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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!

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Breaking Ground at The Source

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at The Source, a high-end, European-style market set to open in Denver in June 2013.  Kyle Zeppelin, the brains behind this massive undertaking, chose a 26,000 square foot, former ironworks building in River North to call home for this project.  The red-brick building, which dates back to the 1880’s, is being renovated and given new life by Zeppelin, who is signing on some of the very best local artisans to bring their respective crafts to The Source.

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A variety of businesses have signed on, including Mondo Food, which will offer gourmet cheeses and cured meats; Proper Pour, which in addition to selling fine wines, liquor and bartending supplies, will also feature a wine cellar, where local residents can rent storage units and store their wine collection on site; Babette’s, a bakery that will feature fresh breads, croissants and sandwiches; The Source will also feature a coffee roaster, distillery, two restaurants, chocolatier and more.

As a beer lover, I’m particularly excited that The Source will be the home for Crooked Stave’s new brewhouse.  Crooked Stave Owner/Brewer Chad Yakobson, plans to install a 20-BBL brewhouse on site, along with a coolship, one of only a handful of open fermentation vessels found throughout the U.S.  This will allow him endless possibilities for experimentation and the ability to make a wide variety of wild and sour beers.

The Source looks to be one-stop shopping for beer connoisseurs, wine aficionados and foodies alike.  Although still a few months away from completion (the opening date is anticipated to be June 2013), it’s a very exciting time to be in Denver.  We’ll keep you updated as the opening date gets closer, but in the meantime, here’s some pictures from last week’s Groundbreaking ceremony and a glimpse into The Source.

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The Source will be located at: 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO.

Cheers!


Brewtally Insane Best of 2012: Beers, Breweries and Beer Bars

2012.  What a year!  Certainly a HUGE year for beer!  With more than two dozen breweries opening in Colorado this year, there were plenty of new and interesting brews that were introduced into our market.  It’s not easy for a beer geek to keep up with everything…

We did our best to try them all and my liver hates me for it.  But have no fear, all this “research” has good purpose.  There was no way we could have tried everything out there, but here’s some of our personal favorites from 2012.  While I didn’t take availability into account, we did have a few rules that each beer had to meet: 1. available in either bottles or cans.  2. a new release in 2012.  3. made right here in Colorado.

Without further ado, here’s our list of favorite beers, breweries and beer bars from the past year.

10. Odell Brewing – The Meddler

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Big woody notes combine with tart cherries and plums to round out this complex Flanders Oud Bruin.  Such a tasty style that seems to be making a bit of a comeback.  Odell has been rolling out great sours since the emergence of Friek last year and this is a great addition to their already impressive lineup.

9. Oskar Blues Brewery – Deviant Dale’s IPA

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Not only did Oskar Blues give us an IPA this year, but they put it in those big ass 16 oz. cans!  Who do I need to thank for this great gift?  Plenty of grapefruit, caramel, pine and citrus hops galore.  Best addition to the OB family since TEN Fidy.

8. Prost Brewing – Hefeweizen

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We all knew Bill Eye was an amazing brewer, but I don’t think any of us knew German lagers could be sooo damn tasty.  I love the entire Prost lineup, but the Hefeweizen is pretty special.  Fruity, flavorful, refreshing and light enough to make it a sessionable beer.  In addition to being on tap at a variety of restaurants and bars, look for growlers of this tasty brew at liquor stores throughout the Denver area.  Delish!

7. New Belgium – Lips of Faith Tart Lychee

A three-year old wild ale was mixed with lychee fruit and cinnamon to create a unique combination for New Belgium’s summertime Lips of Faith release.  It turned out to be the perfect “lighter” sour brew for the warm summer months.  I liked it so much, I greedily snagged a keg for myself.  I hope they keep this tasty offering in regular rotation.

6. Trinity Brewing – Oh Face Saison Provisional

I credit my wife, Mrs. Insane, with finding this one.  While I was filling my cup with Trinity’s phenomenal sours during GABF, she was discovering Oh Face.  This is another beer in their “Office Space” series, which also includes TPS Report and the upcoming Red Swingline Stapler.  Oh Face is a sensory adventure with plenty of Bretty funk, fruit, cardamom, pepper, coriander, yeast and more.  Another complex masterpiece from our favorite brewery down in the Springs.

