Friday, March 28, 2008

Hey Ritter Sign That Sunday Liquor Law Already

On March 20th, the Colorado Senate gave their approval to State Bill 82 by a 25-9 margin which would allow Sunday liquor sales in Colorado for the first time in over 4 decades. Colorado is one of just a handful of states that still prohibit full strength beer and liquor from being sold on Sunday. Governor Ritter has held the bill in his office for 8 days now and is still undecided on whether to sign the bill into law. If signed, the law would go into effect on July 1st of this year. Ritter has stated that he wanted to study both sides of the issue before deciding whether to approve it, ignore it or veto it. Either way, he has a deadline of Sunday March 30th to make a decision.

Proponents of the bill say that this law would increase tax revenues for the state. Opponents are worried that all hell will break loose (much like it does on any other day) and will increase the number of drunks on the roads and encourage more underage drinking on Sundays. Will it? Think about it. Right now, if someone wants a drink on Sundays, they either would have to have some liquor left over from their last purchase or else they have to go out (and drive) to a bar or restaurant to drink, or have to narrow their choices and buy cheap 3.2 beer at a grocery store. By allowing Sunday sales, people could stock up any day of the week they wish and be able to consume it more easily in their homes and not have to drive.

Let's face it, prohibition failed almost 75 years ago to the date because the law was basically unenforceable. People wanted their beer and no law was going to stop them from drinking it. Right now, the current law only encourages people to go OUT to consume liquor on Sundays. Passing the law would enable us to buy it on Sunday and would allow us to more easily consume our beverages at HOME. I seriously doubt that allowing Sunday liquor sales is going to drive up consumption. It will merely allow more flexibility to purchase at a more convenient time and spread out our purchases. Banning sales on Sunday push people to buy more on Fridays and Saturdays in order to have something available to them on Sunday if they wish. In some cases that might lead people to drink more than they really wanted to on Fridays and Saturdays because they stocked up and they got tempted to drink their Sunday reserve earlier.

I've often experienced that I didn't have time to go out on Friday or Saturday to buy some beer and found myself without any beer to drink on Sunday. My only choice at that point would be to go to a bar or restaurant to get a drink. I simply refuse to buy limited variety swill at a grocery store as I prefer to drink the more flavorful craft beers. I want a variety when I shop for beer, not the few choices that supermarkets offer on Sundays.

Getting rid of the blue law on Sunday is simply bringing our state up to modern times. I really hope that Governor Ritter signs the bill into law. It's about time.

Related articles:
- One less blue law in Colorado
- Sunday liquor sales legalized in Colorado
- Liquor now sold 7 days a week in Colorado

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bristol Brewing Laughing Lab review

Bristol Brewing Laughing LabI chose a Colorado brew to review tonight, a selection from the Bristol Brewing Company of Colorado Springs, CO. This was their Bristol Laughing Lab Scottish-style ale. I was shocked that I hadn't had a beer from Bristol's prior to this. Better late than never I suppose. This beer was freshly brewed just less than a month ago according to the notches on the label. It was nice to see a brewer date their beer so I could tell how long it had been sitting on the shelf.

This is a beer that for some might be called a session beer. It weighed in at 5.3% ABV and a low 19 on the IBU scale. A beer like that should be able to drink fairly easy.

Appearance: Scottish ales tend to be a bit darker than amber beers and can be a bit hoppier. Laughing Lab poured a lovely dark red / borderline brown out of the 12 oz bottle. There was a nice 1" off-white head that rose up in the glass, but that quickly dissipated into a thin lingering lace. I could see a light amount of carbonation in the glass as well.

Aroma: I detected only a light hop smell. Bristol used Willamette hops for the aroma and Chinook hops for the bittering of this beer. The maltiness didn't really come through until the initial tasting.

Taste: I expected a bit more bitterness for a Scottish ale, but didn't receive much bitterness, that's because a beer like this loves to showcase the malt side. The Chocolate and Caramel malts hit me a bit late in the tasting and then last a while. Laughing Lab had a creamy feel when it first hit my mouth. Going down, there was just a hint of bitterness but not much. My mouth immediately started salivating a lot after swallowing. It gave the sense that my mouth was covered in water. The beer certainly didn't taste watery going down, but for some reason my tongue decided to take a bath and wash itself after drinking it. Interesting. Whatever dryness the beer had initially all but disappeared.

The hops and the malts hit me a split second after I drank it. My mouth first felt a creaminess up front, then the malt and hops right after. I liked this beer and I would have no problem drinking a few of these at a sitting if given the chance. I drank this beer at cellar temperature and not cold from the fridge.

As with most session-like beers, the beer rating sites were pretty neutral on this ale. Ratebeer put this in the 57th percentile and a 3.15/5 rating. BeerAdvocate graded this between a "B" and a "B+". Just a few of the raters also detected the same mouth experience I did.

Bristol made a very good beer. I'd be happy to offer this to my friends. A beer like this isn't going to blow you away with powerful over the top taste, rather it will simply satisfy and go down fairly easily. I gave this beer a 3.3 out of 5 rating.

Related articles:
- Bristol Brewing to release Old 23 Barleywine.
- 2008 All Colorado Beer Festival highlights.
- Oskar Blues Old Chub review.
- Odell Brewing Tap Room report.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Alaskan Summer Ale review

Alaskan Summer AleToday's brew review is a continuation on the Alaskan Brewing Company line of beers out of Juneau, Alaska. I've been wanting to sample more of this breweries wares and since it was a nice sunny spring day out today I decided to go with something that's fit to drink in the warmer weather. This is their limited edition Alaskan Summer Ale.

This beer is a Kölsch style ale, a style originating in Cologne, Germany that was made to compete with Altbeirs, which strangely enough, was the last beer I reviewed from the Alaskan Brewing Company.

Appearance: This beer poured clear with a light golden color and did not have much of a head to it. The whitish head only rose up about 1/2" or so and quickly disappeared to nothing. It ended up looking almost like a glass of white wine. I've found that these Alaskan beers don't ship to the lower 48 with much head left to them. Which is a shame really. Kölsch beers are supposed to have a more distinct hoppiness to it and a less malty taste.

Aroma: The aroma you initially get is all hops, Hallertauer in particular, nice clean floral with a spice. I opened this beer fresh out of the cooler, but decided I should let this beer warm slightly to bring out more flavor and aroma. I loved the nice hoppy aroma from the Hallertauer hops. The aroma is not as bitter as other beers however. The hops certain stand out in this Summer Ale, but without giving you reason to skrinch your nose.

Like it's brother, the Alaskan Amber altbeir, this beer has about a 5.3% ABV and a low 18 IBU and a light SRM rating of 8. I could tell this would make another good session beer right from the outset.

Taste & Feel: The mouth feel is almost creamy, not watery at all and has a good carbonated feel. It goes down very smooth and isn't dry at all. Mmmm ya, I'm going to buy more of this in six packs this summer to share for sure. The Alaskans put in some Pale, Munich, Vienna and wheat malts in this brew. Perhaps it's the wheat that I smell up front. I can certainly taste the wheat in this beer. I'm really starting to like wheat much more than I originally did. I think you have to be in the mood for a certain type of beer and have tried a lot of different styles to begin to appreciate it.

The beer rating sites thought this beer as OK. BeerAdvocate gave it a solid "B" grade. And gave it a 53rd percentile and a 3.11 out of 5 ranking. Pretty much expected for this style of beer. I enjoyed this as much as the Alaskan Amber and it tasted much the same but a bit lighter. This beer will get a 3.4 out of 5 rating from me today. I'd certainly buy this again and would drink it as a session beer in warm weather.

It's nice to get just the beer you were expecting to taste even before you buy it. I wasn't in the mood for a dark heavy beer tonight and I'm glad I went with a Kölsch.

This beer is on par with the Fort Collins Brewery Summer Fling that I've sampled before. Save this type of beer for the warmer days ahead and you won't be disappointed. Thumbs up!

Related articles:
- Alaskan Amber review.
- Alaskan Pale review.
- Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review.
- Alaskan IPA review.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Alaskan Amber review

Alaksan AmberMy corner beer store just got in a shipment from the Alaskan Brewing Company of Juneau, Alaska. I've been wanting to sample more beers from this brewery ever since my trip to Alaska last summer. I picked out a 22 oz bomber of their Alaskan Amber - alt style beer. I admit that I first thought that this was an Amber Ale and that's why I chose it. But upon further reading of the label, this is classified as an Alt style. Alt is the German word for Old and are typically conditioned longer than most other beers. Supposedly the longer conditioning mellows out the fruitiness of the malts.

This beer was brewed with a combination of premium 2-row and crystal malts. The hops were a mix of Cascade (probably what I'm smelling up front) and Saaz hops. The Saaz hops give this beer a more Czech style to it. Cascade is more citrusy up front and somewhat biscuity. This was a low hopped beer with a 18 IBU rating. This beer is a borderline session beer as it comes in around 5.0% ABV but doesn't hit you up front like those imperials do.

Appearance: Alaskan Amber gave a nice shushhhh as I popped the bottle cap. The beer poured a nice deep red color - just what you'd expect from the name. Their wasn't much of a head. It had about a 1" initial head that faded almost immediately and disappeared almost entirely. There was a lot of carbonation in this beer however. There was a constant stream of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: I could immediately smell the aroma of a sweet banana like quality, with some bubble-gum like traces. It was a fruity, almost citrusy aroma, much like the Belgian beer I had the night before. It was rather pleasant.

Taste: Alaskan Amber's taste was nice and malty with just a hint of bittering. It was well balanced. The carbonation on this beer tingled the tongue. It finishes rather smooth with no aftertaste. I could easily drink this beer as a session beer. Finishing the entire 22 oz bottle took little to no effort. It's clean, almost creamy. I'd definitely drink this again if offered to me.

In 2008, Beeradvocate gave this beer a good "B" rating while Ratebeer put this in the 78th percentile and a 3.4/5 rating. So it's rated a bit above average for an altbier. This to me is a good example of how a balanced beer should taste. It's good, but doesn't exactly stick out from the crowd as outstanding. I would have preferred that it have a head that would stick around longer than it did. A beer without a lingering head tells me that something is amiss. It could have been the temperature. Next time I will cool this beer down even further. I'll give this beer a slight thumbs up and rank it as worth trying again, but not outstanding. Certainly worth a taste if you haven't picked this up before.

