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Weekend Beer Buzz 01/31/2013

Another great week here in Colorado.  Last weekend, we had the opportunity to check out the Denver Winter Brew Fest.  We put together a recap and shared a ton of pictures from our visit to this fun festival.

We also launched the first in a series of collaborative beer reviews that we’re working on with Dave Butler over at Fermentedly Challenged.  Together, we put together an in-depth look at Lugene Milk Chocolate Stout.  So far, the feedback has been very positive.  I know we both enjoyed working on the review, so be on the lookout for more “coblogorative” style reviews in the future.

And now, here we are again, getting ready for a weekend full of great craft beer.  2013 looks to be the year of the new brewery.  I’d say we’re on pace for an average of 1 new brewery to open every week in Colorado this year.  I’m not complaining, but it’s going to be a very busy year in the world of craft beer.  This coming weekend, we’ll see three new breweries open in just four days.  If we keep this up, we’ll have to host two GABF’s.  One for Colorado and one for the rest of the U.S.

Right NOW!

Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids is tapping a few special kegs from Goose Island on Thursday night.

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Matilda, Sofie, Pere Jacques and Mild Winter will all be available.  Wait, I think I’m forgetting one… Hmmm, what could it be?  Oh yeah, Bourbon County Brand Stout!  Now we’re talking.  Get over to Liquids & Solids for this special tapping, which runs from 4 – 6 PM.  Oskar Blues HMLS is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-485-9400.

Our Mutual Friend’s Imperial Belgian IPA will probably kick soon.

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Head over today and don’t miss out!  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Crooked Stave has some tasty treats on tap as well.

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Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is located at: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211. 720-508-3292.

Over at Yak & Yeti, Head Brewer Adam Draeger tapped his Orange-Chocolate Porter last night.  Only 1 keg was available and it’s long gone.  But fear not, he’s got plenty of other great brews to share. Earlier this week, he tapped the newest release in his Haunted Series. This time it’s “Yak’s R.I.S.”, a big ol’ 10% ABV, 100+ IBU Russian Imperial Stout. Here’s the rest of the lineup for this week.

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Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

This is the final weekend to reserve your seat for Falling Rock’s Annual Barleywine Dinner on Tuesday, February 5th.

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The multi-course menu is still being planned and there are vegetarian options available, if you notify them ahead of time.  In the past, there have been up to a dozen barleywines paired at this dinner. Tickets are $55.  Call or stop by Falling Rock to reserve your seat for this great event.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We’ve got a new brewery opening on Friday!  De Steeg is set to open their doors on Friday at 4 PM.  Owner Craig Rothgery is ready to pour his first beers from the newest brewery to open in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver.

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This weekend, he’ll be pouring a 5.1% ABV English Mild on Nitro, a 5.5% ABV Pomegranate Acai Wheat and an 11% ABV Imperial Pumpkin.  Come out and explore the area as the opening has been coordinated with the Tennyson Street First Friday Artwalk, which spotlights local artisans and restaurants.  De Steeg Brewing is located at: 4342 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-484-9698.

In Aurora, Dry Dock Brewing’s got a Mosaic Dry-hopped IPA ready to roll for Firkin Friday.

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

Jellyman’s tapping “The French Press” for his Deviation this week down at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock.

This is a 6% ABV Coffee Stout brewed with the second runnings of Wilson, their very tasty Russian Imperial Stout (which is getting bottled today).  Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Breckenridge Brewery is back again this month with their Firkin First Fridays.

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This month’s release is their Avalanche Amber Ale with Kaffir lime leaves and dry-hopped with Summit Hops.  Get out and enjoy the nice weather and this great sounding brew.  Tapping at 4 PM.  Breckenridge Brewery is located at: 471 Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80204.  303-573-0431.

Can’t get enough freakin’ firkins?  Then head over to Hops & Pie for their Firkin 1st Friday release. This time it’s with Crooked Stave and their Surette Saison.

