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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Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 World Beer Cup Winners

Another World Beer Cup has once again come and gone, and with the event being hosted in Denver it was only fitting the city was well represented in the awards ceremony. Once again breweries from all over the state proved why Colorado beer is some of the best out there with several first time winners and breweries that consistently win multiple awards each go around. Here is a list of all the Colorado breweries that took home some new hardware at the 2014 World Beer Cup.
Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora, CO:
                Silver: Apricot Blonde
Strange Brewing, Denver, CO:
                Gold: Cherry Kriek
Elevation Beer Co, Poncha Springs, CO
                Bronze: Senorita
Boulder Beer Co, Boulder, CO
                Gold: Shake Chocolate Porter
Twisted Pine Brewing Co, Boulder, CO
                Gold: Big Shot Espresso Stout
Verboten Brewing, Loveland, CO
                Silver: Pure Imagination
                Bronze: Bourbon Barrel Aged Mountain Man
Aspen Brewing Co, Aspen, CO
                Gold: Saison
Eddyline Brewing, Buena Vista, CO
                Silver: River Runners Pale Ale
AC Golden Brewing Co, Golden, CO
                Gold: Winterfest
Rockbottom Brewing Co, Denver, CO
                Silver: The Baltic Gnome Baltic Porter
Wit’s End Brewing Co, Denver, CO
                Bronze: Jean Claude Van Blonde
Red Leg Brewing, Colorado Springs, CO
                Bronze: Devil Dog Stout
Funkwerks, Fort Collins, CO
                Silver: Deceit
Cannonball Creek Brewing, Golden, CO
                Bronze: Featherweight Pale
Odell Brewing, Fort Collins, CO
                Gold: Runoff Red IPA
Lefthand Brewing Co, Longmont, CO
                Gold: Sawtooth Ale
Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co, Glenwood Springs, CO
                Bronze: No Name

Congratulations to all the great Colorado craft breweries to win awards for all their well deserved work at making some of the finest beer in the world. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

La Folie/Transantlantique

Every year New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins exceeds expectations with great small batch beers known as their Lips of Faith Series. Each beer introduces guests to unique styles of fruit like Pluots and Yuzu, or they do great collaboration beers with other breweries like Cigar City in Tampa Bay. But through it all one beer is always sought after more than any other, and that is the Flanders style La Folie which takes anywhere from one to three years to make. In addition to the release of that in 2014 New Belgium also brought back another popular beer, the Trandantlantique Kriek. After acquiring some bottles and enjoying them thoroughly here are some tasting notes to these great limited batch beers.
La Folie: After spending 1-3 years in French Oak barrels this bottle went from the fridge into a traditional style tulip glass, and had a brown color with a red hue. The head was a slight off white but retained itself for a while to the size of about two fingers.
The aroma was very complex bringing out the best of what a sour should be, barrel aging, as well as the base of the beer all playing a role in the aroma. The malt base had a very subtle hint along with the French Oak from the barrel aging. The prominent aroma throughout this beer was all because of the sour process, and that was hints of plum. But the primary note on the nose was granny smith apple that gave off a sour note. The aroma was complex, but very inviting and with so many different notes in smell trying a sip just had to be done.
After one sip it is obvious just how complex this beer is. The medium body had a crisp and puckering mouth feel with a strong effervescence that translated to the flavor perfectly. In terms of flavor the notes captured in the aroma matched those in the flavor almost identically. The malt base in the beer was still present and gave a subtle sweetness of caramel, but that was quickly overpowered by the strong sour notes present in this beer. The flavors of granny smith apple were very strong and the most prominent fruit note in this beer, but the undertones of plum and citrus were still present in a more subtle form. The flavor from the French Oak helped to round out this beer creating depth and layers of unique flavors. But once all was said and done this was a very tart and sour beer that made the mouth pucker.
Despite having such strong and assertive flavors this beer has a relatively clean aftertaste. The tartness still lingers but not to the point where it makes the beer off putting. In general it was a very complex beer full of great and subtle flavors that will already make fans eager for next year’s batch.
Transatlantique Kriek: Made in partnership with Frank Boon’s brewery in Belgium to combine 45% ale with cherries and 55% ale creates a tart, refreshing, and full flavored final product: a Kriek. Thankfully for fans of this beer it was brought back for an encore release.
Again the glassware used was a tulip glass although a proper limbic glass would have been more traditional, and this beer poured a deep ruby color. This beer had a good amount of carbonation which formed a thick, light pink head at the top of the glass. The aroma was exactly what would be expected in such a bold beer. The subtle malt base, but this was a prominent cherry beer with a strong and tart aroma to match that carried through to the flavor on the first sip.
The flavor of the beer is exactly what you would expect based on the aroma, and that is a pure cherry flavor. Unlike most fruit ales this Kriek had a natural cherry flavor, there were no artificial flavors running through the bottle. Since this was a blended ale there was still malt base to this beer to give it a light body and different subtle sweetness to balance out the beer. This was complimented by the tartness, brightness, and refreshing notes from all the cherries. The finish to this beer left just a faint hint of tartness, but faded quickly making it very refreshing and easy to drink that next sip.
From top to bottom this was a very well rounded and artfully crafted beer full of great technique. To have a fruit beer that balances all the qualities within it making it the right amount of sweet, tart, and to have a pure natural flavor just goes to prove how much care went into this batch. This is a beer that will be enjoyed by fans of lambics, fruit beers, and is one worth trying as it may turn you on to a whole new style. All we can hope is that it will continue to make encore appearances on shelves for thirsty fans.


