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Big Beers Abound At The 11th Annual Avery Strong Ale Fest

The 11th Annual Strong Ale Fest has come and gone.  Our hosts at Avery Brewing had to reconfigure a bit in order to accommodate this years event.  As they continue to push their facility to the limits and fill every nook and cranny in their building with beer, they’re just flat-out running out of space.  Until their new facility is ready next year, they’ll just have to keep thinking of creative ways to make it work.  Thankfully, this past weekend, they still managed to find enough room for a few hundred of their closest beer lovin’ friends to sip, sample and share 100+ high ABV brews.

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The tasting room was slammed as usual, pouring the first 20 beers on the menu.  Samples from Allagash, Asher, Avery, Boulevard and others were ready and waiting for attendees as they walked through the door.
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The menu seems to get a little longer each year.  105 beers were on tap this time around and with only 16 tasting tickets, some tough decisions had to be made.

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The Barrel Room was reduced from a wall of roughly 40 taps, down to only 10.  Personally, I thought this was a great improvement, as it allowed for several tables and chairs to be placed in the barrel room and gave attendees additional space to spread out and talk.

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Side note – The barrel room was lined with barrels full of Uncle Jacob’s stout.  This is a phenomenal Imperial Stout that will hopefully be released again later this year.

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The back of the barrel room opened up to a pair of massive tents, where the remaining 75 beers were flowing.  Except for the BA Ten FIDY, which sadly, none of the staff or volunteers could coax out of the keg.  So close, yet so far…

In addition, there was a tent out front, next to the patio area, which seemed to be a well-kept secret during Friday’s session.  Plenty of tables, chairs and even a heater were inside to keep the crowd happy and allow for a little more room to spread out.

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As expected, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger was a hot commodity and the usual suspects were proudly pouring this highly coveted brew.  Gang signs and all.

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Everybody has their own take on live music, but we enjoyed it.  This little trio rocked it with their covers of Zeppelin, Neil Young, Phish, etc…

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With so many great beers on the menu, it’s a little silly to try to pick a “Best of Show” beer, but here are a few that really stood out for us.  Pizza Port’s Barrel Aged Knight Rider, is an Imperial Stout that spent 9 months in Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrels.  A great beer that we recently had during our trip to Pizza Port last month.  Pizza Port also impressed with their Poorman’s IPA.  Poorman’s took Gold last year at the World Beer Cup.

Avery’s Tweak is a coffee infused version of their 16% Mephistopheles Imperial Stout.  Formerly known as Meph Addict, this beer NEEDS to be bottled.  You hear me Adam Avery?  Bottle this beast. Pretty please???

We also really enjoyed Wynkoop’s Barleywine, known as The Chancellor.  It’s just a well made beer that could easily stand its’ ground against some of the top examples in the style.
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Although we didn’t attend on Saturday, we did catch a few bits and pieces from the Colorado Craft Beer Show and American Craft Beer Radio, both of whom were broadcasting live from the festival.  If you missed out, be sure to look for the podcasts, which should go up in a few days.

Strong Ale always makes our list of “must-do” beer fests and this year was a great time as always.  Hats off to the Avery Crew for another fantastic event and for all of the breweries for sharing their wonderful beers.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz: Strong Ale Fest & Birthday Edition 02/28/2013

Cold, snowy week here my friends.  The “Redneck Ruler” has been working overtime, trying to keep up with the foot of snow we got this week.

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Our team of “experts” flew in for a few days to revamp the website.  Those slackers got a good start, but we’re not ready to relaunch just yet.  It’s coming…

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Some of the last kegs of this year’s Pliny the Younger release are getting tapped tonight.

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Freshcraft will begin handing out tickets at 5:30 PM, with the tapping scheduled for 6 PM.  6 oz. pours will sell for $7.  Freshcraft is located at: 1530 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-758-9608.

Over at The Cheeky Monk, they’ll tap their last keg at 6:30 PM.  $10 / glass.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203.  303-861-0347.

The Inaugural SUDS for SIDS Brew Fest is at Mile High Station in downtown Denver, CO.

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The event will raise money for Angel Eyes, which helps families cope with the sudden, unexpected death of an infant or toddler.  As the father of two, this is a very scary topic and one that isn’t recognized enough.  Parent or not, it’s a great cause.  The $40 ticket will allow you the opportunity to try a variety of beers, sample food from local restaurants and meet dancers from the Broncos and Nuggets.  Beer geeks can look for brews from more than a dozen breweries including Elevation, River North, Strange and Oskar Blues.  Mile High Station is located at: 2027 W Lower Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80204.

Last night, Renegade and Wit’s End tapped their collaboration beer, called Judge Whoppner.  It’s an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with malted milk.  The initial 10 gallon batch is on tap at Renegade right now.  A second batch is set to be brewed soon over at Wit’s End for their tasting room.  Shikes has all the details in his recent Westword article.  In the meantime, head over to Renegade and give it a try.  Renegade Brewing is located at: 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204.  720-401-4089.

