Monday, September 30, 2013

Colorado Beer Tour during GABF Week 2013, Part 1- Fort Collins

This is Part 1 in a four- series on GABF week in and around Metro Denver. When I say Great American Beer Fest week, I mean it. Going to the GABF was a great one-time experience for me but with the tickets selling out so fast we needed another strategy.  What we found was that during GABF many of the local breweries, tap houses, and brewpubs well have special tappings all week long.  Let's start with the farthest away from Denver where the event will be taking place, if you have tickets the GABF you'll be there all weekend. I'm going to take you on the Colorado Beer Tour, we'll start in Ft. Collins which our first stop, Choice City Butcher and Deli

This butcher/deli shop was voted by, the top 10 establishments in the world to drink beer where the top 2 places are in Belgium. Yes, this is the beer geeks mecca in Ft. Collins.  What's so cool about Choice City is that they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with over 30 taps of excellent beer. Have a hot sandwich, chips, and a pint of beer.

Choice City Butcher will have many fantastic beers on tap for GABF week. Here's a little list of what Russ Robinson has in store for us;
Firestone Walker, Pivo Pils, Pilsner
Epic, 2 yr old Brainless on Cherries, Belgian    Strong
Russian River, Pliny the Elder, Dbl IPA
Russian River, Temptation, sour
Avery, Samael, Barley-wine
Shmaltz, Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah, 13th Anniversary Ale
New Belgium, La Folie, sour
New Belgium, La Terrior, sour
Bruery, Bois, Old Ale
Bruery, Autumn Maple Spice
Bruery, Hottenroth, Berliner Weisse
Lost Abbey, Brandy barrel-aged Angel Share, Barley-wine
Odell, 3 yr Bourbon barrel-aged Stout
Odell, 1 yr Deconstruction, Golden Ale
Alesmith, X, Pale Ale

Russ Robinson, owner/beer enthusiats
of Choice City Butcher.

Choice City Butcher
104 W.  Olive St.
Ft. Collins, Co
(970) 490-2489

Right across the street kiddie corner to Choice City Butcher is a tap house, Tap N Handle. Now you may think that it's weird to have both of these beer establishments so close to each other but it's a great concept. You see, both of them compliment each other in the tapping of beer, so you'll find that they try not to overlap. Tap N Handle has over 70 taps and recently bottle beers so you should be able to find something that tickles the palate.  As of this writing Tap N Handle doesn't have a website but here's the telephone number so you can call ahead and check if they have your favorite beer on tap. 

During the GABF week, Tap N Handle will also have representatives from various breweries from around the country and will have there selected beers on taps.
Friday, Oct 4- Oskar Blues @6pm
Saturday, Oct 5- Crooked Stave@4pm
Sunday, Oct 6- High Hops @6pm
                         Goose Island @8pm
Monday, Oct 7-Great Divide, Yeti Sighting     @5pm
Jeff Willis owner of Tap n Handle Tavern
                          Avery Demon series @7pm
Tuesday, Oct 8- Green Flash @5pm
                           Stone @7pm
                           Mission @ 9pm with special    guest Alesmith
Wednesday, Oct 9- Firestone Walker @5pm
                               Big Sky @7pm
                               New Belgium @8pm

Here are some of the beers on tap for GABF week;
Oskar Blues, Grapefruit infused G'Night, Imperial Red Ale
Crooked Stave, Hop Savant, American Pale Ale
High Hop 1 year old aged Noble One,  Belgian Quad
Goose Island, Nightstalker, Imperial Stout
Goose Island, Bourbon County Coffee, Stout
Avery Brewing, Demon Series, Mephistophele's, Samael, The Beast, Meph Addict
Green Flash, Green Bullet, Triple IPA
Mission Brewing, Carrack, Imperial Red Ale
Firestone Walker, Parabola, Russian Imperial Stout
And much more, so call ahead

Tap N Handle
307 S. College Ave
Ft. Collins, CO
 (970) 484-1116

I recommend not going to the 3 major breweries in the area, these are like going to an amusement park with over crowding and lots of noise. I will though tell you that a really cool place to go for a beer is Equinox Brewing.  It's located a little south of the old downtown outdoor mall.  Equinox Brewing has a quaint and cozy taproom with an outside patio area.  They can have any given time 17 beers on tap with a couple of specialty beers and they also have a traditional English-style beer engine of a cask condition ale.

I hope this helps in your search for beer during the hectic GABF week. Next stop on the tour is Longmont and Niwot.

Equinox Brewing
133 Remington Street
Fort Collins, CO
(970) 484-1368

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Odd 13 brewery

Stopped at Odd 13 for another beer. It's close to home and has great beer on tap. The beer tenders are so friendly and have a good knowledge of beer. Here's Nicole who we were talking to, what a great t-shirt too!

