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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
And hey, it’s lent.
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.
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!).
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”.
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.
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.
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.
Lone Tree Brewing is located at: 8222 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124. 303-792-5822.
Here’s the latest from Crooked Stave.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here we are, just a few short days away from the Great American Beer Festival and I’m as giddy as a little schoolgirl. But whether you’re a seasoned veteran or this is your first time attending, the GABF can be a little overwhelming. 580 breweries pouring 2000+ beers will do that to you. You’ve got to have some sort of plan of attack.
For me, I print out the GABF Map and mark the breweries that I’d kick myself if I were to miss. The floor is divided up by regions of the U.S. I can generally breeze through the Colorado breweries since I’ve either had or can easily get most of the beers pouring in that area. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stop by and say hi to your favorite brewers. It’s also worth nothing that some are planning on bringing some pretty special beers. Avery Brewing will be pouring both Oud Floris and Odio Equum from their hard-to-find Barrel-Aged Series, while Crooked Stave is rumored to be bringing the super delicious and rare Persica. I’d certainly recommend spending some time in the Mountain Region at the GABF, but for me, I’ll probably limit my time there and focus on breweries I don’t normally have easy access to.
So where do we begin? Russian River, Lost Abbey / Port, Cigar City, Dogfish Head all seem like obvious choices, but there are some really interesting, smaller breweries that don’t distribute out this direction at all. Jonathan Shikes wrote a great article in the Westword last week with his picks, many of which would have made my list as well. Three Floyds, Bell’s and Cambridge are all top-notch breweries. Check out the entire article HERE. I’d like to add a couple more of my favorites for you to check out this weekend.
1. The Bruery, Placentia, CA. Patrick Rue is brewing up an empire and a loyal following through his Reserve Society and awesome lineup of beers. Whether it’s mouth-puckering sours or thick, inky stouts, you can’t go wrong. While they do distribute a handful of beer to Colorado, quite a few never leave California. Recommendations: Oude Tart, Black Tuesday.
2. Upland Brewing, Bloomington, IN. Upland makes quite a few quality beers, but their Lambics are not to be missed. The bottles, which are sold online a few times a year, always sell out within minutes. Recommendations: Any of their fruit Lambics, which range from Strawberry to Kiwi to Persimmon to Peach.
3. Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center, MN. Beer for a glass, from a can. For the hop heads, they make two great ones, called Furious (IPA) and Abrasive (Double IPA). They’ve also got a Coffee Brown called Coffee Bender that goes great with a brownie or doughnut. Keep an eye out for any of their big, seasonals like Darkness (Russian Imperial Stout) or this year’s anniversary ale, SYX (Strong Ale). Recommendations: Anything.
4. Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME. The little brewery from Maine makes some might fine Belgian-style beers. As a sour fan, I’ll be looking for anything from their Coolship series. If you lean towards the sweeter side, look for their Dubbel, Grand Cru or Quad. Recommendations: From sweet to sour, you can’t go wrong.
5. Foothills Brewing, Winston-Salem, NC. As the South catches up to the craft beer movement, Foothills has taken the lead with their big stouts and barrel-aged experimentation. They produce solid beers across the board. Recommendations: Seeing Double IPA, Sexual Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout.
6. Iron Hill Brewery, PA, NJ and DE. This east coast brewpub, which has 10 locations in 3 states, always brings a huge beer selection to the GABF Floor. From sweet to sour, light to dark, hoppy to malty, they’ve got something for everyone. There’s a reason why they’ve won a GABF medal, every year, for the past 15 years. Stop by they’re multiple tables and get ready to be impressed. Recommendations: With an ever-rotating beer menu, there’s no telling what they’ll be pouring this year. But, they always have detailed descriptions of every beer and plenty of brewers around to answer your questions.
7. Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI. Where to begin? I don’t remember ever seeing Founders at a previous GABF, so when I saw them on this year’s list, I got pretty excited. These guys are famous for their KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout), which is brewed with vanilla and coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. In addition to their seasonal and specialty brews, they make an exceptional lineup of year-round beers. Recommendations: Centennial IPA, Devil Dancer (Triple IPA), Cerise (Cherry Beer), Backwoods Bastard (Scotch Ale) or any of their Stouts (KBS, CBS, Breakfast Stout or Imperial Stout).
