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Miracles Happen At The Denver Only Beer Festivus!

We had the opportunity to attend the Denver Only Beer Festivus last Saturday.  This is a new (and hopefully recurring) beer festival that was presented by Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe Denver. The event was held at the recently renovated McNichols Building at Civic Center Park in Denver and featured ONLY Denver breweries (all 18 of them!).  Despite having sold out weeks ago, the inaugural Festivus had no lines, great beer, a DJ and dance area, plenty of room to move about and brewers working their booths and supporting their craft beers.  At one point, my wife whispered in my ear “This might be my new favorite beer festival”.  It was truly a Festivus Miracle!

TRVE Brewing just keeps getting better and better.  Owner / Brewer Nick Nunns was pouring Diotima, a Smoked Tea Saison and Stout O))), a thick and roasty American Stout.  Stop by the brewery and give these brews a try if you haven’t already.  Stout O))) was one of my favorite beers of the night.  It’s a hearty brew and perfect for those cold winter nights that lie ahead.

Crooked Stave brought the funk and crushed it as usual.  No shocker there.  Amazing brews.

There was a Yeti sighting at the Great Divide table.  They brought Oak-Aged Yeti, Titan IPA, Hibernation Ale and their upcoming Belgian Tripel called Orabelle.  Keep an eye out for Orabelle in 12oz. bottles sometime in January.

Prost is awesome, but you already knew that.

Strange Brewing always brings a great lineup and the Festivus was no exception.  Head Brewer Tim Myers brought his “Beers Made By Walking” release called Eldorado Juniper Bel-Jin Dark, along with the very tasty Pumpkin Porter and Le Bruit du Diable Farmhouse Ale.

I geek’d out for a good 20 minutes at the River North Brewery table.  They brought some big and impressive beers for all the geeks in the house.  They were pouring a barrel-aged version of Avarice (Belgian-style Imperial Stout), along with Quandary (Quadrupel) and Hoppenberg Uncertainty Principle (Belgian-style Double IPA).  Awesome stuff.

The standout of the night for me was Black Shirt Brewing and their Imperial Red Rye IPA.  This a hop heads wet dream.  Man, I was blown away by this beer with its’ full and complex flavor profile.  I also tried their Saison and Red Ale, both of which were really tasty.  There was reportedly a keg of Red Hubbard Squash Saison, but it was so popular that they ran out before I got a pour.

Black Shirt Brewing Co-Owner Branden Miller has been really helpful with providing information and answering questions for the blog and it was nice to finally meet and taste his beers.  Guys, I’m excited about this one.  Black Shirt Brewing looks to be the real deal.  Miller said that going forward, they plan to open every Saturday, so check the Weekend Beer Buzz for updates on what they’ll be pouring in the Tap Room.

And that’s just a few of the many great breweries that were in attendance at the Festivus.  Don’t forget Our Mutual Friend, CAUTION, Denver Beer Co., Wynkoop, Wit’s End, Renegade and on and on! Denver is lucky to have so many great, young brewers that are crafting some awesome beers these days. It’s really impressive to see so many high quality beers coming out of places that are so new to the brewing community.  I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in 5 years.

So that’s just a quick recap on the Festivus scene and the many great beers that were flowing. Again, awesome, awesome time.  Thanks again to Denver Off The Wagon and Imbibe Denver for hosting a great event.  Now, on to the pictures.

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Cheers!

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New Brewery Spotlight: Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew

Session beer.  What’s your definition of a session beer?  For me, it’s something with a low ABV (4 – 6% range), well-balanced, yet still flavorful and able to keep me interested over the course of several pints.  I want a nice session beer that will allow me to hang out with friends for a few hours of good conversation, a game of Risk or to discuss our preparations for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  A good session beer will allow me to do this without the threat of getting sloppy or intoxicated.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably realize that I like the big-bad barrel aged monsters, like the Yeti, The Beast and the all-powerful Dark Lord as much as the next guy.  But, the reality is that when I go to Great Divide or Avery or wherever to drink these 8%, 9%, 10%+ ABV beers, I’m limited to one or two at most.  It’s almost as if some of the bigger breweries treat “session” like it’s a 4-letter word.  Not a bad thing, but there’s a time and place for all beer. (Except for maybe Keystone Light…  I gotta draw the line somewhere.)  Sometimes, I just want to sit and enjoy some quality, low ABV beers.  Fortunately for you and me, there’s a new brewery getting set to open in Denver, that’s looking to fill this oh-so-sad hole in our lives.