Aurora’s Cedar Creek Pub is a bit of a hidden gem out in.  Today, they’ll tap a keg of The Bruery’s Sour in the Rye.  It’s brewed with around 40% rye malt, then transferred to oak barrels where the sour yeast and bacteria work their magic.  This is a tasty, complex, moderately funky, seasonal brew from California’s The Bruery.

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I still need to make a trip to visit Cedar Creek Pub, but their beer tappings have just gotten better and better over the past few months and the food menu looks great too.  Stop by and give them a try.  Cedar Creek Pub is located at: 2100 N Ursula St, Aurora, CO 80045.  303-537-4124.

Up in Arvada, Yak & Yeti’s Head Brewer Adam Draeger, tapped a Toasted Coconut Porter yesterday and the (Yakety Yak) Don’t Talk Bock is getting rave reviews.  Here’s this week’s lineup.

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Draeger also said he brewed a large batch of a Belgian Dubbel that will be ready sometime towards the end of March.  The beer will be called “Brahmin Dubbel Knowledge” and features 25 pounds of homemade Belgian Candi Sugar.  Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

Crooked Stave has your sour fix.  They just tapped Sentience aged in a Leopold Bros Small Batch Whiskey Barrel.  This won’t last, so get to the barrel room today.  It’ll also be pouring at Strong Ale Fest, so you’ve got a couple of chances to try this amazing beer.

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

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Dry Dock’s Firkin Friday release will be a Citrus Saison.

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

Down at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s got a 15% ABV Eis’d Bier de Garde, called King Baudoin.

This Deviation is described as a “malt forward and chewy ale” that will “warm you like a thick down coat”.  Perfect for the cold, snowy days we’ve experienced lately.  This behemoth will tap at 4 PM. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

As for us, we’ll be at the 11th Annual Strong Ale Festival at Avery Brewing in Boulder.  You know how much we love the Avery Fests and this one is no exception.  This is THE place to be this weekend if you crave those big ass, roided up, 8+% ABV, monster brews.  I’ll be scoping out Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, Avery’s Tweak (coffee infused Mephistopheles) and whatever the hell Surly brings this year.  Maybe a little of your new barrel-aged Brett beer, Pentagram?  Yeah, that works.  And bring back Darkness you foolio’s!

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Strong Ale Fest sold out quick, so if you don’t already have tickets, well, you’re probably out of luck.  However, if you do have tickets, look for us Friday night.  The event continues on Saturday and features a live broadcast with the guys from the Colorado Craft Beer Show and American Craft Beer Radio.  More details below.  And if you just want to re-live last year’s fest and gaze over the menu, click HERE.  Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.

UPDATE: The 2013 Strong Ale Fest beer list is up for your drooling pleasure.  Start planning your weekend right HERE.

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Strong Ale Fest at Avery continues on Saturday from noon to 5 PM.  The Colorado Craft Beer Show and American Craft Beer Radio will kick things off out front beginning at noon.  Check them out on AM 760 and 102.3 FM respectively.  Be responsible people.  Book a hotel, call a cab, eat a big meal, drink a whole mess of water, have fun.

If you don’t have tickets for Strong Ale Fest, then get your butt over to Copper Kettle Brewing Company, for the release of their Barrel Aged Old Ale.

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

Don’t forget your German lesson with Bill Eye from Prost Brewing.

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Prost needs your help.  They’re looking to name their 4 fermenters.  They’ve got three 70 barrel tanks and one 80 barrel.  Send your entry to kevin@prostbrewing.com.  The winner will win a growler a month for one year!  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Hops & Pie will tap their Pliny the Younger keg on Sunday.

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They’ll hand out 50 tickets when the doors open at 2 PM.  A ticket guarantees you a 10 oz. pour, so don’t be late.  The keg gets tapped at 4 PM and all tickets must be redeemed by 8 or you risk losing your share.  Pliny the Elder will also be on tap.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Your last chance for Pliny the Younger is coming up on Monday down at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs.

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Tickets will be available at 6 PM and the tapping will happen at 7 PM.  Don’t be one of those whiners who didn’t get their Younger this year.  Get out and get some.  Trinity Brewing is located at: 1466 Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.  719-634-0029.

Other Exciting Brew News

Some of Colorado’s lady brewers brewed a collaboration beer at Wynkoop earlier this week.  They joined forces to brew a Belgian Pale Ale that’ll debut during Colorado Craft Beer Week in March. Click on this link for a short video that aired on Fox31 a few days ago.  There’s also details on a contest they’re having to name the brew.  Winner gets FREE BEER!

Boulder’s Fate Brewing has been staying busy.  Business is good at the new brewpub and the brewhouse is almost completely installed.  Sales & Marketing Director Hannah Lloyd says they should be “brewing test batches by this weekend…fingers crossed”.

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Until then, be sure to stop by and check out some of their tasty collaboration brews.  Fate Brewing is located at: 1600 38th St, Boulder, CO 80301.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew gave us a little tease this week.