5. Funkwerks – Deceit

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The 2012 Small Brewery of the Year just seems to get better and better.  Deceit is a classic Belgian-style Tripel with flavors of tropical fruit, spices and hops.  Look for more interesting one-off’s and seasonals to come out of this Fort Collins brewery in 2013.

4. AC Golden Brewing – Hidden Barrel Apricot

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Low production numbers, a high price tag and no distribution for AC Golden’s first bottled release. Yet, it still managed to tie up phone lines with orders and sold out on the same day it hit store shelves.  And for good reason.  It’s full of sour apricot, barnyard funk and oak.  Hopefully we’ll continue to see more interesting bottles and expanded distribution from AC Golden in 2013.

3. Elevation Beer Co. – Apis IV

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Elevation’s first bottled release was a delicious, complex Belgian-style Quadrupel, that was much more authentic Belgian than American knockoff.  Although Elevation may or may not brew this beer again, they’re clearly on the right track and I’m looking forward to more greatness from them in the years to come.  Awesome beer.

2. Avery Brewing – Uncle Jacob’s Stout

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This 17% ABV Imperial Stout, debuted in April as the 2nd release in Avery’s Annual Barrel Series. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak and booze make up this sticky, sweet stout.  Look for another batch to be released sometime in 2013.  Be sure you don’t miss out!

1. 2012 Beer of the Year: Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Persica055

I could have easily picked 5 beers from Crooked Stave to make this list.  They’re just that good. But for me, Persica was the standout and my pick for best Colorado Beer of 2012.  Unfortunately, the only way to try this one was by being a member of Crooked Stave’s 2012 Cellar Reserve, having a generous friend who’s in the Cellar Reserve or were lucky enough to snag a sample at Avery’s Sour Fest.  Ripe peaches and oak mix for this fruity, sour gem.  It’s a shame only a few hundred bottles were made, but the good news is that it’ll be making a return in 2013 to members of the Cellar Reserve.  It’s not too late to sign up, so don’t miss out.

Best Colorado Breweries of 2012

1.  Avery Brewing – Not only do they offer a solid lineup of year round beers, but their seasonals and occasional Barrel-Aged releases are second to none.  The Barrel-Aged series has become so popular, that the releases have turned into mini-festivals at the brewery, where Avery taps unique and hard-to-find beers just for the occasion.  Combine their great beers with their annual Anniversary Party, Sour Fest, IPA Fest and Strong Ale Fest and the new brewery which is expected to open in 2014, and it’s easy to see why Avery Brewing is our favorite brewery of 2012.

2.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – Wild Wild Brett Indigo, L’Brett D’Or, Nightmare on Brett, Persica and they even managed to bring Cantillon’s Zwanze Day to Colorado.  Phenomenal job all around!

3.  Odell Brewing – They make some of our favorite CO beers including Friek, Myrcenary and Bourbon Barrel Stout.  I could sit in their tasting room all day, play a little cornhole or just watch the world go by on the patio.  Thank you Odell for another great year of events, tappings and bottled releases.

Best Denver Area Beer Bars of 2012

1.  Parry’s Pizza – Epic tap takeovers, pint nights, great food and a friendly and knowledgable staff made Parry’s our favorite place to sip a pint outside of a brewery in 2012.  Three locations around the Denver area, with more on the way!

2.  The Rackhouse Pub – Aside from great beer, great food and multiple beer events throughout the year, The Rackhouse shares the roof with Stranahan’s Whiskey.  Stop by for a tasting and tour of the distillery, stick around for a bite to eat and a locally brewed craft beer.

3.  Falling Rock Tap House – The classic Denver tap house.  They get the good stuff the for the geeks and always seem to have something special on draft.

Three Colorado Breweries to Watch in 2013

1.  Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project – More barrels, more bottles, a coolship and a brewery at The Source.  Look out!

