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Brewtally Insane Best of 2012: Beers, Breweries and Beer Bars

2012.  What a year!  Certainly a HUGE year for beer!  With more than two dozen breweries opening in Colorado this year, there were plenty of new and interesting brews that were introduced into our market.  It’s not easy for a beer geek to keep up with everything…

We did our best to try them all and my liver hates me for it.  But have no fear, all this “research” has good purpose.  There was no way we could have tried everything out there, but here’s some of our personal favorites from 2012.  While I didn’t take availability into account, we did have a few rules that each beer had to meet: 1. available in either bottles or cans.  2. a new release in 2012.  3. made right here in Colorado.

Without further ado, here’s our list of favorite beers, breweries and beer bars from the past year.

10. Odell Brewing – The Meddler

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Big woody notes combine with tart cherries and plums to round out this complex Flanders Oud Bruin.  Such a tasty style that seems to be making a bit of a comeback.  Odell has been rolling out great sours since the emergence of Friek last year and this is a great addition to their already impressive lineup.

9. Oskar Blues Brewery – Deviant Dale’s IPA

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Not only did Oskar Blues give us an IPA this year, but they put it in those big ass 16 oz. cans!  Who do I need to thank for this great gift?  Plenty of grapefruit, caramel, pine and citrus hops galore.  Best addition to the OB family since TEN Fidy.

8. Prost Brewing – Hefeweizen

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We all knew Bill Eye was an amazing brewer, but I don’t think any of us knew German lagers could be sooo damn tasty.  I love the entire Prost lineup, but the Hefeweizen is pretty special.  Fruity, flavorful, refreshing and light enough to make it a sessionable beer.  In addition to being on tap at a variety of restaurants and bars, look for growlers of this tasty brew at liquor stores throughout the Denver area.  Delish!

7. New Belgium – Lips of Faith Tart Lychee

A three-year old wild ale was mixed with lychee fruit and cinnamon to create a unique combination for New Belgium’s summertime Lips of Faith release.  It turned out to be the perfect “lighter” sour brew for the warm summer months.  I liked it so much, I greedily snagged a keg for myself.  I hope they keep this tasty offering in regular rotation.

6. Trinity Brewing – Oh Face Saison Provisional

I credit my wife, Mrs. Insane, with finding this one.  While I was filling my cup with Trinity’s phenomenal sours during GABF, she was discovering Oh Face.  This is another beer in their “Office Space” series, which also includes TPS Report and the upcoming Red Swingline Stapler.  Oh Face is a sensory adventure with plenty of Bretty funk, fruit, cardamom, pepper, coriander, yeast and more.  Another complex masterpiece from our favorite brewery down in the Springs.

5. Funkwerks – Deceit

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The 2012 Small Brewery of the Year just seems to get better and better.  Deceit is a classic Belgian-style Tripel with flavors of tropical fruit, spices and hops.  Look for more interesting one-off’s and seasonals to come out of this Fort Collins brewery in 2013.

4. AC Golden Brewing – Hidden Barrel Apricot

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Low production numbers, a high price tag and no distribution for AC Golden’s first bottled release. Yet, it still managed to tie up phone lines with orders and sold out on the same day it hit store shelves.  And for good reason.  It’s full of sour apricot, barnyard funk and oak.  Hopefully we’ll continue to see more interesting bottles and expanded distribution from AC Golden in 2013.

3. Elevation Beer Co. – Apis IV

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Elevation’s first bottled release was a delicious, complex Belgian-style Quadrupel, that was much more authentic Belgian than American knockoff.  Although Elevation may or may not brew this beer again, they’re clearly on the right track and I’m looking forward to more greatness from them in the years to come.  Awesome beer.

2. Avery Brewing – Uncle Jacob’s Stout

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This 17% ABV Imperial Stout, debuted in April as the 2nd release in Avery’s Annual Barrel Series. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak and booze make up this sticky, sweet stout.  Look for another batch to be released sometime in 2013.  Be sure you don’t miss out!

1. 2012 Beer of the Year: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Persica055

I could have easily picked 5 beers from Crooked Stave to make this list.  They’re just that good. But for me, Persica was the standout and my pick for best Colorado Beer of 2012.  Unfortunately, the only way to try this one was by being a member of Crooked Stave’s 2012 Cellar Reserve, having a generous friend who’s in the Cellar Reserve or were lucky enough to snag a sample at Avery’s Sour Fest.  Ripe peaches and oak mix for this fruity, sour gem.  It’s a shame only a few hundred bottles were made, but the good news is that it’ll be making a return in 2013 to members of the Cellar Reserve.  It’s not too late to sign up, so don’t miss out.

