dock, Rockyard, Odell and many more.  Bull & Bush brought home a whopping 4 awards!  Congrats to all  the breweries!

The next World Beer Cup is scheduled for Denver in 2014!  Yeah, it’s two years away, but it’s coming.  It’s almost like Denver was picked to host the Olympics.  Brewers from all over the world will be in town for a long weekend of seminars, tastings, beer dinners and more.  They couldn’t have picked a better location.

Don’t look now, but Colorado Beer Week is right around the corner.  More details to come later this week.  Stay tuned and check the Facebook page for all the latest info.

Cheers!


Weekend Wrap Up 04/30/12

The weather forecasters claimed we were going to be in for some wet weather over the past weekend, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  It turned out to be the perfect weekend.  I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it.

We made the trip over to Prost Brewing in Denver, CO, to donate a few hours of our time and help with a little painting.  It was our first time in their facility.  Bill and Darlene Eye have picked a great location and the building is shaping up nicely.  They still have quite a bit of work left to do, but they’re making steady progress and hope to be brewing in June.  We can’t wait!  In the meantime, check out their fancy new website.

After washing off the paint, we headed over to Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, to check out their Avon Walk for Breast Cancer silent auction and special tappings.  They were pouring a Second Base Brown, brewed exclusively for the event, a Pink Tripel, Strawberry Hefeweizen firkin and a few barrel aged beers.  My favorite was the Shotgun Stout, a big 10% ABV, barrel aged, Russian Imperial Stout.  An awesome sipper!

Dry Dock’s Shotgun Stout

They had tons of items up for auction.  We perused the tables and saw everything from gift cards for local merchants, concert tickets, beers from other Colorado breweries, hotel stays, golf packages and even a pair of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival! My wife won a bid for an hour long massage and I won a Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrel!  I’ve been looking for a Stranahan’s barrel for quite some time and I wasn’t going to let this one get away.  My plan is to use it as a beer tasting table down in the man cave.

The Stranahan’s barrel really made my weekend.  Dry Dock put on a great event and raised a lot of money for charity.

In other beer news, more than 6,000 people made the trip out to Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, IN to enjoy Dark Lord Day.  Every year after I see the pictures and hear the stories, I tell myself I’ll have to go next year, yet I still haven’t gone.  I really need to make Dark Lord Day a higher priority next year.  In the meantime, there are some nice pics up HERE.  Time to make some trades and get a few bottles.  Oh, and I’ve got a special prize if anybody can help me land some Dark Lord Espresso beans.  That sounds amazing!

Happy Birthday to David Parry over at Parry’s Pizza in Highlands Ranch, CO.  He celebrated by brewing a beer with the folks at Odell Brewing up in Fort Collins, CO.  They whipped up a Pale Ale that will be available on tap at the upcoming Odell Tap Takeover at Parry’s Pizza on May 19th.  If you made it to Parry’s earlier this month for the Avery Tap Takeover, you know they put on a good show and bring out some nice, nice beers for these events.  More details to come.

Did anybody come up with tickets for Avery’s SourFest?  Tickets went on sale last Friday and sold out in under 2 minutes!!!  I got a pair, but it sounds like I was one of the few lucky ones.  Just wondering if anybody else was able to snag tickets.  I realize Avery is limited on the amount of beer available for this event, but I really wish they’d come up with a way to either host two sessions or move to a bigger venue.  It gets tougher every year.

Hope everybody had a nice weekend.  Stay tuned as I’ve got some new beers to share later this week along with some BIG events going on this weekend.  Cheers!


Beer Trading Part Three: Packing and Shipping

So I’ve had an ongoing project where I’ve been walking you guys through a beer trade.  In case you missed it, part 1 is HERE and part 2 is HERE

At this point, we’ve agreed on what beers we’re going to send and receive.  I’ve also responded to all of the people who sent me a message looking to trade.  It’s good to respond, even if it’s just to say “thanks, but no thanks”.  Kody (our trader out in IL) and I have agreed on a shipping date and we’re ready to pack up and send. 