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Look for plenty of funk and spices in this 6.5% ABV Saison that was aged in a Downslope whiskey barrel.  Tapping at 6 PM.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Friday is also the kickoff for the “Run the Gauntlet” challenge over at Star Bar.  30 Avery beers in 28 days.  Can you handle it?  Probably not, but you should try anyways, because if you can, you’ll be rewarded with transportation from Star Bar to Avery Brewing for a private tour.  Have you seen the beer list?  Here’s a peek at some of the ridiculously tasty offerings they’re planning to tap:

– The Maharaja Imperial IPA
– The Czar Imperial Stout
– The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest
– Hog Heaven Barleywine
– The Reverend Belgian-Style Quad
– Salvation Belgian Golden
– New World Porter
– Lebenweizen
– Lilikoi Kepolo
– 3Point5 Pale Ale
– Bolder Weisse
– Tweak
…and more!

Star Bar is located at: 2137 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-328-2420.

Over at Falling Rock, it’s the start of “Dain Bramage Month”, with a month-long celebration of Barleywines!

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Owner Chris Black acquired 6 new barleywines last week and plans to tap several vintage kegs Tuesday night for those lucky guests attending the Barleywine Dinner (see above).  These will be available for everyone else beginning on Wednesday.  No word on what will be tapped just yet. They’re still deciding what to pull out of the cellar.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Don’t forget February is the beginning of Stout Month over at the Mountain Sun brewpubs.  Stout Month is always a great time to stop by and enjoy some rich, roast brews.

Look for special beers to be released every Tuesday and Friday, beginning on 2/5 at all three locations.  In addition to their own beers like Addicition Coffee Imperial Stout, Girl Scout Stout and Chocolate Dip, they’ve got plenty of great guest beers lined up as well.  Keep your eyes open for Odell’s Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout, Renegade’s Black Gold Peanut Butter Stout, Wildwood’s S’mores Stout and dozens more.  Mountain Sun is located at: 1535 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302.  Souther Sun is located at: 627 S Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305.  Vine Street Pub is located at: 1700 Vine St, Denver, CO 80206.

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

We mentioned Verboten a few weeks ago when they had a soft opening at their location up in Loveland.  But get ready, because their Grand Opening is coming up on Saturday afternoon.

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They’ll be debuting their new brewery with live music, food trucks, beer cupcakes, giveaways and of course BEER!  Verboten will be pouring Orange Blossom Honey Wheat, Lemongrass Wit, IPA, Caramel Porter, Espresso Stout, Kentucky Common Dark Cream Ale and Sour Rum Barrel-Aged Porter.  The party starts at 1 PM.  Be sure to check out this preview of Verboten from our friend Dave Butler over at Fermentedly Challenged.  Verboten Brewing is located at: 1550 Taurus Ct, Loveland, CO 80537.  970-988-6333.

Dry Dock Brewing launched their cans to local retailers last week and that’s cause for celebration. Stop by the brewery for the official “Take it in the Can” launch party on Saturday from 11 AM – 5 PM. Snag a can of Apricot Blonde, Hop Abomination, Hefeweizen or Amber for only $3.

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

Don’t forget to check out the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM760 from noon – 2 PM.

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Don’t quote me, but I believe the boys are back in the studio this week.  They always put on a great show, so be sure to tune in and see what’s on tap for this week.

Over on the FM side, Gary V and Dustin (from Avery Brewing) will be in the studio for American Craft Beer Radio.

This show is live on 102.3 FM ESPN Radio from 1 -2 PM.

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Go watch the Super Bowl already.  Or at least watch the commercials and heckle whatever joke of an artist the NFL has chosen for the half-time show.  Do your thing and drink a craft beer or two.  Go Ravens.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Fate Brewing in Boulder, will open their doors on Monday.  They might not have their brewhouse up and running just yet, but that hasn’t stopped Head Brewer Jeff Griffith from getting out and brewing some beer.  He’s already collaborated with multiple brewers in Boulder, including Wild Woods, Twisted Pine and Southern Sun.