Best Colorado Breweries of 2012

1.  Avery Brewing – Not only do they offer a solid lineup of year round beers, but their seasonals and occasional Barrel-Aged releases are second to none.  The Barrel-Aged series has become so popular, that the releases have turned into mini-festivals at the brewery, where Avery taps unique and hard-to-find beers just for the occasion.  Combine their great beers with their annual Anniversary Party, Sour Fest, IPA Fest and Strong Ale Fest and the new brewery which is expected to open in 2014, and it’s easy to see why Avery Brewing is our favorite brewery of 2012.

2.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Wild Wild Brett Indigo, L’Brett D’Or, Nightmare on Brett, Persica and they even managed to bring Cantillon’s Zwanze Day to Colorado.  Phenomenal job all around!

3.  Odell Brewing – They make some of our favorite CO beers including Friek, Myrcenary and Bourbon Barrel Stout.  I could sit in their tasting room all day, play a little cornhole or just watch the world go by on the patio.  Thank you Odell for another great year of events, tappings and bottled releases.

Best Denver Area Beer Bars of 2012

1.  Parry’s Pizza – Epic tap takeovers, pint nights, great food and a friendly and knowledgable staff made Parry’s our favorite place to sip a pint outside of a brewery in 2012.  Three locations around the Denver area, with more on the way!

2.  The Rackhouse Pub – Aside from great beer, great food and multiple beer events throughout the year, The Rackhouse shares the roof with Stranahan’s Whiskey.  Stop by for a tasting and tour of the distillery, stick around for a bite to eat and a locally brewed craft beer.

3.  Falling Rock Tap House – The classic Denver tap house.  They get the good stuff the for the geeks and always seem to have something special on draft.

Three Colorado Breweries to Watch in 2013

1.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – More barrels, more bottles, a coolship and a brewery at The Source.  Look out!

2.  Dry Dock Brewing – A new production facility, new brewhouse, a 63-BBL foeder, canning line and expanded distribution.  I’m in!

3.  Black Shirt Brewing – I’ve admittedly only tried 3 of BSB’s brews, but if that’s any indication of what’s to come, Denver’s in for a treat in 2013.

With so many great beers, breweries and beer bars around town, this wasn’t an easy list to compile and sadly, many deserving beers didn’t make it.  What were your favorites from 2012?  Leave a comment on our Facebook Page and share with us.

As 2012 draws to a close, I cant wait to see what lies ahead for the Colorado Beer Scene in 2013. It’s an exciting time to be a craft beer lover.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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Weekend Beer Buzz 07/19/12

It seems like every weekend, there are more and more events going on around town.  There’s a TON of events happening this weekend.  I’m not complaining, I just hope I can fit it all into one post.  It’s worth a shot.

Start your weekend by hitting up Dry Dock’s Firkin Friday release on July 20th.  Mix Master Walt has come up with Apple Pie Rye in July for this week’s release.  3 PM sucka!

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

Speaking of Dry Dock, Patti and I will be pouring beers for them over at the Hops for Habitat Beer Festival on Friday, July 20th at the Plains Conservation Center in Aurora, CO.  Come out and drink some beer while raising money for the environment!  This charity brewfest runs from 5 PM – 9 PM and will feature more than 15 Colorado breweries, food trucks, wagon rides, live music and more.

Some of the breweries pouring include Dry Dock, Copper Kettle, Odell, New Belgium and Ska.  Stop by the Dry Dock booth and say Hi!  Tickets for the event are $30 ($15 for DD’s) and can be purchased in advance HERE.  The Plains Conservation Center is located at: 21901 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80013.  303-693-3379.

Celebrate Belgian Independence Day on Saturday, July 21st, over at the Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, CO.  They’ll be hosting the 2nd Annual United Tastes of Belgium with more than 50 breweries on-hand, pouring authentic Belgian and Belgian-style beers.

Some amazing breweries will be in attendance including Stone, Great Divide, Crooked Stave, Duvel and of course Wynkoop.  Check out the complete list of beers HERE.   Advance tickets are $30, which covers your glass, beer, cheese and chocolate samples.  Tickets can be purchased HERE.  Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door for $37.50.  Wynkoop Brewing is located at: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-297-2700.

