Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bootstrap Brewing Canning Insane Rush IPA

Bootstrap Brewing just announced that they will be canning Insane Rush IPA in 12 ounce cans. They will be using the canning line at Sanitas Brewing in Boulder.  Bootstrap has been using the Sanitas Brewing brewing system to keep up with demand.

They decided to can the Insane Rush IPA because of the request by the active community that want a more portable container while hiking, camping, etc. The IPA is one of their most popular beers. The Insane Rush has been available in 22 ounce bombers for a year now. Later this year, Bootstrap will be also canning Stick's Pale Ale.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Upslope Brewing Collaboration Beers on tap at Taprooms

Sunday was a rainy day with a slight wind so instead of gardening we went out for a drive. We stopped off at Lucky market in north Boulder and got a sandwich then drove a few miles to Upslope Brewing. we had to wait a few minutes in our car before they opened at 2pm.

Lindsay was our beertender that day. She told us about what was new on tap and they had a few gems to boot. The first beer I had was a 5 ounce pour of the Sour Mash a collaboration between the brewery and Barrel and Bottles, a brewpub from Golden Co. The beer was soured by fermenting the grain and is only 4.5% ABV. It's very light and refreshing with a slight sour front end. It's an easy summer drink.

Sour mash ale with a club sandwich.

The second beer was a Blonde Ale also a collaboration with Toccalmatto Brewing in Italy. They were here for the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver and contacted the Brewers Association for a brewery that might like to collaborate with them. The result was a nice light basic Belgian Blonde Ale that is a good summer beer.

Belgian Blonde Ale.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Potluck meet up at Front Range Brewery in Lafayette, CO

Barley's Angels CO organized a meet up for new and existing members at Front Range Brewing in Lafayette. It was a potluck pairing with the brewery's beers.

The potluck ranged from KFC chicken, tortilla chips and guacamole, meatballs, and fruit kabobs. There were many familiar faces and some new ones but we had a good time pairing the potluck snacks with Front Range's beers.  We paid separate for our beers some of the members who hadn't been to Front Range before bought taster sets to give a better feel for the pairings.

The folks at Front Range were very nice and gave us a tour of their small brewing facilities.  The brewery is situated in a mall in Lafayette where there are many restaurants. The taproom has menus for take-out where they deliver the entree to you. The beers are solid with a list including an IPA, a Saison or Farmhouse Ale, and until recently a milk stout.


Brewery tour.

5th Annual Boulder Sourfest hosted by Avery Brewing

It's been two years since I last attend the Boulder Sourfest at Avery Brewing. The tickets for this event has been solely sold online for two years now and it's a rush of people jamming on their computers trying to get into the system. A friend generously sold me one of his tickets.

Saturday June 7, I descended to Avery Brewing's taproom in Boulder and was greeted with a long line. I happen to be in line with Stefan Beck, beer director at The Kitchen in Boulder.  It didn't take too long waiting before the line started to move, the excitement of what's ahead was palpable.

We went through a gauntlet showing ID and our tickets then a wristband was affixed to the wrist, handed 16 taster tickets, and a commemorative Belgian beer glass.

I had all ready decided what beer I wanted to drink first, Manhattan NW from Cascade Brewing in Oregon. I thought that hardly anyone would know Cascade Brewing since it's not distributed in Colorado, boy was I ever wrong!  It had the longest lines in the whole fest! It was worth the wait, Manhattan NW is a nice sour quad at 11.5% ABV that was barrel-aged for 12 months with 150 pounds of cherries!  Their Pumpkin Smash, a strong blond at 12.25%ABV was another one of their beers I tried and there was a strong flavors of the pie spices in the beer. It was barrel-aged for 20 months with roasted pumpkins. If this beer was bottled, it would be a good candidate for cellar aging.

Pumpkin Smash from Cascade Brewing.
Long line to taste Cascade Brewing's sour ales. 

I met up with friends, Mitch, Max, Brad, and Steve to name a few. I also bumped into a few people in the business, Ali Benetka from Renegade Brewing, Kyle Krebsbach from Crooked Stave Artisan Project, Abby and Steve, bartenders at Gravity Brewing and John Feyman owner of Backcountry Pizza.