Enter Brandon Proff, Andrew Strasburg and Bryan Leavelle of Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew (OMF).

The team of three behind OMF are setting out to make delicious craft beers that are low in alcohol content, highly sessionable and pleasing to the beer geeks palate.  They’re creating a place that will draw in the after-work crowd with great beers, engaging conversation and a comfortable hangout that feels like your buddy’s garage (only with better beer).  Simple, yet modern and inviting, with a small beer garden on the side.

A small record player in the corner and I’m taken back to my high school days.  I feel like they should have a drum set and a couple of guitars in the corner for when those creative juices really get going.

Last week, we met with OMF Director of Operations, Brandon Proff, to discuss OMF’s concept, upcoming beers and future plans.

The idea behind OMF had been getting tossed around for over a year.  Brandon had been eyeing the location at 2810 Larimer Street for months and when it finally went up for sale, the OMF team jumped on it.  They put their business plan into action, moved into the location on May 1st and now are just a few short weeks away from their opening day.

Brandon and OMF are going to offer local beers, made with local ingredients.  Local hops and local specialty ingredients will be used whenever possible.  They’re taking a very hands-on approach in their brewery by malting their own grains, something no other brewery (as far as I know) in the area has tried to do.  This gives them total control over their product, allowing them to fine tune and experiment even more with their recipes.  They’ll be a true nano-brewery, using a 1-BBL system, hand-crafting each batch, one keg at time.

The beers themselves are simple and true to style, but will surely be appreciated by both craft beer geeks and those still stuck in the dark ages of macro swill.  OMF will be pouring 5-beers for their official opening: Saison, IPA, Pale Ale, Porter and the only beer with an actual name, the Cream Ale called Proletariat.  There’s an extra tap line reserved for seasonals and experiments and another line reserved for Root Beer for those responsible DD’s or little ones in the crowd.

Click on the picture for a description of each beer.

Have no fear barrel-aged freaks, there’s already talk about procuring wine barrels from their wine-making neighbors down the street at The Infinite Monkey Theorem.  Or if coffee’s your thing, they’re right next door to local artisan coffee roasters, Huckleberry Roasters.  In other words, there’s plenty of opportunity for brewmaster Bryan to play.

Brandon is planning on serving pies from The Humble Pie Store, which makes the best damn pie I’ve ever had in my life!  Such a nice change from the typical pretzels and popcorn offered by many other breweries in town.

OMF has also created a Beer Appreciation Society for a small number of devotees.  The $85 price tag will reward members with a LIFETIME of benefits including:

– 1 custom printed 32 oz growler

– 1 Beer Appreciation Society t-shirt

– 1 OMF notebook for tasting notes, journaling, ransom letters, etc.

– 1 laminated membership card

– 6 (FREE) growler fills (regular price $7, a $42 value)

– 12 (FREE) pints (regular price $4, a $48 value)

– 10% off your bar tab FOREVER

– Invites to all special tasting parties we do

– Secret Beer Society meetings where awesomeness will happen (guest brewer hangouts, collaboration beers, etc)

OMF isn’t even open yet and more than half of the memberships have already been claimed.  If you think you’d like to sign up, I’d recommend doing so sooner than later.  For more information, shoot an e-mail to OMF using this address: hello@omfmb.com

While it might seem like Denver is getting overrun with new breweries these days, each one is quickly finding their own niche in town.  Prost is doing the German thing, River North is leaning towards Belgian-styles, Crooked Stave continues to lay down the funk and Black Shirt (when they open later this year) will be taking the classic Red Ale and twisting it in a variety of interesting ways.  Our Mutual Friend will be a welcome addition to the quickly growing Five Points neighborhood in Northeast Denver with their classy, sessionable brews.

They’re targeting an opening date on September 15th and will be open Thu – Sun from 1 – 10 PM. Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Cheers!