Friday, May 2, 2014

Blue Spruce

Although it is still early in the year, 2014 has been a great year in new breweries opening in Colorado, and one of the reasons for it is quite simple. Breweries are opening up more in the suburbs and small towns all throughout the state. One town that has benefited the most from this is the small but expansive town of Centennial that has seen two breweries open up since February. The most recent came in April where they not only serve great Mexican food, but a wide variety of high quality ales and lagers brewed on site. Located near southwest of Denver, this is Blue Spruce Brewing.
Located right off County Line Road and Colorado Boulevard the building is very inviting from the outside, but even more inviting once guests have a seat. The inside of the building brings together an industrial yet comfortable feel that will make guests want to spend a lot of time their enjoying the atmosphere. The 7 BBL brewing equipment is easily visible and only separated by a short wall. The tap room is lined with several windows allowing for a well lit building. This is highlighted by a large enclosed patio with opening windows to enjoy the fresh air as you enjoy your beer. With eight beers on tap in diverse styles there is something for beer drinkers of all types to enjoy, so which one to try first?
For fans of malt forward beers there are several great options for both ales and lagers. The Brown Ale is a great malt forward ale with great balance. There is a great toasted flavor of the grains with a good balance between caramel and chocolate notes. The hop note is minimal, and the finish clean making it a very balanced, easy to drink beer. Also available, is a red ale that is also malt forward, but just as balanced. The red ale brings forward a subtle sweetness from caramel malts, but instead is balanced out by roasted grain. The end result is a balance of sweetness, roasted flavor, and a subtle bitterness that is refreshing and finishes clean. Also available is a Doppelbock which is not only a great malt forward beer, but also a great lager. With a great malt profile, toasted flavors, and crisp mouth feel that all finishes clean this is a lager worth trying.
On the opposite side of malt forward beer Blue Spruce does have offerings that are hop forward as well, and it starts with their Pale Ale. With its light appearance this beer has a very light body with a prominent but still subtle hop aroma and flavor. The light malt base leads way to a bright citrus note from the hops. With a clean finish, this is a very easy to drink pale ale. For the true hop fan out there, the beer to order is the Double IPA. Dry hopped with Belma and served on nitro this a hop forward, and complex flavored beer. The malt base provides a full body and rich mouth feel provide a great profile for this beer, but the hops give a great flavor. Strong flavors of pine and subtle citrus notes run through this beer giving it great flavor, and a fairly clean aftertaste making it very easy to drink and enjoy. A great double IPA with a unique flavor and hop schedule makes this a must try. For lighter body beers with a bright and slightly sweet flavor there is also a Honey Kolsch and Belgian Golden Strong available.
Not only does Blue Spruce serve high quality beers in a diversity of styles that will appeal to the masses, but they also have much more; great Mexican food to enjoy while sipping on those beers, an extremely friendly staff, and a spacious tap room great for both groups big and small. In the new current expansion of brewpubs throughout Colorado the food and beer both receive high marks at Blue Spruce. Factor in its great location and this is sure to grow in popularity and become not only a great neighborhood hangout, but a place people will travel to try. So, when you are in the increasing craft beer scene around the Highlands Ranch area make sure a trip to the small town of Centennial is part of the trip, and stop by Blue Spruce where you are sure to enjoy yourself.  