Related articles:
- Alaskan Summer Ale review.
- Alaskan Pale review.
- Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review.
- Alaskan IPA review.
- Alaskan Black IPA review.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Great Divide Hades Ale review

Great Divide Hades AleAs I say goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring I'm starting to transition over to lighter beers. I picked up a Belgian Strong Ale this time around. A nice departure from the typical dark brew. This beer was brewed out of the Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver Colorado and is called their Great Divide Hades Ale.

Interesting name for a lightly colored brew. Hades is the lord of the dead and ruler of the nether world if you read it's definition in Wikipedia. This beer is the furthest thing from being dead that you can get. This Belgian pours a light yellow color and looked crystal clear with a noticeable carbonation and a decent white head. Being a strong Belgian, the ABV was a bit stronger than most Belgians coming in at 7.3% ABV. This sample came in a 22 oz bomber and was drank chilled, fresh from the fridge. I wanted a lighter style beer but one with a bit of a kick to it. I think I found just the right beer in this case.

The aroma hits me immediately upon pouring. I noticed a spicier yet citrusy aroma coming off this beer. I chose a Belgian snifter type glass for this beer and I think it was just the right type for this beer to bring out the full aroma. I detected a bit of banana and perhaps lemon in this beer. This beer didn't have a harsh hop smell like an IPA yet it was strong enough to be noticeable. At first smell, I could tell this was more of a summer time drink. No heavy or dark malts in this brew.

The first sip was just what I expected from a strong Belgian. It reminded me a lot of a Blue Moon Belgian White but without the orange garnish. This beer was nicely carbonated but not overly so. This beer drinks better cold. I could taste a light citrus with an almost biscuity taste. This beer goes down very easy with no bitterness. I got a nice mouth feel with this beer. Very smooth. It even burps well. Finishing the entire 22 oz bomber bottle gave me a nice light beer buzz. If it wasn't over 7% ABV I'd swear it would be a good session type beer. But don't be fooled by the taste. The higher alcohol content in this one should limit you to just one bottle. Any more would be too much.

This is a nice change of pace brew. I'd recommend it to anyone. The beer rating sites were rather tame with their ratings. Beer Advocate gave this beer a decent "B" rating. rated this a bit above average with a 57 percentile and a 3.15 out of 5 rating. I think those ratings were a bit low as I felt this beer deserved a bit better. I'm going to give this beer a nice 3.5 out of 5 ranking. Save this one served cold for a nice warm day. This beer definitely deserves a look.

Related articles:
- Great Divide St. Bridget's Porter review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti review.
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager review.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout review

North Coast Old RasputinI'm starting to appreciate the beer rating sites and their impressions of a beer ahead of time. I bought today's beer simply on reputation alone and decided to judge it for myself. North Coast Brewing Company of Fort Bragg, California makes an imperial stout that goes by the name of North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. This beer has won over 12 Gold Medals in the Imperial Stout category over the last 12 years. So does this beer live up to it's medals? Let me tell you. This beer is NOT for beginners. Holy cow does this beer have a kick. Here's how this beer poured.

I chose an English pint glass for this beer. The beer had been sitting in my basement for about 2 hours after purchasing it cold from the store beer cooler. I tried to carefully pour this beer into the glass but was surprised to see a huge head building from the get go. The head got so big that I had to stop pouring about 2/3rds of the way. The picture shows just how high the head got. I had to let this beer settle a bit before I could empty the short squatty 12 oz bottle. The brown head alone told me this beer was going to be impressive. The beer alone was as dark as a stout can be. No light gets through this beer. Immediately, I encountered a rich chocolate and coffee aroma but with a noticeable hop kick. This beer was measured at an IBU of 75 and an ABV of 9% so it's not going to be a beer taken lightly. It's good to let this beer sit for a while before imbibing as you want to let a good stout breathe.

The first taste was intense. Malts, hops and a definite kick. This is not a beer for beginners folks. I mean you get hit up front with taste and a lot of it. It is a bit more bitter than more stouts and finishes dry. If you're drinking it cold then you're not getting the full experience. Let this beer warm up a bit. This imperial stout has an initial bitter flavor but as it warms and you drink more of it you notice the rich dark malts coming through. You can feel the alcohol kicking in soon after starting this beer. Perhaps this is why it comes in a 4-pack. You're not going to be drinking a lot of these in one sitting. The more I drink of this, the more I like it. I'm calling this stuff High Octane Molasses. It's not thick but it does come with a lot of flavor.

Beer Advocate gives this beer a solid "A". give this a 100% ranking and a 4.11 out of 5 ranking. Solid praise to be sure. If you're not used to an imperial stout then I'd suggest starting with a Guinness and working your way up.

I love the label on this beer. An old fashioned picture of the Russian Rasputin with a raised hand that looks like he is giving you his blessing (or his curse). I suggest you drink this beer paired with a meal because of it's high alcohol rating. It's a powerful beer and it won't disappoint. It's a well made stout. Go easy on this one else it may kick your ass. I'm going to give this a 3.7 out of 5 ranking. It's not the top imperial stout on my list due to it's higher bitterness, but it does rank up there as a quality beer.

I also suggest aging this beer as it is known to improve and mellow the alcohol kick and bitterness.

Update: I cellared this beer for another year and reviewed it. See how a year changes this brew.

Related articles:
- North Coast Old Stock 2008 review.
- North Coast Red Seal Ale review.
- Beer cellar aging - a short experiment.
- Samuel Adams Imperial Stout review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.
- Deschutes The Abyss review.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Get Behind the Scenes on Using Keg Systems

Kegging SystemsIt's amazing what you can find when you're surfing the net. I was investigating a brewery's web site today and found a link to their distributors. I looked up a local distributor and their web site had a link to an equipment manufacturer. This manufacturer provided all of the equipment a pub or bar needs to get the perfect beer from keg to glass. I found their web site at:

Micro Matic is a leading supplier of draught beer equipment. From CO2 and Nitrogen gas regulator systems, to line monitors, to stainless steel tap systems and to cleaning kits. This site has it all. They cater to the large pubs and restaurants to even the smaller professional kegerator systems. Normally I wouldn't have given this web site another look but what caught my eye was their professionally done training videos that detail out how a well built keg distribution system can be set up.

Some of their best videos can be found in their Micro Matic TV section under the Learn tab. There you will find some great videos on how a typical professionally installed beer tap system works. One of the best videos is called: "From Keg to Glass". If you've ever dreamed of owning your own bar or even setting up a professional keg system in your own basement, you'll be fascinated by these videos.

MicromaticYou might not be aware at just how much sophistication can go into a professional beer line setup. Micro Matic even has some forums dedicated to running beer dispensing systems. They even have an online store and sell everything you'd need for a complete setup.

So if you're a beer geek like me and are interested in seeing what it takes to setup and run your own keg systems you might want to check them out.

Related articles:
- Get to know the kegerator.
- Testing the Blichmann Boilermaker kettle.
- Breaking in the Bayou Classic SP10 gas burner.

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Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale review

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber AleI took the family out to dinner last night to the Old Chicago restaurant in Greeley. We hadn't been to this place in a while and I felt it was the perfect place to try another beer that I hadn't sampled before. This will be a mini-review as I typically can't control the conditions in which I sampled this beer.

I ordered one of my favorite dishes there, the "Meat Me Calzone" and also an Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado from their selection of over 110 beers. Our waiter served me the beer in the bottle with no glass, but I quickly asked for one and was given a standard glass mug.

Avalanche Amber Ale poured a nice amber color. No haze or sediment in this brew. There was a slight whitish head that settled down to a rather small bead. I figured this beer to be a session beer and I was right. This Breck brew had a 5.4% ABV and was very lightly hopped. So light, in fact, that I could barely pick out the Willamette, Chinook, Tettnang and Hallertau hops in it. I supposed I've been used to the bigger hopped beers of late. I didn't mind the less bitter taste. It was a nice change of pace drink.

The beer was served absolutely cold. The coldness covered up some of the flavor of the hops and malts in my opinion. Breckenridge Brewery puts in some Two Row Pale, Munich, Roasted Barley, and a bit of Chocolate malts into their brew. I love ambers and this one didn't disappoint.

I must admit, after reviewing primarily porters and stouts with some wheat and IPA's thrown in recently, I enjoyed having a more "tame" brew to go with my spicy calzone. This was a very easy beer to drink. No bitterness at 19 IBUs, just a nice session beer. The taste did improve as the beer warmed. I'd suggest never drinking any amber or darker beer super cold, unless of course you're standing in the hot sun and needed to really cool off. Beers that are too cold hide much of the flavor.

I'll have to try to compare this beer to the Bell's Amber that I had last month as it's the only other amber I've had lately. Both were good, but I still believe the Bell's had a better taste. Maybe it was the thick beer glass that this brew was served up in. Sometimes the type of glass does make a difference. Breck Brew claims this is one of their best selling beers. Session beers tend to sell the most volume I suppose.

How does it rate?

The major brew review sites tend to rate session beers much lower than the big flavor beers. Ratebeer put this in the 20% percentile with a 2.61 out of 5 rating, while Beer Advocate gave this beer just a C+. Well don't let those ratings fool you. While some may call this beer unremarkable, it was still a good session beer and is worthy of future consideration. I would still be proud to give this beer to a friend. I'll rate this beer as a 3.1 out of 5 rating. It's good, but does not stand out from other session brews. It certainly went well with my meal and to me, that's all that matters.

Related articles:
- Breckenridge Small Batch 471 IPA.
- Breckenridge Pandora's Bock review.
- Breckenridge Vanilla Porter review.
- Breckenridge Mighty Brown review.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fort Collins Brewery Tasting Room (2008)

The original Fort Collins BreweryOh how I love to go to brewery tasting rooms. I took the opportunity to visit one of Fort Collins Colorado's smaller breweries - The Fort Collins Brewery. This place is well hidden off the beaten path but surprisingly just down the road from two other breweries in Fort Collins. If you weren't looking for it, you might just miss their brewery. A small sign alongside East Lincoln Avenue points the way into their small parking lot.