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Fate plans to have their collaborations pouring on Monday, along with twenty other Colorado craft beers.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve tried the Imperial IPA, Cocoa Punk’n Porter and Eisbock and I love what I’ve had so far.  Bring an appetite, as a full food menu will also be available.  Fate Brewing is located at: 1600 38th St, Suite 100, Boulder, CO 80301.

Beer Hunters, Gatherers, Trappers and Traders

Pliny the Younger Season starts this weekend at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA.

Here in Colorado, we’re still patiently waiting to see what beer bars will be allocated a keg of this beautiful beer.  Try to remain calm and know that we’ll get you the details as soon as we can.  In the meantime, enjoy this fun little documentary we came across last week.

Sour fans might want to consider securing a bottle or two of Cascade’s 2011 Vlad the Imp Aler, when they go on sale through the Cascade website this Saturday.

A little pricey at $30 / bottle, but this is a phenomenal beer.  Mrs. Insane and I visited the brewery a while back for their Anniversary Party and this is one of my favorites from Cascade.  The beer is a blend of Quads, Triples and Blonds and has been aged in select bourbon and wine barrels.  Get some before they’re gone.

Firestone Walker will release their latest batch of §ucaba this week.

Beer hunters should keep an eye out for this barrel-aged American Barleywine to hit the CO market in the next few weeks.  Drink fresh or age for later.  (Or both.)

Lastly, for all the beer traders out there, Foothills Brewing out in North Carolina, will be releasing the 2013 batch of Sexual Chocolate on Saturday at the brewery in North Carolina.

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1800 bottles of this delicious Russian Imperial Stout will be up for grabs during Saturday’s release. It’s well worth the trouble if you’re lucky enough to track down a bottle.

Almost forgot about your German lesson for this week.

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Thanks Bill!  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Man, I’m spent.  Hope that tides you over for a few days.  Have fun, drink well and enjoy the big game.

Cheers!

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Weekend Beer Buzz: GABF Edition 10/10/12

Where to go?  What to do?  I find myself asking the same questions every year during GABF.  You’ve basically got a year’s worth of great beer events crammed into one week.  So I’m going to give you my picks for some of the best events around town this week.  These are the ones that aren’t already sold out like the GABF and Rare Beer Tasting IV.

Pick a day, any day, and head over to Crooked Stave.  Just look at this menu and list of special tappings for this week.

Deliciouness abounds over there.  Stop by Crooked Stave: 1441 W 46th Ave, Unit 19, Denver, CO 80211.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012.

Take a side trip from all the buzz downtown and hit up Parry’s Pizza for their Great Divide Tap Takeover.

Apparently there’s been a Yeti sighting on the south side of town.  Be on the lookout for Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, the new Baby Yeti and more.  In addition to the family of furry beasts, they’ll be bringing out other big guns like Hercules and Hibernation.  The tapping starts at 11AM and runs all day.  Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.

Firestone Walker has an amazing beer dinner lined up called The Lion, The Bear & The Brewmaster.

This will feature 4 of Firestone’s previous Anniversary beers and will also be the debut for this year’s Anniversary beer XVI.  Each beer is paired with a different course prepared by Chef Hosea Rosenberg.

Firestone Walker owners Adam Firestone and David Walker, along with brewmaster Matt Brynildson will be in attendance to discuss the beers and pairings between each course.  This is a rare chance for you to try all of these complex and impressive beers that will never be brewed again. Tickets are $75 / each and can be purchased HERE.  This event runs from 6:30 to 9:30 PM at Denver’s Mile High Station: 2027 W Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012.

Freshcraft’s tapping some beers from the very popular Cigar City Brewery out of Tampa, FL on Thursday at 3 PM.

Get your GABF warmed up with Cinnamon Apple IPA, Guava Grove Saison, Ligero Black Lager, Hotter Than Helles and the delicious Marshal Zhukov’s Russian Imperial Stout.  Freshcraft is located at: 1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.

