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Beer Trippin’ in Wisconsin. Part 2 – Tyranena Brewing and Romans’ Pub

In Part 1 of our Wisconsin beer trek, we hit up New Glarus Brewing.  Read all about it HERE.  From there, we headed to Lake Mills, WI, to visit Tyranena (pronounced tie-rah-nee-nah) Brewing.  I’ve gotten a few bottles to try over the years and had liked their beers quite a bit.  Everything I had read, made it sound like they do quite a bit of barrel aging and experimentation.  Two things I love.

As we walked up to the bar, I glanced over the beer menu and knew we were in for a treat.    I don’t usually go for a sampler tray, but there were just too many new and interesting beers to try.  The sampler was the only practical way to get them all in.

For $10, you can walk through the whole lineup: Three Beaches Honey Blonde, Headless Man Amber Alt, Stone Tepee Pale Ale, Bitter Woman IPA, Rocky’s Revenge Bourbon Aged Brown, Chief Blackhawk Porter, Cherry Barrel Aged Kinda Lambic, Scurvy IPA w/ Orange peel, Down ‘n’ Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Dirty Old Man Imperial Rye Porter aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels.  Some really, really, reeeaaaalllly nice beers.  I hate to pick one, but my fav’s were the Scurvy IPA and Down ‘n’ Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Our bartender, Benji, was a former brewer for Tyranena, but these days, he’s a stay at home Dad. He occasionally helps out at the brewery in his spare time.  Benji was very knowledgeable as we picked his brain and took his recommendations on places to visit during our trip.

We checked out the brew house, finished our sampler and took a stroll through the adjacent beer garden and hop garden around the corner.

Tyranena Brewing is located at: 1025 Owen St, Lake Mills, WI 53551.  920-648-8699.

After Tyranena’s it was time to make the trip back to Milwaukee, which would be home for the night. Before hitting the hotel, we had time for one last stop at Romans’ Pub.  If you’re looking for trendy and cute, head to Rock Bottom.  But, if you’re looking for good  great beer, a knowledgeable bartender and proper glassware, hit up Romans’.

It’s a pretty simple place, with a dozen or so seats at the bar, a few tables and a beer garden out back.  The walls are covered with posters and artwork from great breweries like Dogfish Head, Three Floyds and Goose Island.

ISO: Bourbon County Stout barrel / FT: Name your price.

We’ve all heard the saying “No Crap On Tap” and Romans’ lives up to it.  Just look at the draft list.

A solid beer menu, that’s always changing.  Fortunately for me, the menu is heavy on the hops right now.  It was Double IPA time for me.  First up, was Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf (on draft).  A big ol’ 9% DIPA, that packs 100+ IBU’s and is loaded with citrus and tropical fruit notes.  Amazing beer.

After that, it was time for….  Three Floyds (3F’s) Arctic Panzer Wolf.  AGAIN!  I don’t normally order the same beer twice when I’m at a beer bar, especially when I’m at an out-of-town beer bar, but the 3F’s Panzer Wolf was amazing.  I tried samples of the Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster DIPA and Black Husky Pale Ale, but for me, Panzer Wolf took the crown.

Patti went for the Goose Island Imperial IPA.

It didn’t take us long to get a conversation going with our bartender, who turned out to be owner, Mike Romans.  Once he figured out that we were true beer nerds, he opened up like a book.  We swapped stories about breweries, GABF and he helped us plan out the rest of our trip in Wisconsin.

If you ever find yourself in Milwaukee, I highly recommend a visit to Romans’ Pub.  Mike, who has been in the biz since 1978, is pretty much a 1-man show and he works his tail off to get his customers the best beer he can find.  Mike, if you’re reading this, thanks again and there’s a couple of bombers heading your way soon.

Romans’ Pub is located at: 3475 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207.  414-481-3396.

Next up on our Beercation in Wisconsin is… sleep…  and Miller!  I know, I know, but you might be surprised.  MillerCoors had a fun tour and lots of history.  Come on back for the next entry.  And if Miller’s left a foul taste in your mouth, have no fear, we ended our trip with a visit to a popular microbrewery in Milwaukee.  More details, pics and reviews to come.

Cheers!


Beer Trading Part Four: The Beer is Here!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced you to beer trading and walked you through a simple trade.  Just in case you missed something, in Part One, we talked about how to set up a trade.  In Part Two, we picked a trader and agreed on beers to trade.  In Part Three, we packed and shipped our beers.  We’ve waited patiently for our package to be delivered and it’s finally here!

