Thursday, October 30, 2008

Odell to discontinue Single Batch Series

The beer forums on BeerAdvocate were a buzz today when word leaked out from Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado that their beloved Single Batch Series of beers were being discontinued. One of the BeerAdvocate beer faithful reported from an anonymous source who works at the brewery stating:

"We are discontinuing our single batch series including the Extra Special Red. Get it while you can. With a changing Colorado market and the possibility of chain stores carrying full strengthen beer, we feel as though the single batch series will be left out and not increase in sales. We will be brewing some new seasonal beers however."

I was surprised by this statement and wanted to verify this. So I wrote to Odell Brewing today and asked them to confirm or deny this rumor. Here is the response I got back from Amanda Johnson of Odell Brewing Company:

"It is true that we are discontinuing the Single Batch Series. Although it is no secret, we are not formally announcing it either. We are working on some new seasonal offerings that will likely be available next year. I don’t have much more info as we are in the extremely early phases of R&D.

Odell Single Batch SeriesWe are expecting Woodcut No. 2 sometime next spring. We don’t have any immediate plans for other beers in 22 oz. bottles right now, however that doesn’t mean we won’t do one in the future.

The pending expansion is not the cause for changes in our lineup. The quote (above) you found pretty much sums it up.

Odell's Single Batch Series of beers include their Extra Special Red, the Imperial Stout and the Imperial Pilsner. These beers have a loyal following with the locals.

The reasons for discontinuing these beers stem from current market conditions and possible fears over pending legislation in Colorado that would allow large chain stores like King Soopers and Safeway to sell full strength beer. Currently, these stores can only sell 3.2% beer. These stores were hurt last summer by passage of a law that allowed liquor sales in Colorado on Sundays and cut back on sales of beer.

If some proposed legislation passes in Colorado, stores like King Soopers and Safeway could become a huge competitor to the small Mom & Pop liquor stores and drive many of them out of business. These small liquor stores tend to be the places that seasonal and small batch beers from local breweries sell the best. If these stores close, sales of many lines of beers from local breweries like Odell Brewing could suffer greatly.

Large chain stores would tend to dominate their shelves with just the top selling national brands and tend to ignore smaller local brands altogether. And if competition from large stores drives out the smaller variety stores, we may see many more lines of beer like Odell's Single Batch Series dry up and disappear.

The Colorado Brewers Guild is sponsoring a web site called "Save Colorado Craft Beer" and is trying to raise awareness to the threat that this pending legislation brings to Colorado brewers and smaller liquor store owners.

If we don't do something, we may see many of our smaller craft breweries around the state of Colorado dry up and shut down completely. The early closure of Odell's Single Batch Series may only be the beginning. Help save Colorado craft beer and visit that web site. And while you're at it, stock up on as much Odell Single Batch Series beers as you can before they leave the shelves. This will be the last year you will see it available.

Related articles:
- Sunday liquor sales legalized in Colorado.
- Liquor now sold 7 days a week in Colorado.
- Seasonal brews released from Odell Brewing.

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A Braggot worth boasting about

Crabtree Brewing CompanyIt's not often that you hear about a brewery releasing a Braggot. A local Colorado small craft brewery, Crabtree Brewing, has brewed up a new beer concoction that will soon hit the local store shelves in time for Christmas. What's a Braggot you say? According to the HomeBrewTalk's wiki page:

"Braggot, sometimes called Bracket or brackett, is the traditional term for a fermented beverage made with malt as well as honey; it can be considered as a malt mead or a honey beer, depending on the relative amount of fermentables from each source. A mead may simply get some flavor from steeped specialty grains, or it may get, by some definitions, as much as 80% of its fermentables from malt. Braggot may be hopped or unhopped. Alternatively, a batch of beer and a batch of mead may be brewed separately and then blended, either in the secondary fermenter or in the bottle. Braggot may also be prepared in a traditional style by blending beer and mead just before serving."

According to owner and head brewer Jeff Crabtree, "the brewery is releasing a new type of beer to the Colorado market. The Braggot is an Imperial Stout made with mead and this is by far my favorite beer to date. It's already been packaged in 22oz bottles and is currently being aged at cellar temps. It will be ready for Christmas 2008 and we only packaged 200 cases of the Braggot."

With a very limited supply of this beer going to be available, you can imagine that this beer is going to sell out very quickly. The beer forum over at BeerAdvocate alerted me to this rumor and I confirmed it with the brewery. Sounds like this beer is getting a lot of attention. Just as soon as the artwork and release dates are known I'll post an update to this story here. Stay tuned!