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A new 3 BBL brew system is on the way and it looks like bottles are in the future as well.  Congrats to Brandon and the rest of the gang on this very exciting news!  Stop by and check them out if you haven’t already.  They just expanded their hours again to better serve the local beer freaks.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Beer Hunters, take note that Firestone Walker’s §ucaba, a barrel-aged Barleywine and Stone’s Old Guardian Barleywine are making the rounds right now.  Stone also released an Oak-Smoked version of Old Guardian as part of their “Odd Beers for Odd Years” line of beers.  I can’t speak for the new Oak-Smoked, but the others are great both fresh and aged.  Get ’em while you can.

Utah’s Epic Brewing is opening a brewery, barrel room and tasting room right here in Denver. They’re just getting started over there, but plenty of exciting things are coming.

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As always, we’ll keep you posted with updates.  An April opening is expected.

Happy Birthday to us!

Brewtally Insane (that’s us) turns 1 this week!  Just wanted to say Thank You to all of our readers, brewers and amazing people who have supported us since we fired up this little site last year.  We really, really, really appreciate it.  I started this just as a way to keep some friends in the loop with all the local beer happenings and it’s taken off from there.  So Thank You!  Look for us at SUDS for SIDS at Mile High Station tomorrow and Strong Ale Fest at Avery Brewing on Friday. Say “hi”, have fun, be safe.

You guys rock!  Craft beer rules!

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 02/21/2013

Yeah, it’s cold out.  Yeah, it’s snowing.  What of it?  It is winter after all.  Don’t let the weather get you down.  We’ve got plenty of big ol’ brews to warm you up this weekend.  Coffee?  Check.  Bacon? Check.  Coffee Bacon Beer?  Check.  Triple IPA?  Check.

Let’s do this.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Sour freaks, listen up!  Oregon’s Cascade Brewing will release 2012 bottles of The Vine at 5:30 PM MST on Thursday.  Click HERE to place an order through their website.

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The Vine is a delicious blend of oak aged blond ales that were aged on pressed grapes.  Bottles will sell for $20 / 750 mL.  Vlad the Imp Aler, Blueberry, Apricot and other bottles are also currently for sale.  Get on over there and grab some before they’re gone.

Crooked Stave bottled their Provision Saison earlier this month.  Stop by the tasting room for a beer or two (or three) and take some bottles home.

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

Yak & Yeti Head Brewer Adam Draegr will replace Red Hots Wheat with Very Berry Stout tomorrow. Here’s the rest of the current lineup.

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

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Down at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s mixing things up a bit for this week’s Deviation.  He’s announcing “Jellyman’s Mystery Deviation Contest”, which will begin this week and going forward, will run on the last Friday of each month.  Beer fans will have the opportunity to evaluate and critique his Deviation based on aroma, appearance and taste via entry sheets at each table.  The brewers will gather the entries and announce a winner on the Monday following the release.  Jim will pick the winner for most accurate and Jellyman will pick the winner for most creative.  Winners will receive Rockyard gift cards.

This week’s release is called “Dogleg”.  Stop by and put your palate to the test.  Tapping at 4 PM. Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109.  303-814-9273.

Dry Dock’s whipped up a Simcoe and Amarillo Dry-Hopped Black IPA for Firkin Friday.

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

Congrats to PJ and the rest of the peeps over at Denver Off The Wagon on their 2nd Anniversary.

To celebrate, they’ve brewed a beer with the Denver Beer Co.  Swing by on Friday at 4:30 PM to try their Dubbel Entendre, a Belgian Dubbel brewed with Belgian malts, plenty of Belgian candi sugar and fermented with an Abbey yeast.  Denver Beer Co is located at: 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202.

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

So much to talk about on Saturday.  Where to begin???

Start your day with coffee, beer and bacon.  After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Denver Beer Co. is back with the 2nd Annual Beer, Bacon & Coffee Fest.  For $30, you get a breakfast burrito from Chile Billy, coffee from Coda Coffee, all you can eat bacon from Denver Bacon Co. and a coffee mug to drink up all the coffee brews you can handle.

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Here’s the list:

Swineheitsgebot: Rauchbier aged on Denver Bacon Co. bacon

Red Eye: Rauchbier aged on black & red chipotle chiles

Kenya Karitina: Coda oatmeal coffee stout

Rwanda Abakundakawa: Coda coffee stout

Cascara IPA: Hoppy American IPA aged on dried coffee bean fruit

Firkin: Denver Breakfast Stout – chocolate espresso stout

Firkin: Belgian Breakfast Ale – Belgian pale ale with apricots, blueberries, & spices

Red Beer: spicy bloody amber ale

The fest runs from 9 AM – noon, but be sure to call the brewery in advance to reserve a spot.  303-433-2739. Denver Beer Co. is located at: 1695 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202.

Over at Falling Rock Tap House, they’ve got two kegs of Pliny the Younger ready to go for this weekend.  The Saturday tapping will be at 12:30 PM.  The Sunday tapping will be at 1 PM.  Doors open at 11 AM and tickets will be handed out as people arrive.  More details and the entire Falling Rock update can be found HERE.

youngerFalling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

The Wynkoop will host the 17th Annual Beerdrinker of the Year National Finals on Saturday at 2 PM.