I tried a few other sour ales that didn't impress me much either they were flat with no depth of flavors or they were too sour for me so I won't name names.

Ali Benetka and Mitch Smith.
At this point in time it was a good break on my stomach to eat some real food, not the Tumms that were placed all over the fest.  Avery Brewing has a partnership with a catering company across the alley that serves food at the taproom, Savory Cuisines so with the other company, Front Range Catering, they served hot food in a separate tent out front of the taproom. I had a soft taco that went well with the beer I was drinking.

The next brewery that I tried their sours was AC Golden, a offshoot of Coors Mega-Brewery.  The barrel-aged brown at 5.5% ABV was really good with that sweet/tart front end and a nice boozy aftertaste. It tasted like a bigger beer in alcohol. The American brown ale was aged in fresh Kentucky bourbon barrels.

Brad, Steve, and Tim in the Avery Taproom.
Another surprise brewery was from Illinois, DESTIHL Brewing, I hadn't had any of their beers before so this is one reason I'm at the fest, to try new beers. The Saint Dekkar Reserve Sour Ale at 5.5% ABV, as it warmed up the flavors seemed to blossom.

All in all it was a nice day for this festive with friends, food, and great sour ales. And what's really cool is that all profits from the fest will be donated to the family of Owen Meyer who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I came away from the fest feeling good, I paced my drinking. I hope next year to be here again, what a great time.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Italy Beer Country: A Story of Italian Craft Beer by Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara

Italy Beer Country is a book about the Italian craft beer evolution. Italy is a country where every region has its own wine and is steeped with centuries old tradition and prejudice. What I mean by prejudice is that to the Italian, beer is paired with pizza and wine is what you drink with everything else.  You notice the class system there? So to the Italian beer enthusiasts, it was a long journey to be able to brew or drink Italian beer.

This book details the beginning of the Italian craft beer boom. Italy hasn't ever had to deal with breweries so these pioneers were breaking new ground. Italy Beer Country starts at the beginning of the craft beer scene with interviews from these men who started the Italian craft beer.

The authors of the book both work at ground zero of the craft beer scene in Denver, The Falling Rock Tap House. Bryan Jansing, is an accomplished writer began his beer enthusiasm in Cincinnati, Ohio where his father drank good German-style lagers and quality beers.  He moved to Vicenza, Italy in his early teens. Vincenza is on the Austrian border so he discovered beer from there and Germany. In 2012, Bryan was excited when he found Italian beer on tap at a pizzeria, Bir e Fud, in the district of Trastevere, Rome.

Paul Vismara who has a 25 year career as an artist is the books illustrator. He has traveled through Italy and speaks Italian fluently. Brian calls Paul a true beer nerd. In the late 1980's when craft beer was in it's infancy, Paul would go to bars and look for certain names like Sierra Nevada or Anchor Brewing, at that time it was difficult to find good beers on tap.
Bryan Jansing and Paul Vismara.

It was at the end of summer in 2012 that the idea of a book about Italian beers was being born. With help from Chris Black, owner of the Falling Rock Tap House they got a contact with someone the craft beer industry.  Chris Black suggested they talked to Eric Wallace, founder of Left Hand Brewing who has traveled Italy extensively, speaks fluent Italian, and is married to an Italian. He was able to give them contacts in Italy. After their trip to Italy's beer country this book was able to be published through a Kickstarter project.

The Italy Beer Country is available through in paperback.

I really enjoyed reading about the Italy craft movement from the start in 1996 to present day. The writing is easy to read and it follows in a way chronicology. The movement was an epiphany of the founding fathers at relatively the same time. The two guys who collaborated on the book are very knowledgeable about the beer scene, locally and aboard.  I think there could have been more photos in the book and some better quality but overall I recommend this book to anyone who travels and likes drinking beer. When I was in Rome in 2003, I wish I had this book or that the internet had more content articles. My husband looked high and low for a beer bar and I think the locals were oblivious of the movement at the time. There is a market for this book.