The first night of GABF wraps up with some great after parties.  The World Brewers Forum, sponsored by The Keg Ran Out Club (KROC), a local homebrew club, is entering its’ 18th year.

This year, they’ll have 3 guest speakers.  Mitch Steele, the brewmaster for Stone Brewing, along with Mark Irvin and John Bryant from the No-Li Brewhouse.  There will be more than 20 homebrews to sample, plus a carving station with roast beef and ham.  This is really a great chance to sit back, relax and catch your great after a busy opening night at GABF.  There will also be drawings for prizes and a silent auction featuring glassware, t-shirts, beer, gift cards and more.  I’ve never left empty-handed.

The event starts at 8PM and runs until Midnight.  Best of all, it’s FREE!, but please RSVP to: WBF@kroc.org  The WBF is being held at: Marriott City Center Hotel, 1701 California St, Denver, CO.

Oskar Blues is gearing up for a big party at the Blake Street Tavern called “It’s All About The Package”.

They’ve been pretty tight-lipped about this so far, but it sounds like this will commemorate the release of a new canned beer.  There will be music, giveaways and even transportation from the Convention Center between 9 – 11PM.  Be sure to print off a ticket HERE or have it ready to show on your phone at the door.  The Blake Street Tavern is located at: 2301 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205.

Thursday is barrel day over at Star Bar.

They’ll have New Belgium’s La Folie, Tart Lychee, Clutch and Kick.  Odell’s is bringing Shenanigans, Saboteur, The Meddler and Deconstruction.  Other breweries and beers will be announced as the event gets closer.  This fires up at noon.

Stop by later that night for some special one-offs from New Belgium’s Wood Cellar.  Look for Dunkel Apple, Funky Friends and more.  Live music starts at 9:30 PM.  Star Bar is located at: 2137 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.

Just a few blocks down on Blake Street, the Falling Rock Tap House is sure to be rockin’ all week-long.  On Thursday, stop by for the tapping of several beers from Sun King Brewery out of Indianapolis, IN.

Look for Osiris (Pale Ale), Cream Dream V (American IPA), Velvet Fog (Belgian Quad) and more to get tapped at 11PM.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Friday, October 12th, 2012.

Friday afternoon means the Annual Kill-A-Keg contest at Falling Rock at noon.  Sierra Nevada’s Harvest Ale will be racing through the tap lines as owner Chris Black tries to beat last year’s record of draining a keg in just over 9 minutes.  Stop by and help make this happen!

Hang out for lunch and wait for the Cigar City release at 3PM.  They were able to obtain Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown, Humidor IPA, Apple Brandy Barrel Aged Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout and more. These are some really nice beers that won’t last long, so get over and get yours.  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Got hops?  Then get over to Rock Bottom for this year’s Alpha King Challenge!

This is an annual search for the best hop bomb out there.  Beers under 60 IBU’s need not apply. Stop by and check out the competition which runs from 1 to 4PM.  Rock Bottom Denver is located at: 1001 16th St #100, Denver, CO 80265.

The Rackhouse Pub is running a series of classes this year of Liquid Education that’s all about Beer.

One of the sessions that I’m pretty excited about features Andy Parker from Avery, Chad Yakobson from Crooked Stave and Troy Casey of AC Golden leading a class called Sours 101.  These 3 bad asses of funky brews will be discussing all that is barrel-aging, souring, blending and more.  They will also guide you through a tasting of sour beers from their breweries.  Any one of these brewers would be worth the price alone, but the Rackhouse has put all three together for what is sure to be a fun, informative and tasty event.  Tickets are available HERE.  The Rackhouse is located at: 208 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is opening their doors for a soft opening this Friday and Saturday from 1-10PM.

They’ll be pouring their 5 beers for $5 / pint and $1 / taster.  We met with owner Brandon Proff earlier this summer to get the low down on his new brewery and beers.  Check out the post HERE.  If you’re planning to attend the soft opening this weekend, and you should be, they ask that you please RSVP at this link: http://www.gabfweekend.omfmb.com/  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.