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The three beer geek finalists will be judged by a panel of past Beerdrinker of the Year winners and guest judges Kyle Clark, beer lover from Channel 9 News, and Ginger Johnson, founder of Women Enjoying Beer.  The 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year will receive $250 worth of free beer at their home bar or brewery, free beer for life at Wynkoop and unparalleled bragging rights.  This fun and unique event is free and open for all to come and enjoy.  Wynkoop Brewing is located at: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-297-2700.

It’s “Littlest Big Beer Fest” time again at Hops & Pie.  This month, the featured brewery is Firestone Walker.

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Sucaba and XVI!  Are you kidding me?  Don’t miss this.  Tappings begin at noon.  Hops & Pie is located at: 3920 Tennyson St, Denver, CO 80212.  303-477-7000.

Beer freaks down South need to get over to Bristol Brewing in Colorado Springs for the 9th Annual Firkin Rendezvous.  This annual fundraiser for the Colorado Brewers Guild will showcase firkins from 25 Colorado breweries including Great Divide, Odell, Dry Dock, Prost, Elevation and Three Barrel.

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Doors open at 1 PM for VIP and 2 PM for general admission.  Tickets are $50 and $35 respectively, which covers food, beer and tasting glass.  Bristol Brewing is located at: 1647 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80905.  719-633-2555.

Our friends on the airwaves will be “working” hard to bring you the latest and greatest in Colorado brew news.  This week, the Colorado Craft Beer Show is on location at Arvada Beer Co.  They’ll be chatting with guests from Firestone Walker and Uinta Brewing.

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Check ’em out on AM 760 from noon – 2 PM.  Better yet, get over to Arvada Beer and listen to the show live.  Arvada Beer is located at: 5600 Olde Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-467-2337.

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Falling Rock Tap House will tap their final keg of Pliny the Younger on Sunday at 1 PM.  Details are above and HERE.

Up in Boulder, Backcountry Pizza and Tap House will tap their keg of Pliny the Younger at 11 AM. Pours will be sold for $9 / 10 oz.

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Backcountry Pizza and Tap House is located at: 2319 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.  303-449-4285.

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Our last Pliny the Younger tapping for the weekend comes from the good people over at Cheeky Monk in Denver.

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They’ll be tapping one of their two kegs of this heavenly nectar at 6:30 PM.  $10 / glass.  If you’re not early, then you’re late.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203. 303-861-0347.

Other Brew News

Just a few bits of brew news to close out this week’s beer buzz.  Jim Koch over at Samuel Adams announced they’ll begin canning this summer.

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Once upon a time, all the way back in 2004, Koch said “Beer shall be offered in bottles, not cans”. My how times have changed.  No worries.  I love cans and don’t mind seeing Sam Adams get in on the action.

A little closer to home, Odell has announced Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA.

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Pinch me, because I must be dreaming.  Brewed with 2,000 lbs of pureed Colorado peaches, this is sure to be magical, wish granting unicorns in a bottle.  No word on a release date yet, but you know we’ll keep you posted on when you can expect 750 mL bottles to hit the shelves.

Colorado’s lady brewers are collaborating on a special brew to be released during Colorado Craft Beer Week in March.  Over at the Westword, Jonathan Shikes has all the details in his article about the Belgian Pale Ale they’ll be brewing up next week at the Wynkoop.

Lastly, Bill Eye’s here with his weekly terminology lesson.

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

We’ll be working on a little makeover and doing some maintenance on the site this weekend.  I want to apologize in advance for any outages we might experience.  Our team of skilled experts are working hard to make improvements and fine tune a few things just for you.  (It’s also a great excuse to gather some friends and open some nice brews.)

Otherwise, that’s it for this round.  Have fun this weekend you little Younger freaks.

Cheers!


Falling Rock Tap House Update and Pliny the Younger Details!

Read below for the latest update from Chris Black at Falling Rock Tap House.  This time he gears you up for this weekend’s release of Pliny the Younger and talks about St. Patrick’s Day, Colorado Craft Beer Week and Opening Day at Coors Field.

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Howdy Folks,

It’s the time of the year for Russian River Pliny the Younger ! We have 2 more releases scheduled: Next Saturday February 23rd at 12:30 pm, & next Sunday February 24th at 1pm.  Doors will open at our usual time of 11am. We will be issuing Tickets that allow you to purchase a glass of Pliny the Younger as people arrive. There will be 2 colors of tickets, if you get the first color, relax, sit down, start a tab, get something to eat & a warm-up beer or two, you’re getting a Younger, the second color, well, Maybe. When it comes time to tap Younger, we’ll sell it to all of the folks with the first color, if you are seated & have a tab with a server, you can stay seated because the server will bring it to you. When we finish serving all the folks with the first color we will do a last call for that color ticket then line up the second color tickets in order & start serving those folks. In order to get a Pliny the Younger you need to be here before we do last call for that color of tickets (usually around 25-30 minutes after we start pouring it) or you lose your chance & giving it to the next persons in line. I know it might sound a bit complex, but it’s really simple & has made our Pliny the Younger release days a lot easier, civilized & less stressful for everyone involved. 