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brews News 4-29

Heading into the last week of April and into the beginning of May the craft beer scene is really starting to heat up. More new beer releases hit the tap lines every week, more breweries are celebrating their anniversaries, and now festival season will start to be in full swing every weekend. All that going on this week throughout the state. Cheers to the week ahead!
Festivals:
Saturday, May 3 and Sunday May, 4 craft beer lovers will flock to the Southwest suburb of Denver in Littleton, Colorado for the 2nd Annual South Denver Beer Fest. Located at the Lakeside at Clement Park this event will bring together 60 craft breweries, wineries, and ciders from across the state and country together to serve their high quality beverages for craft beer lovers across the state. Tickets are still available in both general admission and VIP for both days. General admission is $40 and VIP are $85. For a complete list of participants visit http://www.southdenverbeerfest.com/p/participating-breweries.html.
Anniversaries:
-North of Denver in the small town of Berthoud City Star Brewing will be celebrating their 2nd anniversary on Sunday, May 4. Starting at noon they will kick off their 2 Year Hootenanny with great food, new beers, trivia, and live music. For the occasion City Star will be releasing a Tequila Barrel Aged Golden Ale. City Star is located at 321 Mountain Ave., Berthoud.
-North of Denver in Broomfield Big Choice Brewing will be celebrating their second anniversary on Saturday, May 3 at The Old Man Bar. This event will be full of events, games, and of course new beer. Look for Ollie-Weizen (Hefeweizen) and an Extra Pale Ale to hit the tap lines on CO2 and cask plus much more. As they say Choose Wisely and enjoy some of their great beers and say congrats on another successful year.
New Beer Releases:
-North in Boulder Wild Woods Brewery has completed their upgrade in brewing equipment and the first beer made is ready to hit the tap lines. A new offering they are calling Class 2 Summit made with Summit and Cascade hops will be available Tuesday, April 29.
-Copper Kettle will continue and end their blonde ale month this week with “Sex on the Beach” Blonde. Made with orange, cranberry, and peach schnapps this is sure to be a refreshing beer. Tapping is at 3:00 Wednesday, April 30.
-River North Brewery has a great and unique beer lined up for Wayward Wednesday, a Barrel Session Wit. There River North White has spent time in 3 different barrels and has been blended ready to serve. First keg goes on at 3.
-Wednesday, April 30 Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada has a great beer ready for their Discovery Series. This week is a Passion Pale Ale.
-Friday, May 2 Saint Patrick’s Brewing has another great new lager ready to serve to the masses perfect for summertime. The new offering is a Limoncello Lager, so make sure to stop by for a sample and a bomber to save for later.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Footprint Ale

Since they opened their doors in 1988, Odell Brewing has become not only one of the biggest breweries in the state, but also one that has garnered a lot of national attention. But through all the awards and expansion one thing has remained consistent with this brewery and that is their small range of distribution. This allows the brewery to focus on quality, and keep their beers fresh and unfiltered to reach the customer with high standards of quality. In 2014, their distribution added Texas to the list creating 11 states you can find Odell in, and to celebrate a new beer had to brewed for the occasion.
The result is Footprint Ale, a limited release ale that brings together an ingredient from each state Odell is available at into one harmonious beer. The ingredients are complex and include hops and barley from Colorado and Idaho, wheat from Kansas, wild rice from Minnesota, corn from Nebraska, wheat from Wyoming, barley and honey from South Dakota, green chilies from New Mexico, prickly pear juice from Arizona, grapefruit juice from Texas, and the use of oak barrels from Missouri. The end result was a beer worthy of tasting notes after only a sample.
After ordering a pour at the Odell tap room, Footprint was served in a tulip glass, and had a great appearance to it. The beer had a rich golden color with a slightly hazy and unfiltered appearance. This was capped off with a bright white head that faded away quickly leading to a very unique and complex aroma. While this beer had one bold aroma it was full of subtleties from the several unique ingredients that made up this one of a kind ale. The wheat and barley created a light but bold aroma, and the other ingredients contributed as well. There were bright citrus notes from the grapefruit and prickly pear and it was all rounded out with a hint of oak. With an aroma so distinct it raised the question on how it would carry through to the flavor.
After one sip of this beer there were a few things that were immediately evident. The carbonation level was low, this was a full flavored and complex ale, and for a lighter colored ale this had a medium to full body. The lower level of carbonation combined with the ingredients created a creamy mouth feel, and an immediate richness that is not often seen in beers with wheat in them. The use of honey only helped to enhance the body and mouth feel created. The malt flavor was prominent on first sip with a more subtle and hidden hop note, but that was only one of the many flavors in this beer that came out at various times with each sip.
With so many powerful ingredients one would think that this beer would be overpowering, but it is the total opposite. Each ingredient added complexities and depth of flavor to the beer to make it more well rounded. The Arizona prickly pear adds a brightness and hint of tartness that helps to cut through the full body. The Texas grapefruit added a citrus note and a bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Last the New Mexico green chilies added only a hint of spice, but also a pure natural flavor. This was all rounded out with the oak aging from Missouri. While no flavor dominated this beer, each ingredient came through even if for a brief taste. The aftertaste was just as unique as the beer, with a slight lingering taste but not enough to deter the drinker from taking another sip.
Overall this beer was easily 4 out of 5. To combine so many ingredients into a balanced beer only goes to show the high quality and high standards Odell puts into every batch. While it is difficult to categorize it into a single style it fits many. American strong ale, wheat ale, fruit beer, and harvest ale can all be used to label Footprint. No matter how you look at it though it is a great beer full of flavor, balance, and unique ingredients that is a great celebration of the states where Odell is available. While it is only around for a limited time it is worth trying, one that you are sure to enjoy no matter what style of beer you prefer, and one you will definitely want to raise a glass to.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Copper Kettle Turns 3