Continue reading: Crabtree taps it's new braggot...

More news from Crabtree:

Beer Specials… This Weekend Only!! Extended Hours…. This Weekend Only!!

Friday… October 31, 2008… HALLOWEEN!!!
Halloween Pre-Drinks at Crabtree. Tasting room hours… 1pm – 8pm.

****New Brewer’s Reserve Release****
Crabtree’s Pumpkin Ale
Pints of pumpkin ale for Friday only $3.00/16oz.pint


Aged to perfection in the corner of the cooler is a keg of yummy delicious Golden 8. It will be tapped on Friday October 31st also (sorry, no growlers)

Saturday… November 1, 2008….
Daylight savings time ends at 2am on Sunday. Celebrate your extra hour at the brewery!! Permanent Menu Beers…. $3.00/pint. Tasting room hours will be 1pm-8pm.

Related articles:
- Supporting my local brewery.
- Crabtree Boxcar Brown and Twisted Creek Wheat.
- Crabtree Jeff's Pale Ale review.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumphouse Brewery tasting notes

Pumphouse Brewery - LongmontIn my haste to get some posts out about the brewery tours in Longmont last week, I forgot to write about the beers themselves over at the Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant in Longmont Colorado. As legendary commentator Paul Harvey once said: "You know the news, but now you're going to hear the rrrrrest of the story". I mentioned the names of Pumphouse's brews in my previous post without giving any details on how they were brewed and tasted.

I had arrived to the Pumphouse on a Friday just shortly after they opened at 11am. The place already had a few customers there and I was seated at a nice window table. I asked my server for a sandwich and a set of sampler tasters of their year-round beers. The Pumphouse has 5 regular beers and between 3 to 5 season beers available at any given time. Today, they had 5 regular brews and 3 seasonals. Here is a rundown on what they were currently offering that week.

Wild Fire Wheat - The first thing you notice is that the Pumphouse serves their wheat beer with a lemon slice. Normally, I don't drink beer with a fruit slice with maybe 1 or 2 exceptions. The lemon certainly dominated the initial aroma and masked the wheat and yeastiness that usually goes with it. This beer looked mostly clear, unusual for a wheat as most tend to be cloudy. This brew was made with 2-row, red wheat and caramel malts. It's a nice light yellow color with a good white lacing. This brew is bittered with Northern Brewer and Mt. Hood hops and is fermented with American ale yeast. This brew was very refreshing and light tasting, mildly bitter and citrusy. A nice example of a wheat beer. I wonder, though, how it would taste without the lemon. It's 4.8% ABV and a low 17 IBU. Would make a fine session beer for the warmer days. Thumbs up.

4-Alarm Copper Ale - The 4-Alarm has, as it's named, a very nice copper color with a nice white head. It's what I'd call a European style Altbier. It's made with 3 different European malts including Pilsen, Munich and Veinna malts. It's bittered with Mt. Hood hops exclusively and fermented with a German ale yeast. It has a nice malty taste and bit more hoppiness to it. At 5.1 ABV and 40 IBU it packs a bit more potentcy than their wheat beer. This beer won a Silver medal at the 2004 GABF. It's still a very light bodied beer but decent. Thumbs sideways.

Red Alert - This beer is classified as an American Amber and is truly dark red in color. Just sitting in the smaller taster glass, it's looks reminded me a lot like whiskey in a shotglass color wise, only with a small off-white head. It's a clear brew and is made with a mix of 2-row, caramel and chocolate malts. It has a nice smooth malty flavor. The caramel malts really come through on this. It's a respectable 6.2% ABV and a moderately hoppy 50 IBU. This brew had an excellent lacing left on the glass. I liked this nearly as much as the altbier. Thumbs up.

Igniter Pale Ale - This brew is definitely their hoppyest brew they served today. An American Pale Ale that's a light copper color with a white head and good lacing. It weighs in at 6% ABV with a strong 60 IBU rating. This beer took Gold at the 1999 GABF. It's a clear see-thru brew that reminds me of an IPA but not quite. It's made with 2-row, pale and caramel malts. It's amply hopped with Galena, Chinook and Cascade hops and fermented with an English ale yeast. Pumphouse hops this beer 5 separate times during the brewing of this beer. This is a nicely balanced pale ale with just the right mix of malt and hops. I felt that this one was the best of the samplers so far. Big thumbs up.