There are several ways to wrap and pack and there’s plenty of different materials you can pick from.  I typically just go with the basic bubble wrap, but I’ve done so many trades at this point and recycle most of the material I receive, so as long as the packing material is still in good condition, I’ll just reuse it on a future trade. 

Wrap each bottle individually.  Don’t skimp here.  Make sure everything is covered with packing material and taped up so nothing slips out. 

Wrapping the bottles in bubble wrap.

After wrapping, it’s not a bad idea to slip each beer into a ziploc bag.  That way, if something breaks, your box won’t be dripping wet.  Most shipping companies won’t deliver a box that is leaking and it will only cause problems for you down the road.  If something does break, it’s typically the responsibility of the shipper to make good and replace the beer.  Take your time and do a good job on packing the beers.  There’s nothing worse than having a shipment out there in “beer purgatory” because something leaked out or busted during delivery. 

For your box, make sure it’s sturdy and can take a beating if necessary.  Don’t go with some flimsy shoe box or thin-walled cardboard box.  Moving boxes work, double-walled boxes are the best.  Use your best judgement here, but realize your box will be going on a long journey across the country, so pick a good one.  If you’re shipping a lot of beers, don’t be afraid to split it between two boxes. 

So you’ve wrapped your beers and picked your box, now line the box with bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts or whatever padded material you’ve got and start packing your beers.  I try to leave a little space in between each beer and fill it up with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap.  Again, don’t skimp. 

Packing the box.

In the past, I’ve lined my boxes with a big garbage bag and tied it closed before closing up the box.  That way, if something happens to break, it won’t destroy the box and ruin the shipment.  I haven’t done this in a while, but would recommend it if you’re going to be shipping full growlers.  Make sure you completely fill the empty space in your box with packing material.  This will ensure your beers aren’t slipping and moving around inside during delivery.  Again, don’t skimp or cut corners when it comes to packing your beers. 

I try to visualize my box taking a 6-foot fall.  Would the beers survive?  If the answer is yes, then you should be safe to ship.  If you’re not sure, repack and don’t take the risk. 

One last layer of bubble wrap.

Ready to be sealed up.

Pack it up tight and tape it closed.  I use a lot of tape and hit each open edge a few times just to be safe.

An easier way to pack your beers, is to track down some styrofoam bottle shippers.  These are molded to hold big 750mL bottles, but with a little bubble wrap, you can fill the space to hold 22oz. bombers or 12oz. bottles.  Super easy to use and you can get them in 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 or 12 bottle sizes.  Over time, I’ve accumulated a bunch of these in the garage and I typically use them with people I trade with over and over again.  I’ll ship first and they’ll fill it up and send beers back to me.  It’s a time saver and if you have regular trading partners that you trade with multiple times, it can save you money too. 

Packing up a 6-bottle styrofoam shipping box.

Shipping made easy.

Both methods work, but it’s up to you the route you want to take. 

 

All packed up and ready to go!

 

As for shipping, don’t use U.S. Mail.  It’s illegal to ship alcohol using the USPS.  Don’t bother with them.  I use FedEx and most traders will use FedEx or UPS, but don’t advertise that you’re shipping beer.  Some shipping employees won’t care, others will tell you they won’t ship it. 

If someone hears a little sloshing around in your box, they might ask what’s inside.  Good answers are steak marinade, yeast samples or collectible bottles.  You can also mask the sounds by throwing a handful of rice in the bottom of the box.  I’ve also received boxes that had a tiny box of pennies inside.  Not necessary, but not a bad idea either.   

Make life easy on yourself and set up a free FedEx account.  It only takes a minute to do and allows you to print your own shipping labels on your home printer.  Get your box dimensions and approximate weight, enter your destination and print it out.  Then you just need to tape it to your box and schedule a pickup or drop it off at your local retailer.  Aside from saving yourself the hassle of filling out all your shipping papers at the store, you get a discount and they’ll even give you free shipping supplies.  So easy, a caveman can do it. 

You’ll get a tracking number which you’ll want give to your recipient.  That way they can track it along the way and know when to expect delivery. 

Track your shipments on the FedEx website.