The radio waves will be blowin’ up again with Turk and The Gubna from the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM 760 at noon.

This week, they’ll be sitting down with the guys from TwinHops Brewing to talk about their campaign on Kickstarter and hear about their plans to open a brewery in Aurora next year.  (More on TwinHops further down in this post).  Also in the studio will be Whitney and John from City Star Brewing out of Berthoud, CO.  The Colorado Craft Beer Show will also be giving away tickets to Kyle’s Brew Fest and the Denver Summer Brewfest, so keep your phones handy.

Over on American Craft Beer Radio, Gary V will be sitting down with a panel of beer judges.  They’ll be breaking down the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines, explaining how a beer is judged and doing some on-air tastings of commercial beers.

Tune in to the show on 102.3 FM on Saturday, July 21st at noon.

Where my freaks at?  Sour Freaks that’s you!  (Don’t get offended, I include myself in that category). The 2nd meeting of the Funk ‘n Wild Club is scheduled for Saturday, July 21st at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont, CO.

This unofficial club of local sour freaks doesn’t require a golden ticket or secret password to get inside.  Just show up and be ready to get your mouth-puckering, funky, freak on.  Breweries on-hand include Crooked Stave, Jolly Pumpkin, New Belgium, Russian River and more.  Beers can be purchased in full pours, half pours or tasting flights.  Special guest Chad Yakobson, the mastermind behind Crooked Stave Brewing is scheduled to be the guest speaker.

Dude, I’m pumped for this!  More info on Funk’n Wild can be found HERE.  The event runs from 3 PM – 6 PM at Oskar Blues Liquids and Solids: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80503.  303-485-9400.

Speaking of sours, The Rackhouse Pub keeps their Sour Month rolling with new sours getting tapped daily throughout the month of July.  This week, look for Great Divide Bretty Yeti, Crooked Stave Surette, Odell Shenanigans and AC Golden Apricot Sour hitting the tap lines.

The Rackhouse Pub is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.  720-507-7824.

Looking for something not sour, but still packed with complexity and flavor?  Copper Kettle Brewing’s got ya covered.  They’re releasing an Imperial Oak Aged Stout on Saturday, July 21st.  This is one of those rare chances to try a nice, big, flavorful stout, right, smack in the middle of summer.  Skip the wheat and pils, grab your big boy drinking pants and hit up Copper Kettle for this one.

Stop by at noon for the tapping, stick around for the Harvest Food Truck at 5 PM and music from Pete Stein at 6 PM.  Copper Kettle Brewing is located at: 1338 S Valentia St, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

River North Brewery is getting ready to begin accepting sign-ups for their Locals’ Club.  Sign-ups for the club begins on Sunday, July 22nd at 1 PM.  The $30 membership includes an exclusive, 16 oz. glass (pictured below), $4 pints all day, every day and a membership card.

Memberships will be sold to the first 50 people on a first come, first served basis.  River North Brewery is located at: 2401 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-296-2617.

Hops & Pie is back with the next round of their Littlest Big Beer Fest on Sunday, July 22nd.  There’s a killer lineup of Firestone Walker beers hitting the tap lines at 2 PM.  Look for Double Jack (Double IPA), Double DBA (Barrel-Aged Barleywine), Parabola (Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout / my FAV of the bunch!) and more.

This special collection of Firestone Walker beers should not be missed.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Lastly, the guys behind TwinHops Brewing want to invite you over to help them brew a batch of beer on Sunday, July 21st.  Brad, Scott, Rick and Colin will be firing up the burners to educate, answer questions and share with fans all the details about their upcoming brewery.  More info on TwinHops Brewing can be found on yesterday’s blog.

Starting at noon and rolling throughout the day, stop by and taste their beer.  Bring your homebrew rig over and brew with them if you’d like!  This is being held at: 23891 E Alabama Dr, Aurora, CO 80018.

7/20 Update: The TwinHops brew day has been postponed.  Just got word that it won’t be happening on Sunday, July 21st, but will be rescheduled for a later date.  I’ll update you when they get a new date scheduled.

That’s it kids!  Hope to see you around town this weekend.  Have fun, stay cool and follow us on Facebook for more updates throughout the weekend.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 06/07/2012

What’s up weekend?  I’ve missed you!  Good to see you again.  Let’s make some plans!