Pumphouse Brewery taster setPyro Porter - This dark brew is marked as a brown porter but reminds me of a stout. It has a nice tan head to it and is brewed with pale, caramel and chocolate malts. Northern Brewer and US Golding hops bitter this brew and an English ale yeast was used to ferment it. This brew is 5.9% ABV and a modest 20 IBU. The taste? Smooth! It's mildly bitter with rich dark malt taste. This one finishes clean with no aftertaste. I can taste and smell the chocolate malts in this brew. It's semi-sweet but not overly so. This one takes a close 2nd place in my book today. Thumbs up.

My server then brought over three of their seasonal brews for me to sample.

Hindenburg Light - This is a Cologne-style (German Kolsch) brew. It's a very light yellow color with a small white head. It was very well carbonated and was measured at 4.3% ABV and a 25 IBU. This is a very light and refreshing brew and is nicely bittered. It has a nice creamy head and lacing on it. It's made with 2 types of Weyerman Pilsener malts and Carapilsen with Hallertau hops exclusively and a Kolsch ale yeast. This is a highly drinkable session brew and was excellent. Good for a nice hot lazy day. Recommended for you Kolsch fans. Thumbs up.

Blackberry Wheat - This is the same Wild Fire Wheat only brewed with blackberries. It's a very cloudy orange color with a white head. It tasted a bit sweeter and less citrusy than the regular wheat, probably due to the fact they didn't serve it with a lemon this time. The blackberries don't come out until later in the sampling. A nice change of pace fruit beer. It's an average brew but decent. It's probably close to 5% ABV and with a low IBU rating. Thumbs sideways.

Pyro Espresso Porter - At first when I heard Espresso (coffee) I thought this was going to be a really bitter coffee beer but I was pleasantly surprised at it's taste. Yes, you can tell there is espresso coffee in this porter but it makes this porter that much more richer and darker in texture and taste. This was very good. And for me, a non-coffee drinker, I really liked this. It is made from their regular Pyro Porter but blended well with their house espresso coffee. Surprisingly good but I still liked their regular porter better. Still, it came in a close 3rd in my book. Thumbs up.

All of the beers I had today were very well made. There wasn't a bad one in the bunch. Normally at a small brewpub with that many selections you usually find one or two that just don't cut it, but all of these I would drink again.

I had not previously had any of the fine Pumphouse brews before that day but will definitely make a point of it to stop there again soon for more. I'll have to get a growler of their brew next time for home because they don't sell it outside of their restaurant.

Related articles:
- The beers of the Pumphouse (video).
- Breweries of Longmont part I - Pumphouse Brewery.
- Breweries of Longmont part II - Left Hand Brewing Co.
- Breweries of Longmont part III - Oskar Blues.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Enjoy holidays with Newcastle's Man-ual

Newcastle Brown AleEgg Nog and Beer? The folks at formulaPR were kind enough to offer me a sample 6-pack of Newcastle Brown Ale and an excerpt from the holiday guide entitled the "Man-ual". The Man-ual gives guys some curiously different holiday recipes they can create using Newcastle Brown Ale in the recipe.

Newcastle Brown Ale is one of the 1st craft beers that I tried years ago and drank it as one of my rotating favorites. It's a nice deep amber colored brew that pours with a nice off-white head. It's an easy drinker, and one I could down 2 or 3 of in a sitting. It was a nice change of pace brew that brought me back to my early days.

I'm all for trying new things and the Newkie Beer-Nog Shooter recipe in the Man-ual sounds tempting. Here's how it goes (copied from the excerpt):

Get 1 clear shot glass, some Newcastle Brown Ale and your favorite Egg Nog from your local store.

* Fill a clear shot glass about halfway with Newcastle Brown Ale.
* Then, and this is important, slowly pour egg nog over the back of a spoon on top of the Newcastle - this will help keep the two from mixing.
* Shoot. I mean drink. No, I mean shoot.

I've been curious about mixed drinks using beer and this sounds like a nice holiday drink. If you can mix stout with ice cream, then a brown ale can certainly mix with egg nog.

The "Man-ual" excerpt also included a recipe for pairing Newcastle Brown Ale with a recipe called "Goodbye Fondue". This fondue recipe is made with bacon, onion, butter, hot sauce, flour, Newcastle beer and of course a lot of Cabot grated cheddar cheese. I haven't had fondue since my 25th wedding anniversary a year ago and this sounds like a recipe that just might bring me back to try it again.

The following is a press release from Newcastle highlighting the release of their holiday "Man-ual" guide.