FCB's tasting room is smaller in comparison than other tasting rooms, but they offer a big list of beers for you to sample. I was greeted by one of their friendly staff members and I kicked up a conversation with him. I knew right away that I was in for a good time here as Ben, who worked there, was a wealth of knowledge about the FCB beers. I decided to try everything they had on tap.

Unlike some other tasting rooms, I was given one 4 oz glass at a time to sample. They would give me another beer just as soon as I said I was done with the one I had, which isn't a bad idea really. There's a lot less glasses to wash and you had to bring back your glass to get more. I ended up tasting 8 of their fine ales, lagers and stouts. Here is a quick summary of the variety Fort Collins Brewery had to offer:

Old FCB Tasting Room panorama

Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat - the order of beers was to start off with the lighter colored beers and work my way up to the dark brews. I had heard that this beer was one of their best sellers. What peaked my interest in this beer was the pomegranate that they put into this beer. I'm a fan of Pomegranate, in fact one of my favorite sweet snacks to eat are pomegranate jelly beans. One smell of this beer immediately reminded me of those jelly beans. A nice aroma of pomegranate, hops and wheat hit me immediately. I'm normally not a big fan of wheat beer, but ever since my trip to Michigan and I was given a wheat beer there, I started to like these better. The Major Tom's was a nice light gold in color and was crystal clear with no cloudiness - that's not common to find a clear wheat beer. The taste was very smooth. The beer seemed to be a bit carbonated coming out of the tap but it was very refreshing indeed. It has an ABV of 4.7%. I can see why this is called one of their best sellers. I really enjoyed it. I'll give this beer a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

Retro Red - this beer lives up to the name. It poured a deep crimson color with a light off-white head. This red ale mixed in some English Crystal malts in with some Tettnang hops. I ended up smelling that kind hops in several of their beers it seemed. It is somewhat of their signature aroma I would say. Pleasant and not too bitter. This red beer had a dryer finish to it than the wheat. There was some good roasty / nutty flavor to this. This too was very carbonated as the bubbles coming up the glass just kept coming. The flavor sensation was nothing compared to the wheat beer and was much more "tame" despite the slightly higher ABV of 5.2%. It's hardly fair to judge a beer style like this just coming off of a wheat beer. None the less, I liked this beer but not nearly as much as the wheat. I'll give this a fair 3.2 out of 5 ranking. Update: In 2011, this beer was re-branded as Red Banshee.

Rocky Mountain IPA - Every good brewery has an IPA these days. And every IPA tries to make a bold statement to it's consumer. If I was blind folded, I would be able to tell that this was an IPA right away. The hops hit your nose up front - nicely floral rather than harsh like some I've had. OK, so it passed my smell test - that's a good sign. This IPA was a dark gold in color with a nice head to it. This had a nice hoppy taste too it and well balanced with the malts and left a dry and an expectedly bitter finish. It garnered a 6.2% ABV for a bit of a kick. I'm starting to warm up to IPA's, yet I'll still need more exposure to them to thoroughly enjoy them. Still, it was a well made IPA yet I'll give it a 3.2 out of 5 ranking.

Old FCB Tasting Room taps

Z Lager - Now for something completely different. Not only was this next beer a lager, but it was a smoked lager. The brewery classifies this as a Rauchbier - which in German means smoked beer. Ben behind the bar told me that they smoke their malts over the smoke of burning wood. I forget what type of wood it is. You can detect the smokiness up front when held to your nose. I've heard that some smoked beers taste like campfire ash but not this one. This beer is lightly smoked. The beer itself looks a deep reddish gold with a nice white head. The ABV comes in at 5.2%. This beer while a bit smokey, was not nearly as bitter as the IPA. The smoke gives it a unique characteristic that doesn't need a lot of hops. The taste grows on you the more you drink it. I'll give it a 3.3 out of 5 ranking. it was good, but I was looking forward to even darker beers.

Kidd Lager - this next beer was also a smoked lager - a Schwarzbier (black beer) to be exact. Not quite as smoky as Z Lager but you could still pick out the smoke in the aroma and during the finish. The beer is very dark yet see through and looks much like a porter. But the taste immediately tells you this is no porter. It tastes lighter than it looks. There is something about the aftertaste that I just can't put my finger on. The smoke in this beer gave it a dirtiness much like a campground and reminded me of eating smoked jerky. Decent but not my favorite. I'll give it a 3.2 out of 5.

Chocolate Stout - this was their baseline stout on tap. Very dark yet you could still see a trace of light through it. This brew had some Tettnang and Chinook hops in it - a smell much like some of the other similarly hopped beers here. The stout had a 5.3% ABV to boot. Either I was still tasting the smoke from the last two beers or this beer had a hint of smoke in it as well but barely so. This beer somewhat coated the tongue. This stout did not remind me of most other stouts I've had. It had a hint of coffee to it but not much of a chocolaty taste. My tongue may have been worn out by this time as well - not sure. This stout had a dry and hoppy finish. More like a dark IPA. Decent but not as malty as it could have been - a 3.2 out of 5 rating.

Double Chocolate Stout - I think the beer tender could sense that I wanted a bit more out of a stout and quickly poured me their special Double Chocolate Stout. This particular tap was Nitro infused. As he handed me the glass I could see the "Guinness" thing going on inside the glass. You know, the bubbles seems to become alive and dance inside the glass in waves. Nice affect but how would it taste? Once sip told me that this was more of what I was looking for. It was a hefty 8.2% ABV. Very dark with a nice head that danced every time you swirled the glass. This one was not as bitter as the regular stout. Much smoother and enjoyable. I really like what Nitrogen does to a beer. I'd drink this again any time. After several sips of this, the nitro made me burp. It was a "clean" burp that didn't bring back any hop tastes but rather clear. I really warmed up to this one. I'll give this a 3.4 out of 5 rating.

Tap Club #1 Superbrew - for my last beer of the session, I was surprised to be offered one of their Tap Club beers. This is a beer that normally only members of their tap club were offered. After I tried it, they told me this was going to be offered up later in the year and be called their "Summer Fling". This was a Blonde-Kolsch mix they told me. Golden in color with a nice white head. It has a nice lightly sweet smell to it with a pleasingly sweet taste. It seemed lightly hopped and was quite refreshing. I can tell this would be great cold on a hot summer day. This beer had about a 6.2% ABV. Quite nice! I told Ben that they should definitely make more of this stuff as I really enjoyed it. It was quite the contrast to the Double Chocolate Stout I just had - almost a palette cleanser. I'll give this a 3.4 out of 5 rating as well. I liked it a tad better than the double stout.

By this time, 8 tastings was plenty for me. They also had a Pomegranate Fizzy soft drink and a Root Beer but I didn't feel like a soft drink at that point. The locals who were in the tasting room at the time also made the experience very enjoyable. My kudos go out to "Arkansas Jake" who was visiting the room at the time. He and I seem to share very similar tastes in beer. Having a good beer conversation while tasting make the experience wonderful. The samplers cost me $4 and were well worth it. I'd recommend this small but cozy tasting room to anyone. Fort Collins Brewery have some tasty and unique beers. The wheat and their Blonde Kolsch were tops on my list. The double chocolate stout is recommended as well.

Update: Since the time of this original posting, FCB has moved and has built a brand new facility as of 2010 over at 1020 E. Lincoln Avenue in Fort Collins, just a stone's throw from Odell Brewing. Check out the NEW brewery and taproom article. In it's place, Funkwerks is now located in the old Fort Collins Brewery location.

Related articles:
- FCB Big Shot review.
- Fort Collins Brewery Barrel Licked Bock review.
- FCB pours new brews.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sunday Liquor Sales in Colorado Nears Approval

The long standing blue law in Colorado is one step closer to being eliminated. On Saint Patrick's Day, the Colorado House of Representatives gave their initial approval to allow Sunday liquor sales in Colorado. Now the Senate Bill 82 (SB-82) still needs to pass two more votes. One in the House and one more in the Senate with any last minute addendums before it goes to Governor Ritter for signature. If approved, Sunday liquor sales could begin as early as July 1st of this year.

While beer fans in Colorado may be excited about this, there are always a group of people who fear that Sunday liquor sales will only mean more DUI's, more opportunities for underage drinkers to get liquor and more highway deaths. Even some liquor store owners aren't happy as now they will have to work 7 days a week and not get any days off.

What this means for us Colorado beer drinkers is that instead of having to buy in larger quantities on Fridays or Saturdays, now we can spread out our purchases to any day of the week and plan our drinking in a more convenient way. I seriously doubt this means we'll all start drinking more, we'll just not have to horde as much. It'll just be more convenient. If I want to go buy a six pack for the weekend and I didn't get a chance to go out on Saturday then I'll always have Sunday to do it.

I'm usually at home on Sunday's and having a beer at home is about the only place these days where you don't have to worry about getting a DUI. Today's tough drunk driving laws are forcing more and more people to have their drink at home and stay off the roads. Seeing how the price of gas and beer are both shooting up these days, many of us won't be able to afford as much of the other anyway. I'm not going to end up buying more beer if they allow liquor sales on Sunday, but if I happen to want to buy some on Sunday I can.

Update: April 13, 2008 - The Colorado State Senate approved the bill by a 25-9 margin and now only needs the Governor's signature to become law. Looks like this is going to become a reality. Analysts predict that Sunday liquor sales will boost state tax revenues by an additional $4 million per year. Governor Ritter is expected to sign this into law on April 14, 2008. Click here for an update.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

It's March 17th and for lovers of fine crafted beers - what better way to celebrate St. Patty's day than with a few ales and singing some good old Irish drinking songs! Here are a few (made up) Irish drinking songs from the guys over at "Who's Line is it Anyway?". Enjoy!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Aspen Brewing Company opens for business

Aspen Brewing CompanyAt long last, the brewery and web site for the new Aspen Brewing Company has finally opened and along with it the news of their first inaugural beers. While some of these beers may still be in the fermenter, the boys from Aspen Brewing will offer up six beers to the locals of the high altitude resort community:

- 10th Mountain Stout
- Independence Pass Ale I.P.A.
- Conundrum Red Ale
- Brown Bearale
- Smuggler Wheat
- Timberline Lager

All of these beers will be available year round. Aspen Brewing will also offer some seasonals later on. The brewery is located at 557 North Mill Street in Aspen, Colorado. Their tap room is open 7 days a week and pending an appeal to the local city government, visitors will be able to sample a limited variety of their beers on-site and be able to take home growlers of the local brew.