It’s not a bad idea to throw in a couple of extra beers in your box.  I usually drop in a few tasty local beers that I think my recipient might enjoy.  If it’s someone I’ve traded with a few times, I might throw in something that I know they’ve been looking for or is tough to track down.  Living in Colorado, I usually go with Odell, Dry Dock or if I’m shipping east, maybe some Firestone Walker or Deschutes.  Just something that our target probably doesn’t have access to and would enjoy.  Sometimes I’ll also throw in a nice tulip glass or some brewery swag in as well.  Just a little something to say thanks for the trade.  It’s not required, but is something that most traders will do and helps spread a little good beer karma.

Now you’ve done all the work, just drop off your package and wait for yours to show up in return.  I dropped off yesterday and it’s supposed to arrive on Thursday.  See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?  I’m looking forward to getting some fresh New Glarus.  Stay tuned and I’ll let you know what we got.  Feel free to hit me up with any questions you might have.  In the meantime, sit back and have a beer. 

Plenty of great events coming up this weekend.  I should have all the details up in another day or two, so check back soon for updates.  Also, click on the Facebook page for daily updates and happenings in the world of beer. 

Cheers!


Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival 2012

Just got back from a full weekend up in the mountains.  Patti and I made the trip up to Breckenridge for their annual Spring Beer Festival.  It was our first time attending, but we had heard good things from friends who had attended in the past.  We headed up I-70 on Friday afternoon and took our time exploring some of the little mountain towns on the way.  We hit a few breweries along the way, including some old favorites as well as a few places that were completely new to us.  I’ll try to post some reviews later in the week.

We stayed in the quiet, resort town of Keystone, CO.  Keystone is just a short, 15-minute drive from Breckenridge, CO and turned out to be the perfect place to call home for a few days.  Hot tubs, no neighbors and no crowds.  It was just what we needed.  We’re not skiers, so we kind of prefer going up there in the off-season.  In our 5-story building, there were only 3 other cars in the garage.  Perfect!

We finished off our day with some bacon-wrapped filets and a bottle of Avery’s Uncle Jacob’s Stout.  Beer was delicious.  Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, sweet – but not overly sweet, 17.4% ABV is well hidden.  Surprisingly smooth at this point in its’ young life, but should age very well.  If you missed the release at Avery last weekend, keep your eyes peeled for the remaining bottles to start showing up around town soon.  Grab some while you can.

 

The Breckenridge area has a public transportation system that could rival New York City.  I couldn’t believe how many busses they offer to get you around town.  During the off-season, the Keystone area even has a bus that you can call to arrange pick up and drop off for personalized service.  It’s convenient and free.  To Breckenridge however, we caught the Swan Mountain Flyer.  This bus runs once an hour from Keystone and makes the loop into downtown Breckenridge.

We caught the 11:30 bus to head to the festival, which opened at noon.  We arrived in Breckenridge at around 12:10 and started our walk to Main Street Station.  Along the way, we ran into Jason, the head brewer over at Lone Tree Brewing.  Sadly, he wasn’t pouring any beers at the festival, but was just out enjoying a rare and well deserved day off with his girlfriend.

The festival offers both a standard tasting ticket, as well as a VIP ticket.  The standard ticket sells for $25 and offers admission, unlimited tastings and music.  The VIP ticket sells for $65 and comes with a commemorative stein, private buffet and lounge area, along with unlimited tastings and music.  Patti had found a deal online for more than half off VIP tickets, so we snagged a pair.  We got up to the festival entrance, traded our tickets for a map and stein and headed inside.

Once we got through the gate, the first table we came upon was Oskar Blues.  I had to get the day started off on the right foot, so I reached for a pour of Deviant Dale’s.  A great accompaniment to the band covering Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” in the background.

Main Street Station is surrounded by several buildings that are condo’s on top, with restaurants and stores on the main level.  Between the buildings is a large, open space, that’s used for different events throughout the year.  It’s a great area for a mid-sized beer festival.

Working around the outside edge of tables, were many out-of-state breweries, including Sierra Nevada, Widmer, Red Hook and Alaskan.