#1 Imported Ale Partners with Popular Consumer Brands and TV Chef
“Sam the Cooking Guy” to Launch a National Grocery Store Campaign

[PRESS RELEASE] WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (October 27, 2008) – Slaving over the bird, dressing and gravy. Shopping in vain for the right gift for that special someone – and then having to wrap it. Those darn icicle lights. If there’s one thing thousands of men across the country share in common during the holidays, it’s overcoming these and other maddening, yet traditional, to-dos. Newcastle Brown Ale to the rescue. The leading imported ale will introduce a complementary guy’s guide to entertaining in style, dubbed the “Man-ual” and slated to hit supermarkets nationwide in November.

Along with lifesaving tips for navigating the entertaining season, the Man-ual will also offer consumers delicious, easy-to-make holiday recipes on perforated recipe cards courtesy of cookbook author and TV cooking personality “Sam the Cooking Guy.”

Newcastle Brown Ale partnered with national brands Cabot® Creamery Cooperative and Java-Log® to offer promotional discounts (where legal). The Man-ual boasts recipes including an Au Revoir Fondue made with Cabot Cheddar Cheese. For easy fireside entertaining with not-your-average Yule log, check out discounts on Java-Log®, the first and only eco-friendly firelog made from recycled coffee grounds. Other highlights from the Man-ual include tips on toasting co-workers and how to avoid committing a fashion faux-pas at holiday parties.

Kheri Tillman, vice president of marketing Newcastle Brown Ale, Dos Equis and Amstel Light said, “We are proud to announce this holiday campaign and promotional partnership with nationally recognized brands like Cabot and Java-Log®, as they are well-known consumer favorites and share a similar consumer base as Newcastle Brown Ale.”

The holiday “Man-ual” and surrounding collateral were designed by San Diego’s VitroRobertson.


Heineken USA Inc., the nation’s premier beer importer, is a subsidiary of Heineken International BV, which is the world’s most international brewer. Brands imported into the U.S. include: Heineken Lager, the world’s most international beer brand; Heineken Premium Light; Amstel Light, a leading imported light beer brand; Newcastle Brown Ale, the leading imported ale in the United States; and Buckler non-alcoholic brew. Heineken USA is also the exclusive USA importer for the Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands from FEMSA Cerveza of Mexico. Please visit

# # #

Read on: The sinfully delicious list of Colorado winter seasonals.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Colorado homebrew blogger goes video

One of your favorite Colorado homebrewing experts just went video. DJ Spiess (or Deege) of the website Fermentarium has just put out his first video episode for his web site entitled: "Inside Fermentarium". This video blog is a hip and tech savvy look at the craft beer and homebrewing world from the eyes of a local Colorado homebrewer and beer blogger.

His first episode talks about the myth of the tongue map, brewing a cure for cancer, spotlighting great beer and wine social networking sites, some great shots from the GABF and a shout out to some of his favorite beer blogs. I was honored that DJ mentioned this blog in his 1st episode. Thanks Deege!

If you want to see a great professionally done video blog, please check out Inside Fermentarium over at Looks to be a great series. If you are a Twitter user, you can follow him at @deege.

Related articles:
- Celebrating anniversary at the GABF.
- Behind the scenes video at the GABF.

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The beers of the Pumphouse Brewery

Want to get a peek at the hand crafted beers that you can only get at the Pumphouse Brewery in Longmont? Here is a short 4-minute video highlighting 8 of the current beers on tap at the Pumphouse. Every single one of these brews were very tasty. My favorites included their Igniter Pale Ale, the Pyro Porter / Pyro Espresso Porter and the 4-Alarm Copper Ale. Co-owner and brewer Craig Taylor showed me around his brewing area and gave me a peak at his next brews including a Strawberry Blonde. Take a look at the video and see if any of these fine brews look tempting to you.

Continue reading: Pumphouse brewery tasting notes. Related articles: - Breweries of Longmont Part I - Pumphouse Brewery. - Breweries of Longmont Part II - Left Hand Brewing Co. - Breweries of Longmont Part III - Oskar Blues. - Colorado Breweries and Brewpubs List. This article came from Help us grow. Forward this article to a friend and have them subscribe here

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Breweries of Longmont Part I - Pumphouse Brewery

Today's article begins the first of a three part series featuring the breweries of Longmont Colorado. Longmont is quickly becoming a big beer town. Much like it's neighbors in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, Longmont is home to several breweries and brewpubs, some of which may not be well known to the general public. Today, Fermentedly Challenged spotlights the Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant.