8. Shorts Brewing, Bellaire, MI. I think I did enough preaching for Short’s earlier this week with my post about their limited release of 6-packs to Denver for the GABF. Still, I want to make sure you’ve got them on your list. They love to experiment and take chances, which makes for some very fun and unique brews. Recommendation: Peaches & Creme and any of the other experimental brews they decide to bring with them.
9. Weyerbacher, Easton, PA. Another east coast gem serving up a wide variety of beers, ranging from Belgian-Style Ales to American IPA’s. Although their distribution range has steadily grown over the past few years, they still haven’t made it to our market. Recommendations: Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Riserva Sour, Heresy Imperial Stout and Double Simcoe IPA.
10. Société Brewing, San Diego, CA. Founded in 2012 by Travis Smith and Doug Constantiner, who met while working together at The Bruery. They decided to join forces and open their own brewery this past June. Since then, they’ve been releasing west-coast IPA’s, Belgian-Style Ales and a Russian Imperial Stout. They’ve also got a spacious barrel room, with a variety of sour beers aging away. Recommendations: This brewery’s only been open for a few months and I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but I’ve heard good things and would highly recommend stopping by their booth for a sample or two.
I hope this list helps introduce you to at least a couple new breweries this year at GABF. Get out there, have fun and discover some new beers. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other suggestions you might have. Hope to see you this weekend!
If you live in Colorado and like good beer, this is going to be a busy week for you. It’s not only Colorado Beer Week, but it’s also American Craft Beer Week. Nearly every brewery in the state has a full calendar of events planned every day. So I’m a little unsure at where to even begin with the beer buzz for this weekend.
I’ll give you some highlights to look for and some links to find more information, but there’s no way I’m going to be able to cover the 100+ events going on next week. If there’s a particular brewery or event you’d like more information on, the official list for American Craft Beer Week can be found HERE. The official list for Colorado Beer Week can be found HERE.
Falling Rock Tap House is getting a jump start on the festivities, by hosting a Russian River event on Friday, May 11th at 5:30 PM. They’ll be tapping some of the popular beers in the “-tion” series, including Supplication, Temptation and Sanctification. It’s getting harder and harder to track down Russian River around town, so don’t miss your chance to try these great beers.
Falling Rock has other events planned throughout the week, including a New Belgium “Lips of Faith” Extravaganza on Saturday, May 12th and some hard to find beers from Lost Abbey & Port Brewing on Sunday, May 13th. A full list of events can be found on their website. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or are new in town, Falling Rock Taphouse is located at: 1919 Blake Street, Denver, CO 80202. 303-293-8338.
Colorado Beer Week officially kicks off over at the Highland Tap and Burger, with a mini-beer festival on Saturday, May 12th. This event will feature more than 15 local breweries and 2 distilleries, pouring more than 35 beers. John Turk and the Gubna will be broadcasting their weekly Colorado Craft Beer Radio Show live on 760AM at noon. Tickets and details can be found HERE. This will definitely be an awesome way to get the week-long party started. Highland Tap and Burger is located at: 2219 W 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211. 720-287-4493.
Strange Brewing is kicking off Craft Beer Week with the Grand Opening of their Biergarten on Saturday, May 12th. They’ve got other events planned throughout the week including a 4-course beer brunch, the tapping of a Cherry Saison Firkin and the release of their 2nd Anniversary Beer – Munich Dunkel. Check out this list for more details. Strange Brewing is located at: 1330 Zuni St., Unit M, Denver, CO 80204. 720-985-2337.
Over in Aurora, Dry Dock Brewing will be releasing a different firkin every night of the week. They will be releasing Hopricot 2.0 on Friday, May 11th at 3 PM for their weekly Firkin Friday. Starting on Monday, they will tap a new firkin every afternoon at 3 PM. With beers like Cranberry Wit, Peanut Butter Cup Porter, Mango Pale Ale and Green Chile Double IPA scheduled to be released, there’s definitely something for everyone. Check out the full schedule on Dry Dock’s Facebook page. Dry Dock is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.
Up north, towards Loveland, Berthoud and Fort Collins, the breweries have gotten together and planned a game of Bingo. You can pick up a card at any of the participating breweries and get it stamped for the different beers you sample. Complete a line and turn it in for a free T-shirt! Cool idea.