Yep, this is my favorite part, opening the big box of goodies.  When I open a box of beer, I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning.  Even when I know what’s inside, it’s still exciting to dig in and unwrap all the beers.

Our New Glarus loot in all its’ glory!  Yeah, we pulled a ton of tasty brews from Wisconsin.  If you’ve never had the Belgian Red or Raspberry Tart, make sure you move them to the top of your list.  Big, fruity flavors that are appreciated even by non-beer lovers.  Drink it straight or get crafty and pour it over vanilla bean ice cream or mix it with some Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout.  Fun, tasty beers.

At this point, I’ll e-mail our trader to thank them and let them know that I got everything in one piece.   I’ll also ask if they got the package I sent.  If something breaks, it’s typically the responsibility of the shipper to replace the beer(s) or do something to make up for the loss.  Just another good reason to take the extra time to pack things up safely the first time.

After checking with our trader, Kody, he told me that our package arrived safely with no issues.  At this point, the trade is done.  Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy your beers.

I keep a list of people I’ve traded with and will generally trade with the same people over and over again.  For example, after trading with Kody, I know that in addition to New Glarus, he’s got pretty good access to beers from Goose Island and Three Floyds among others.  We’re already working on setting up our next trade.  It doesn’t take long to develop a network of contacts and beer traders around the country.  It’s that easy.

Hope this little trading guide answered some questions and encouraged you to take the plunge.  If anything’s unclear or you’ve got questions, by all means, let me know.  It’s a great hobby.  Hope you enjoy it!

Big shout out to all of the brewers that won awards over the weekend at the World Beer Cup in San Diego, CA!  The complete list of winners can be found HERE.  I’m really excited to see so many Colorado brewers bring home medals, including Oskar Blues, Dry Dock, Rockyard, Odell and many more.  Bull & Bush brought home a whopping 4 awards!  Congrats to all  the breweries!

The next World Beer Cup is scheduled for Denver in 2014!  Yeah, it’s two years away, but it’s coming.  It’s almost like Denver was picked to host the Olympics.  Brewers from all over the world will be in town for a long weekend of seminars, tastings, beer dinners and more.  They couldn’t have picked a better location.

Don’t look now, but Colorado Beer Week is right around the corner.  More details to come later this week.  Stay tuned and check the Facebook page for all the latest info.

Cheers!


Weekend Wrap Up 04/30/12

The weather forecasters claimed we were going to be in for some wet weather over the past weekend, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  It turned out to be the perfect weekend.  I hope you were able to get out and enjoy it.

We made the trip over to Prost Brewing in Denver, CO, to donate a few hours of our time and help with a little painting.  It was our first time in their facility.  Bill and Darlene Eye have picked a great location and the building is shaping up nicely.  They still have quite a bit of work left to do, but they’re making steady progress and hope to be brewing in June.  We can’t wait!  In the meantime, check out their fancy new website.

After washing off the paint, we headed over to Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, CO, to check out their Avon Walk for Breast Cancer silent auction and special tappings.  They were pouring a Second Base Brown, brewed exclusively for the event, a Pink Tripel, Strawberry Hefeweizen firkin and a few barrel aged beers.  My favorite was the Shotgun Stout, a big 10% ABV, barrel aged, Russian Imperial Stout.  An awesome sipper!

Dry Dock’s Shotgun Stout

They had tons of items up for auction.  We perused the tables and saw everything from gift cards for local merchants, concert tickets, beers from other Colorado breweries, hotel stays, golf packages and even a pair of tickets for the Great American Beer Festival! My wife won a bid for an hour long massage and I won a Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrel!  I’ve been looking for a Stranahan’s barrel for quite some time and I wasn’t going to let this one get away.  My plan is to use it as a beer tasting table down in the man cave.

The Stranahan’s barrel really made my weekend.  Dry Dock put on a great event and raised a lot of money for charity.

In other beer news, more than 6,000 people made the trip out to Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, IN to enjoy Dark Lord Day.  Every year after I see the pictures and hear the stories, I tell myself I’ll have to go next year, yet I still haven’t gone.  I really need to make Dark Lord Day a higher priority next year.  In the meantime, there are some nice pics up HERE.  Time to make some trades and get a few bottles.  Oh, and I’ve got a special prize if anybody can help me land some Dark Lord Espresso beans.  That sounds amazing!