Getting to the Pumphouse Brewery is fairly easy to get to. Just about 8 miles due west of Interstate 25 at exit 240 (Highway 119) and then about 1 mile north on Main Street (Hwy 285). Click on the map to see it's location in relationship to the town and other breweries in the area.

The Pumphouse Brewery was opened back in 1996 by four engineers / entrepreneurs after a year long remodeling effort. Previously, the brewery site had been home to a wood and coal storage yard, a gas station and a car dealership. The Pumphouse Brewery is adjoined by the Red Zone Sports Bar. The brewery itself sits smack dab in the middle of the restaurant. Its four huge shiny fermentation tanks are easily viewable from all areas of the restaurant.

The Pumphouse Brewery offers up 5 regular year-round beers and also produces between 3 to 5 seasonal beers at any given time. If you order their taster set, you'll be given 5 4oz glasses of their regular brews. The beers currently in the set include: Wild Fire Wheat, 4-Alarm Copper Ale (altbier), Red Alert (amber), Igniter Pale Ale and their Pyro Porter. All these beers have a firehouse theme as evident in the decor of the brewery / restaurant itself.

Once you try those, I also recommend ordering a sample set of their seasonal brews which included: Hindenburg Light (Kölsch), Blackberry Wheat and their Pyro Espresso Porter (coffee infused porter).

The Pumphouse Brewery was honored this year by the 2008 Great American Beer Festival when they were awarded a Silver Medal in the American-Belgo style ale for their Brush Fire Ale. Unfortunately, they didn't have any available that day as it sold quickly. The Pumphouse doesn't sell beer in bottles or cans to stores so you need to come down to the brewery to sample some there directly. You can take home a 64oz growler of your favorite beer however.

I was very fortunate today to have met one of the founders and brewers at Pumphouse - Craig Taylor. Craig is a former aerospace engineer and gave up the corporate lifestyle gradually over the last several years and now works full time at the brewery. He was gracious enough to show me around his brew house. The Pumphouse has 4 large 10 BBL (~300 gallon each) fermentation tanks up front and nearly a dozen large cold serving tanks in the back of the facility.

Craig was busy brewing up several batches that day. Three of the four fermenters were bubbling away creating some new brews and also a new 300 gallon batch was boiling in his large boil kettle. Craig opened up the kettle and threw in a large amount of hops into the boil while I was there. The aroma of boiling wort and hops is just delightful! Right next to the brew kettle was his equally large mash tun that has the capability of holding over 600 pounds of grain at a time.

Craig stated that they are brewing all the time and they are just barely able to keep up with the demand for their beers in the restaurant. Later this year they plan on adding a huge 20 BBL (600 gallon) fermenter in the back so that they can expand the number of brews they can make simultaneously. They currently have no plans to bottle or widen their distribution as they have all the work they can handle now to satisfy the locals. Craig was nearly done fermenting a new batch of a Strawberry Blonde Ale that smelled wonderful.

So if you're looking to expand your beer horizons and want to sample some award winning beers that you can't get anywhere else, come to Longmont for a lunch or dinner and visit the Pumphouse Brewery and Restaurant. It's family friendly too. If you want to stay late, go over to the Red Zone Sports Bar on the other side of the building and watch some sports and play some fun games in their game room.

Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant
540 Main Street
Longmont, CO

Continue reading:
- The beers of the Pumphouse Brewery
- Pumphouse brewery tasting notes.
- Breweries of Longmont Part II - Left Hand Brewing.
- Breweries of Longmont Part III - Oskar Blues.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Alaskan Smoked Porter 2008 review

Alaskan Smoked PorterIt's not often that you come across a smoked beer that has a high recommendation not to mention finding a decent smoked beer period. Back in March of this year (2008) the Alaskan Brewing Company of Juneau Alaska started shipping it's beers in a much wider distribution into the lower 48 states including Colorado. I was excited to see the variety of brews they were offering.

I had previously sampled their Amber, Pale Ale and Summer Ales but had missed out on getting a bottle of their 2007 Smoked Porter. And to top that off I was out of luck at the Great American Beer Festival as they ran out of Smoked Porter by the time I got to their booth. Luckily, the 2008 batch of Alaskan Smoked Porter just came out and it is in ample supply at the local Colorado stores, but I'm sure they won't last long.