Odell has a full list of events, both in Colorado and around the country, that can be found HERE.
Looking towards the following weekend, be sure to put the inaugural Taste of Tipsy’s Beer Festival on your calendar. This event, which is scheduled from 11 AM – 6 PM on Saturday, May 19th, will be held behind Tipsy’s Liquor World in Littleton, CO. This is a family friendly event that will feature face painting and carnival games for the kids, great food, live music and more. The event is free, but entrance to the beer festival will run you $25 for a 3-hour session. The beer tasting will feature more than 60 breweries, with proceeds going towards the Dakota Ridge Athletic Foundation. You can find more information and tickets HERE. Tipsy’s is located at: 5869 S Alkire St, Littleton, CO 80127. 303-551-7000.
Lastly, Parry’s Pizza is at it again with another Tap Takeover on Saturday, May 19th. This time they’ve joined forces with Odell’s from Fort Collins, CO. Parry’s Pizza owner, David Parry, even brewed a special batch of beer with Odell for the occasion! After hitting up the Avery Tap Takeover last month, I’m really excited for this one. Odell always has special, tasty one-offs, brewed exclusively for their tasting room. They seemed to have perfected just about every style of beer imaginable, yet they still continue to push boundaries and come up with new recipes on a regular basis. I’m really curious to see what they bring down for this event. Don’t miss it! Parry’s Pizza is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126. 303-683-0600.
Oh, I almost forgot… If you’re like me and are one of those “Beer Hunter” types, always trying to track down the latest and greatest, then head’s up, Firestone Walker’s Parabola is in Colorado! Get off your couch and get some! This barrel aged beauty is a tasty Russian Imperial Stout, with notes of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, coffee and oak. This beer is a delicious, high ABV sipper, whose flavors will age well and continue to blend together and smooth out over time. An amazing beer for sure. Get it now or kick yourself later.
So that’s all I’ve got for now… There are events going on all over the state and around the country next week, so get out and have some fun. I’ll post some updates throughout the week on the Facebook page. Have an event you’d like to share? Post it on the Facebook wall or leave a comment on here and I’ll be sure to cover it.
Here’s to Craft Beer Week! Cheers!
Quite often in this blog, I write about new beers coming out around the country. Last month, I wrote about Cascade’s Sour Blueberry and Russian River’s Beatification. Coming up in April is Three Floyd’s Dark Lord and Ithaca’s LeBleu. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk to your local liquor store and pick up a bottle. Many of these beers will only be sold at the brewery or will see very limited distribution. What’s a beer nerd to do? Relax, grab a beer and let me introduce you to the world of Beer Trading.
Beer trading is a great way to track down limited release beers like the ones mentioned above or maybe track down old favorites that don’t distribute to Colorado. My first trade was nearly 5 years ago when I traded for bottles of New Glarus Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart. Basically, I had tried these beers at the Great American Beer Festival and wanted some bottles for my fridge.
If you’ve ever been to GABF, you’re probably familiar with New Glarus and their never-ending line of 50+ people all waiting patiently for a 2 oz. pour of beer. They have a line at their table from the time the doors open on Thursday evening until the beer stops flowing late on Saturday night. And for good reason, they make some amazing beers and their fruit beers in particular are highly respected and sought after. Other than 3 days during GABF, New Glarus beers don’t make it to Colorado. In fact, New Glarus doesn’t distribute outside their home state of Wisconsin. No distribution to Colorado is bad news for us, but the good news is that New Glarus is really easy to find in Wisconsin.
So, we either need to make a road trip up to visit those cheese heads (approx. 30 hours round trip from Denver) or we can swap a few e-mails with a Wisconsin local and set up a trade. I’m going to be munchin’ on marshmallow peeps and hiding easter eggs for the kids this weekend, so I can’t make a road trip anytime soon, but I can probably spend a few minutes in front of the computer and arrange a beer trade.
One of our readers, we’ll just call him “Tony”, (mainly because that’s his name) has volunteered to let me walk him through a beer trade and share with you his experiences along the way. One of the first things I asked Tony was whether or not he had an account on beeradvocate.com. If you’re not familiar with beeradvocate, it’s a website where you can share reviews and learn about beer, but they have an area with forums that allow beer geeks to interact with each other. One of the forums is set up specifically for trading.