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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Brews News 4-8

Well we survived the first week of April which included breweries around the state trying to prank us with free beer, helium cans, and more. Then it wouldn’t be Colorado in April without a few inches of snow, and then of course opening day. Now we head into CBC and the anticipation of World Beer Cup winners, with of course more great new beers, openings, and events to get us through another work week. Here’s a look at the week ahead.
Events/New Beer Releases:
-Tuesday, April 8 Two 22 Brew will have a new beer hitting the tap lines just in time for their weekly trivia. This time it is an Imperial IPA made with a new and experimental hop strain. This will be one worth trying so head on down, and put your trivia knowledge on display as well.
-Tuesday, April 8 Crooked Stave will be releasing bottles of Between the Staves, a collaboration beer they made with Anchorage Brewing at 6:00 PM. Bottles are $17 cash only, with a limit of 2 per person so arrive early to get your spot in line.
-Wednesday, April 9 Copper Kettle is continuing their month of Blonde Firkins. This week is a hoppy blonde ale. Tapping is at 3.
-Wednesday, April 9 River North has a great lineup for Wayward Wednesday to see which Imperial Stout reigns supreme in the tap room. They will have both Barrel Aged and B-Side Avarice on tap together starting at 3. 2 great beers available for a short time to arrive early.
-Wednesday, April 9 Epic Brewing will be taking over the World of Beer in Glendale with 50 beers hitting the tap lines. Look for various years of Barleywine, single hop varietals of Hopulent, and a variety of the Brainless series available. This will be great for the longtime fan or new fan of Epic.
-Thursday, April 10 Station 26 has another great firkin ready for thirst guests. A Belgian Tripel dry hopped with El Dorado!
-Thursday, April 10 is the second Thursday of the month and that means beer and cheese pairing at Copper Kettle Brewing Company. $20 gets you four great samples of beer and 4 great samples of cheese from the Truffle Cheese Shop in Denver.
-Friday, April 11 Our Mutual Friend will be tapping Sour #2.
-Friday, April 11 Dry Dock Brewing has a great beer lined up for Firkin Friday, a Raspberry Porpoise Blonde. As always this beer will be ready at 3 so arrive early to try a pint of this refreshing blonde.
-Saturday, April 12 will release their new 35th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA at the tap room that started it all. 12 ounce pours are only $3.50 with chances to win free pours throughout the day.
-Sunday, April 13 Copper Kettle will be releasing their newest bomber in their Barrel Aged Series, Le Chapeau. This Red Wine Barrel Aged Saison is making its return this time in bottles, and as well Copper Kettle will be having a party to celebrate the grand opening of their patio. This is a limited release beer so arrive early to ensure you get to try this.
-Saturday, April 12 Dry Dock Brewing will be tapping a special barrel aged beer, their Apricot Blonde Ale aged in whiskey barrels.
-Sunday, April 13 Denver Beer Co will be hosting round 3 of Beers and Spears. For $15 guests will have 3 samples of Denver Beer Co. beer, 3 pickles from the Real Dill, and for this round friend pickles as well from Big Country Barbecue. Event runs from 12-5.
-Oskar Blue Brewing who pioneered canning beers will once again revolutionize the canned beer industry, selling Old Chub Nitro in cans. This beer will soon be available in 4 packs of 16 ounce beers.
But the most important night of the week is Friday night when the World Beer Cup Awards Ceremony will be held in Denver. Unfortunately this event is not open to the public but awards will be posted during the weekend so you can hopefully try a new award winning beer.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Opening Day