So next time you're up in Aspen, stop on by and check them out.

Related article:
- Aspen Brewery gets compromise from city

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Odell Brewing Tap Room (2008)

Odell Brewing's TaproomI had the opportunity to visit one of the Fort Collins Colorado breweries today during my lunch break. Today's visit was to the Odell Brewing Company Tap Room. The tap room is easy enough to get to off of Interstate 25. Take the Highway 14 exit West and head into town. Turn right on Lemay and then north for less than a mile to Lincoln Ave and turn left. About a 1/3rd of a mile will get you to the Odell brewery. Their tap room is right out front, right next to the brewing facility. You can see inside their brewing operations right from a windowed door in the tap room.

I went a bit early, around 11:00am and the place just had a few patrons there already. Odell offers customers two different types of tasting trays. Their "Classic" sampler tray offers up six 4-oz mini-glasses of their more mainstream beers. I opted to try their "Pilot" sampler which had four 4-oz glasses of their higher ABV and batch brews. For $4 they'll give you either of their samplers with a token. This token is worth $3 that is good towards any of their tap room merchandise or you can opt to throw the token into a charity jar which will give $3 toward the charity of the month.

Today's "Pilot" sampler tray offered up the following beers: Hop Scotch Ale, Nitro IPA, Nitro Cut Throat Porter, and their Imperial Stout. This was the order that they suggested drinking them in as well. I brought with me a small notepad and was able to write down some notes on these beers.

Hop Scotch Ale - this was a Scottish Ale they had on tap that included double the bittering hops (Summit) and triple the flavoring hops (US Fuggles & Ahtanum). This little brew had a decent 6.8% ABV. This beer was a dark gold color with a small off-white lacing. Scottish was the right term to use here. This beer was dry, crisp and tasty. The hops were noticeable but not overpowering. It was different from any beer I've had to date and it was good. It seemed to have the taste of something I would call Scotch. Rating: 3.3 out of 5.

Nitro IPA - I was anxious to try this beer because I'm trying to condition myself to get a taste for IPAs. This beer was infused with nitrogen to give it "a fuller body and creamier texture" according to the information card. This beer had a nice white cream on top of it and I mean like a rich froth. The beer was a light golden color. The aroma reminded me a bit of citrus at first. The first taste was very light and the froth was yummy. I didn't taste the hops at first, instead I got a floral citrusy taste. It wasn't until 1/2 way through this sample that the hops hit me. And luckily for me it wasn't the least bit harsh. I could actually drink this! This would make a good Spring / Summer beer and it tasted good cold. If I was ever to drink another IPA it would be this one. The froth lingered during the entire tasting and coated the entire inside of the glass with white down to the end. I happened to burp near the end of this beer and the burping brought out a huge hop sensation. Heh - nice. I'd suggest when you try this beer to burp - you'll see what I mean. Rating: 3.3 out of 5.

Nitro Cutthroat Porter - The third beer in the sampler was another nitrogen infused beer - this time in a porter. Again I saw a nice frothy head to it only slightly more tan in color. The beer was a dark brown with red overtones. You could still see through this beer when held up to the light. I could definitely pick up the coffee like aromas of the dark malts they put in this brew. The first taste only re-enforced the coffee like taste. This porter had more coffee flavor in it than most porters I've tried. It was lightly hopped. The lightly sweet taste was bittered nicely with the darker coffee flavor. It's not quite a session beer despite the 4.8% ABV as the coffee sensation was quite noticable. The coldness of the beer made me realize that some porters CAN be consumed cold. Again, burping brought out the hop flavor on this beer. Nice beer but a bit too much coffee for my liking. Rating: 3.1 out of 5.

Odell Brewing growlerImperial Stout (Single Batch Series) - this beer is part of their 5 barrel batch system. Small quantities are made and offered up in their tap room. This beer was DARK - so dark that you could not see any light pass through it. The chalkboard on their tap room wall stated that this was a 8.1% ABV but their info card said it was 7.1% ABV. This beer had a small tan head to it. This beer had a slightly sweeter aroma than the porter. No coffee affects here. For a stout, this had a slightly sweeter malt taste and was very good. I really like this stout. No bitter after taste and a hint of an alcohol glow at the finish. I liked this so much that I bought a growler of this stuff. I jumped at the chance to bring more home. Rating: 3.6 out of 5.

Cask 90 Shilling - Just before leaving, I went through their merchandise and picked up a couple logo drinking glasses - one standard pint glass and one English style pint. It was then that I noticed that Odell had a Cask version of their 90 Shilling beer on tap. This beer was conditioned in a wood cask prior to putting in a keg in their tap room. I'm a big fan of their regular 90 Shilling and asked for a sample. This beer did not look like their regular 90 Shilling. In fact if you held the cask version next to the regular version you'd swear it was a different beer. The cask 90 Shilling was lighter in color. A medium golden with reddish hints with a nice off-white head. This beer had a distinctive aroma, somewhat on the citrusy side. It tasted like the beginnings of a sour Belgian but was not a bit like their darker Shilling. The taste was hard to describe. The wood had toned down the taste and began to slightly sour it somewhat. It was good, but not as good as their regular 90 Shilling. Odell is apparently getting into casks much more these days and experimenting on their beers. I applaud their efforts but wish they hadn't done it on the 90 Shilling. It just made it an entirely different beer altogether. Rating: 3.2 out of 5.

The tap room started getting more visitors as the lunch hour went on. Many regulars were coming in and out buying growlers. It's a nice little tap room but doesn't have as homey a feel as the New Belgium brewery just down the street a bit. Certainly worth your time to visit if you're in Fort Collins as they have some great beers. Tours start in the afternoon so come right after lunch if you want to see how they make the beer.

Related articles:
- Odell Small Batch Beer Festival 2008
- Odell Red Ale review
- Odell officially breaks ground on expansion

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Belgium to Package Fat Tire in Cans

It looks like soon we will be able to buy a Fat Tire Amber Ale in a can. According to a report from the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the New Belgium Brewery is adding a canning line to their operations and by June 2008, a limited supply of Fat Tire Amber Ale will be available in cans. This follows a trend in craft breweries that began back with Oskar Blues Brewery of Lyons Colorado who have been putting their craft beer in a can for over 5 years now. The move will add some versatility to the product offerings that New Belgium offers. Besides, it's 100% recyclable and it blocks light from hitting the beer which can spoil beer over time.

Update 4/16/2008: It seems that news of this traveled slowly as the Associated Press just released a report on this and we've known about it for over a month now. According to the report:

"The Fort Collins brewer’s new canning operation, estimated to cost about $1 million, will produce 50 to 60 aluminum cans per minute so fans can take Fat Tire camping, golfing or to outdoor concerts where glass might not be allowed or isn’t convenient, spokesman Bryan Simpson said.

The Fat Tire that comes in cans will be “can conditioned” with live yeast, so its flavor should not be affected, he said. Despite popular perceptions about canned beer, the company’s taste tests show the canned version tastes the same as the bottled brew."

Related articles:
- Fat Tire cans previewed
- New Belgium to offer Sunshine Wheat in cans
- More Colorado craft beers heading to cans
- Craft beer in cans more expensive than bottles?

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter review

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial PorterI don't know what it is about Flying Dog Brewery's ales that keep me coming back to it. They have a knack of making just about any beer they brew an aromatic explosion. The last several ales I've tried from this brewer made me feel like my nose and mouth had been injected with intense hops and malts. This time around, I decided to bend to the hype of their Gonzo Imperial Porter.

Even before I poured the beer into my favorite glass, the aroma of this beer was bursting to get out. The moment the cap flew off the bottle the hops and malts began filling the room. I didn't need a label on that bottle to tell me this was a Flying Dog ale, because this had nearly the same aroma as many of their other brews that I had sampled a month or two before in their sampler pack. I knew upfront that I was going to be hit hard with this beer before I drank it so at least I was prepared for it.

This beer pours nearly black. The head started building immediately and wouldn't go away. This was my first clue that this beer was going to be a bit more intense than other beers. Forget for a moment that this beer has a 9.2% ABV and is loaded with a "sh*t load" of cascade hops (among others). This beer has an alternate agenda. Even the foam appeared to be carrying a bit of extra material in it. The beer has a potent IBU rating of 80 and probably could be more than the label indicates.

It seems that the beer world wants to go more extreme by the day. I think extreme is fine when done in moderation. Flying Dog spared no expense in this $8 4-pack to remind you that they want you to be hit with as much as they can pack into a 12-oz bottle all at once. Instead of first smelling the usual chocolate and coffee aromas that most imperial porters have, I was struck with a slight alcohol bite and an intense hop smell. Their web site says that this beer is more malty than hoppy. Excuse me but I beg to differ. Their scale should have been maxxed out on the hoppiness as well as maltiness. The aroma was the very same that I remember when drinking their Snake Dog IPA. Powerful to be sure. The taste was pretty much what I expected an imperial porter to taste like, but I was having quite the experience with that powerful aroma.

The thick head of foam stuck around for quite a while and clung securely to the sides of the glass. You were going to get some creamy foam throughout the entire experience with this beer. This is a dark beer indeed. I was easily able to finish this beer but had to wrinkle my nose almost every time I inhaled. The mix of Warrior, Northern Brewer and an overload of dry hopped Cascade seemed a bit out of balance in this porter. The beer review sites caved into the hype of this beer and simply adored it. Ratebeer scored this in the 98th percentile and an 3.88/5 ranking. BeerAdvocate also smiled upon this brew with a hefty grade of "A-".