Towards the back were some of the smaller, local places.  A few of which I had never even tried like Bonfire (remember the Tebrew beer from last year’s Tebow mania?), Crazy Mountain and Palisade.  This was my favorite area of the festival.  The tables were situated along the river, with a beautiful mountain view in the background.  Lots of new beers to try, a great view and a whole row of bathrooms nearby.  Hey, you gotta know where your bathrooms are at a beer fest.  Good combination folks.

Back towards the middle of the festival were the big boys.  Avery, Odell, Great Divide, Bristol and more.  Great Divide tapped a keg of Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti at 2PM, which went well with the cooler, afternoon temperatures and the light snow that started coming down.

The VIP ticket also gave us access to a private buffet that was catered by Kenosha Steakhouse.  They brought some tasty BBQ for the meat lovers, plus some lighter sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, salad and even desert.  The lounge area had comfy couches and chairs, so festival attendees could sit down and enjoy their food.  There was even a table full of beers donated by the breweries.  I snagged a Dale’s Pale Ale to go with my plate of pulled pork.  As someone who was kind of on the fence about spending the extra money for VIP tickets, I’d have to say it was worth it.  Even if we had paid full price, the unlimited trips to the buffet, the quiet area to sit and eat, the big table full of beers and the private bathroom, made it all worthwhile.

25 breweries in total made the trip.  It was well balanced between novice, gateway Wheat and Pale Ales, up to big Double IPA’s and Stouts for the true beer nerds in the crowd.  I tried alot of new beers and discovered some new breweries that don’t distribute out my way.  Towards the end of the festival, I snagged a nearly full stein of Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and went to listen to the live bands on stage.

The clouds eventually started to roll in and the sun gave way to snow, but it only added to our experience.  You’ve got to expect snow in Breckenridge in Spring.  We made the walk back to the bus station and caught our ride home.

As much as I love the Great American Beer Festival, these little beer fests around the country are a great way to get out and truly appreciate the beer scene, without feeling too overwhelmed.  Nice and relaxing, not too big of a crowd, good music and plenty of good beer and food to go around.  I’d definitely give it a thumb’s up.

Breckenridge also hosts a Festival in Summer, which is coming up on Saturday, July 14th.  I would expect to see a much bigger crowd, but they run a good show.  It might be worth checking out.

Random pics from the festival:

Cheers!

 


Opening Day Recap, New Beers, New Brewery and Beer Fests!!!

Who was downtown for the Rockies Opening Day yesterday?  Maybe I should ask, who wasn’t downtown for Opening Day yesterday?  The weather was perfect again this year and baseball fans were out soaking it up.  It was a great day and good to see so many friends out and about.

Our group met up at Mellow Mushroom to try the 18th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA from Great Divide.  Before long, we moved over to Falling Rock Tap House.  Odell had their tap truck and a tent set up out front.  I got treated to a glass of Myrcenary Double IPA and a new hat from the good people out there.  They were rockin’, but the beer was flowing and everybody was enjoying themselves.

We eventually made our way inside Coors Field and I tried the Farmhouse Red at Sandlot Brewery.  It’s a Farmhouse meets Flanders Red ale, brewed with white pepper, coriander and hibiscus.  Pretty tame, but that’s to be expected for Coors Field I guess.  Still, really enjoyable on a warm day and a nice departure from the norm.  I’m not sure if this is a one-and-done deal or if they plan to keep it available all season, but give it a try on your next visit.

Sandlot Farmhouse Red Ale

After watching the Rockies get embarrassed by the Giants, we made our way over to Star Bar.  We had some friends playing in the Kentucky Street Parlor Pickers and they suggested we stop by.  Great music, mixed with a New Belgium promotion and good beer.  Not to be missed!  Denver really needs to make Opening Day a state holiday and let people take the day off from work.  It shouldn’t be missed.

So there’s plenty more new beers getting ready to roll out for Spring and Summer.  Dry Dock in Aurora, CO, is busy bottling their upcoming seasonal, Apricot Blonde.  Bottles will be going on sale at the brewery on April 16th and will be making their way to Colorado liquor stores soon after.

Dry Dock Apricot Blonde in the bottling line.

Over at Avery, in Boulder, CO, they’ve got a Belgian-Style Triple in the works called Nineteen.  This will be released in time for their upcoming 19th anniversary later this summer.   The 8.2% ABV Tripel will be widely distributed and should be hitting stores soon.  Stay tuned for more details on their big anniversary party in August.