Other dates to remember:
March 16th St. Patrick’s Parade. Once again Blake Street Turns Green with The Parade running right in front of the Falling Rock. We will be opening at 9am on Parade Day.

March 17th St. Patrick’s Day. Opening at normal Hour (11am) No Cover.

March 18th Kickoff event for Colorado Craft Beer Week. 7-11pm. We will be closed to the public for a Ticketed Event to kick off the Inaugural Colorado Craft Beer Week. We will be attempting to switch out all of our taps plus a few extra ones to Colorado Breweries for a truly Once-in-a-Lifetime Event. Tickets will go on sale in a few days & will be preceded by another email letting you know when they go on sale. There will only be 250 tickets to this event so watch out for the email & Twitter announcements  (Twitter @FallingRockTap )

April 5th Colorado Rockies Home Opener. We will open at 10am for the game vs the San Diego Padres.

Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO 80202.  303-293-8338.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz: Valentine’s Day Edition 02/14/2013

We had a killer time last week on the left coast.  San Diego is a great, great beer town.  No, it’s not Denver, let’s not get carried away, but it’s solid and growing just as quickly as our local scene.  This was our second visit in 18 months and it’s crazy to see the growth.  We shared some sights and tastes from Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey and we’ve got more to come including the Inaugural San Diego Winter Brew Fest, Green Flash, AleSmith and more. Stay tuned!

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And hey, it’s lent.

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Maybe give up something a little more reasonable like eating or shaving (which I happily haven’t done since November).  Do what you gotta do, but don’t give up craft beer.

In other news, the CO brewers won their fight against grocery and convenience stores selling full-strength beer.  Well done boys and girls.  I sincerely hope this is the last time you all have to fight that fight.  Unfortunately, it seems some overpaid assbanana brings it up again year after year.  Until then, Congrats on winning this battle.

And lastly, before we start our weekend run down, Cheers to Swagger, the Old English Sheepdog and CO-native that made us all proud at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  The big guy placed second overall out of 2,500+ pups.  Nicely done!  Now maybe your owner will finally get that furry mop out of your eyes.

And now, it’s time to get serious.  Focus.  It’s time for your Weekend Beer Buzz.

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

The Day of Love is very near and if you love beer, then have no fear, just plant your eyes on this page right here.   Many of the beery events and Valentine’s beer dinners sold out long ago, but here are a few that don’t require tickets and should have plenty of beer flowing for you and your special someone on Thursday night.

Dry Dock has a delicious pair of tappings lined up for Thursday.  Stop by and revisit Rudolph’s Revenge, which you might remember as Head Brewer Doug Hyndman’s Raspberry Pomegranate Porter from the 2012 Ho Ho Ho Slapdown.  Dry Dock also plans to release a firkin of Strawberry Hefeweizen, which I think at one point used to be called Heidi Klum?  Am I wrong here?  Either way, firkin at noon, Rudolph at 4 PM.  Don’t be surprised if a few more treats pop up as well.

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

Black Shirt Brewing is hosting a beer and desert pairing on Thursday.  End your special night with a Chai Red Porter and a specially prepared desert.

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This will run from 5 – 9 PM and is rumored to be your only chance to try this great brew.  The BSB tasting room will now be open on Wednesday’s, with expanded hours throughout the week.  Black Shirt Brewing is located at: 3719 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-993-2799.

Scott and the Wit’s End Gang will have their 2nd Annual Valentine’s Day Beer and Chocolate Pairing from 4 PM – ? (until the chocolate’s gone!).

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Cruise over to the Wit’s End Website and see what they’ve got planned for this year’s event.  The Kitchen Sink Porter is paired with a chocolate-bacon bar.  Need I say more?  Sappy, cheese-filled music provided free of charge.  Wit’s End Brewing is located at: 2505 W 2nd Ave, Unit 13, Denver, CO 80223.  303-459-4379.

Up at Yak & Yeti in Arvada, Head Brewer Adam Draeger released (Yakety Yak) Don’t Talk Bock and Cherry Porter this week.  For Valentine’s Day, he’s bringing back Red Hot Wheat, which is brewed with Red Hots Candies.  Draeger describes the 4.9% ABV bright red brew as a “Dentyne gum flavored dessert wine to share with the sweetheart of your life”.

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

Speaking of Yeti’s, there’s been reports of a sighting over at Great Divide.  They’ll be tapping a Jim Beam Barrel-Aged Version of Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti at 2 PM.  Wow, that sounds amazing.

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Great Divide Brewing is located at: 2201 Arapahoe St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-296-9460.

Up in Longmont at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, they’ll have hand carved prime rib and some special Ommegang goodies on draft.

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Homemade Liquids and Solids is located at: 1555 S Hover Rd, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-485-9400.

Lone Tree Brewing will tap The Princess Vidrevitz Russian Imperial Stout and Chocolate Cherry Stout at noon today.  Sounds delish.