From what was coined as A Year in the Making to mark their first anniversary quickly turned into a Year of Growth to celebrate their second anniversary. But what happened between then and now has been watching a company grow. That has included bottling and distributing their award winning Mexican Chocolate Stout with two more year round bottles coming soon, three barrel aged bottle releases, the upgrade to a new 15 barrel brew house, and an expanded tap room with the long awaited addition of a patio. All while maintaining high quality ales and lagers, and keeping a small neighborhood feel with a friendly staff.
So it is only appropriate that given all the great advancements made in the past year that their third anniversary would be known as the Year of Excitement. From April 24-27 Copper Kettle Brewing Company will be releasing new beers, bringing back some old favorites, and putting bragging rights on the line between the staff with their annual four day celebration. Starting Thursday each day will feature great beers, live music, food trucks, and is sure to be a great time. The only question is which day to go if not all of them.
The festivities kickoff Thursday, April 24 like any anniversary party should and that is with a look back at the past year as Copper Kettle will be putting some of their most popular beers back on the tap lines. Of course for an anniversary party of this size it has to be some of their most popular beers so it will be their barrel aged offerings. This includes but is not limited to their Rum Barrel Aged Pumpkin Porter, Snowed In Imperial Oatmeal Stout, a Rum Barrel Aged Old Ale and Well Bred English Barleywine. While there could be more available throughout the course of the day you are just going to have to show up and see what’s being offered.
Friday, April 25th Copper Kettle will be releasing not only a new barrel aged beer, but also their first sour ale. A Raspberry Framboise that was brewed last year and aging in wine barrels for the past 10 months is now ready to be served to guests who have been anxiously waiting for Copper Kettle to start a sour. Well now is the time and this beer is sure to go fast so arrive early to ensure you get a taste of this beer.
Saturday, April 26 will be one of the most popular days of this event, and that is the second year of the Battle of the Beers staff recipe showdown. People that were there last year remember how great the beers were, and this year is sure to top that with some unique beers in both style and flavor. Beers competing against each other for bragging rights this year include a Tokaji Hungarian Oak Spiced Biere de Garde, a Brown Sugar and Bacon Brown Ale, an India White Ale with Citra and Zythos hops, an Oak Aged Oatmeal Porter with blackberry liquor, a Mint and Vanilla Double Mexican Chocolate Stout, an Oak Aged Vanilla and Peach American Wheat, Colonial Ale with Blackstrap Molasses, and the Luis Suarez Extra Special Bitter. Try one or try them all, make sure to vote on your favorite and give bragging rights to one of the employees. One thing is for sure, all are sure to taste delicious and sound very unique.
Sunday April 27 the festivities will come to a close, and to send off another great year in style another barrel aged beer will be offered. This time the offering is a Petit Verdot aged Belgian Grand Cru. A great wine and a great style of beer being blended together will be the perfect way to toast another great year and remember another great anniversary celebration. Now of course to accompany so much great beer there will be different live music every day and great food trucks as well.
With each passing year the anniversaries at Copper Kettle seem to get bigger and better. The beers seem to get more bold and daring in flavor. The event becomes more memorable and something people continue to talk about. This year will be no exception with over thirteen one of a kind beers over a four day span, great entertainment, and great company it is sure to be a great event. The only question to answer is which day to go, if not all four and then wait and see what another year brings this growing company.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brews News 4-22