For some late night, post-GABF action, head over to Freshcraft for their Oak Aged Extravaganza at 10PM.

They’ll be pouring Firestone Walker ’12 Parabola and Anniversary XIV, Odell ’11 Bourbon Barrel Stout, The Meddler and more!  Freshcraft is located at: 1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.

Saturday, October 13th, 2012.

You’ve got a long day ahead of you on Saturday, so make sure you start out with a good breakfast. Head to The Cheeky Monk for Breakfast With The Bruery.

The popular Belgian Beer Bar has teamed up with Bruery owner Patrick Rue to bring you a variety of special beers paired with a delicious breakfast menu.  No advanced tickets required.  Breakfast starts at 8AM.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203.

There’s not one, but TWO new breweries opening this weekend.  Black Shirt Brewing is gearing up for their Grand Opening on Saturday.

The new Denver brewery, which will focus on a variety of Red Ales will open their doors on Saturday from 3 – 10PM.  We’ve been waiting a loooooooong time for this, so get over there and show them your support.

Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.

Saturday night, once the afternoon GABF session wraps up, I usually grab dinner, catch my breath, regroup and get ready for Dr. Bill’s Annual GABF Beer Tasting at Falling Rock.  Dr. Bill is the Beverage Coordinator for Stone Brewing and has one of the largest and most extensive beer cellars in the world.  He knows his stuff and can put on one hell of a party.

He takes over the Falling Rock basement each year after GABF to share some amazing beers with all the beer nerds in town.  Last year he brought some great stuff including Cantillon’s Lou Pepe Gueuze, The Bruery’s Black Tuesday, Three Floyd’s Dark Lord and so much more!  He’s back again this year and armed with 100 beers!  Come at 8PM when the corks start getting popped and the caps start flying.  Bring $40, a full stomach and a DD.  RSVP to: bill.sysak@stonebrew.com  Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

So there’s my picks for a good weekend of wholesome beer fun.  I hope to see you all around town over the next few days.  This is my favorite weekend of the year and personally, I can’t wait to get out there and enjoy all that is GABF.  Have fun, be safe, try something new and please don’t drive.

Cheers!


New Brewery Spotlight: West Flanders Brewing Co.

There’s a craft beer boom hitting our state.  Denver was tagged earlier this Summer when Prost, Crooked Stave, TRVE and others began popping up around town, while more new breweries like Our Mutual Friend and Black Shirt are just a few short weeks from making their debut.  Now it looks like that boom is making its’ way up to Boulder, where two new breweries have opened in the past week. Meet West Flanders Brewing Co.

Last Monday, West Flanders Brewing opened their doors to give us a special night of beers, food and a glimpse into what the future holds.  Their location on Pearl Street Mall couldn’t be better.  When the former resident, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse moved out earlier this year, West Flanders owners Mark and Chris Heinritz knew it would be the perfect spot to open their new brewery and restaurant.  The brothers, who have owned the popular restaurant, The Sink in Boulder since 1992, are joined by partner Barry Wolfman.  Together, the trio is looking to bring a new restaurant to Boulder that will be considered THE place for food and beer.

In addition to an absolutely perfect spot on the popular pedestrian mall, the location came with a 10 BBL brew system already installed. This entirely eliminated hassle of tracking down equipment, the phone calls and worries of damaged and delayed parts and a mountain of other obstacles that comes with securing and building a brewhouse.  The team just had to get their license, order ingredients and hire a brewmaster to come and play.  But wait, who would be taking on the important role of Brewmaster?

Enter Brian Lutz, formerly of Oskar Blues, Lefthand and Redfish Brewhouse.

Brian, who’s probably best known for helping to create Dale’s Pale Ale with Oskar Blues, introducing cans to craft beer and winning multiple medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, was an obvious choice to take on the brewing for West Flanders Brewery.  Despite that face that Brian’s been out of the game for a few years, he was eager to get his boots back on and get back to brewing.

West Flanders Brewery, which officially opened on September 24th, is already serving up six of Brian’s beers.