After the long winter spring is officially upon us again, and with that comes the return of tress budding, long, warm days, and of course America’s pastime. The time of year where days are measured by when first pitch is, innings, and days are good or bad based on if our team wins or loses. Of course with baseball comes one other thing, and that is enjoying a cold beer. Unfortunately not all beer offered at stadiums are up to par and when it comes to celebrating a walk off win toasting with a craft beer is a must. Thankfully in Colorado there are plenty of breweries, and beers to enjoy before or after a game to celebrate a thrilling win or refresh after an agonizing defeat. Here are some of our favorite beers and breweries to enjoy that goes hand in hand with baseball near Coors Field.
Epic Brewing: Even though it is a small drive from the ballpark one of the best breweries to spend time at before or after a game is Epic Brewing. The large tap room will allow large groups to enjoy a few pints comfortably, as well as make new friends. Their early hours will make it possible to enjoy a few pints before a home game as well, and then there is the beer list. With over 20 beers to choose from ranging from classic lagers, stouts, porters, IPAs, fruit beers, herb beers this is one brewery where there is something that everybody will enjoy. From top to bottom this is a great brewery to spend time while waiting for first pitch to happen this season. Our Recommendations: Colorado exclusive Blue Ski Lager a crisp, refreshing, pale lager. For more flavor bold flavors the Mid Mountain Mild is a can’t miss, and for a truly unique beer the Utah Sage Saison is complex and refreshing.
Great Divide Brewing: In a brewery that is slightly older than Coors Field, and just as iconic in Lodo one brewery that is a must visit during baseball season is Great Divide. Just a short two block walk from Coors Field this brewery has a great tap room, patio, and environment that is a great place to spend time before any event. Again the beer list is very diverse, and with tap room only beers available regularly there is always something new to try. Factor it all together and whether it is a day or night game Great Divide should be a part of your baseball plans throughout the season. Our Recommendations: For something light and crisp with a subtle hop profile order the Nomad Pilsner. If you are still in the mood for a lager but with a more bold malt flavor and subtle spice the Hoss Rye Marzen is a great beer, and depending on the season Hey Day Belgian Wit is a refreshing beer great for baseball days.
Breckenridge Brewing: Another brewery that is a short walk from the stadium but also another great place to spend time before or after a game is another iconic brewery in Colorado, Breckenridge Brewing. With a very large bar/restaurant this again is a place great for large groups. What separates Breckenridge from the other breweries in this area is their full food menu of salads, burgers, and sandwiches to go along with their great lineup of beers. In addition they have a full bar of wine, spirits and guest taps from other local breweries and wineries. So when looking for a great beer or two and a quick bite to eat before a game Breckenridge is a great option to go to come baseball season. Our Recommendations: For a light, slightly sweet, but very refreshing beer the Agave Wheat is a always popular choice. While it is only available occasionally throughout the season the Second Base Brown is a great beer that can only be tried at the LoDo Location.
River North Brewery: For a great selection of Belgian inspired beers in close walking distance to Coors Field River North Brewery is a great choice. With their early hours on game days, and great selection of lighter bodied beers this is a must try. The River North White and J Marie Saison are great and refreshing choices before sitting in the bleachers as well as any of their barrel aged offerings. .
Prost Brewing: Just on the other side of the pedestrian bridge from Coors Field lies Prost Brewing a great place to quench your thirst on light, session German lagers. With great hours, and a spacious tap room the beers are a great choice, and all refreshing. The Dunkel, Weibier, and Pislner are all great choices before game time in addition to several of their rotating options.
Sandlot Brewing: Now of course you can’t mention breweries and baseball without mentioning the brewery that resides within Coors Field, the Sandlot. With great game day hours and a wide beer selection this is a brewery worth visiting, and for 2014 Opening Day they will be releasing two new beers to kickoff the new season. Batters I-PA is a pale ale made with Mandarina Bavaria a unique hop variety to the United States, and Willis Brau a Black Lager. That will be in addition to all their other offerings, and while at a game why not enjoy a beer brewed fresh on site?
Jagged Mountain Brewery:  Located a few blocks away from Coors Field Jagged Mountain will be a great place to start your day downtown before a Rockies game. For the home opener they will open at 10 am.
With so many options to choose from it’s a good thing the season is long, the only question is where to go and which to try first?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Brews News 4-1