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

Here’s the latest from Crooked Stave.

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

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Just in case you don’t have enough spice in your life on Valentine’s Day, Dry Dock’s tapping a Green Chili Double IPA on Firkin Friday.

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Tapping at 3 PM.  I don’t typically reach for chili brews, but this one’s good.  Damn good.  Trust me. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014.  303-400-5606.

Down at Rockyard Brewing, Jellyman’s busting out “The Preacher” for this week’s Deviation.  The Preacher is a Simcoe and Vanguard Pale Ale.

Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Congrats to River North Brewery, who’ll be celebrating their 1-year Anniversary on Saturday.  Stop by and share a beer from their great lineup of Belgian-influenced ales.  You’ll also have the opportunity to try their newest and biggest beer yet, a 12.5% ABV Imperial Stout that was brewed to commemorate the special occasion.  120 cases produced, so perhaps this’ll see a bit of local distribution.  Keep your eyes peeled fellow beer hunters and gatherers.

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River North will also be offering tours of their barrel room.  The party starts at 1 PM and you won’t want to miss out.  River North Brewery is located at: 2401 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205.  303-296-2617,

The Tasty Weasel is also gearing up for an Anniversary Party.  The Oskar Blues Tap Room in Longmont will be celebrating 4 years with a super secret beer release, food trucks and of course skee ball. They’ll be joined by the Colorado Craft Beer Show, who’ll be kicking it off at noon on AM 760.  Better yet, stop by and watch the show live.

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The Tasty Weasel is located at: 1800 Pike Rd, Unit B, Longmont, CO 80501.  303-776-1914.

The 3rd Annual Winter Beer Fest is right around the corner.  On Saturday, the Woodland Park Cultural Center will be turned into a beer garden as Prost Brewing, Arvada Beer Company, Trinity Brewing and others set up shop for the afternoon.

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Tickets are only $15, but hurry, as they’ll jump to $30 if you wait to buy them at the door.  Ticket price includes taster glass and unlimited tastings.  This event runs from 2 – 6 PM.  More details and ticket info can be found HERE.  The Woodland Park Cultural Center is located at: 210 E Midland Ave, Woodland Park, CO 80863.

Pliny the Younger Update

The Younger kegs are slowly invading Denver.

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So far, we’ve got two tapping times confirmed.

Backcountry Pizza and Tap House will tap their keg on Sunday, February 24th at noon.  Tickets are $9 / 11 oz. and will be sold at 11 AM.  Backcountry Pizza and Tap House is located at: 2319 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.  303-449-4285.

The Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe in Denver will have TWO tappings!  The first will hit tap lines on Monday, February 25th, the second will get tapped on Thursday, February 28th.  Both will start pouring at 6:30 PM.  $10 / glass, first come, first serve.  The Cheeky Monk is located at: 534 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80203.  303-861-0347.

Until next time, here’s your German lesson for the week.

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Pretty sure they didn’t teach you that in High School.  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

It’s been fun.  Let’s do it again next weekend.

Cheers!


Weekend Beer Buzz 02/07/2013

Another glorious week here in old Colorado.  The little varmint didn’t see his shadow, so maybe that explains the 50 degree weather all week.

Animals turn Humans into clowns.  Babies seem to have that ability as well.

In other news, we visited The Source last week to check out the future digs for a variety of local artisans, but specifically Crooked Stave.

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An update can be found HERE.  We’ve extremely excited about this new venture and we’ll be keeping you updated along the way.

Breckenridge Brewery announced their plans to open an environmentally friendly new brewery, farmhouse, hop farm and more over in Littleton along the Platte River.  They plan to break ground in 2013 and open in 2014.

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Another very exciting turn of events in our world of CO breweries.  Check out their page for the official announcement.

Lastly, congrats to De Steeg and Fate Brewing, who both had successful openings last week.  We can’t wait to stop by for a visit and a chance to try your brews.

Grab a beer and let’s toast to Animals, Babies, Crooked Stave, Breckenridge, De Steeg and Fate on an awesome week.  Now, sit back, grab your calendar and start planning your weekend.  It starts…  wait for it…  get ready…  NOW!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Renegade Brewing launches their next wave of cans today!  Cans of Elevation Triple IPA and 5:00 Afternoon Ale have been showing up at better beer stores around town all week.  To celebrate the release, Renegade’s hosting a party on Thursday from 6 – 10 PM.

Stop by for a pint and grab some cans to-go.  Renegade Brewing is located at: 925 W 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80204.  720-401-4089.

Yak & Yeti Head Brewer Adam Draeger has plenty of great options to pick from this week, including a newly tapped Vanilla Porter, brewed with real Madagascar vanilla beans.

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Tune in next week, when Adam taps a Bock, Cherry Porter and Red Hots Wheat, his special Valentine’s Day brew made with Red Hots candies.  Yak & Yeti is located at: 7803 Ralston Rd, Arvada, CO 80002.  303-431-9000.

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora has your firkin fix this week.  Stop by and try this week’s Firkin Friday release, which is a Lavender Dark Saison.