2.  Dry Dock Brewing – A new production facility, new brewhouse, a 63-BBL foeder, canning line and expanded distribution.  I’m in!

3.  Black Shirt Brewing – I’ve admittedly only tried 3 of BSB’s brews, but if that’s any indication of what’s to come, Denver’s in for a treat in 2013.

With so many great beers, breweries and beer bars around town, this wasn’t an easy list to compile and sadly, many deserving beers didn’t make it.  What were your favorites from 2012?  Leave a comment on our Facebook Page and share with us.

As 2012 draws to a close, I cant wait to see what lies ahead for the Colorado Beer Scene in 2013. It’s an exciting time to be a craft beer lover.

Cheers and Happy New Year!


Behind The Scenes At Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.  Wow!  You haven’t even been open a week and I’m already wondering how I’ve survived so long without you.

In honor of Sour Beer Day, I’m bringing you a full report on the newly opened Crooked Stave Tap Room and Barrel Cellar.  You ready?!?!

I made the trip over on Wednesday to partake in the highly anticipated Grand Opening of the Taproom and Barrel Cellar.  More HERE.  They opened the doors at 2 PM and within ten minutes, the room was already full.  I’m not complaining and I’m glad they’re off to a great start, but they definitely had their hands full.  I decided to take the fam back on Thursday because there were just too many tasty beers left to try and I wanted to see if things had quieted down a bit.

The beers are amazing.  They’ve currently got 5 barrel-aged beers on tap that include a variety of unique ingredients, from Colorado Blue Spruce Tips to Vignole Grapes to Blueberries.  There’s also a non-alcoholic, barrel-aged Kombucha drink, made with jasmine, green and sumac teas, mangosteen and blueberries that tastes like a cross between fruit juice and iced tea.  It’s tasty and refreshing.

Things were definitely a bit more relaxed on Thursday and owner / brewer Chad Yakobson was kind enough to spend over an hour giving me what was probably the most thorough and interesting brewery tour I’ve ever had in my life.  He shared the entire process and discussed his plans for the newly opened Barrel Cellar and Taproom, as well as The Source, which is set to open in 2013.

Come on in!

At the taproom, three additional foeders are getting delivered this week, 375mL bottles will soon be hitting the market, bright tanks and more barrels are on the way and a lab for culturing yeast is in the works.  For now, brewing will continue at Prost and River North.

A tour of the Barrel Cellar included a bit of barrel history.  Each barrel really has its own unique story, characteristics and personality.  Some were from New Belgium, others from various wineries and distilleries.  One famous barrel is even from Vinnie’s herd at Russian River.  Beer geek’s take note and meet pH2.  Beatification anyone?

Chad even pulled the nail out from a few barrels to check the progress on some of his beers.  He’s got a Sour Quad in the works which is tasting awesome.  I believe his exact words were “bourbon marshmallows”.

He’s also got several different Saisons, a Sour Porter, a Dark Sour and fingers crossed, another batch similar to Persica.  Persica’s a Sour Peach beer that was only available to members of his Cellar Reserve club.  I tried it at the Avery Sour Fest earlier this year and is by far, my favorite beer of 2012. Amazing beer!

As for the upcoming brewery over at The Source, a 20 BBL brew system will be installed and a coolship is in the works.  Yep, a freakin’ coolship!  It just keeps getting better and better!  Just in case you don’t know what a coolship is, it’s a flat, shallow, open vessel, designed to allow the wort to cool, while permitting exposure to wild, airborne yeasts.  All those wild critters in the air create sour, funky traits that are highly desirable in this style of brewing.  Many lambic brewers in Belgium use coolships, but only a handful have them in the U.S.  Glorious!

Here’s a view of the coolship at Cantillon in Brussels, Belgium.  Note the windows to allow the wild yeasts to enter and infect the beer.

Chad’s a master at his craft and Denver is lucky to have him.  If you haven’t been to his place yet, you owe it to yourself to pay him a visit.  I can’t say enough good things about his beers and his hospitality is second to none.  My mind is blown from everything I learned this week.  Thanks Chad and once again, Welcome to the neighborhood!

Cheers!