Angry Monk – a 7.1% ABV, sweet, Belgian-style ale that has a touch of caramel, bitterness and dangerous drinkability.

St. Mark’s Dubbel – a 7% ABV Belgian Dubbel, brewed with Trappist yeast and a nose of clove and bakers chocolate.

Daisy Cutter – a 9% ABV Belgian-style Strong Ale; a big, sweet, oaky ale, also brewed with Trappist yeast and a high ABV that goes down way too easily.

tbd ESB – a 6.2% ABV Extra Special Bitter that has a moderately hoppy, caramel aroma.

Canniption Pale Ale – a 6.8% ABV brew that pours a clear, amber color and clocks in at 70 IBU’s; packs a big, floral hop nose.

Third Kingdom IPA – a 6.7% ABV India Pale Ale, with a big hop aroma and a citrusy taste.

In addition to his core lineup of 6-beers, he’s also working on a Stout, Tripel and a Pilsner.  Brian could hardly contain himself at the Grand Opening on Monday night.  He spoke of how much the craft beer industry has changed since he began his journey nearly 20 years ago.  Many of the ideas he had at his previous breweries, wouldn’t have worked in the early days, simply due to the lack of craft beer knowledge and boundary pushing styles at the time.  Fortunately, our palates have evolved and the beer world is finally ready for some of the exciting ideas Brian wants to incorporate into his brews.

At the opening, Brian spoke of the importance of yeast.  He believes that the magic of brewing is in mastering yeast strains.  Brian also spoke of his plan for creatively incorporating local ingredients into his brews.  He has no desire to brew within a restricted style guideline, but would rather brew interesting, fun and flavorful beers. Brian is a brewer who is constantly evolving, in order to keep his craft exciting for both himself and his legion of beer drinking fans.

In the near future, Brian will be moving his grains off-site and installing barrels and barrel racks into the third floor of West Flanders Brewing.  The barrels will give him the opportunity to experiment with wild yeasts and the art of blending.

True beer geeks will also appreciate the thoughtful list of guest taps and bottles, ranging from classics like Duvel and St. Bernardus to newer treats such as Houblon Chouffe and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi.

The final piece of the West Flanders Brewing puzzle was filled by Executive Chef Jamie Lucas.  Jamie brings a wide variety of foods to the dining room and plans to pair his dishes with Brian’s beers in “new and unexpected ways”.

He makes a delicious entrée called Monk Chops that is a grilled pork chop basted with Angry Monk beer.  I also had the chance to try his Smokestack Burger, which is a beef patty basted with Angry Monk BBQ sauce, topped with a layer of thick-cut bacon, followed by a third layer of smoked pulled pork on top.  Soooo delicious.

Chef Jamie has also designed a menu with a variety of gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches and my personal favorite, sausage and cheese plates.  There’s just something about a well-crafted beer and a slice of smoked Cheddar or Gruyère.

West Flanders Brewing’s amazing location is a given and at just over a week old, their beer and food are already living up to expectations.  The next time you’re out and about on the Pearl Street Mall, be sure to stop by for a tasty beer and a nice meal.  West Flanders Brewing is located at: 1125 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO.  303-447-2739.

Cheers!


Brewtally Insane / American Craft Beer Radio Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Kyle’s Brew Fest!

Alright, you guys ready for another giveaway?  So last weekend, my wife Patti, won a pair of tickets from American Craft Beer Radio to attend Kyle’s Beer Fest at Boulder Beer in Boulder, CO. Unfortunately, she forgot we’re embarking on another brew-venture on the same weekend and won’t be able to attend.  After talking with Gary V over at American Craft Beer Radio, we decided to have a little fun, come up with a contest and give the tickets away to a lucky reader of Brewtally Insane.  Hey, that means you!

Kyle’s Brew Fest is entering its’ third year and features Kyle Hollingsworth (from the String Cheese Incident) and his band, along with a ton of great beers.  The event is being held on Saturday, July 28th from 3 PM – 7 PM and tickets run $25 for beer samples, an exclusive tasting glass and a mountain of great music.