Perhaps I've been overloaded with too many porters lately. Lord knows I've reviewed plenty of them lately. While I'll still end up finishing the 4-pack over the course of the next week, I'll do so knowing that I'll want to explore this further. This beer is definitely worthy and gets an initial thumbs up rating.

Update: 5/13/08 - I opened up another bottle of this after a short couple of month aging process. I chilled it down a bit more and tried this again. This time I felt like I was drinking a whole other beer. The aroma had mellowed and had made this beer much more drinkable. Giving this a bigger thumbs up rating now. I enjoyed this brew again at the Rocky Mountain Beer Fest in Estes and wow, what a difference on tap. This is one damn good beer. You just have to train your palate to enjoy these rich and powerful brews. Aging further would probably make this beer even better.

Update Sept. '09: Congrats to Flying Dog for winning GOLD at the 2009 GABF in the Imperial Stout category for Gonzo Imperial Porter. Not sure why this was put in the imperial stout category but it proves it's one darn good strong dark brew.

Also, since this release, Flying Dog Ales moved their brewery to Maryland.

Related articles:
- Beer cellaring - a short experiment with Gonzo Imperial Porter.
- Who let the dogs out? Flying Dog sampler.
- Revisiting beers and changing tastes.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Great Divide Saint Bridget's Porter review

Great Divide St Bridget's PorterDuring the cooler months, I tend to stick to drinking porters and stouts. Today's selection comes from Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, Colorado and is one of their award winning porters - Great Divide Saint Bridget's Robust Porter.

This beer is supposedly named after the Irish Saint Bridget who reportedly turned her bathwater into beer for the local Irish clerics. Oh my, I can just picture a woman climbing wet out of a tub and suddenly that water turns to beer. Hmmmm. The packaging certainly portrays Saint Bridget as a sexy woman - somewhat of a Marilyn Monroe type. Who knows. It's a porter and I'm gonna drink it.

This batch of beer was bottled in mid-September, so it was already 6 months old. I bought the beer cold from the cooler at the corner store. I should probably have let it sit out a bit longer before drinking it as porters and stouts are best drunk at slightly cooler than room temperature.

This beer pours like most porters, dark with slight reddish overtones. The beer looked exactly like pouring a Coca Cola. Surprisingly, it has very little head to it. Only about 1/2 a finger's height to it which faded rather quickly into just the slightest of beads. The beer was dark but clear and showed very little light through it. I swirled the glass ever so slightly to bring up some bead and aroma. Instantly, I could pick out a nice chocolate and coffee-like malts in this brew. Just what I'd expect in a good porter.

The first taste of this beer was somewhat curious to me. I expected to be hit with a lot of maltiness, but instead, I got a cool and somewhat watery taste. I believe this beer was still a bit too cold and the was hiding much of the flavor that was still hidden. It left a nice smooth coat to the back of my tongue as it went down. The taste was not bitter in the least. This porter certainly didn't taste like it smelled at first sampling. I decided to let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before trying it again.

After a time, I swirled the glass once more and this time I could pick out a more hoppy aroma. This beer does change for the better with a warmer temperature. The taste actually improved quite a lot as it warmed up. Definitely do NOT drink this beer cold. Open it up and let it breathe for about 10 minutes before imbibing.

St Bridget's Porter packagingI gotta love the marketing on this beer. A sexy lady on the six-pack cover with the words "A religious experience" on it. Oh my yes. That's just what a middle aged beer drinker wants to see. Heh. The beer gave me a nice little "glow" after about 10 minutes into the experience. I was at first disappointed in it but as it warmed it got very tasty indeed.

The beer ranking sites gave this beer a good but not excellent rating. Ratebeer comes in with a 76th percentile and a 3.37 out of 5 ranking. BeerAdvocate thought this was good enough for a "B" rating. It seems that others who drank this beer got a lot more head when pouring their beers, so perhaps it was the fact that this beer was bottled 6 months ago made the difference. I think that the next time I try this beer, I'd like it to be a bit more freshly bottled.

For me, this was yet another decent porter. It certainly improved the more I drank it, but first impressions still mean a lot to me and when I drink it a bit cold I felt it lacked a bit of flavor. I certainly wish to give this beer a fair ranking and I'm tempted to drink a 2nd beer before making a final judgment. I'm liking it more as I get towards the bottom of the glass.

Great Divide did a quality job with this porter and I can see that it would have impressed some people enough to win some awards. I'd like to give this a higher ranking but for now I'll give it a 3.4 out of 5 ranking. Tip of my hat to the Irish Saint Bridget.

Update: This beer was retired back in 2011, but will return briefly in Spring 2014 in honor of Great Divide's 20th Anniversary.

Related articles:
- Great Divide Hades Ale review.
- Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti review.
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.
- Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager review.

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2008 Colorado Beer Festivals

2008 Colorado Beer FestivalsThanks for visiting Fermentedly Challenged - your Colorado Craft Beer News Source. Looking to attend a beer festival in Colorado? Here are some of the many Colorado beer festivals that were held in 2008. My beer event lists are updated often and will continue to be updated for the years following.

The new list of 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals and Events can be found here.

Jan. Events - Feb. Events - Mar. Events - Apr. Events
May. Events - Jun. Events - Jul. Events - Aug. Events
Sep. Events - Oct. Events - Nov. Events - Dec. Events

January 2008 Events

Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival
January 10-12, 2008
Vail, CO - Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa
Join us for the Eighth Annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Weekend! Come up to Vail to experience the event that beer connoisseurs are raving about. Homebrewers, Professional Brewers and Industry Gurus alike speak highly with regard to the unique format, the unusual international collection of beers, the organization and the overall quality of the event. For those of you who are Big Beers Festival veterans, this Eighth Annual event promises to be exceptional, touting two new seminars and an additional beer dinner! More info.

February Events

March Events

April Events

Boulder Strong Ale Festival
April 11-12, 2008
Harpo's Sports Grill, Boulder, CO
A tribute to "big beers" (all 8% ABV or higher) from around the country, with 70 beers from 30 to 40 breweries. More details of this year's festival will be posted on the Avery Brewing Company's website.

Breckenridge Massive Beer Festival 2008
April 12, 2008 - Saturday
Main Street Station (505 S. Main Street)
Breckenridge, Colorado

Springfest 2008
April 12, 2008 - Saturday 4-11pm
Crabtree Brewing Company
625 3rd Street #D
Greeley, Colorado
3 Live Bands. Free Music & Pool in the brewery.

Microbreweries for the Environment Benefit
April 25, 2008
Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., Boulder, CO
Since 1993, the Microbreweries for the Environment benefit has raised nearly $100,000 for local environmental causes. The proceeds from this year's benefit will further the environmental efforts of the University of Colorado Environmental Center, Colorado Conservation Voters, EcoCycle and Wild Earth Guardians. Twenty Colorado microbreweries serve their best beers for only $2 each. Participating breweries include: Arctic Craft Brewery, Avery Brewing, BJ's Brewhouse, Boulder Beer Co., Breckenridge Brewery, Bristol Brewing Co., Flying Dog Brewery, Fort Collins Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Co., Left Hand Brewing Co., Mountain Sun, New Belgium Brewing Co., Odell Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery, Pumphouse Brewery, Redfish Brewhouse, Ska Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Company, Twisted Pine Brewing, and Wolf Rock Brewing Company. The benefit will feature musical performances by Corn Meal and Elephant Revival. This event will sell out so if you want to go visit the Boulder Theater website. The price is $17.50. Always packed, always fun!

May Events

May 10, 2008 - Saturday
Veterans Park, Canon City, CO
Benefit For the Fremont Center for the Arts. Beer from more than 20 Colorado microbreweries, and a lineup of top-notch comedians; live music after the tasting.

Left Hand Beach Party at Arapahoe Basin
May 18, 2008
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Think great beer, a hot BBQ, live music, and cheap lift tickets, all at the base of Arapahoe Basin on a sunny Sunday in May. If you haven't been up to the Basin in a while, it's a beautiful place to be as the ski season comes to an end. Frisbees, dogs, spring skiing.that's what Colorado is all about. Sponsored by Left Hand Brewing Company.

Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival
May 24-25, 2008
Park Hyatt Resort and Spa, Beaver Creek, CO
Highlights: More than 100 beers from 35 microbreweries, all based in Colorado; barbecue, be prepared by top chefs from Kansas City and other locations nationwide; live blues music, children's activities, and cooking demonstrations.

7th Annual Festival of the Brewpubs
May 25, 2008
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, A-Basin, CO
Join us for our largest party of the year! Spend the day sampling mugs of beer from a variety of Summit County brewpubs for one low price per 14 oz mug (must be 21). Breweries include Pug Ryan’s, Breckenridge, Dillon Dam, Backcountry and Wolf Rock. $20. Beer pouring begins at 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Small Batch Beer Festival
May 31, 2008
Odell Brewery - Fort Collins, CO
Odell Brewing, 800 E. Lincoln
The festival pays homage to innovative brews, fine malts and whole flower hops. A variety of ales handcrafted on Odell's five-barrel brewing system, also known as the pilot system, will be featured.

June Events

Chili Pepper and Brew Fest
June 6-8, 2008
Snowmass Village, CO
The International Chili Society holds its two chili competitions and tastings in Snowmass, while microbrewers face off in a prestigious summer ale competition with two brew sampling sessions for festival- goers, featuring 30 plus breweries. Plus Fanny Hill rocks with hot music all weekend.

Rocky Mountain Brew Fest
June 14, 2008
Estes Park Brewery
Estes Park, Colorado

Grand Junction Summerfest
June 14th, 2008
11am-7pm - Take a trip to the breathtaking Western Slope for a day of craft beer, sunshine and local music. Located in Lincoln Park this is sure to be a day full of great beer and amazing views of the Grand Mesa.

23rd Annual Bike MS
June 28, 2008
Fort Collins, Colorado
FREE BEER being poured at the WOW festival on the CSU Campus.