Turns out, Tony already has a beeradvocate.com account. If you don’t have one, they’re free and will give you access to the forums. The trading forum is called “ISO:FT”. “ISO”, means “In Search Of” and “FT”, means “For Trade”. So our post will look something along the lines of ISO: New Glarus, FT: Colorado Locals. Simple and to the point.
Head’s up, if you’re going to post on beeradvocate.com, read the rules first. The Bros. that run the site can be a little strict at times, but they mean well. Just make sure you don’t offer anything other than beer for beer trades. No trading your wife for beer, tickets for beer, pet goldfish for beer and definitely don’t offer to buy or sell any beer. It’s a no-no and will only get your post deleted.
There are other sites out there, but I think Beeradvocate has a pretty wide audience and I’ve been using it for nearly 6 years. I’ve met a lot of great people through the site, have made some good friendships and have a regular network of people around the country that I trade with, so I’m a little partial to it. Like I said, there are other sites that will allow you to meet other beer traders, but Beeradvocate is the one I prefer.
So we want New Glarus, specifically Belgian Red, maybe Raspberry Tart and Tony mentioned he also wanted to track down some Spotted Cow, which is their Cream Ale. These are fairly easy to find in Wisconsin and wouldn’t be hard for a local to pick up. In return, we’re going to offer beers that are local to us here in Colorado.
In simple trades like this, I will typically offer some of my favorite locals that don’t get distributed very far. For me, I’m leaning towards Odell, Dry Dock, Funkwerks and Crooked Stave. These are good breweries, making good beers that are fairly easy for me to find and will be enjoyed by the recipient. It wouldn’t make sense to offer beers from breweries like Avery, New Belgium and Great Divide, mainly because they have a huge distribution footprint. The vast majority of their lineup can be found across the U.S. and our recipient is going to want to trade for beers that he can go to a store and buy. There are still small batch releases and brewery exclusives that we can trade, but that’s a little advanced at this point. Let’s keep it simple for now. We can also offer breweries that distribute to Colorado, but might not distribute to Wisconsin. Maybe Russian River or Firestone Walker from California or Deschutes from Oregon.
When trading locals for locals, your best bet is to try to keep it dollar-for-dollar. In other words, if your recipient is spending $25 for your beer, expect to send $25 worth of beer to them.
I think we’re about ready to make our ISO:FT post. Click HERE to check it out. Now we sit back and wait for a response. I’ll keep you updated along the way. Warning, trading can become an addicting habit. In the meantime, enjoy the pic below. Cheers!
It’s a great time to be a beer trader. Spring is shaping up nicely with so many great beers getting ready to pop up around the country. Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA is about to drop another batch of Beatification for your drinking pleasure. This is a much, much bigger batch when compared to last month’s release. That’s good news, but it’s still going to be a brewery only release. Vinnie and the gang are going to start selling bottles on Friday, March 30th at 9AM, with a 6 bottle limit. Beatification is sour turned up to 11! It’s delish and should be on your radar if that’s your thing. Highly recommended.
Last week I mentioned Cascade up in Oregon and their Sour Blueberry release. They’ve got another tasty beer coming out on March 29, (yeah, tomorrow!), called The Vine. The Vine is a blend of soured triple, blonde quad and golden ale, refermented with white wine grapes. It then undergoes lactic fermentation, while spending more than 6 months in a barrel. I found some old notes from a bottle I opened back in 2010. I rated it very well and wrote down “notes of lemon, apples, grapes, grass and wood.” The good news about Cascade and their bottles is that they’ll ship directly to many states. Just check their website for an order form with all the details. I believe they still have bottles of Sour Blueberry, Apricot and Kriek for sale as well.
Also on the horizon for traders is Ithaca’s LeBleu. All the way out in upstate New York, is a great little place, called Ithaca Beer Company. LeBleu is part of their Excelsior series, which highlights events and special releases and has resulted in some amazing beers. I believe this will be the third batch of LeBleu to be released. The beer is a sour ale brewed with New York state blueberries and fermented with Brettanomyces. It’s then barrel aged and gets a dose of Champagne yeast when it’s finally transferred into 750mL bottles. This batch is a blend of barrels filled in 2010 and 2011.