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

Down South at Rockyard Brewing in Castle Rock, Jellyman’s got a 4.5% ABV Ginger Ale made with “fresh ginger, French oak and a tin of ginger Altoids”.  This one’s called “NOT MARIANNE”.  See if you can figure out the connection between the name and the beer.

Tapping at 4 PM.  Rockyard Brewing is located at: 880 W Castleton Rd, Castle Rock, CO 80109. 303-814-9273.

Parry’s Pizza is hosting “Firkin Right Friday” and tapping some Barrel-Aged West Coast IPA from California’s Green Flash Brewing on Friday at 4 PM.  Love this beer.  To see a Green Flash firkin in CO is a rare treat.  Get some.

Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.  303-683-0600.

Still not enough firkins fir ya?  Then get the firk over to High Hops Brewery and Hop Farm in Windsor for their Inaugural Firkin Fest.  Look for 14 taps to be pouring, plus special one-day only firkins, food and live music.  The beer starts flowing at noon.

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High Hops Brewery is located at: 6461 Hwy 392, Windsor, CO 80550.  970-674-2841.

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew will tap their new Weizenbock on Friday at 7 PM.

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7% ABV, 31 IBU’s.  Stop by and check out one of Denver’s newest breweries.  Our Mutual Friend is located at: 2810 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205.  720-722-2810.

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Somewhat quiet Saturday around town this week, so we’re heading to California for the Inaugural San Diego Brew Fest and a visit to some of our favorite West Coast breweries like Lost Abbey and Stone.  Keep an eye on the Facebook Page for updates.  We’ll have a full report next week.

In the meantime, get your brew news fix with our friends Turk and the Gubna on the Colorado Craft Beer Show.

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This week, they’ll be joined in the studio with Brian Hutchinson, who formerly brewed at Mountain Sun and is now brewing at Cannonball Creek Brewing Company, which just opened in Golden last month.  They’ll also have David Zuckerman and Dan Weitz from Boulder Beer in the studio. Tune into the Colorado Craft Beer Show on AM 760 from noon – 2 PM on Saturday.

Odell will release Amuste at the brewery on Saturday.  This is an “Imperial Porter aged in oak wine barrels accented with juice from Tempranillo grapes grown on the Western Slope of Colorado”.

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Pick up a bottle to-go and stick around for a glass at the brewery.  Sales will begin at 11 AM, with live music at 4 PM.  This should hit local shelves very soon, so keep an eye out.  Odell Brewing is located at: 800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  970-490-9070.

Copper Kettle Brewing Company is bringing back their Smoked Porter this weekend.

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Tapping at noon, food truck at 4 PM and live music at 6 PM.  Copper Kettle Brewing Company is located at: 1338 S Valentia St, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Don’t forget this week’s German lesson with Bill Eye from Prost Brewing.

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Hey, if you’re going to learn a foreign language, you better at least know how to speak Beer.  Thanks Bill!  Prost Brewing is located at: 2540 19th St, Denver, CO 80211.  303-729-1175.

Pliny the Younger Update

The Pliny’s been raging this week out at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA.

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No word yet on when we’ll see kegs around town, but we should have some information at some point next week.  Stay tuned!

Dark Lord Day 2013

Speaking of hyped, big beers.  Dark Lord Day 2013 is coming.  Last week, Three Floyds Brewing unveiled a new logo for their über popular Russian Imperial Stout.  I guess they ran out of different colors of wax, so it was time to change the label in order for us beer nerds to differentiate between the vintages.

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Looks pretty sharp.  And angry!  There are rumors that Three Floyds will move this year’s event to a location away from the brewery, in order to better accommodate the crowds.  We’ll keep you posted with updates as we get ’em.

That’s it for this weekend.

Cheers!


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!


Avery Strong Ale Festival 2012 Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surly Five. My favorite beer of the night!

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

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

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

“What’s yours?”

They don’t call themselves Strange Brewing for nothing.

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

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

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

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

The Kitchen, Boulder, CO

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

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


Denver Beer Geeks Suck Down Pliny Keg in 11 Minutes!

So tonight was the big release of Pliny the Younger at the Vine Street Pub in Denver.  I like Vine Street.  It’s family friendly, has a great selection of games, offers simple, but tasty food and has an awesome selection of beer.  They are part of the Mountain Sun / Southern Sun family up in Boulder.  Both Mountain Sun and Southern Sun have been brewing award winning beers for a number of years and Vine Street is hoping to begin brewing at their location later this month.  For now though, they get their beers trucked down from their big brewing brothers up in Boulder.

Tonight’s Beer Menu

As I mentioned in my previous post, Pliny the Younger is a big deal.  It’s currently ranked as the #1 Beer on the Planet by Beeradovcate.com.  I made it down to the pub at 3:45 and was able to snag one of the last spots at the bar.  The bartender told me they were pre-selling tickets for the release, which was scheduled for 4:20.  I got my ticket and settled in for the countdown.