Tax season is officially over, Easter is behind us and now we head into the final full week of April. This week is full of anniversaries, new beer releases, and events that put beer against wine. A full week in Colorado craft beer as the season begins to warm up, here is what to look forward to.
Beer vs. Wine:
-Not only is this an event that puts Colorado beer against Colorado wine, but also one for bragging rights in the RiNo area. Saturday, April 26 at the Lobby River North Brewery will go against Infinite Monkey Theorem in a culinary competition. $65 will get you three courses each paired with a River North beer and an IMT wine, and guests pick the winner. Seats are limited to fifty so act quick for this unique culinary and craft beverage experience.
New Breweries:
-After much anticipation and a couple delays along the way another new brewery will be joining the great craft beer scene in Denver, Comrade Brewing. The festivities will start at 12 and will feature 6 beers on tap to start. A Blonde Ale, Irish Red, IPA, Pale Ale, Cream Stout with coffee, and a special collaboration Cascadian Dark Ale. All will be available to take home in growlers so stop by, and enjoy some new craft beer. Comrade Brewing is located at 7667 E Iliff Ave. Unit F, Denver, CO.
-Saturday, April 26 the suburb of Centennial will be opening its second new brewery this year. Blue Spruce Brewing located in between Lone Tree Brewing and Grist Brewing will be opening their doors at 2:00. They will be offering a limited food menu of their Mexican offerings, as well as 20 beers on tap, 8 of which are brewed on site. The beers brewed on site include a Red, Kolsch, Pale Ale, Brown, Doppelbock, Golden Strong, and a IIPA. Blue Spruce Brewing is located at 4151 E County Line Rd. Unit G, Centennial, CO.
New Beer Releases:
-Tuesday, April 22 for Tap it Tuesday Crooked Stave will be releasing Ryan and the Gosling, a collaboration they did with Evil Twin Brewing. This is a Pale Ale made with Brett and citrus. Beer hits the tap lines at 6 at the Source.
-Thursday, April 24 Station 26 Brewing in Denver has another great firkin ready to serve to thirsty guests. This week they will be serving a Centennial IPA dry hopped with Mosaic hops and conditioned with honey. Beer will be served at 4.
-Thursday, April 24 down in Colorado Springs Bristol Brewing will be releasing their Maibock. This will also help kickoff Colorado Springs Craft Beer Week.
-Saturday, April 26 River North Brewery will be releasing their newest addition to their canned beer lineup. The River North IPA will now be available year round in cans joining their already popular White.
-Friday, April 25 Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora has another great firkin ready to serve to its thirst guests. A Caramel Vanilla Coffee Milk Stout is the offering this week, as always this beer will be poured starting at 3 so arrive early to get your hands on a pint of this one.
-Pilsner week is finally here and at Saint Patrick’s Brewing in Englewood they have four great new lagers ready to serve. An American Pilsner, German Pilsner, Czech Golden, and Japanese Rice Lager. Get a sample or a bomber, but make sure you try these.
-Thursday, April 24 through Sunday, April 27 Copper Kettle will be turning 3 with several new beer releases, check back Wednesday for more details.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Divide 20th Anniversary

