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Weekend Beer Buzz: Sour Fest Edition 05/31/2012

Wow, another week has flown by!  It’s about time for your Weekend Beer Buzz.  Unfortunately, I’ve had a one-track mind and all I can seem to think about is Avery’s upcoming 3rd Annual Sour Fest on Saturday, June 2nd.  sour fest, Sour Fest, SOUR FEST, SOOOUUURRRR FEEEESSSSTTTT!!!!!   Yeah, I can’t wait.  The back of my tongue is already feeling all tingly and my stomach is anticipating that jacked-up feeling from all those wild yeasts attacking my innards.  I can’t wait!

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In its’ short existence, Avery’s Sour Fest has quickly turned into one of my favorite annual events.  Nothing but funky, filthy, mouth-puckering sours, being poured at one of my all time favorite breweries.  I’m in!  If you don’t already have tickets, you’re probably out of luck.  I hate to be a downer, but it’s not going to be easy to find a ticket this late in the game.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a deal on craigslist, but these puppies sold out in a ridiculously short and nerve-racking 90 seconds.  Best of luck in your hunt.

If you were one of the few lucky beer nerds that were able to score a ticket, I’ll see you there.  The fun starts at noon and runs until 5 PM.  Avery Brewing is located at: 5763 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80303.  303-440-4324.

Come down early and listen to Gary V. as he broadcasts live from Avery Brewing on American Craft Beer Radio on 102.3 FM.  His show starts this week at 11 AM.  Yep, an hour earlier than normal, because he wants to get in and enjoy those sour specialties at noon just like everyone else.  You should definitely tune in this week as it will be my radio debut.  WooHoo!

Right after Gary fills your head full of foamy fun, flip over to Colorado Craft Beer Show on 760 AM.  The Gubna and John Turk kick off at noon and cover all the local beer news in this lovely state.  They’ve expanded to two hours and will be on from noon – 2 PM every Saturday.  They’ll also be broadcasting live from Avery Brewing.  Nothing like a little friendly competition.  Play nice boys!

Believe it or not, there’s actually more than just the Sour Fest going on this weekend.  What?!?!  Don’t get all sad on me if you weren’t one of the 400ish people to get a ticket to the funk madness, there’s always something else to do.  My suggestion…..  Get over to the Oskar Blues Tap Takeover at Parry’s Pizza!  This isn’t even a suggestion, it’s an order.

If you’re going to call yourself a beer nerd and are anywhere near the Denver metro area this weekend, you need to plan on attending either the Sour Fest or OB Tap Takeover.  Pick one, pick both, but don’t pick your nose and don’t miss out on these delicious events.  (Unless you’ve got a title like Firkin Master and your name is Walt.  He’s off the hook since he’s in freakin’ Hawaii!!! Again!!!)

I’ve managed to hit Parry’s past Tap Takeovers and these are the real deal folks.  I was in the back, super secret, retina-scan required keg vault over at Parry’s Pizza a few weeks ago and I saw the stash first hand.  They’ve been piling up an impressive lineup for this event, including a bunch of barrel aged gems.  I’ve been around the block (in a good way) and I hadn’t even heard of some of these beers before.  In other words, they’re super limited and won’t be around again anytime soon.  This is your chance people.  Don’t miss it!

Still don’t believe me???  I’ve seen the tap list and while I won’t give away all the surprises, let me just say they’ll be pouring both Buffalo Trace Whisky Barrel Aged Ten Fidy and Cabernet Barrel Aged G’Knight.  If that doesn’t excite you, then I give up.

Good gravy I love their food too.  Go famished and parched…  Leave happy.  Your tummy will thank you for it.

But wait, there’s more!  As always, kicking off your weekend is Dry Dock’s Firkin Friday.  At 3 PM on Friday, June 1st they’ll be tapping a Toasted Coconut Porter.  I’ve had this one before and really enjoyed it.  My wife, who’s incredibly allergic to coconuts, couldn’t get enough.  I had the EpiPen ready, but she powered through like a champ.  Dry Dock is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80013.  303-400-5606.

Copper Kettle is getting the most out of their new fermenters, as they’re rolling out a new beer every Saturday in June.  For Saturday, June 2nd, they’re bringing back their Dortmunder Lager.  I made it to the Summer Ale release last week and also got to enjoy their Black IPA and Belgian Golden Strong, while Patti worked on the uber tasty and award-winning, Mexican Chocolate Stout.  They’ll have different food trucks out front for each release.  The beer goes on tap at noon and the food rolls in at 5 PM.

Copper Kettle is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  If you haven’t yet paid them a visit, you’re long overdue.  They’re located at: 1338 S Valentia St, Denver, CO 80247.  720-443-CKBC.

Not really an event, but the current Lips of Faith lineup in the New Belgium Brewery Tap Room is simply mouth-watering.

From sour treats like La Folie and Tart Lychee to sweet beasts like Cocoa Mole and Abbey Grand Cru, not to mention the new collaboration with Lost Abbey and the Valentine Ale brewed with rose hips and pomegranates.  Why does Fort Collins have to be so far.  Why man, WHY???  But, if you’re lucky enough to be up that way in the near future, stop by for a few samples or a growler fill.  New Belgium Brewing is located at: 500 Linden Ave, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  Just follow the bikes.

There you have it.  Sour Fest at Avery or Oskar Blues Tap Takeover at Parry’s Pizza.  If I find out you didn’t go to one of these two amazingly, awesomely, wonderfully, beerily Colorado events, I’m pulling your Beer Nerd Club Card.  I might even tell your friends too.  Don’t test me…  Don’t you know I’m loco???

I think I’ll wrap this up with a few random shots from the two previous Sour Fests.  Hope you enjoy.  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!