Alaskan Brewing was most fortunate this year to take home 4 medals at the GABF in 2008 including a Gold for their 2006 Smoked Porter in the Aged Beer category. The lines for their Smoked Porter, a rauchbier, at the GABF were long and for a good reason. This beer is known for it's excellence. So finally, I got a bottle home of the 2008 batch and gave it a sampling. It came in a big 22oz bomber and weighs in at 6.5% ABV and 45 IBUs.

This smoked porter was made from malts roasted over burning alder wood. Alder wood is the same wood that is used for smoking fish in Alaska. The wood smell gave me a mental image of sitting in a restaurant serving smoked salmon. The smoked malts hid just about every other smell up front initially.

Appearance: The Alaskan Smoked Porter poured dark brown, dark enough so you couldn't see through it. It yielded a small 1-finger tall tan head that quickly dissolved. As the beer warmed up a bit and upon 2nd pouring it gave me a nice tall head. So I suggest you don't serve this too cold.

Aroma: The one thing I noticed right off the bat with the Alaskan Smoked Porter was the unique smokey aroma. It reminded me of sitting around a quiet campfire and eating beef jerky. While there is no meat in this beer, smoked beers tend to remind me of meat.

Taste: It's not until I tasted it for the first time that the smokiness gives way to a pleasant slight coffee and chocolate blend. The smoke flavor is different up front if you've never had a smoked beer before but by the 3rd or 4th swallow you really take a liking to it.

Alaskan Smoked Porter is said to age well despite only being 6.5% ABV. It's an excellent beer right now and aging it for a couple of years is said to make this beer even better. That must be the case if it beat out a 2003 vintage Sam Adams Utopias for best aged beer. I now wish I had gotten 2 or more bottles of this so that I could age them.

Aging this style of beer makes the smoke flavor more subtle over time. Smoke acts as a preservative and thus does not have to be 8% ABV or higher to do well over time. It is said that after 3-4 years of aging that smoked beers like this take on a sherry, or currant or raisin like character. But if aged even longer, the smoke flavor comes back.

Overall: I've had some smoked beers before in Fort Collins from a local brewery and was only so-so on the smokey taste, but this smoked porter from Alaska was truly wonderful. Alaskan Brewing really got the smoke balance down pat. While smoked beers aren't one of my favorite styles, I could easily finish the entire 22oz bottle. This could very well become one of my favorites.

This beer would go great with seafood or cheese but it great all by itself too. I'm going to give this beer a BIG thumbs up and a "grab it while you can" recommendation. I look forward to having more of this in the very near future. If you can get the chance to sample this aged by all means do. There may be some of this stuff as old as 1988 out there somewhere, but more likely in the 2-3 year old range.

Update: (10/25/08) Word on the street is that Alaskan will soon release their new Baltic Porter. According to one source, this brew is supposedly one of t Look for it in stores later this year.

Related articles:
- Alaskan Amber revew.
- Alaskan Pale Ale review.
- Alaskan Summer Ale review.
- Alaskan Black IPA review.
- Alaskan IPA review.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Odell taps pilot brews in October 2008

Fresh from the October newsletter. Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado has placed some new pilot beers on tap at their brewery this month including:

Cup of Joe - a mix of strong brewed coffee and their imperial stout. Roasty and smooth.

Rauchbier - a brew made up of 30% beechwood smoked malt that gives it a wonderful smoked character and somewhat of bacon.

Brighids Red - perfected on their 5-barrel system and was entered into the Pro-Am competition at the GABF and took Gold!

Every Wednesday at the tap room there will be live music being played so you can tap your feet while you sample some of their fresh brew. Sample beer and help donate to the charity of the month and take a tour while you're there. Click the image below for more details.

Related articles:
- Odell Red Ale review.
- Odell St. Lupulin and the Twitter bird.
- Celebrating with Odell Woodcut No. 1.
- Odell Brewing gets a new website.

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Craft Beer Reviews by Style

Craft Beer Reviews by Style

Have you ever wanted to try a new beer but wanted an opinion about it first? Want to know more about certain beers in a particular style?

Fermentedly Challenged has a growing list of beer reviews that might just help. Click a beer style below to find beer reviews and articles about beer in that particular style that were previously posted on Fermentedly Challenged. One of these is bound to peak your curiosity.

Have you tried any of these beers yourself? Have a different opinion? Feel free to post comments on any of the beer reviews found below in these categories.