Kyle is a big fan of craft beer and has done several collaborative brews with local breweries, including Boulder Beer and Dry Dock Brewing.  In fact, his recent collaboration with Boulder Beer, called Hoopla – Pale Ale, is set to debut in cans in just two weeks.

The event will feature more than 30 breweries including Boulder Beer, Odell, Left Hand, Funkwerks, Great Divide, Oskar Blues and many more.  There’s also a silent auction that will benefit the Conscious Alliance.  Music meets Beer, all for a good cause.  This is sure to be a great time and I’m pretty bummed that we can’t make it.

But, our loss is your gain.  So if you’d like to attend, all you need to do is guess how many breweries I’ve been to.  Simple right?  Here’s a few quick rules:

1.  You must be able to attend this event on Saturday, July 28th at 3 PM.

2.  Place your guess on the Brewtally Insane Facebook Page in the comments section under the link to this post.

3.  Guesses will be judged “Price is Right” style.  In other words, closest guess without going over.

4.  Your guess should be based on the total number of breweries I’ve visited.  Not beer bars, beer festivals, etc…  Just places that actually brew beer on-site.

5.  One entry per person.

6.  Keep listening to American Craft Beer Radio on 102.3 on Saturday’s at noon.

That’s about it.  You’ve got until Sunday, July 15th at 5 PM MST to get your guess in.  Good luck!

Oh, and thanks to everyone that helped us break 100 Likes today on the Facebook Page!  Congrats to Cory Seaton for being our 100th Like and getting hooked up with a New Belgium Lips of Faith Brett Beer bomber and official NB Globe glass!

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!


New Beers and Beer News 05/01/2012

Just a quick blog with some new beers on the shelves now and others that should be dropping soon.
First up is New Belgium’s newest addition to their Lips of Faith series, Tart Lychee.  I mentioned this beer a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to trying it in bottles.  I had the draft version at Avery’s SourFest last year and it was phenomenal.  If you like sours, I’d seek this one out.  It’s around town and shouldn’t be too hard to track down.  
Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale is showing up around town as well.  They say bacon makes everything better and until recently, I would have agreed with that statement.  That was until I tried this beer.  I hate to knock it, knowing that quite a few people have been patiently waiting to try it, but it’s just not for me.
I came across some bottles out in Arizona this past spring and at the time, was excited to finally give it a try.  It poured the color of maple syrup and had a ton of smoke aroma and flavor.  It was just too much for me.  I couldn’t finish my glass.  I actually gave it a second shot at room temperature, with my breakfast the next morning and enjoyed it a tad more, but still wasn’t sold on it.
 
I’ve enjoyed Voodoo Bacon Maple doughnuts and I’ve enjoyed Rogue beers, but the two didn’t mix well for me.  Still, if sweet, smoked beers are your thing, give it a shot.  If nothing else, it comes in a cool bottle…
AC Golden has delayed their first run of sour beers.  The “Hidden Barrel Room” project over at Coors in Golden, CO, was hoping to release their Peche, Kriek and Apricot sours in early May, exclusively at Mile High Wine & Spirit’s in Lakewood, CO.  Unfortunately, some labeling issues have delayed them for a few more weeks.  Once everything gets cleared up, they should be ready to roll out.

Aged in wine barrels filled with locally grown fruit and fermented with wine yeast and brettanomyces.  These should be some tasty lambics.  Don’t be scared off by the Coors name, the AC Golden guys know what they’re doing.  I’ve had the opportunity to try two of these over the past year or so and they are awesome!  These should sell for $21.99 / 750mL bottle.  Again, the only place to get these will be at Mile High Wine & Spirit’s in Lakewood, CO.  They are located at: 435 S Vance St., Lakewood, CO  303-936-0272.

Oskar Blues is set to release the CAN-laboration beer they brewed with Sun King from Indianapolis, IN.  The beer’s being called Chaka and will be released in 16 oz. aluminum bottles.  Chaka is an 8% ABV Belgian Style Ale, brewed with ingredients from each breweries home state.