Happy Birthday to David Parry over at Parry’s Pizza in Highlands Ranch, CO.  He celebrated by brewing a beer with the folks at Odell Brewing up in Fort Collins, CO.  They whipped up a Pale Ale that will be available on tap at the upcoming Odell Tap Takeover at Parry’s Pizza on May 19th.  If you made it to Parry’s earlier this month for the Avery Tap Takeover, you know they put on a good show and bring out some nice, nice beers for these events.  More details to come.

Did anybody come up with tickets for Avery’s SourFest?  Tickets went on sale last Friday and sold out in under 2 minutes!!!  I got a pair, but it sounds like I was one of the few lucky ones.  Just wondering if anybody else was able to snag tickets.  I realize Avery is limited on the amount of beer available for this event, but I really wish they’d come up with a way to either host two sessions or move to a bigger venue.  It gets tougher every year.

Hope everybody had a nice weekend.  Stay tuned as I’ve got some new beers to share later this week along with some BIG events going on this weekend.  Cheers!


Beer Trading Part Two, Uncle Jacob’s Release and Opening Day

So a few days ago I gave you a little tease about getting into the delicious world of beer trading.  We were going to walk through a trade, along with Tony, one of our readers and track down some tasty New Glarus in exchange for some Colorado locals.  Did you miss out?  If so, click HERE to catch up and come back when you’re ready.  (insert Jeopardy theme song…)

Good?  Good! 

So we set up our free account on beeradvocate.com; we made our simple ISO (In Search Of): FT (For Trade) post; we raked in a bunch of responses (about 15 in 24 hours).  Now what??? 

So now you’re wondering, how do I pick a trader to go with?  Like I said, we got about 15 responses the first day of our ISO:FT post.  I’ve got a few ways to narrow down the trader we’re going to work with.  The first way is to go with the first response.  Kind of seems fair that the early bird gets the worm.  Another way is to go with someone you’ve already traded with. 

For me, trading is all about establishing good, friendly relationships with traders from around the country.  That way, when a beer comes along in a certain area of the U.S. that I’m looking for, I’ve got someone that might be able to help me out and vice versa.  There are several traders that I’ve known for years and we hook each other up with local fav’s, brewery only releases and so on, to share the loot.  In this case though, I wanted to start fresh and not fall back on past experiences.  I wanted to play the “rookie” and show you that it’s still easy to lock in a trade without knowing someone ahead of time. 

So I decided on a response from Kody, who actually lives in Chicago, IL, but makes frequent trips to Wisconsin.  Kody’s initial response was simple and to the point.  He just stated that he had New Glarus Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart and was looking for Odell and Lost Abbey.  We swapped a few more messages and came to the realization that we both had access to the same Lost Abbey beers, but I suggested some beers from Dry Dock, Avery and Funkwerks that he hadn’t heard of and might be interested in. 

In the past week, we’ve exchanged about a dozen more messages, narrowing down specific beers to swap and our favorite styles.  Turns out, Kody is going to be obtaining bottles of Three Floyd’s Dark Lord later this month, which is considered to be one of the best beers on the planet.  I love me some Dark Lord and am always on the hunt for more.  So we’re already talking about future trades! 

Like I said, beer trading for me, is about making those friendships that will continue for years to come.  I enjoy making connections with people like Kody who have the same passion for beer as I do.  In the future, I can get beers exclusive to my area that he will enjoy and swap for beers in his area that I will enjoy.  This is what makes the beer geek community so cool and unique.  Granted, it’s not always this way.  I’ve done many “one and done” trades, but more often than not, I trade with the same people, over and over again.  Hell, there’s even a guy in Boston, MA that I traded with so many times that I flew him out for the Great American Beer Festival a few years ago. 

Anyway, so we’ve locked in our trader, made small talk, locked in the beers we’re going to trade and we’re one step closer to having some delicious New Glarus for our glass.  Our next step is to buy our beers, pack, ship and wait for our box o’ goodies to arrive.  Questions????  Comments????  I’m going to try and pack our beers this week, so stay tuned! 

In other news, I hit the Uncle Jacob’s Stout release at Avery last night.  Uncle Who?  Click HERE for the details.  I got there late, but avoided the line and still got my allocation.  The reviews so far have been great.  For anybody that went and popped open a bottle, what did you think?  Looks like they flipped the line around and ran it into the barrel room and back through the keg room.  After attending various Avery releases for the past few years, it seems like Avery has gotten better and better about their small batch releases.  They continue to improve the customer experience and that’s a GREAT thing.  Big shout-out to Adam, Phil and everyone else over there for their awesome efforts in making these releases run smoother each and every time.  I hope to open a bottle soon and will try to share with you when I do. 