At $7.25 for an 8oz. pour, it turned out to be one of the best prices for the release this year.  Other locations around town have been charging $10-$12.  I was surrounded by beer nerds who were all there for the big release.  My buddy Aaron met me there just before 4:00 and got his ticket as well.

Almost Ready!

The staff did a countdown leading up to 4:20.  At 4:20, it was on!  It was a mad dash of pouring, passing out and enjoying.  Sitting almost directly in front of the tap, I was lucky enough to grab one of the first pours.

Glorious

Wow, what a beer.  Clear, golden orange color.  Big piney hops along with some citrus, tropical fruit and just a touch of malt.  The flavor, where to begin?  Citrus, oily hops, pine, caramel and malt.  Complex and long-lasting.  What an awesome beer.  I’ve been able to try Younger a handful of times since my first taste at the Russian River Brewery in 2005 and it never lets me down.

Just as I was getting lost in the depth of this wonderful beer, I heard the dreaded sound of the keg blowing…  NOOOOO!!!  I checked my watch and it read 4:31.  The keg was history in 11 minutes!  Crazy.  Our server had 4 unclaimed glasses left to pass out.  Aaron and I secured a second round and kicked back to take it all in.

The Vine Street crew quickly switched the empty tap line over to Russian River’s Bling Pig IPA.  Another pleasant sight to see!  Blind Pig is Russian River’s year round IPA and I got a 1/2 glass to sip and enjoy before heading out.

Two thumbs up to Vine Street and their crew.  In addition to keeping things orderly and running smoothly, they were also friendly and helpful.  There was a bit of a crowd, but everyone was well behaved, responsible and respectful.  I’d definitely recommend visiting Vine Street for these types of releases in the future.

It was a fun night.  It’s too bad Younger only comes around once a year.  I’m a little sad that it won’t be around again for another year, but oh well.  I guess that’s part of what makes Pliny so special.


Pliny Season Is Here Again

It’s Pliny the Younger season here in Colorado, which means beer fans are foaming at the mouth trying to figure out when and where they need to be in order to secure themselves a pour of this amazing beer.  Pliny the Younger (61-112 AD), nephew of Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author and administrator.  This blog however is about beer, not ancient Roman history.  To find all the information on Pliny that you could ever want, head over to wikipedia.  For now though, we’re going to focus on the beer named after him. 

Pliny's High School Picture. Class of 79 AD.

Pliny the Younger, is a Triple IPA from Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa, CA.  That’s right, I said a TRIPLE IPA!  It clocks in at a hefty 10.5% and is something to be sipped and savored.  According to Russian River owner, Vinnie Cilurzo, and the good people over there, Younger is difficult and expensive to make, not to mention it eats up a lot of time and space.  On the flip side, it’s currently ranked as the #1 Beer on the Planet over at beeradvocate.com.  So it’s obviously a pretty special beer. 

younger

He's Back!

People go insane for this brew!  To keep the beer freaks from rioting, Russian River brews it once a year and releases it at their pub every February.  From the brew house in Santa Rosa, CA, a few 8 gallon kegs trickle out into the states lucky enough to be in Russian River’s distribution footprint.  Colorado is one of those lucky states and was able to secure about 15 kegs this year.  These kegs were given to the area’s top beer bars and pubs.  Most of these kegs are gone almost as soon as they are tapped.  Some of them don’t even last an hour. 

Over the past two weeks, Pliny has been popping up at places like Falling Rock, Freshcraft and Hops & Pie.  Here one minute, gone the next.  The last two tappings I know of are both happening tomorrow night.  In Denver, the Vine Street Pub, part of the Mountain Sun & Southern Sun family, will be tapping their keg on 3/1 at 4:20 PM.  Vine Street is located at: 1700 Vine Street, Denver, CO 80206 / (303) 388-BEER.  The other tapping is occuring down in Colorado Springs at Trinity Brewhouse on 3/1 at 6PM.  Trinity is located at: 1446 Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO 80907 / (719) 634-0029. 

Last Chance for Pliny at The Vine Street Pub

Both places brew awesome beer, have a solid selection of guest taps and offer great food to go with it.  Take for example Trinity’s appetizer of bacon slices.  Brilliant!  It’s bacon.  Period!  What more could you ask for?   My wife, Patti is taking one for the team tomorrow night and volunteered to watch our kids so I can attend the Vine Street tapping.  I promised to bring a nice dinner home for her just so I could go out and brave the hoards for some Pliny.  Word to the wise, if you’re heading to Vine Street, take cash.  They don’t accept credit, debit, check, imperial credits, magic beans or monopoly money.  It’s cash or you’ll be washing glasses in the back.  If you’re hungry, grab a menu.  They make a mean grilled cheese with bacon.  Simple, but delish!  Hope to see a familiar face or three down there. 

Also, thanks for the warm reception on the blog so far.  There’s a page on facebook too.  Please click the “Like” button to get updates sent directly to your news feed.  Link is HERE.  Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors, enemies, second cousins, etc….  Please, no lawyers though.  I gotta draw the line somewhere.  Help me get the word out and hit me up with any suggestions, requests, whatever.

Cheers!