Colorado Brewer's Festival
June 28-29, 2008
Old Town, (Downtown)
Fort Collins, Colorado
Great beer, food, music and fun. This year's festival, the 19th Annual Colorado Brewers' Festival in Downtown Fort Collins will take place June 28 & 29, 2008. Over 400 kegs of beer will be poured beginning on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and conclude on Sunday at 6:00p.m. in Old Town Square. (The festival hours will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.) All beer samplers must be 21 years of age, and purchase an entry and tokens at the entry station located on Mountain Ave, the day of the festival. Admission is $10 for a 2-day Saturday/Sunday Pass & $6 Sunday Only Pass. All beer tokens are $2; you need beer tokens to get your beer samples. Designated Driver Program available for non-beer samplers with valid driver's license.
Official Web Site

July Events

12th Annual Colorado Brewers' Rendezvous
July 5, 2008
Salida, Colorado
Saturday 1-5PM The Colorado Brewers Guild, a trade association dedicated to the Colorado craft brewing industry, facilitates beer educational activities in Colorado. No other nation offers as many different and exciting, flavorful beers as the United States, with thousands of different ales and lagers now available to Americans in all regions of the country. The Colorado Brewers Rendezvous is an excellent opportunity for everyone to tap into the rich heritage and tradition of American brewing, as well as the unique flavors offered by Colorado brewers. Located at Riverside Park.

Rails and Ales Brewfest
July 12, 2008
The train leaves Alamosa, CO at 9:00 AM on July 12th and will take everyone to a beautiful mountain meadow spot along the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad route. Beer Festival will run from Noon to 3:00 PM. The train will then take us all back to Alamosa, CO, arriving about 5:30 PM.

July 12, 2008
Old South Pearl Street - Denver, CO
From 1-10pm - BrewGrass is the 1st of two festivals on Old South Pearl. The fest will feature great national and local Bluegrass acts plus a bunch of really great beer! More info.

Breckenridge Beer Festival
July 19, 2008
Breckenridge, CO
From 2-6pm. Located at Main Street Station, on the south side of Breckenridge at 505 S. Main St. Beer lovers rejoice! Samplings from 17 microbreweries and craft beers, giveaways from Smith Optics, and kegs of fun! Live music on the "Summit Stage" stage from The New Mastersounds, Whitewater Ramble, and Universally Famous Rocket Surgeons. No pets allowed. Breweries include: Alaskan Brewing Co., Aspen Brewing Co., Avery Brewing Co., Backcountry Brewery, Boston Beer Company, Breckenridge Brewery, Bristol Brewery, Flying Dog Brewery, Grand Teton Brewing Co., Great Divide Brewing Co., Kona, Left Hand Brewery, New Belgium Brewery, Odell Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery, Palisade Brewery, Paulaner, Pilsner Urquell, Pug Ryan's, Ska Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., and Wolf Rock Brewing Co. More details.

Hops for Habitat
July 19, 2008
Plains Conservation Center - 21901 E. Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO
From 5-8pm - Come sample a variety of cool tasty microbrews, snack on a freshly made calzone, listen to live music and venture onto the prairie for a wagon ride. All to help the environment. Event info.

Summer Brew Fest
July 26, 2008
Coors Field Main Parking Lot A - Denver, CO
From 4-7pm - A downtown LODO beer fest with unlimited samples from more than 21 breweries. Angie Stevens & the Beautiful Wreck will perform live for the fest. 102.3 KCUV and 105.5 JACK-FM are proud to present Summer Brew Fest, July 26 in the Coors Field Main Parking Lot A. Summer Brew Fest will celebrate Colorado’s finest craft beverages with 21 breweries and 60 different kinds of beer to sample. Plus don’t miss live music from Angie Stevens & the Beautiful Wreck. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Visit BrownPaperTickets to purchase tickets. Attending breweries include: Ska, Flying Dog, Pumphouse, Odell, Lefthand, Stone, Oskar Blues, Great Divide, Avery, Breckenridge, Boulder Beer, Steamworks, Mountain Sun, Twisted Pine, Sierra Nevada, Pagosa, Blue Moon, Alaskan, Rogue, Dundee, Tommyknocker. Proceeds from Summer Brew Fest will benefit The Colorado Environmental Coalition. Fest info.

August Events

Fort Collins Irish Festival
August 1-3, 2008
The Inaugural Fort Collins Irish Festival is bringing all things Irish to Larimer County. This new tradition will feature: local Irish bands, internationally acclaimed musicians, customary Irish cuisine, Beer Garden, interactive activities for the whole family, Irish and Celtic arts and crafts, Irish whiskey and much more! So grab your friends and family and head down to Civic Center Park for the first Fort Collins Irish Festival. Slainte! Sponsored by Guinness. Event website.

2008 Springs Foam Fest
August 2, 2008
Coleman Park (adjacent to Sky Sox Field) - Colorado Springs, CO
Enjoy over 25 Colorado Craft Brews, live music, complimentary food and games, and a free souvenir Foam Fest mug. Benefit for Miracle on Tejon Street and The Friends of Cheyenne Canyon. 12pm - 5pm. $30 (advance), $35 (at the door). More info.

12th Annual Keystone Beer and Bluegrass Festival
August 2-3, 2008
River Run Village, Keystone Resort, Keystone, CO
Highlights: Open 1-5pm each day. Beer from more than 25 Colorado microbreweries, served in a beer garden; try some down-home cooking; listen to acoustic bluegrass music on three stages; inflatables and other children's activities at "Energy Alley"; free parking. Free Music & Admission. Beer tasting price is $30 for an unlimited tasting glass or $4 beers in the Blue Moon beer garden. Click here for more info on this event.

2nd Annual Blues & Brews
August 9, 2008
Denver, CO - Old South Pearl Street
This is the 2nd of two beer festivals that are part of the Summerfest Music Series. Blues & Brews will feature top national and local Blues musicians and bands, among them revered Delta bluesman Tommy Thomas and the Erica Brown Band, who recently represented Colorado at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. It’s all happening at the 1200 block of Old South Pearl Street—North of Louisiana and South of Buchtel — just a hop, skip and a jump west from the Louisiana-Pearl Light Rail Station. Take the ride in, enjoy some great brews from the likes of Breckenridge Brewery, New Belgium, Left Hand and many more as you hear some of the best music around for just a buck! Event website.

24th Annual Taste of Grand County
August 9, 2008
Winter Park, CO
Lovers of gourmet food, fine wines and hand-crafted beers shouldn't miss this opportunity to sample and enjoy a wide array of food and beverages. Highlights include: wine, beer and food tasting; a silent auction; and live entertainment. All festival-goers will receive a commemorative wine glass or beer pilsner and unlimited samples of food and drink. Proceeds benefit the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). For festival and Ski Train deals, please call 303.293.5315.

Craft Lager Fest
August 9, 2008
Manitou Springs, CO (Soda Springs Park)
Drink a beer save a Tree! This celebration of bottom fermented beer is scheduled for Saturday August 9th from 1:00pm - 6:00pm at Soda Springs Park in Manitou Springs (1016 Manitou Ave). Come taste beers from Hawaii to Boston! Entry is $25 and includes a presentation of awards for exceptional lagers, music by Grass it up and Big Paddy, unlimited sampling (within reason) and a commemorative tasting glass. All profits from this event are donated to Pikes Peak region open spaces! Contact: Jason Yester - Phone: 719.685.9059.

Greater Boulder Beer Festival
August 10, 2008
St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, CO
The 1st annual Greater Boulder Beer Fest will feature beers that are brewed only in Boulder County! Their will be beer friendly food, like Beer Brats, Stout Short Ribs, & Oskar Blues Drunk Chicken! The “Fabulous Clamdaddy’s will be performing on the patio at The St. Julien during the entire event from Noon-4pm. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased by going to or by calling 720-562-4041. Breweries include: Boulder Beer, Avery, Twisted Pine, Redfish Brewhouse, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Walnut Brewery, Pumphouse Brewery, BJ's Brewhouse, Wild Mountain Smokehouse. Fest info. More info.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest 2008
August 15-17, 2008
Old Town - Fort Collins, CO
Over 120,000 people will attend this celebration in Downtown Fort Collins. In its 20th year this FREE weekend showcases over 300 arts, crafts and food booths, Kids' World, a carnival, two beer gardens sponsored by Odell Brewing and Anheuser-Busch, and seven stages of continuous entertainment. The festival is also proud to host Bohemian Nights music lineup providing Colorado music all weekend long. Over 80 performances and 7 stages of continuous entertainment throughout the weekend! Festival hours are Friday: Concert only 7-9:00pm in Old Town Square, Saturday 10:00am-7:00pm with evening concerts until 10:00pm and Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm. More info.

Canoe & Brew - Gunnison River
August 18-20, 2008
Gunnison River area - Colorado
Join Jeff Brown, President of Boulder Beer Company (Colorado’s 1st microbrewery), for a unique and educational look into the micro brewing beer industry and how it differs from macro breweries. The best part will be sampling various styles of beer and learning how they are made during this 3-day excursion. Join us August 18-20, 2006, on the beautiful Gunnison River. After a day spent outdoors paddling and hiking, a cold beer around the campsite sure sounds great. Don’t worry, we will keep the beer cold! Adults only. More info.

Art & Ale Brew Festival
August 22, 2008
The Wildlife Experience - Parker, CO
6-10 p.m. Brew up something special this summer at Art & Ale. Join us for world-class beers, tantalizing eats and live music. Tickets include bottomless food & drink samples, a collector's mug, access to the cigar lounge and entertainment. Peruse the fine art galleries and interactive exhibits during this sell-out event. Ticket prices are $40 per person and $70 per couple. Members of The Wildlife Experience receive a discounted rate of $30 per person. Art & Ale will take place on August 22, rain or shine. This is a 21 and over only event. More info.

10th Annual Nedfest - Music & Arts Festival
August 22-24, 2008
Nederland, CO
The 10th Annual NedFest is a 3-day outdoor music and microbrew festival with camping located on the shores of Barker Reservoir in the mountains of Nederland, Colorado located only 17 miles west of Boulder. The music featured is in the Bluegrass, Jazz, Jamband and World-Beat genres... or moreso, a sound that blends these styles (and others) together. Up to six bands perform each day on one stage, with acoustic 'tweener sets between each band. Featured breweries are: Stone Brewing Company, Oskar Blues, Lefthand Brewing Company, Spaten Brewery, Ska Brewing, Avery Brewing Company and Redstone Meadery. More info.