Up in Fort Collins, CO, Odell plans to release this years batch of St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale on April 21, 2012.  A party is scheduled at the brewery with music, food, games and of course, plenty of beer.  St. Lupulin is a 6.5%, hoppy, refreshing summer-time ale, and will be sold throughout their ten state distribution area.

So where will you be this weekend?  I know it’s only Tuesday, but it’s never too early to start making plans.  Patti and I will be heading up to Breckenridge, CO for their 6th annual Spring Beer Festival.  The festival is on Saturday, April 14th, from noon-5PM and will feature 25 craft breweries.  Local favorites like Odell and Left Hand will be pouring, along with several breweries from out-of-state, including Stone and Deschutes.  Tickets and details can be found HERE.  Drop me a line if you’re going and maybe we can meet up for a beer.

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There’s also a new brewery opening it’s doors to the public for the first time this weekend.  Echo Brewing, in Frederick, CO, will have their Grand Opening on Saturday, April 14th at 2PM.  This weekend they will be pouring a Kolsch, IPA, Brown and ESB.  Oskar Blues will have a food truck on-site from 3-6PM.  More information can be found on the Echo Brewing website and Facebook page.  If anybody is attending, I’d love to hear your feedback or see some pictures.

Dry Dock is releasing a Blackberry Porter this week for Firkin Friday.  This sounds really yummy.  Stop by and give it a try.  Firkin gets tapped at 3PM.

Oh, and don’t forget about the 4th Annual Saison and Farmhouse Ale Festival down at Trinity in Colorado Springs, CO.  I hear there are still a handful of tickets left.  Show your AHA membership card and get $5 off your ticket.  This event is scheduled for Saturday, April 14th from 11AM-4PM.  I’ve never been, but it’s definitely on my radar for next year.

Man, so much to do this weekend!  Hope you can get out and enjoy it.  Cheers!


New Brewery, Seasonals and Other Beer Happenings

It feels like summer outside!  This nearly 80 degree weather is making me thirsty for an IPA on the deck, but first, let’s get the rundown of what’s happening in the beer world.

First, I wanted to share some news about Great Storm Brewing down in Colorado Springs.  Their grand opening is today!  Jeff and Lynn Jacobs held a soft opening last week, but they’re official grand opening is today.  Jeff has been homebrewing for 6 years and recently decided to make the jump and open his own place.  He’s operating on a 1 bbl system and plans to have 5 flagship beers with 2-3 rotating seasonals.

Great Storm sampler.

From left to right: Lightning Wit (Belgian Witbier), Brass Ale Honey Amber (British Amber / Braggot), Black Bear Zwartbier (Belgian Black Lager), Lilliput Pale Ale and Shine On (Oaked Belgian Golden Strong).  By the time you read this, there should also be an IPA called Seven Wolves available on both CO2 and Nitro, as well as a Rum Raisin Stout on Nitro.  The Rum Raisin Stout is brewed with oats and brown sugar and sounds delish.

There’s no food for sale at Great Storm, although pretzels are available and there’s a pizza place next door.  Stop by and enjoy the nice weather on their patio.  Great Storm is located at: 204 Mount View Lane #3, Colorado Springs, CO  80907.

Tap List at Great Storm.

Great Storm Fermentation Tanks.

Thanks to Steve, one of our readers, who visited Great Storm last night and was able to get these pics to share in the blog.  Thanks man!

All the way up in Fort Collins, CO, Odell has announced that their Double Pilsner will be back on store shelves soon.  I gotta admit, when I think pilsner, I think Bud, crap, Miller and more crap…, but the Odell Double Pils is a tasty beer.  Come on now, can the guys at Odell make a bad beer?  Perfect for those warm summer days, it’s full flavored and refreshing and at 8.1% ABV, it packs quite the punch.