The big buzz for Saturday, June 9th is over in Lyons, CO, where Oskar Blues has joined forces with the Lyons Outdoor Games and the Colorado Brewers Guild to bring you a fun filled day with sports, dogs and beer.  Head up to Lyons to check out the kayaking, fly fishing, chainsaw carving and more.  Stick around to get your fill at Burning Can, which is a beer festival featuring ALL canned beers!  35 breweries are expected to be pouring their canned masterpieces including Maui, 21st Amendment, Ska and New Belgium.

Tickets for Burning Can are $25 in advance and $30 at the event ($25 if you ride your bike!) and can be found HERE.  The beer fest runs from noon – 4 PM.  There’s plenty of nearby camping available, so get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery up there.

If you go, check out the guys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM 760.  They’ll be broadcasting live from Burning Can in their newly exanded, 2-hour time slot, from noon – 2 PM.

Copper Kettle Brewing will be releasing their Czech Pilsner on Saturday, June 9th at noon.  Can’t say that I reach for this style very often, but it does make for a nice session beer on a warm summer day.  In case you didn’t notice, it’s going to be in the 90’s this weekend, so their timing couldn’t be better.  They’ll have Capt’n Crabby outside at 5 PM serving authentic Maryland-style crab cakes.  I was raised in Maryland and have been trying to find a good crab cake outside of Maryland (aside from Mom’s), for years.  Capt’n Crabby, I have high hopes for you sir!

Copper Kettle is located at: 1338 S Valentia St #100, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Over at Dry Dock Brewing, they recently tapped a keg of Lachlan’s award winning Wee Heavy.  This beautiful Scotch Ale has won not one, but two medals at the World Beer Cup!

Dry Dock will be tapping a firkin of Challenger Dry-Hopped Amber for Firkin Friday at 3 PM.  Check it out!  Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Lone Tree Brewing will be celebrating their 6 month anniversary on Friday, June 8th.  They’ve got a bunch of great seasonals pouring right now, including Das Bart Dunkelweizen, Nate’s Saison (homebrew winner), Marienplatz Pilsner along with their tasty flagship beers like Hoptree IIPA and Toots’ Oatmeal Stout.  The party runs all day, with pizza available for purchase at 5 PM and live music at 6 PM.

Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124.  303-792-5822.

Speaking of anniversary parties, Pateros Creek Brewing, up in Fort Collins, CO, will be celebrating their 1-year Anniversary on Saturday, June 9th.  They’ll be tapping some new beers and revisiting some old favorites from their weekly Outlaw Series.  Some of the special beers getting tapped are Franklinstein (a 4-pepper pale ale), Blueberry-lemon kolsch and their newest creation, Spiranthes Extra Pale Ale.  The event runs from 4 PM – 9 PM and also features music, games and food.

I still need to make it up to Pateros Creek.  Sounds like they’re doing really well up there.  Pateros Creek is located at: 242 N College Ave. Unit B, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  970-484-7222.

I’m really, really excited about the upcoming opening of TRVE (pronounced “True”) Brewing in Denver, CO.  While the big opening on Wednesday, June 27th is still a few weeks away, you can get a sneak peek this weekend.  TRVE will open their doors on Saturday, June 9th at noon to give fans a glimpse inside and check everything out.  They’ll also be pouring samples of Wanderlust, their Belgian-American Pale Ale.

This Saturday will also be the first chance beer nerds will have to join the TRVE Cvlt.  The Cvlt gives members one of the kick ass, signed and numbered growlers pictured below, five free growler fills, refills with any TRVE beer for only $7, invitiations to member-only events and more.  Get all the details HERE.

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I’m really excited for these guys.  Small, 3 BBL batches of craft beer and heavy metal music!  TRVE Brewing is located at: 227 Broadway #100, Denver, CO.  303-351-1021.

Finally, if you’re heading to the Greenwood Village Summerfest on Saturday, June 9th, say “Hi!” to my wife Patti.  She’ll be hanging out in the biergarten pouring for Dry Dock Brewing from 11 AM – 3 PM.  This is a great chance to get out and try some good brews and check out some fun and unique cars at the classic car show.  All the details can be found HERE.       

That’s it for this round of weekend news.  Hope you can find something to stay busy and beat the heat.

Cheers!