Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beer and Girl Scout Cookies at J Wells Brewing

J Wells Brewing and Girl Scout Cookies seemed to be nice pairing. Jamie Wells, founder/brewer of J Wells paired the beers that was chosen for each cookie. This was a Barley's Angels Colorado event hosted at the brewery and Deborah Cameron, of the chapter had to drive to the Girl Scouts of Colorado in Denver because the cookies haven't been released for sale yet but she managed to acquire the top three favorite cookies.
Deborah Cameron and Jamie Wells.

The Samoas cookie was paired with the Lisa, a red IPA that is brewed with Citra hops. He choose this beer because of the slight bitterness and citrus flavor that would complement the sweetness of the cookie.

A chocolate milk stout was paired with Tagalongs, the peanut butter cookie. The chocolate flavor of the stout complemented the peanut butter cookie to make a Reese's peanut butter candy which was Jamie's intention. It was a good pairing.

My least favorite cookie and beer pairing was the Thin Mints with Lig'Ts Out Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout. I found that the flavors worked against each other, it tasted light bad cough syrup. Not a good pairing for me.

Cari Schnepp.

Jamie gave a tour of his small brew house then mingled among the tables talking about beer and his brewing process. Deborah talked to the group of women about the up and coming events in 2015 and fielded questions about Barley's Angels. Cari Schnepp, gave a small introduction about the Girl Scouts as she is a troupe leader. 15% of the event's proceeds went to the Girl Scouts of Colorado.
I realized at this event that I'm not really into Girl Scout cookies and I wouldn't eat them with beer but I was in the minority.  I would say that most of the ladies really enjoyed the cookie and beer pairings or maybe it was the camaraderie among the women or both?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Odyssey Beerwerks Co

My husband and I decided that every weekend we'll visit a new brewery for my blog and his beer app. Last Saturday we went to Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada where we meet up with a friend of ours, Max. It was difficult to find this brewery that is located in an industrial park in Arvada. After driving around we finally called Max and he guided us to Odyssey Beerwerks.

On of the first thing I noticed when we entered the taproom was the palates of new beer cans stacked all over the place. I didn't realize they were canning their beers all ready, they've opened May 2013.

Another thing I noticed was that they had a very small bar, we like to sit at the bar as a way to get to know the staff better.  The place was full on this Saturday so we sat at a table near the front of the taproom. We kind of stayed long, the table next to us was occupied twice over.

The beer is really excellent. We ordered a taster set first:

Heliocentric Hefeweizen a 5.5% ABV German style hefeweizen with a light banana and clove flavors.

Ghost Drifter IPA, it's  a solid beer and almost session at 5.8% ABV. It's brewed with 4 different kinds of hops that gives it a hop aroma, hoppy flavor but doesn't have a too bitter finish.

Clan Warrior Scotch Ale was one of my favorites, it's 8.7% ABV with it's sweet rich malt flavors.

Another favorite was Perpetual Darkness Belgian Black Ale. It is well balanced at 9.2% with rich malt flavors but not a traditional Belgian ale.

Vienna Lager is a German Style beer, not a favorite.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Powder Keg Brewing in Niwot, CO

New breweries are popping up so fast that this blogger has a difficult time keeping up but we (my husband and I) stopped by a fairly new brewery, Powder Keg Brewing in Niwot, CO.

It was a few days after Christmas so the places was fairly empty and the wait staff were the two of the founders of Powder Keg,  Mark Krebs and Charlie Schira.  The brewer is Phil Joyce but he wasn't there that day. Two of the founders were home brewers that decided to take it the next step, owning a brewery.
Mark Krebs and Charlie Schira, co-founders
of Powder Keg Brewing.

They had five of their beers on tap plus 17 guest taps so we ordered a taster set;
6.2% ABV Steam Steed IPA.
4.2% ABV Seize One Saison,
Totes McOats Stout is 5.8% ABV,
Noble Barbarian Baltic Porter is 9.8% ABV ,
and a 4.4% ABV Blueberry Claussenni and Blueberry Drie Sour Ale.

All were solid beers but I liked the Totes McOats Stout and the Noble Barbarian the best. I think with the winter weather, I'm more apt to drink the darker beers. Larry enjoyed the Steam Steed IPA but was disappointed the the double IPA was sold out. He heard from a friend that it was excellent.  To be a taproom/brewery they have food available, empanadas and snacks. I really like that idea of having food on the premises instead of a food truck.  We tend to visit breweries early in the afternoon and food trucks usually are a early evening food source.

I think that this brewery will do well in the future and I recommend this to anyone interested in a new brewery.

Front Range Brewing Beer Dinner featuring Chef Connie Ruel

Beer pairing dinners can fall between fabulous to mediocre with a few exceptions, Front Range Brewing exceeded expectations for this blogger.  It was very close to fabulous except that one of the courses wasn’t my favorite but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.

Chris Dutton, co-founder and brewer of Front Range was on hand to explain the beers and Chef Connie Ruel was also there to talk about the food she prepared for the dinner.
Chris Dutton

Connie Ruel


t was a quite elegant table seating with plates, utensils, water glasses, and name cards. It was different to be seated next to strangers but on the other hand it helps make new friends.

The first course was an Acorn squash ring that was stuffed with apple-fennel sausage on a roasted raspberry chipotle reduction which was paired with a Holiday Cranberry-Apple Saison. The Saison paired well with the acorn squash, the spices complemented each other.
First course.