In 1994, the craft beer industry was a small business with only a few breweries spread around the state. A lot can change over time and 20 years later the craft beer industry has boomed to the point where a new brewery opens as often as every week. All throughout Colorado, especially in Denver the craft beer scene is thriving and new tap rooms are always available to go to. But through it all, one brewery has remained an icon in downtown Denver, and now they get ready to celebrate their 20th anniversary. One of the craft beer pioneers. This of course, is Great Divide.
To commemorate such a milestone anniversary, a special ale would need to be crafted in order to not only celebrate, but also top those from years past. From wood aged double IPAs to a birch wood aged strong ale all of Great Divide’s anniversary ales have been unique and very special. But for their 20th they made a very special Belgian Blond ale fermented with viognier grape juice. After seeking out a couple of bottles and sampling one here are our thoughts on this unique, limited release ale.
As with any Belgian style ale a traditional tulip glass was the proper glassware of choice for this ale. It poured a hazy golden color without much clarity to it, but it retained a bright white head that was not too thick and did not retain for too long. Once the head settled the aroma of this beer came out, and it was strong, complex, and very unique. Within the aroma were subtle hints of citrus, peaches, and a very faint nose of minerals from the viognier grapes. But like with any traditional Belgian golden ale the yeast played a prominent role in the aroma, while the fruit aspects added a brightness through the yeast. The interesting, but inviting aroma made the senses wake up and wanting that first sip happen much faster.
After one sip of this beer it was clear that the complexities of the aroma were going to carry through the rest of this beer, and that included the body. The high carbonation gave the beer an effervescence that created a light crispness, but the prominent yeast notes weighed down the beer slightly. When the two are factored together it gave the beer a light to medium body that both woke up the taste buds and hit with flavor right from the first sip due to its mouth feel. With a great malt base, and no hop presence to be detected the taste was going be a brand new experience. The complex flavors from the viognier grapes were present in the flavor but remained very subtle and not overpowering at all. There were hints of peach, minerals, and a bright acidity that cut through the yeast.
The yeast flavor was very bold in this beer, and played a major contribution in the flavor of the beer from beginning to end. Not only did it add to the body, but the flavor added a small hint of citrus notes to add a further level of acidity. It also helped to round out the beer and not let the strong fruit flavors dominate this golden ale. The aftertaste finished clean with the exception of only a hint of the yeast, and even that faded away quickly making it easy to enjoy another sip of this bold ale.
Overall this was a very well rounded beer full of strong flavors, but balanced out in a way to create a bold, full flavored beer from beginning to end. Beers like this are a constant reminder of what Great Divide has been doing for the past 20 years, and how they are now an iconic brewery not only in Denver but in Colorado. This was a great beer that should be sought after by beer drinkers of all styles, but get it while you can for this limited run. This is a great beer to celebrate 20 years of Great Divide, and a great beer to raise your glass to.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brews News 4-15

CBC week is officially over and the World Beer Cup is now gone for two more years. While Colorado had a great showing at the awards ceremony it is now time to turn our attention to the week ahead and of course that starts with making sure our taxes are done. They are right? Good, now here is how to celebrate the relief of tax season being over with beer. Here is what is new in the week ahead.
New Beer Releases:
-Tuesday, April 15 Two 22 Brew in Centennial will be bringing back their Blonde Ale. This was available at their opening and they are now calling it their Better Blonde, make sure to swing by and try a pint.
-Tuesday, April 15 Station 26 in Denver is bringing back their Double IPA by popular demand. This beer comes in at 10% ABV and 90 IBUs, and this time they made enough to fill growlers. $25 for a 64 oz. fill and $15 for a 32 oz. fill. This beer was popular and is sure to go fast so make sure to have at least a pint.
-Wednesday, April 16 Copper Kettle Brewing Company in Denver is continuing their month long firkin of blonde ales. This week is a citrus blonde made with Peach Schnapps, cranberry, and orange peel. Think the flavors of sex on the beach. Tapping is at 3 so make sure to arrive early for a pint of this brew.
-Wednesday, April 16 Station 26 will be tapping a new beer to their already great tap list. This time the new offering is a Foreign Extra Stout. This beer comes in at 6.5% and is sure to be bold.
--Wednesday, April 16 River North Brewery has a great beer lined up for Wayward Wednesday. Whiskey Barrel Quandary will be the offering this week, along with some other rare beers still on tap from CBC.
-Thursday, April 17 Station 26 has a great new firkin ready for the thirsty crowd that has come to expect some unique from this brewery. This week is a Green Tea Cream Ale. Tapping at 4 so arrive early for this one, you won’t want to miss it and it won’t last long.
-Friday, April 18 Dry Dock in Aurora has another great firkin Friday planned for us. This week is a dry hopped Bier De Garde. Tapping is at 3 but as always arrive early to save a spot in line.
-Sunday, April 20 TRVE Brewing in will be bringing back a Nazareth for a small run in the tap room.
-Towards the end of the week Two 22 Brew will be tapping a new beer, this time it will be a brown ale.
In other news save the date because 38 State in Littleton has announced an opening date. Saturday, May 10 they will open their doors to the general public and serve there great beers to the thirst masses.

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