10th Annual Boulder Creek Hometown Fair
August 30 - September 1, 2008
Just as the Boulder Creek Festival kicks off the summer in Boulder County, the Boulder Creek Hometown Fair is the perfect bookend to close out the summer event season. Started in 1998, this hometown celebration features arts & crafts exhibitors in Central Park in downtown Boulder, live performances at the bandshell, a food court & beer garden hosted by such local brewers as Boulder Beer Company, and a children’s area with carnival rides and exhibitors, the Great Zucchini Race, a Fire/Rescue Safety Expo, and much more! Don’t miss out on the festivities of this unique community event! Fair hours 10am-9pm Sat-Sun, 10am-7pm Mon. More info.

September Events

Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too
September 5, 2008
Denver Zoo, Denver, CO
Beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres from more than 50 Colorado breweries and restaurants, music and dancing at the zoo after dusk; event is a fund-raiser for the zoo's Red Apple Fund for life-long learning.

2nd Annual Osktoberfest
September 6, 2008
Oskar Blues Cajun Grill & Brewery
303 Main Street, Lyons, CO
Come one, Come all and join the crowd September 6th at Oskar Blues for their 2nd Annual Osktoberfest. They’ve brewed a special Ostoberfest beer this year to add to the joyous celebration. The day will include free music from 2:30 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. & will feature the music of Buckskin Stallion & the Ash Ganley Band among others. We’ll feed ya too, a $10 all you can eat buffet will have more options than you can shake a Bratwurst at. The day will also have face painting, raffle prizes and custom Osktoberfest steins. Link.

Tour de Fat - Fort Collins
September 6, 2008
New Belgium Brewery - Fort Collins, CO - 11am - 7pm
PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR YET ANOTHER DAY OF ANTICS, COSTUMES AND THE MOST FUN YOU MAY EVER HAVE ON TWO WHEELS! The Tour de Fat will once again be meandering and pandering through the Mothership in Fort Collins spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle. Along with our exceptional ability to roust a city’s inner-cyclist, in 2008 we hope to drive our message even deeper by bringing you the biggest, most enjoyable traveling bike festival that we know of. May the revival roll forth in the name of the bicycle. Join us for some adult beverages at New Belgium to celebrate! Event info. Myspace page.

Whole Foods 1st Annual Colorado Beer & Wine Festival
September 6, 2008
@ Whole Foods Market Tamarac - 7400 E. Hampden Ave, Denver, CO
Come drink like a local from 4-7pm. Join the crowd on the outdoor plaza to taste beer and wine from all the amazing breweries and wineries of Colorado. Beer and wine will be paired with delicious summer appetizers. Enjoy live music. Everyone gets a fresh beer pretzel, reusable glass and a festival kit. Proceeds to benefit local Colorado farmers. Event info.

Fall Festival of Beers and Chili Cook-off
September 6, 2008
Crested Butte, CO
Plan on heading up to Mt. Crested Butte Saturday, September 6th to take part in the Annual Fall Festival of Beers and Chili Cook-Off. In 2007 there were over 15 breweries on hand with samples of their finest, along with locals cookin’ up all varieties of chili for your tasting pleasure. The Festival takes place from 12 – 4 p.m., on the grass at the base area of Mt. Crested Butte by the Red Lady Lift. In addition to beer and chili there will be live music for your enjoyment. Admission is $10 for Chili Only, $15 for Beer Only, and $20 for Beer & Chili. We will also be introducing the Pepper Eating Contest this year, there will be an additional cost for entry into the contest. Mountain Express will have their regularly scheduled shuttles running between Mt Crested Butte and Crested Butte, and Gunnison Safe Ride will offer shuttles leaving the parking lot across from the Rec Center in Gunnison at 11:30am & 1:15pm and leaving Mt. Crested Butte at 2pm & 4:15pm, making stops in between Gunnison and Crested Butte. If you are interested in entering the Chili Cook-off, volunteering to help out with the Festival, or if you have any questions, call Erin at the Chamber at 349-6438 or stop in to the Visitors Center.

Telluride Blues & Brews
September 12-14, 2008
Telluride Town Park, Telluride, CO
Outdoor music venue with mountain peaks for a backdrop; beer from 50 breweries during Saturday's Grand Tasting; nationally-renown blues artists; a variety of food and crafts vendors; festival continues in late-night juke joints and after-hours jams. Tickets go on sale March 3.

Breckenridge Oktoberfest
September 12-14, 2008
Breckenridge, CO
Grab your stein, throw on your lederhosen, and get ready for Breckenridge’s 14th Annual Oktoberfest! The event returns to Main Street to commemorate a time-honored tradition of German heritage. The festival has become a Breckenridge mainstay and offers Oompah music, Bavarian foods and kids’ activities. Join Breckenridge and Paulaner Bier for the best Oktoberfest in the mountains. There will be a Brwemaster's Dinner on the 12th. Event website.

Tour de Fat - Denver
September 13, 2008
Denver, CO
PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR YET ANOTHER DAY OF ANTICS, COSTUMES AND THE MOST FUN YOU MAY EVER HAVE ON TWO WHEELS! The Tour de Fat will be meandering and pandering through the streets of Denver spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle. Along with our exceptional ability to roust a city’s inner-cyclist, in 2008 we hope to drive our message even deeper by bringing you the biggest, most enjoyable traveling bike festival that we know of. May the revival roll forth in the name of the bicycle. Join in for some adult beverages from New Belgium to celebrate! Event info. Myspace page.

Colorado Pork & Hops Challenge
September 19-20, 2008
Grand Junction, CO
Lincoln Park, 4:00 pm- 10:00 pm & 20th 11:00 am - 6:00 pm. Buy barbeque from award-winning cooking teams! Enjoy your favorite micro brews from around the region. And listen to some of your favorite local bands!

Oktoberfest on Larimer Square
September 19-21, 2008 and September 26-29, 2008
Grab your stein, throw on your lederhosen and get ready for Denver’s 39th annual Oktoberfest! The event is one of the city’s longest running festivals and one of the largest of its kind in the nation! Modeled after Oktoberfest in Munich Germany, Oktoberfest on Larimer Street commemorates this world-famous and time-honored tradition of German heritage. The festival has truly become a Denver mainstay offering German attractions, music from national touring groups, performances by international dancers, children’s activities, the first ever Oktoberfest Denver 10K Run, a Green Village, splendid décor, and accordion concert, and authentic cuisine. Admission to the event is FREE and guests may purchase food, bier and children’s activities. Official website.

Crabtree Brewing's Harvest Fest 2008
September 20, 2008
Greeley, CO
This is the 3rd season of the event. Each year Crabtree Brewing Company holds two events, one in the spring and one in the fall. Three bands will play music all night. They're giving away a limited edition color pint glass to everyone. Each year the event grows by 150 people and the spring fest hosted 500! Meet other Crabtree fans along with enjoying music with friends with a cold pint. The 8th Ave Wing Shack will be serving a wide arrangement of wings, fries, and other fine snacks. The headline band is Ben Pu and Crew. Event runs 4pm-11pm. $5 Cover. 21+ only. Brewery link. Event poster.

Tour de Fat - Durango
September 20, 2008
Durango, CO
PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR YET ANOTHER DAY OF ANTICS, COSTUMES AND THE MOST FUN YOU MAY EVER HAVE ON TWO WHEELS! The Tour de Fat will be meandering and pandering through the streets of Durango spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle. Along with our exceptional ability to roust a city’s inner-cyclist, in 2008 we hope to drive our message even deeper by bringing you the biggest, most enjoyable traveling bike festival that we know of. May the revival roll forth in the name of the bicycle. Join in for some adult beverages from New Belgium to celebrate! Event info. Myspace page.

Steamboat Brewers' Festival
September 20, 2008
Torian Plum Plaza, Steamboat Springs, CO
Sample beer from 15 or more Colorado breweries; "Brewer's Choice" and "People's Choice" awards; live music, food vendors, and root beer for kids. Steamboat celebrates fall with a beer tasting featuring the best breweries in Colorado. Join the action from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 20, 2008 for the 2nd Annual Steamboat Brewers' Festival. The festival takes place on the mountain at Torian Plum Plaza, right in front of the Slopeside Bar & Grill. This event has a little something for everyone including live music, a root beer bar for kids and food vendors. Event website.

Greeley's Oktoberfest 2008
September 26-27, 2008
Downtown Greeley, CO
Experience German heritage in overdrive! The celebration starts 1 day early this year! Come enjoy free live music, life size beer pong, delicious food, and beer from Pitcher's Brewery, Crabtree Brewing, and Coors. This new addition will be starting at 7pm on Friday and is where the fun will be kickin' off, the night before Oktoberfest. Then on Saturday, Oktoberfest starts at 11:00 a.m. At the beer garden, Pitcher’s Brewery will provide five different brews including their exclusive Oktoberfest brew and Coors will bring their domestic beers. Also, delicious food will be available. Oktoberfest patrons can enjoy strolling through numerous craft and novelty vendors. An improved children’s area “Kid’s World”, will entertain children beginning at 11am. Oktoberfest will have lots of fun contests. Come as you are or celebrate the traditional costumes. Event website.

Oktoberfest Fort Collins
September 27, 2008
The day will be filled with lederhosen, pretzels, polka and great Colorado Beer! The festival is free to the public and will take place in Civic Center Park (located at Laporte Ave & Howes St) in Fort Collins. Live German entertainment all day long including Schuhplattler dancing and great polka bands! Eat authentic bratwurst, drink Fort Collins best brews, dumplings, strudel, experience hands on kids activites, learn a little about German history in Colorado, and sing Ein Prosit with your comrades! It is Oktoberfest time! Official website.