Lastly, tomorrow is Opening Day for the Colorado Rockies.  As a huge baseball fan, I’m really, really looking forward to this.  The weather should be perfect and the beer scene will be in full effect.  Falling Rock Tap House will be rockin’ with tents set up out front representing your favorite breweries.  Freshcraft, Denver Beer Company, Great Divide and the new kid on the block, River North, will be open and ready for the baseball crowd.  Rumor has it, Sandlot, at Coors Field, will even be pouring a sour for Opening Day!  Patti and I will be there and hope to see you downtown!  Drop us a line if you’re going.  We’d love to meet up and share a brew with you.


An Introduction to Beer Trading

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. 

Brewers and press lining up for New Glarus, before the festival doors even opened up.

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! 


Beer Trippin’ in Arizona. Baseball and Beer Hunting.

My family and I are big baseball fans and every year we find ourselves heading to Arizona for a few days to take in some Spring Training games.  We got up bright and early on Wednesday morning to grab the first flight from Denver, CO into Phoenix, AZ.  As we were waiting for our bags at baggage claim, we realized that we had accidentally left the kids bag at home…  NOOO!!!

In the past, my wife and I would always share a bag with them and fit their stuff in with ours.  But, since they would be flying back to Colorado with their “Mimi” and “Pap” and my wife and I were heading to California for the weekend, we decided to give them their own bag.  Unfortunately, since we got up at 2:45AM on the day of our flight, we packed the bag and had all their things in it, but we forgot it at the top of the staircase at our house.  Not a great start to the trip.  Hey, it’s not like we pulled a “Home Alone” and left our kids behind.  Trying to stay positive about the situation, it gave us a chance to get them some new clothes and was a way to kill a few hours before In ‘N’ Out opened.

mmmm, in-n-out!

So a few hours later, after a trip to Target, they had clothes and we were off to get checked into our hotel in Scottsdale, AZ.  When we got in, everyone was tired and ready for a nap.  With not much else going on, I decided to head out for a little beer hunting.  I always try to track down new and interesting beers when I’m out-of-town.  I like trying beers I’ve never had and usually keep a mental list of things I’ve been wanting to try from different regions around the U.S.

Within a few miles of our hotel was a Bevmo! and a Total Wine.  These places are practically next door to each other.  It’d be like having Argonaut and Lukas Liquors across the street from each other back home.  Kind of crazy, but it makes an out of towner like me happy to not have to drive far for good beer.

Bevmo! was solid and had a wide variety of beers, both local and imports, but Total Wine was just awesome!  They had a sign advertising 2500+ different beers.  I liked the setup quite a bit.  They divided their beer section up by style.  For example, all the IPA’s were in one section, in alphabetical order, with notes about some of the beers and staff recommendations.  They even had a section for special releases and limited beers.  It was almost too easy.

Total Wine offers classes every month educating consumers and offering samples of different styles of beers.  They had some deep discount beers to get rid of their past seasonals.  I saw quite a few xmas seasonals for great prices.  For example, Sierra Nevada Celebration and Odell Isolation for $4 / 6-pack.  Great idea that I wish stores back home would adopt.  It prevents beer from just sitting around for months and keeps inventory fresh.

Anyway, the store was great and I got lost in their beer section for nearly an hour.  I made a mix-6 of some locals and grabbed several bombers to open during our stay or take home to the cellar.

Arizona locals.

The next day, we headed to Salt River Fields to watch the Colorado Rockies take on the Chicago Cubs.  We had perfect seats about 20 rows back behind home plate.  We were in the shade and it was 84 degrees.  Glorious!  You couldn’t have asked for a better day.  There’s not much of a beer scene at the stadium, but you can get an $8 Blue Moon or a $10 bomber of Fat Tire.  I stuck with my bottle of water and enjoyed the game.

The view from our seats. Perfect day!

Yeah, the Cubs still suck and the Rockies won 7-5.  Hey, there’s always next year Cub fans.

After the game, my parents offered to watch the kids for a few hours, which gave my wife and I a chance to visit a few local breweries.  Our first stop was at Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.  As soon as I walked in, I knew it was our kind of place.  The walls were completely covered with beer signs, tap handles, mirrors,  posters and so on.  Papago has 30 beers on tap, which featured both their beers along with a great selection of guest taps.  I decided to try their Hopago IPA and Patti went for their Oude Zuipers Tripel.  Both were well balanced and very drinkable.