Second course was one that I was on the fence about since the entree and beer wasn’t a favorite of mine. Red and Golden Beets and Kale with Clementine-coriander vinaigrette, goat cheese, dates, and roasted pepitas that was paired with a Summer Kolsch.

Salad course.

The third course was a Braised Pork Hock and Red Potato Stack, pecan-chocolate picada sauce. The beer was a rich Doppel Bock that complemented the richness of the pork hock.

Third course.

The last course was dessert and it was a wonderful concoction.  White Chocolate Decadent Pyramid, dried apricot-currant compote, anise creme anglaise, and a macadamia nut brittle that was paired with a White Chocolate Cream Ale.  This course with dessert and beer was well balanced, the sweetness was contrasted with the cream ale.


My overall impression of this dinner? I thought it was well executed from start to finish even though one course wasn’t to my taste.  The beers were very good and the food was prepared well, both with much thought.

Connie Ruel is the author of "Passions of a Restaurateur" which is now available on Amazon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Cherrysh!t Imperial Porter release party at J Wells Brewing in Boulder.

December 15 was the release party for Cherish!t Imperial Porter at J Wells Brewing. That night it was cold out but inside the small taproom it was full and warm.  All the ladies from the brewing sessions were there to have a taste of their beer.  Deborah Cameron, founder of Barley's Angels Colorado was on hand to thank everyone for a marvelous job and to have a pint of our Cherrys!t Imperial Porter.

The Imperial Porter was rich with the added tartness and flavors of the cherries and at 8.0% ABV, not a session beer.  A few ladies suggested adding the Imperial Porter with the Chocolate Sweet Stout which made for it more smooth with just that hint of cherries.

Food truck, Tiger Sliderz provided the food pairing for this event, a coffee braised beef slider.  It was a good pairing with the Cherrysh!t Imperial Porter.  The richness of the beef lent well with the richness of the porter.

Jamie Wells, owner/brewer.
Cherryh!t Imperial Porter.

Barley's Angels; Eola, Amanda, Kirsten.
Karen, and Hollie.
Barley's Angels; Juliann, Colleen, and

Brewing Imperial Porter with Cherries at J Wells Brewing in Boulder, Part 2

On a cool Saturday morning I headed out to J Wells Brewing for our (Barley's Angels CO group) beer brewing session 2.

Jamie Wells and his assistant Nathan, were all ready at the brewery getting the water boiling in the 100 gallon tank. As the women trickled in the brewery, we started brewing the imperial porter. Jamie started us with measuring the grains, we used 6 different ones. Each one was weighed on a scale then dumped into the milling machine.  Jamie is a "dyi" person so he showed us the homemade grain miller, it's a wooden apparatus on wheels that grinds the grain.  Because of all the dust it produces, the milling is done outside. Some of the ladies helped Jamie with milling the grain outside and others talked to Nathan about the brewing process.
Weighing the grains.

Pouring the grains into the miller.

Outside watch the grains get milled.

Water was put in the mash tank and some of the ladies helped put the grains into the tank. Then each took turns stirring the mixture then it was the waiting game. After around 45 minutes or so the wort was transferred into another tank to boil. I didn't stay until the end but I assumed that after the boil it goes into the fermenting tank with yeast? Or is it pitch earlier? After all these years drinking beer, I still get that mix up. The cherries were to be added during the primary fermentation.  All in all it was a nice fall morning for brewing beer.
Adding the grains to the mash tun.

Stirring the mash.

Looks like oatmeal!

Brewing Beer at J Wells Brewery in Boulder, Part 1

I'm part of the Barley's Angels woman's group and last fall we had an opportunity to brew a holiday beer with J Wells Brewing in Boulder.

The brewing was broken down into three sessions; planning, brewing, and the release party. The cost of the brewing included all three session with a free beer and food pairing at the release party.

On October 27, 22 women came down to J Wells Brewing for the first session, planning the beer to be brewed.  Jamie Wells, owner/brewer was very agreeable to the bombardment of suggestions for the holiday beer. There was a consensus that the beer should be rich and dark while the minority wanted an IPA sort of beer. With the louder portion of the group, it was approved that a porter or stout would be a good winter holiday beer. But it didn't stop there, the women were very adventurous to want to add some other ingredients to the imperial porter. The imperial porter was the majority ruling for the beer.  Jamie just stood there helping us decided what adjuncts would be appropriate and we all agreed to cherries. Now Jamie did wonder where he would get cherries so late in the fall but he agreed to them. One of the ladies told us that she's allergic to cherries so Jamie said he would divide the beer in half and make part with cherries and the other without them.

Jamie Wells giving us his expert advise on the beer.

The next phase was to decided what malts, yeast, and hops for the porter. So Jamie talked to the group about what each would add to the flavor of the beer. With a projector he showed us what he decided from talking to us. I never really thought about how each ingredient can add to the final flavor of the beer especially malts and yeast.

At the end of the night, we were in somewhat of an agreement that our beer would be called Cherrysh!t Imperial Porter.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Day at Backcountry Pizza in Boulder

New Year's Resolution; 2 angus patties, cheddar cheese, bacon, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg! To complement our huge burger, Elevation SeƱorita Horchata imperial porter with cinnamon and vanilla and a bottle of Oaked aged La Trappe Quad. Happy New Year!