October Events

Great American Beer Festival
October 9-11, 2008
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, Colorado
The Mecca of Beer Festivals! Don't miss out on one of the biggest beer festivals on earth. Over 470 breweries and 2400 beers will be on hand. This year is expected to be bigger than ever. Get your tickets EARLY as this event usually sells out. Hang out after the fest each night in LoDo for after GABF parties. If you can only attend one Colorado beer festival this year - make it this one! More info at:

Flying Dog, Brats and Gonzo (FBAG)
October 10, 2008
Denver, Colorado
4-6pm @ the Flying Dog Warehouse, downtown Denver.
The Friday of the first day of GABF, Flying Dog will be the meeting place for Beer Advoacate’s Pub Crawl. Join Beer Advocate founders Jason and Todd Alstrom and the Flying Dog Crew for LIVE music and our famous "Gonzo Brats" as we sample some of Flying Dog's new releases and hard to find styles. A great warm-up before the GABF. More info.

Falling Rock Tap House GABF Tastings
October 6-11, 2008
Denver, Colorado
Each night during the week of the Great American Beer Festival, the Falling Rock Tap House will be hosting special tasting celebrations featuring kegs from featured breweries. Come taste the freshest beers from the likes of Oskar Blues, Avery Brewing, selected San Francisco breweries, Shelton Brothers Imports, Stone Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head and Alaskan Brewing.

Falling Rock / Deschutes Fresh Hop Celebration
October 18, 2008
Denver, Colorado
Falling Rock isn't done yet with it's line-up of tastings. The weekend following GABF - Falling Rock Tap House and Deschutes are sponsoring a Fresh Hop Celebration. Saturday, October 18th come out and try a fresh hop ale from Deschutes, Oskar Blues, Great Divide, Full Sail or Ska Brewing. A fresh hop ale is brewed immediately following the picking of fresh hops and has a short shelf life so these beers won't be around long.

November Events

All Colorado Beer Festival
November 7-8, 2008
Colorado Springs, CO
They are already planning the 2nd Annual All Colorado Beer Festival. This year they will have three sessions over two days. Each session will provide attendees 4 1/2 hours to sample great beers from across Colorado as well as enjoy live music. The first session will take place on Friday, November, 7, 2008 from 5:30 until 10:00 PM. Session two and three will take place on Saturday, November 8th. Session two will run from Noon until 4:30 PM. Session three will run from 5:30 until 10:00 PM. Twenty brewers attended the 1st annual in 2007. Should be bigger than last year. Web site. Map.

New Belgium's Lips of Faith Release Party
November 15, 2008 (Sat)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
Join the gang down at the Falling Rock at 5pm for the tapping of the latest Lips of Faith beer, Ben's Saison. Ben's Saison starts slightly sour and citric across the palate with a quick blast of cranberry tartness. New Belgium made a very limited quantity of this brew so be sure to try some soon before it's all gone. Web site.

Boulder Beer Brewmaster's Dinner
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Dolan's Restaurant
Boulder, CO
Join Boulder Beer's Brewmaster David Zuckerman at Dolan's Restaurant in Boulder for a four course meal paired with some of the best beer from Boulder. The meal starts at 6:00pm and runs until 8:30pm. The cost is $35 per person plus tax and tip. Tickets are available at Liquor Mart in Boulder (303-449-3374) or call the restaurant at 303-444-8758.

Great Divide Beer and Dessert Pairing
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Great Divide Brewery
2201 Arapahoe Street
Denver, CO
Head on down to the brewery in Denver from 5-8pm for a pairing of some delicious desserts with some of the best Great Divide brews. Contact the brewery for more details. Cost: $10. Please RSVP to Web site.

Pumphouse Fall Beer Dinner
November 18, 2008 (Tue)
Pumphouse Brewery
Longmont, CO
Join the Pumphouse Brewery staff as they offer up a Fall Beer Dinner on November 18th starting at 6:30pm. The meal will feature their house brewed ales and a beer from their new bottle list. The food will be prepared by Chef Cesar and Chef Chris and hosted by David Mentus, Head Brewer. Cost: $50.00 per person (tax and tip included).

AiX & Great Divide Brewing Company Tasting Dinner
November 20, 2008 (Thu)
AiX Restaurant
719 E. 17th Ave.
Denver, CO
Come join the chefs at AiX and the brewers from Great Divide for an evening of modern cuisine and ale pairings on Thursday November 20th at 7pm. A four-course tasting dinner has been planned with the beer lover in mind. Cost: $35 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Reservations with credit card are required due to limited seating. Call: 303-831-1296. AiX web site. Brewery web site.

Craft Beer Education - Beer 101 Class
November 20, 2008 (Thu)
Cook Street School of Fine Cooking
Denver, CO
Come attend a beer education class that will teach you about the history, regions and production of fine beer. The instructor - Scott Kerkmans, Chief Beer Officer at Four Points by Sheraton Hotels, a Certified Cicerone, a BJCP certified beer judge and a former brewer at Alaskan Beer Company will guide you through this 3-hour session and let you taste 6 different beers of varying tastes and intricacies. These craft brews offer just as much complexity as the finest wines and he will help you pair them with your favorite dishes. Class hours: 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Cost: $59 per person. Cook Street School, 1937 Market Street, Denver, CO. Phone: 303-308-9300. Web site.

Old #23 Barley Wine Release
November 21, 2008 (Fri)
Bristol Brewing Company
Colorado Springs, CO
Join the Bristol family in this once-a-year tradition to savor the dulcet, brandy-like tones, reconnect with old friends and raise a glass in celebration of those who can no longer be with us. They'll release the 2008 vintage of Old #23 Barley Wine at 5:00 pm on this Friday, November 21, just in time to stock up for the holidays. Blue Sage Catering will be providing snacks designed especially to soak up those extra ABVs. Web site.

A Decade of Hog Heaven: 1998 - 2008
November 21, 2008 (Fri)
Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, CO
A celebration of the 10th anniversary of Avery's Hog Heaven barleywine. Aged versions of this big barleywine will be served (some really old). The event will be catered with light food including fine cheeses and meats to compliment the beers served. Show up at 7:30pm to taste some new brews and then stick around until 8:30pm for the Hog Heaven celebration which lasts until 10pm. Advance ticket sales only @ Avery. 50 person max. Web site.

Great Divide Beer and Cheese Pairing
November 25, 2008 (Tue)
Great Divide Brewery
2201 Arapahoe Street
Denver, CO
A pairing of 5 different cheeses and 5 different brews will be offered at the Great Divide brewery in Denver. The cost of this event is $10. The pairing will be held between 5-8pm. Please RSVP to Web site.

December Events

Boulder Beer's Beer School
December 1, 2008 (Mon)
Boulder Beer Company
Boulder, CO
You can get an MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) from Boulder Beer as they announce the return of their monthly Beer School which is now in session. Each first Monday night of the month from November 2008 through April 2009, Boulder Beer will be hosting seminars that feature samplings of seasonal beers, and a discussion led by their Brewmaster, David Zuckerman. Last year’s classes included a session on hops varieties; firkins; filtering; stouts, porters and barleywines; and how to taste beer like a professional. This years classes will fill up fast as they are limited to 30 students each. For $10 you can reserve a seat for the month and receive a generous amount of samplings with your class. Contact to reserve a seat.

Falling Rock Christmas Beer Dinner
December 2, 2008 (Tue)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
11th annual beer dinner starts at 7:30pm. Come taste some of the season's best offerings including Saison DuPont's Avec les bon Voeux, Avery Old Jubilation '07, St Feuillien Noel & Others. Beers will be paired with a fabulous 5 course meal prepared by Chef Cheryl. Tickets are available now & are $55 advance (tax & gratuity included) if purchased by Sunday November 30th @ 7pm, $65 after that if available. Web site.

Mephistopheles' Stout Release Party
December 3, 2008 (Wed)
Avery Brewing Company
Boulder, CO
Avery Brewing releases their coal black, velvety smooth Belgian Imperial Stout on Wednesday, December 3rd. Come and be the first to taste the 2008 Vintage. For those severely twisted and deranged souls who can't get their stout fix from Mephistopheles', they'll also have a keg of Out of Bounds Stout on the Cask and their Czar Russian Imperial Stout on tap for the evening. Stop by, taste a few, and walk away with some bottles of Mephistopheles. Event runs from 4-7 PM. Avery Tap Room, 5757 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, CO. $10 per person. Web site.

Rock Bottom Beer Tasting
December 4, 2008 (Thu)
Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery
Westminster, CO
Each month Jack Johnson, brewmaster, taps a new brew for every to try. Join Rock Bottom Brewery in Westminster for complimentary glasses of their specialty beer Old Curmudgeon English Strong. They'll tap the beer at 6:00pm with a description from Jack and pour until 6:30pm. 14694 Orchard Parkway Suite 400, Westminster, CO.

25 Years of Chimay in the USA
December 5, 2008 (Fri)
Falling Rock Tap House
Denver, CO
Chimay Trappist Ales have been brewing in Belgium for 146 years; the U.S.A. has been enjoying this beverage for 25 years in the states. In recognition of this grand occasion, Bières de Chimay has designed a special collector goblet to recognize the exportation of Chimay Trappist Ales to the United States for 25 consecutive years. Come out and join other Chimay fans for a celebration of Chimay at the Falling Rock Taphouse! Event runs from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Charles Dickens Christmas Beer Dinner
December 11, 2008 (Thu)
Wynkoop Brewery
Denver, CO
A festival holiday dinner and brew will take place between 6:30pm and 8:30pm on December 11th. Cost: $35 a guest (plus tax and gratuity). Call for reservations (303) 297-2700. A four course menu is being planned, each paired with a different beer. Entrees include: Cornish Lamb Pastries w/ Apples paired w/ Frambozen. English Cheddar Ale Soup w/ Banger Sausage paired w/ St Charles ESB. Goose and Duck Ballotine w/ Hazelnut Stuffing, Roasted Vegetables, w/ Cranberry Sauce paired w/ Churchyard Ale. And Figgy Pudding w/ English Toffee Sauce paired w/ 20th Anniversity Barleywine. Web site.

Even more December 2008 Beer Dinners and Tastings!

Look for the 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals listing available now.

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