An impressive tap lineup at Papago Brewing.

Oskar Blues was there doing a promotional deal with their Deviant Dale’s.  The rep, who was from Denver, spent a long time chatting with us about the Colorado beer scene and gave us some swag to take home.  I had a tough time trying to deciding on a second beer.  Papago has about 9 glass door refrigerators full of bottled beer that’s out in the bar area.  They allow you to buy bottles or make 6-packs to take home or you can pick out a bottle, bring it to your table and drink it there.  I LOVE this idea!  First, the fact that you can actually look at the bottles and not have to order from an out-of-date menu was nice, but also being able to take things to go or share with friends at the bar…  Brilliant!

They had all kinds of locals, but some nice out of state options and imports, including all sorts of beers from Dogfish Head, Epic, Marin, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey and so on.  They even had big time beers like Firestone Walker’s Sucaba, their highly sought after barleywine.  Beeradvocate.com named this one of the top 20 places to have a beer in the entire world and Papago has the beer to back it up.

I was pretty impressed and for my next beer, I went with a Three Floyds / Mikkeller collaboration called Boogoop.  This was a new one for me and is listed as a 10.4% wheatwine.  Big hops, sweet, sweet malty backbone.  I loved every drop of it.  Patti got a Bear Republic Racer 5, which is a classic American IPA from Healdsburg, CA.  You can spend a pretty penny in this place if you’re not careful.  Well done Papago.  We will be back.

Shuffleboard in the back at Papago.

Our next and final stop of the day was at Four Peaks Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ.  We got a table outside and took a look at the beer menu.  Patti went for the sampler and I ordered a Hop Knot, American IPA.  Their sampler consists of 8 different beers which range from a Peach Ale to an Oatmeal Stout.  It wasn’t anything mind blowing, but they were all well made and were pretty tasty.  They had good food and a friendly atmosphere (think Rock Bottom).  They sell growlers and bottles to go as well.

Four Peaks sampler.

Arizona is slowly transforming into a decent beer town.  Every year we come it seems that another brewery has popped up and is trying to educate the locals on choosing better beer.  Arizona Beer Week was two weeks ago and they have various beer festivals throughout the year.  It’s not exactly Colorado out here, but they’re working on it.

Today was another perfect day of baseball.  We sat 8 rows behind home plate to watch the Brewers vs. the Royals.  Spring training is tough to beat!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and we’re heading out for a big ol’ throwdown at The Bruery in Orange, California.  This should be a pretty epic party with nearly 50 small batch, hard to get beers being poured, plus 4 guest breweries and a ton of food.  We’ll be making a few other stops along the way, so stay tuned.

Tomorrow’s schedule will consist of The Bruery, The Bruery and The Bruery!


Strong Ale Fest Teaser, Prost Brewing, Firkins, Dark Lord Day Tickets and Beer Radio!

So it’s been an exciting week for me.  We had more than 300 hits in the first week of Brewtally Insane.  It’s awesome to see such a positive response.  Thank You! 

As I get ready to have my face melted at the Avery Strong Ale Festival tonight, I wanted to share a few pieces of beer news that I came across over the past few days. 

First up, Prost Brewing is hard at work getting their brew system up and running.  Prost is led by Bill Eye, the former head brewer over at Dry Dock in Aurora, CO.  Since leaving Dry Dock, he bought a brew system over in Germany, had it shipped to the U.S. by boat and has been hard at work getting it ready to fire off some tasty German style beers.  Bill and the gang at Prost are aiming for a Spring 2012 opening.  Prost will be located at 2540 19th Street, Denver, CO 80211.  Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on their progress, participate in surveys and see pictures of everything, from construction to glassware. 

Let the countdown to Spring begin!

Speaking of Dry Dock, their Firkin Friday release today is Hop Project:X.  Firkin master, Walt Chleva, says this is a dry hopped pale ale with an experimental hop.  First firkin at 3PM, second firkin at 7PM. 

12 hours from now, the Strong Ale Festival up at Avery will be in full force.  Here’s a few teasers for you from two of my favorite breweries.  First up, Surly.  They sent kegs of Smoke, which is a smoked lager and Five, which is a sour ale they brewed for their 5th anniversary.  Surly doesn’t distribute very far from their brewery up in Minnesota, so be sure to check these out if you’re attending  this weekend.  