March is over, and April is officially upon us. With that comes America’s pastime with baseball returning, longer days, warm weather, and the beginning of what will be a great season of craft beer. Here is what is ahead this week in craft beer, absolutely nothing. April Fools.
Events:
-Sunday, April 6 Station 26 Brewing in Denver will be hosting their first Beer and Cheese Pairing. Partnering with Grant Farms this event will pair 5 of their cheeses with 5 Station 26 beers for only $15. Best thing is no tickets are required for this event so as soon as the craving hits head on down, and enjoy yourself. Event runs from 12-2 so best to arrive early.
New Beer Releases:
-Tuesday, April 1 for Tap it Tuesday down at the Source Crooked Stave will be releasing Raspberry Sour Origins. This burgundy sour ale has been aging in oak barrels for months with raspberries and is now ready for your enjoyment starting at 6.
-Wednesday, April 2 Copper Kettle will be starting a new month of firkins all featuring American Blonde Ales. The first in the lineup will be with Ugli fruit, a cross between orange, grapefruit, and tangerine. Only 10 gallons are available starting at 3.
-Wednesday, April 2 River North Brewery will be tapping 2 different 5 gallon batches for Wayward Wednesday. An India Brown Ale and Belgian Dubbel will be hitting the tap lines. Only 5 gallons of each making this extremely limited and the first one will hit the tap lines starting at 3.
-Thursday, April 3 St. Patrick’s Brewing in Englewood will be releasing their newest lager for all to enjoy. The offering this time is a Dunkel. Pints will be available in the tap room, and bombers to go for those thirst travelers.
-Thursday, April 3 at 4:00 PM Yak and Yeti Brewpub will be releasing the Devil’s Wine. This Barleywine was a pro-am winning beer made with Dr. Matt Kriewall from Ft. Collins. Her will be on hand for the release to answer any questions as people get to enjoy this offering.
-Friday, April 4 Dry Dock has a great firkin line up. This week at 3 they will be releasing a Cocoa Nib Belgian Dark. As always for a Dry Dock firkin arrive early to get your spot in line.
-Saturday, April 5 Yak and Yeti will be releasing their second new beer this week, the offering for the weekend is Rupee Red, and American style Red ale that will be available starting at 11:00 am.
-In other exciting news Colorado will have a new great sour ale producer as TRVE Brewing announced their plans to open a second production facility to focus on sour and barrel aged ales.
-Renegade Brewing will be easier to find as they are also opening a second production facility with plans to add more cans to their lineup from two to four, plus add more bombers.
-38 State in Littleton has begun brewing. Their flagship ColorAmber is fermenting away as we speak, and their Golden Lemon Honey Wheat is next. Hopefully and opening date will soon follow, and as soon as we know you will know.
-Approval from the State and Feds means one thing, and that is Casey Brewing and Blending can start brewing. Thos familiar with Troy Casey know how great his beers are and now we are hat much closer to being able to enjoy them again.

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