LeBleu is another tart and super sour beer, but the Champagne yeast gives it an added dimension. The Champagne yeast gives it a huge, bubbly head, plenty of carbonation and a very dry finish, much like a traditional gueuze. I’ve been going on and on about how tasty this beer is, just making myself thirsty, that I didn’t even give you the release details. So the release is set for Saturday, April 14th from 11-7 EST. I haven’t seen a price yet, but plan on paying in the $20 range for a bottle. The good news is that there will be a 1 case limit, so if you know a beer trader out that way, it shouldn’t be too hard to track down.
I’ve talked quite a bit about beers to track down in trades and some of you might not have a clue as to how to go about getting into the world of beer trading. So maybe it’s about time we do a trade together. Whaddya think? I’ll work on putting together a trade in the next few weeks and I’ll walk you through it from start to finish.
Anybody have a suggestion on a beer they’d like to trade for? It doesn’t have to be anything crazy rare or limited, it can just be a simple 6 pack or bomber that you have had and enjoyed, maybe something you miss from back home or something you’ve never had before, but have been wanting to try. Here’s your chance. I’m telling you, it’s like Christmas morning when you get a big ol’ box o’ beer from the FedEx guy. It’s a fun and exciting way to try beers from all over the country that aren’t available in your neck of the woods. So hit me up if there’s something you’re after and we’ll go through the entire process together, one step at a time and post it on here.
Now for something you don’t have to trade for. Firkin Master Walt Chleva over at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, has a Bacon Maple Firkin that will be tapped on Friday, March 30th at 3PM. I can’t make it out for this one, but would love to hear how it turns out.
Also at Dry Dock this weekend is their sort of, maybe, kind of annual Chili Cookoff. It’s being held on Sunday, April 1st from 1-3PM. Stop by and try some really tasty entries and vote for your favorite. They’ve got details on their Facebook page if you’d like to enter your own creation. This is a great way to spend the afternoon and the competition is pretty fierce.
That’s it for today. Drop me a line if you have a suggestion for a beer to track down in trade, or if you’d like to learn how it’s done. Cheers!
After having a nice trip to catch some baseball and beers out in Arizona, it was time to move further west to California. My parents took the kids and caught a flight home to Denver, while my wife and I hit the first flight out to Ontario. No, not Canada eh. There’s another Ontario, which is east of Los Angeles, CA and only about 30 minutes from The Bruery in Orange, CA.
I was pretty happy with my $9 / day rental car through Enterprise, until I noticed that gas prices are pushing up to nearly $5 / gallon out there. That’s crazy talk. Luckily we didn’t have too far to go. There was a steady, cold rain coming down as we started our journey south from the airport.
Our first stop was at In-N-Out for some early lunch. We rolled in just as they were opening their doors at 10:30AM. If you’re coming from an area without In-N-Out, into an area with In-N-Out, you must stop there first for a bite to eat. I don’t want excuses people, just make it happen. It’s inexpensive, delicious and send me one while you’re at it. E-mail me and I’ll get you shipping information. Thanks and well done.
Now with that out of the way, we could begin some southern California beer-trippin’. Our first stop was at The Bruery Provisions. Back in 2010, The Bruery Provisions opened as a specialty market filled with some of the finest beer, wine, cheese and other grocery items around. They have several coolers filled with some very nice Belgians and a wide variety of American microbrews. They’ve also got a huge selection of Bruery beers, including a line of beers that is made exclusively for the store. The cheese section was pretty impressive with dozens of different types available for purchase. The Provisions is also the pick up point for members of The Bruery Reserve Society, which we’ll talk about later.
In the back of The Provisions is a tasting area with an extensive beer menu, as well as meat and cheese plates. Patti picked up three different wedges of cheese and I ordered a flight of beers for us to try.
From left to right: Filmishmish (oak aged sour apricot), Humulus Lager (hoppy imperial pilsner), Sour in the Rye (oak aged sour ale), White Oak (bourbon barrel aged wheatwine) and Chocosaurus Rye (collaboration with Bootlegger’s; lager brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans). The cheeses were brie, cambozola and goat. It was quite the start to our day.