Get Surly this weekend at Avery's Strong Ale Festival

Oskar Blues also has some intersting “one-offs” for you to enjoy at the festival.  They’re bringing four beers this time around.  Look for a wine barrel aged G’Knight, an oak aged version of Gubna and a Double Deviant.  That should satisfy the hopheads in the crowd.  If double IPA’s aren’t your thing, they’re also bringing a Wild Turkey barrel aged version of Ten FIDY, their Russian Imperial Stout.  Personally, I’m really looking forward to giving that a try. 

Look for Oskar Blues to bring some tap some tasty barrel aged beers this weekend.

American Craft Beer Radio will be broadcasting live for a pre-festival, tailgate-like show at Avery from 11-noon tomorrow.  Joining host Gary V. on the show tomorrow will be Surly head brewer, Todd Haug and Avery barrel master, Andy Parker.  American Craft Beer Radio is on 102.3 FM, ESPN Radio.  At noon, you can flip over to 760 AM for the Colorado Craft Beer Show and here all the local happenings with John Turk and from Oskar Blues, Chris Katechis, aka “The Gubna”.  I love both of these programs and it’s nice that they’re going to be on at staggered times this weekend so listeners don’t have to flip back and forth. 

Oh and real quick, Three Floyds has announced that tickets for their 2012 Dark Lord Day release will go on sale on March 17th.  The release date is set for Saturday, April 28th.  I’ll have more info on Dark Lord Day soon, but if you’re thinking about going, check out their website and mark your calendars.  This is one of the biggest releases of the year and is sure to be a good time.

Get ready to reserve your Dark Lord Day 2012 tickets next week.

Again, thanks for a great first week.  Business cards have arrived.  They look pretty sharp if I may say so and have a tip chart on the back so you’ve got no reason not to take care of your bartenders around town.  Give me a shout and I’ll give you some to pass along to your beer loving friends.  Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook to get updates, beer releases, reviews and links shared with you throughout the week.


A Brief Introduction

OK, here we go, another blog in a world already over saturated with forums, social networks and weblogs.   Then why?  Why should you bother reading another blog from an average joe like myself?  What makes this blog worthy of your valuable time?  Well, if it helps, I’ll say that I like Beer.  It’s delicious!  I like it so much, I’ve decided to make this blog all about the stuff.  The sweet, sweet fermented goodness that brings me joy and satisfaction at the end of my day (and sometimes the beginning and middle of my day too). 

So my blog, my piece of property in internet infinium, will be dedicated (mostly) to Beer. 

I’m not exactly an expert.  My name’s Mark and I’ve got a somewhat normal job, an amazing wife and two awesome kids.  I don’t work for a brewery or have my cicerone certification, nor am I a certified beer judge.  But, I am passionate about the stuff and am ready to share this knowledge with you. 

Welcome to the site! That's me, relaxing at Bier Circus in Belgium.

My goal and purpose of this blog is to keep you, my wonderful reader, up to date on the happenings in the wonderful world of beer.  I’ll cover what’s going on both close to home, here in Colorado and around the U.S. and maybe even the world.  I want to take you with me on adventures to breweries around town and on road trips and festivals throughout the year.  Come with me and explore different styles, learn about well-known, popular breweries, but also obscure, lesser known breweries from across the globe.  Dive into my beer cellar and dust off some aged bottles to sample and learn what, how and why to properly cellar beer in your own home.  We’ll meet some of the masterminds and artists behind our favorite beers and see what inspires them to do what they do.  Maybe we’ll even brew a batch of beer together. 

Want the buzz on the latest upcoming releases around town?  We’ll talk about it.  Ever find yourself wondering what would pair well with a nice, thick, hearty steak or a stinky, veiny chesse?  I’ve got you covered there too.  Should I keep my beer in the bottle or pour it into a glass, and if I need a glass, what kind of glass should I use?  Does it really matter?  Absolutely!  Maybe you’re having a party and want some suggestions for appetizers that will pair well with beer or want some recipes for beer infused food.  I’ll even walk you through a beer trade and give you some tips on how to track down a bottle of New Glarus Belgian Red or maybe even the elusive Three Floyd’s Dark Lord!   

Want to try some tasty beers like these from Founders? I'll tell you how and walk you through your first beer trade!

Along the way, you’ll meet my lovely wife, Patti as we bring you with us on our trips and adventures.  She’s a beer nerd, just like me. 

My wife and I at the Great American Beer Festival.

Like I said, I’m no expert, but I’ve been all around the globe in search of good beer and now it’s time to share some of that knowledge with anybody that’s willing to listen. 

Care to join me?  Grab a pint, here we go!