Want to get your “drink on” a little early on Tuesday, March 27th?  Start your day off right and head over to Lone Tree Brewing for an early riser happy hour.  Fox 31’s Good Day Colorado will be broadcasting live from the brewery and they want to fill the tap room with beer drinkers.  You’ll be rewarded with $1 off pints from 6am-9am and who knows, maybe you’ll even be on TV!  I’m sure your boss won’t mind if you stop by on your way to work.  Maybe it’ll make your co-workers seem a little more tolerable.  You bring the doughnuts, Lone Tree will bring the Oatmeal Stout.  Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8200 Park Meadows Drive, Suite 8222, Lone Tree, CO  80124.

Next weekend, Hops & Pie is hosting another one of their Littlest Big Beer Fest’s on Sunday, April 1st.  This time they are focusing on barrel aged beers.  Once again, they will be pouring a solid list of beers with treats like Firestone Walker XV, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Verhaege Duchesse De Bourgogne and Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout to name a few.  This is NOT an April Fool’s joke and will certainly be THE place to be next Sunday afternoon.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyston St, Denver, CO  80212.  Check it out!

   

If anybody was out at Dry Dock last night, I hope you got to try the Hop Goblin with 7 C’s hops.  It was a super tasty brew.  The last few ounces were like a thick, hop slurry.  Mmmm, good stuff!  My son is a big fan of their root beer which is also pictured below.  Nice big crowd as usual.  I love Firkin Fridays!

Hop Goblin of the 7 C’s firkin and Dry Dock Root Beer.

That’s it for now.  Enjoy the weather and the tasty beers.  Cheers!


Rogue / Voodoo Update, Meet the Brewer Night and Cascade Blueberry Sour!

I know several of you have reached out to me with interest in splitting a case of Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale.  I haven’t forgotten about you.  But, Lukas Liquor down in Lone Tree, CO, posted today that they expect to have it on their shelves sometime next month.  I’ve got another friend in the industry who’s trying to get some into his store in Parker, CO.  So keep your fingers crossed.  I’ll update you as I get more details, but it looks like we’ll be getting some out here after all.   

All hail bacon and beer!

Down in Gleneagle, (think Colorado Springs), the folks at Another Pint are putting together a Meet The Brewer Night with Doug Odell from Odell Brewing.  This will be their third installment in this series and is scheduled for Friday, March 30th at 7PM.  Doug will be on hand to talk about his beers, answer questions and share some of his creations with you. 

For this event, Another Pint will be pouring 90 Shilling, IPA, Myrcenary, Shenanigans and Footloose.  I mentioned Shenanigans in my post from yesterday.  It’s scheduled to be released later in the month.  Footloose is a barrel aged Brett and Lacto beer with a tropical fruit flavor.  This event will be pay by the pint.   

If you’ve never heard of Another Pint, I’m not surprised.  I was introduced to this place by a college buddy that lives down that way and they really seem to be flying under the radar.  I was blown away by their tap and bottle selection.  Everything from popular locals like Bristol and Avery to impressive and harder to get offerings from Dogfish Head and Firestone Walker.  Check them out!  http://anotherpint.net/

Samuel Adams has announced two new beers for their small batch series. 

Sahti Ale brewed with Juniper Berries.

Gose, with Salt and Corriander.

These should be making their debut in April or May.  Interesting and unique styles this time around.  For only $5.99 per 22oz. bottle, they’re worth a try. 

Lastly, a bit of news from up in Oregon.  Cascade, one of my favorite U.S. breweries, has been talking about releasing their Blueberry Sour for a few months now.  Today, they said it will go on sale at the brewery later this month.  Still no date has been set, but it’s coming!  This is a must try beer!  I can’t say enough good things about these guys.  If you’ve never had them and enjoy sour beers, you must, must, must seek them out.  You’re going to have to trade, travel or make a friend out there to get some, but it’s worth the extra effort. 

Cascade's Blueberry Sour, bottled, labeled and waiting for you.

Patti and I paid them a visit last October and couldn’t believe how many great sour beers they were pouring under their roof.  They keep things interesting and fun with their “Tap It Tuesday” series, where they continue to push boundaries and pump out one-offs and experiments every Tuesday night in their Portland based Barrel Room.  Tonight, they released a beer called Pink Pixie Sticks, which according to their Facebook page had hints of raspberries, grapes, lemon peel, cherries and sweet tart fruit.  These draft only beers are here today and gone tomorrow.  Do yourself a favor and check them out! 