Craft Beer Reviews By Style



American Black Ale

American Pale Ale

American Strong Ale


Belgian Dubbel

Belgian Strong Ale

Belgian Ale

Berliner Weisse

Blended Ale

Blonde Ale


Brown Ale

Cask Ale

Chile Beer

Coffee Beer

Cream Ale


Double IPA


English Pale Ale

English Strong Ale


Fruit Beer

Gluten Free

Hard Cider

Imperial Brown

Imperial Porter

Imperial Stout

Imperial Witbier

India Pale Ale







Milk Stout


Oatmeal Stout

Old Ale



Pumpkin Beer



Rye Beer


Scottish Ale

Scottish Porter

Smoked Beer

Sour Ale

Spiced Ale


Strong Ale

Trappist Ale


Wheat Beer

Winter Ale


Wood Aged Beer

Find even more beer on my Untappd page (over 500 reviews)!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic review

Stone 080808 Vertical EpicHow can you pass up a bottle of one of Stone Brewing Company's special annual Vertical Epic beers when you spy it at the beer store? I certainly couldn't resist the temptation to try it and snatched up a 22-oz bomber of this year's Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic. This brew is listed as a Belgian Strong Ale and weighs in at a hefty 8.4% ABV with 65 IBUs. DaveCo Liquors had several of these in stock for $7.49 a bottle so I bought one. This was back in late August during the big beer run with Eli and Erik from BeerTapTV and has been sitting quietly in a dark corner of my basement for just over a month.

Appearance: The date 08.08.08 was considered a very lucky day in some parts of the world and I imagine for Stone Brewing this beer was going to be a special brew. The beer poured a nice yellow gold with slight reddish highlights and a decent 2 finger tall white head. The head itself melted down fairly quickly and left little to no lacing. The brew was very clear with no sediment with the initial pour.

Aroma: Immediately upon pouring I was hit with a sweet Belgian yeasty aroma. It smelled spicy, grapefruit-like, perhaps with a bit of banana overtones and some pepper. There were just a slight hint of carbonation going on in this beer. This was a very good looking and smelling brew and seemed to be very inviting.

Taste: As I took the first sip, I encountered a sweet yet peppery spice taste that left a small but pleasant aftertaste. The beer seems to be less malty than most and left a dry mouth feel at the finish.

I looked at the description of this beer and noted that Stone used Simcoe and Amarillo boiling hops, Ahtanum hops for flavor and dry hopped with more Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Stone is well know for not skimping on the hops and they didn't disappoint here either.

The taste is one that seems to improve quite a bit as you drink it. After my first 12oz the taste seemed vastly better. For me, it takes a while to warm up to a Stone brew before you truly enjoy it. By the end of the bottle I was nodding to myself that yes, this was another fine example of a brew done well by Stone Brewing.

While I appreciate Stone's effort in making a nice spicy Belgian strong ale, I had to note also that this particular brew was not one of my favorites from this brewer. It's still very respectable and if you love Belgians with a stronger kick you'll appreciate this one.

Overall: As for me, I was satisfied and my expectations were met but was left feeling that something was missing to make this an outstanding brew. I really wanted to give this a full thumbs up but had to stop short. So for now, at least until my next sampling of this, I'm going to give this a decent Thumbs Sideways rating and a promise to revisit this beer again sometime. Think I'm being a little too light on this recommendation? Give me your opinion of this beer. What did you like about it?

Related articles:
- Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Choice City Butcher & Deli.
- A Beer Run to Remember.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Dry Dock celebrates 3rd anniversary

Dry Dock Brewing Company

Dry Dock Brewing Company of Aurora Colorado is throwing a 3rd Anniversary party and everyone is invited. Come to their brewhouse on Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th and join owner Kevin DeLange as he taps a series of special beers to honor the occasion.

Dry Dock is also celebrating a Silver Medal in the Session Beer Category from the 2008 Great American Beer Festival. Their USS Minnow Mild Ale took 2nd place honors and became Dry Dock's 1st ever medal from the GABF. Congrats to Kevin, Lachlan, and Jim for their great work on this beer. USS Minnow is now on tap at the brewery.

Another reason to celebrate this year is that Dry Dock was voted once again as the Channel 7 A-list Best Brewpub in Denver for the 2nd year in a row.

The party on Friday starts at 12 noon and continues until closing at 10pm. A special beer will be tapped every 2 to 3 hours. They'll keep it going until the Firkin runs dry and then they will tap another beer. Saturday's celebration also starts at 12 noon and runs until closing (10pm). Live music will be featured on Saturday at 6pm.