Tasty Weasel on a Sunday afternoon

It's Sunday and we're chillin' at the Oskar Blues Tasty Weasel Taproom. Larry is drinking a brew called 60 in a 40 pale ale and I'm having barrel-aged Tenfidy added with the Gubna, so good like a barley-wine. Beer and chips, what more can I ask?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Alesmith Brewing Co's Wee Heavy scotch ale

Alesmith Brewing Company was founded in 1995 in San Diego, California. They have recently been distributing here in Colorado which is amazing since most out of state breweries believe we're a saturated market. Alesmith is distributing just a few of there beers, probably to test the market.  The Wee Heavy is the only one I have bought but I will check out the others.

The Wee Heavy Scotch Ale is 10% ABV but doesn't taste like a high alcohol beer. It has a nice mahogany color with a rich malt aroma.  I will recommend this beer to all who like the scotch ale style. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Andy Parker barrel master at Avery Brewing

Andy Parker is the barrel master at Avery Brewing and a funny speaker. Yesterday, Sunday September 22 was the release party of Rumpkin, pumpkin ale aged in rum barrels. Andy was asked to give a speech on the beer, so here is a short video half way through his talk, enjoy.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Equinox Brewing's 2012 Midwinter Warmer

I have  a story about the Equinox's Midwinter Warmer that starts out in a meadering way. It starts
earlier this year when I had on draft Crooked Stave's Nightmare on Brett at Backcountry Pizza. I fell in love, found out it was bottled and sold at local liquor stores so I made it my mission to buy a bottle or two. What has this to do with Equinox Midwinter Warmer, I'm getting to that.
So I called all liquors store in my area and beyond, no luck.  My husband Larry and I went to Ft.Collins one weekend to Choice City Butcher for lunch and beers, of course, but also to check out stores in the area for Nightmare on Brett. Still no luck but we did find 2012 Midwinter Warmer on sale at Liquor Max in Loveland which is south of Ft. Collins.  I knew it was sold out at the brewery so this was a great find.

Speed up to the present, Sept. 12, the begining of the great flooding in the Boulder area. Larry decided that with the rains pouring outside  that it was a good time to crack open this bottle. The Midwinter Warmer is 10% ABV, it is appropriately named,  for it will definitely warm you thoroughly on those cold nights of winter.  I'm have only tasted a few barley-wines that I considered drinking again and this one is on top.

Midwinter Warmer is dark amber in color with that rich aroma of caramel with hints of oak and fruit notes.  Since this one has been aging for a year,  the booziness that one would expect isn't a dominate factor but it is there. There is also slight sweetness of the malt flavor that balances well with the woodiness of the beer.

Colin Westcott, owner/brewer of Equinox Brewing, respoonded back to my email on getting some information about the 2012 Midwinter Warmer. Each year a new batch of the barley-wine style beer is blended with the previous year's batch that was barrel-aged for a year.
The 2012 batch is waiting in barrels to be blended for this year. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Odd 13 Brewing on a rainy Thursday

While the rain was at a lull on Thursday, we decided to head to one of our local breweries, Odd 13. Parking on the street we notice other beer enthusiast walking towards the brewery.
We sat at the bar and was waiting on by the owner and brewer, Ryan Scott.
Ryan Scott owner/brewer 

My first beer was a 10oz. pour of the Buzzin Cuzzin, a coffee oatmeal stout that was really good without that heavy coffee flavor. I love coffee but I don't want it over taking the taste of the stout. And then I did something quite crazy for me, I order an IPA. Yes, I did! If you read most of my blogs, there are few IPA's that I will drink but this one didn't have that bitter aftertaste that most you hopheads love. It was the Hanuman single-hop IPA with Ahtanum hops at 6.29% alcohol.
Hanuman single hop IPA

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Odd 13

Hey look I'm drinking an IPA! It's the Hanuman, a single hop IPA with Ahtanum hops. Nice sweetness on the frontend. Quite drinkable not too bitter on the backend.

Sent from my iPhone

Colorado Craft Beer industry, "Is it to the saturation point?"

I recently read a blog about the saturation point of the beer industry in Bend, Oregon which made me think about the Front Range area in Colorado.

The Front Range are the east facing of the Rocky Mountains and dissects the state traversing north to south. There are four major cities that lie east of the Rockies that are the home to the micro-brewing industry, Ft. Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs.  In each of these cities are the suburban towns that encompass them.  Boulder has Longmont, Erie, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Golden, and in these towns the microbrewery industry has moved into virgin territory.

Boulder has been a hub for microbreweries for many years with the founding of Boulder Beer. There are around 9 breweries, 4 brewpubs, and hand full of decent tap houses, just in Boulder. The city of Boulder has a population of 100,000 give or take a few and it's land area is 24.6 square miles but when you add in the other towns that make up Boulder County there are 305,000 people with 726 sq miles of land.

You can see that it will be able to sustain more breweries and brewpubs when you consider that the trend is for what I'd like to call neighborhood hangouts. The out skirting towns have one brewery that becomes the local favorite. Where I live in Lafayette, two breweries are all ready making an impact on the neighborhoods and there's another that will be ready for business sometime this fall.
As of this year or even in the next couple, I think that the breweries that make decent beers will be around while the ones that are riding the tide won't. It's all about supply and demand.