6-packs of Chaka will be sold at The Tasty Weasel Taproom for $15.99 / 6-pack.  No word on whether or not this will see distribution.  The Tasty Weasel is located at:  1800 Pike Rd., Unit B, Longmont, CO  80501.  303-776-1914

Pssst, Parabola is coming!  Stay tuned!

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!

 


Strong Ale Fest Teaser, Prost Brewing, Firkins, Dark Lord Day Tickets and Beer Radio!

So it’s been an exciting week for me.  We had more than 300 hits in the first week of Brewtally Insane.  It’s awesome to see such a positive response.  Thank You! 

As I get ready to have my face melted at the Avery Strong Ale Festival tonight, I wanted to share a few pieces of beer news that I came across over the past few days. 

First up, Prost Brewing is hard at work getting their brew system up and running.  Prost is led by Bill Eye, the former head brewer over at Dry Dock in Aurora, CO.  Since leaving Dry Dock, he bought a brew system over in Germany, had it shipped to the U.S. by boat and has been hard at work getting it ready to fire off some tasty German style beers.  Bill and the gang at Prost are aiming for a Spring 2012 opening.  Prost will be located at 2540 19th Street, Denver, CO 80211.  Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on their progress, participate in surveys and see pictures of everything, from construction to glassware. 

Let the countdown to Spring begin!

Speaking of Dry Dock, their Firkin Friday release today is Hop Project:X.  Firkin master, Walt Chleva, says this is a dry hopped pale ale with an experimental hop.  First firkin at 3PM, second firkin at 7PM. 

12 hours from now, the Strong Ale Festival up at Avery will be in full force.  Here’s a few teasers for you from two of my favorite breweries.  First up, Surly.  They sent kegs of Smoke, which is a smoked lager and Five, which is a sour ale they brewed for their 5th anniversary.  Surly doesn’t distribute very far from their brewery up in Minnesota, so be sure to check these out if you’re attending  this weekend.  

Get Surly this weekend at Avery's Strong Ale Festival

Oskar Blues also has some intersting “one-offs” for you to enjoy at the festival.  They’re bringing four beers this time around.  Look for a wine barrel aged G’Knight, an oak aged version of Gubna and a Double Deviant.  That should satisfy the hopheads in the crowd.  If double IPA’s aren’t your thing, they’re also bringing a Wild Turkey barrel aged version of Ten FIDY, their Russian Imperial Stout.  Personally, I’m really looking forward to giving that a try. 

Look for Oskar Blues to bring some tap some tasty barrel aged beers this weekend.

American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live for a pre-festival, tailgate-like show at Avery from 11-noon tomorrow.  Joining host Gary V. on the show tomorrow will be Surly head brewer, Todd Haug and Avery barrel master, Andy Parker.  American Craft Beer Radio is on 102.3 FM, ESPN Radio.  At noon, you can flip over to 760 AM for the Colorado Craft Beer Show and here all the local happenings with John Turk and from Oskar Blues, Chris Katechis, aka “The Gubna”.  I love both of these programs and it’s nice that they’re going to be on at staggered times this weekend so listeners don’t have to flip back and forth. 

Oh and real quick, Three Floyds has announced that tickets for their 2012 Dark Lord Day release will go on sale on March 17th.  The release date is set for Saturday, April 28th.  I’ll have more info on Dark Lord Day soon, but if you’re thinking about going, check out their website and mark your calendars.  This is one of the biggest releases of the year and is sure to be a good time.

Get ready to reserve your Dark Lord Day 2012 tickets next week.

Again, thanks for a great first week.  Business cards have arrived.  They look pretty sharp if I may say so and have a tip chart on the back so you’ve got no reason not to take care of your bartenders around town.  Give me a shout and I’ll give you some to pass along to your beer loving friends.  Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook to get updates, beer releases, reviews and links shared with you throughout the week.