Sippin' on some tasty sours!


New Beers and Beer News 03/12/2012

So I’m not even sure where to begin this week.  So much news to share!  I guess I’ll just dive right in and start with the news that’s close to home.

First up, Odell Brewing, in Fort Collins, is getting set to launch their Shenanigans on March 24th.  This 8.1% oak aged, Brett brew will be hitting shelves in 750mL corked and caged bottles.  If you live in the Odell distribution area, make sure you seek this one out.  Their last few big, seasonal beers, such as Friek and Saboteur have been fantastic.  I’ve got a feeling this won’t disappoint either.

Odell Brewing is at it again.

Odell’s neighbor up in Fort Collins, New Belgium, also has a new beer up their sleeves.  This one is a collaboration with Elysian Brewing out in Seattle, WA.  The two have combined for a Pink Peppercorn IPA.  This 7.5% ABV beer will be bottled and sold in 22oz. bombers.  No release date has been set yet. 

New Belgium’s also planning their next Lips of Faith release.  This line of experimental beers has had some great releases in the past year, but this one could top them all.  The 7.5% Tart Lychee, is an intensely sour beer that bases itself around the unusual, tropcial lychee fruit.  I’m a huge, huge fan of sour beers and I got to try this one last year at the Avery Sour Festival.  Sweet, sour and complex, it was one of my favorites of the day.  I’m really excited to see they’re going to bottle this beer.  You better hope I don’t get to the beer store before you when this comes out.  I’ll be the guy stocking up when it hits the shelf.   

New Belgium announced today that they will be entering the Michigan market in August.  They’ve been in the news quite a bit lately with rumors surrounding a possible east coast expansion.  Although there’s no official word yet, the rumor is that the brewery is looking at property in Asheville, NC.  Might not be a bad time to start planning that trip to North Carolina after all.

Down in Colorado Springs, Jason Yester and the Trinity crew are plugging away getting their new 12 barrel brewhouse installed.  They worked into the wee hours last night and are back at it again today.  They’ll be closed until Wednesday, March 14th to get everything up and running.

Shiny new fermenters at Trinity, waiting to be fed tasty beer!

Over in Denver, Bill Eye is also hard at work, getting his masterpiece assembled at Prost Brewing.  I can’t wait until we can talk about the beers he’ll be pouring when Prost opens.  Hopefully it’ll be sooner than later.

Bill Eye becoming one with his kettle at Prost.

In Aurora, be sure to mark your calendars for the Copper Kettle One Year Anniversary Party coming up in April.  They’ve got 4 big days planned with music, food and some exciting beers.  Check out their website for more info.

Copper Kettle turns 1 in April!

To wrap up the local news, if you’re looking for something to do tonight and are in the Boulder area, slide over to Mountain Sun on Pearl Street.  If you order a beer, they’ll give you a free Stout Month t-shirt.  They’ve got some awesome beers on tap right now including two of my favorites, Hop Vivant Imperial IPA and Nihilist Russian Imperial Stout.  If you’re looking for something a little lighter to enjoy with the nice weather, check out their Blackberry Wheat or FYIPA.  With 15+ beers on tap, there’s something for everyone, even your light beer drinking co-workers.  So grab a beer, get a shirt and watch the world go by.  Life is good!

Before we finish up, here’s a little something for all the beer traders:  Rob Tod and the gang at Allagash, up in Portland, ME, are getting ready for another one of their small batch, brewery only releases.  They just announced a release party for Saturday, March 31st to release Old HLT, a beer that was brewed with cherries and aged in stainless steel for more than 2 years.  This one clocks in at 8% and will be sold for $10 / 12.7 oz. bottle, with a 4 bottle limit.  I’ve traded for a few of their small batch beers and they never disappoint.

Brewtally Insane is hitting the road this month.  We’ll be checking out some breweries and beer bars near Phoenix, AZ, as well as the Los Angeles, CA and Anaheim, CA areas.  Got a recommendation or know of some places we should visit?  Drop us a line on our Facebook page and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.  Until next time, Cheers!