The Provisions also offers free wifi, so we got our laptop and tuned in to American Craft Beer Radio to hear Gary V’s broadcast and catch up on what was happening back home in Colorado. The staff was busy filling orders for Reserve Society members picking up their orders. I’m a member of the club, but because I had a large order, I’ve got a friend who’s going to pick it up and ship it out to me. It’s easier than trying to fumble with it at the airport or trying to pack it up for FedEx. We had limited time and my hookup said he’d take care of it for me.
There were quite a few guest tap offerings to go along with the extensive list of Bruery beers. They had Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, Allagash’s Odyssey, Ballast Point’s Sea Monster Imperial Stout and Great Divide’s Espresso Yeti to name a few. There wasn’t a bad beer on the menu and the staff seemed knowledgable and able to help with pairings and suggestions.
They periodically host tastings and offer classes where they pair up flights of beer and cheese or wine and cheese. Tune into their facebook page to keep up with the tap list and new beers arriving in the store. They are also working on getting approval for their patio. Once that happens, you’ll be able to enjoy a beer outside!
We could have easily spent an afternoon in this place. Friendly staff, great beers and cheese. Orange is a nice little town with antique stores and family restaurants. We’ll be back for sure and this is a must-stop if you’re ever out that way. Not to mention, Reserve Society members get 15% off purchases. We need a place like this in Colorado! Their address is: 143 N. Glassell Ave, Orange, CA 92866.
We had such a beer filled trip to California, that I’m going to split this into three parts. Check back soon and we’ll take you inside The Bruery’s Reserve Society Initiation party and then finish up with a stop at The Bruery’s prodcution facility and tasting room. Until then, Cheers!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So I got a call tonight from Gary V., host of American Craft Beer Radio, asking if I’d like to come hang out in the studio tomorrow during their broadcast. Uhm, yeah! Gary hosts a great beer show from 12-1 every Saturday on ESPN Radio 102.3. He’s had some big names in the beer world on his show in recent weeks, including Deb Carey from New Glarus, Ron J from Jolly Pumpkin and Jason Perkins from Allagash. His guests tomorrow will be Doug Hyndman, head brewer at Dry Dock, Kjell Wygant and Jim Stinson from Rockyard and on the phone will be Chuck Silva, head brewer at Green Flash in San Diego, CA. I can’t wait!
Patti and I stopped by Dry Dock to try the latest creation from Firkin Master Walt Chleva. Tonight he brought out a Graham Cracker Marshmallow Brown Ale. It was very smooth and had a nice, sweet cinnamon taste to it. Dry Dock was pretty crowded and everyone seemed to be enjoying the firkin. The first firkin was gone in under two hours. A second firkin was scheduled to be tapped at 7PM.
And lastly, Russian River is eating up all the big beer news this week. Today, they announced that Batch 5 of their immensely sour and extremely popular Beatification, will be released at the brewery on Friday, March 30th at 11AM. This is one of only a few beers in the U.S. that is spontaneously fermented from wild yeasts. The beer spends over a year in oak barrels maturing until deemed ready to be bottled. The last batch to be bottled was also a brewery only release and sold out in under 15 minutes. This time around, there is quite a bit more beer available to hopefully ease the pain and spread it around a little more. Vinnie has announced that 1000 cases will be for sale on March 30th and there will be a 6-bottle limit per person.
I’m guessing that right about now, the Bros. and tech team over at Beeradvocate.com are doing everything in their power to prevent their website from crashing again. Seems like every time a big beer release like this gets announced, the trading forum explodes with people trying to set up a trade for a bottle. If you’ve never had this beer, it’s definitely worth seeking out. Hopefully you’ve got the ammo to land a bottle in trade or the ability to be at the brewery for the release. It’s one of the best examples out there of an American brewery trying to master a true spontaneously fermented Belgian beer. Good luck in your hunt and if you’ve got one you’d be willing to trade, hit me up. I’m sure we can work something out. .
That’s it for tonight. Don’t forget, if you live in the Denver area, be sure to tune in tomorrow for Gary V. and his special guests on American Craft Beer Radio. That’s on 102.3 ESPN Radio from 12-1. I’m excited. Now I just need to dig out a few tasty beers to bring and share. Cheers!