For specifics on the beers that will be tapped, visit the Dry Dock Brewing Company's web site at

Dry Dock Brewing Company
15110 E. Hampden Ave.
Aurora, CO 80014

Related articles:
- Colorado winners at the 2008 GABF.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout review

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial StoutThis was one of the beers I had heard so much about and have been looking for a while now. Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver Colorado has been making their regular Yeti Imperial Stout for a while now and has been getting rave reviews on it. During my last big beer run at the end of August, I spied several bottles of Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout in the cooler. I grabbed two 22-oz bottles of this and a 4-pack of the regular Yeti. My goal was to compare the two brews side by side to see what oak chips will do for this dark brew.

My plan to evaluate these brews side by side got sidetracked a bit. I had sampled a regular Yeti back in early September but failed to take notes during that tasting. Then I gave away 1 bottle of Yeti to a friend. My tasting of the oaked Yeti happened about 2 weeks ago just before the Great American Beer Festival. At least this time around I took some formal notes, but forgot to open up a regular Yeti at the same time. So I'm going to have to rely on memory to compare the two beers side by side.

Appearance: As you can see from the picture of the Oaked Yeti at pouring time, this beer poured black as molasses and with a huge, and I mean HUGE, 4 finger tall tan head. The lacing from this beer was superior as it left a nice trace all along the glass as the foam melted away over the course of the next several minutes.

Aroma: Immediately upon pouring, I was met with rich aromas of chocolate, coffee, toffee and sweet dark malts with a whiff of alcohol. You could tell there was something more to this aroma and I gathered this was the overtones of the toasted oak chips that were fermented with this beer. The chips were meant to give this beer a vanilla and oak character. It was definitely there but subtle.

I could also pick out a faint hop aroma mixing with the 9.5% ABV alcohol. This beer was rich with aromas! What's sad about this beer review is that I had nobody to share it with. I knew that this strong beer in a 22-oz bomber was going to be a lot for me to drink but I was determined to be up for the challenge. I really wish Great Divide would sell this stuff in 12-oz bottle 4-packs similar to their un-oaked brother Yeti.

2011 version of Oak Aged YetiTaste: Oh ya! I could pick up on the oak right away. It gave the brew a "wood-like" overtone without being over done. This beer was thick and rich with tastes of dark malt and was very creamy. It started warming me up as soon as I started drinking it. This brew was a lot smoother than other imperial stouts I've had and this may be due to the time that this beer has already aged. The oak took a little of the alcohol bite away I believe which was a nice effect.

I loved the great roasted taste of this brew. It's all there. This brew just begged to be paired with ice cream! I just knew that this beer was going to sneak up on me later. I rushed to the kitchen and found some Cookies N Cream ice cream in the freezer and put some in a small glass. Then I rushed back to my beer and poured some of this brew over the top of the ice cream. Heavenly! This beer makes a fantastic beer float! You gotta try it. Back in 2008, I bought this for $6.99 and it was worth the money.

The hops in this beer, while subtle, blended well with the rich malts. The beer finishes bitter but with a nice roastiness. I'm glad I bought 2 of these bottles as it is hard to find here in Greeley Colorado. Great Divide Yetis are definitely worth going out of your way to get. I'd say this beer beat out North Coast's Old Rasputin and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy and it's brother, regular Yeti. This beer gets the huge Thumbs Up from me and one of my highest recommendations. Oak Aged Yeti will not disappoint you.

Related articles:
- North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout
- Great Divide Hades Ale review.
- Great Divide St. Bridgets Porter review.
- Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout review.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Special delivery Newcastle surprise

Newcastle Brown AleA few weeks ago I received an unsolicited email from an account coordinator from FormulaPR asking me if I would like to try a complimentary 6-pack of Newcastle Brown Ale and some excerpts from an upcoming print release called the Holiday MAN-ual. I thought, why not?! I replied with my name and email address and thought I'd probably never hear back from them.

Turns out, the other day a DHL Express truck pulls up to my house and drops off this plain brown cardboard box. I opened it up to find wrapped perfectly within a Styrofoam lined container a generically blank 6-pack holder full of Newcastle Brown Ale in clear glass bottles. Also enclosed was a press release and a few page outtake from the Holiday MAN-ual. Sweet!

No sooner than I receive the beer I received another email from formulaPR asking me NOT to post a copy of the press release as it had some incorrect information on it but to go ahead and enjoy the beer. They would be sending out another press release soon. So while I'll have to hold off sharing the good news about the upcoming Holiday MAN-ual I can at least open up some of these beers.

I'll be sampling these beers coming soon and let you know what I think. This was the first time I've been sent "free" beer for evaluation. Hopefully it won't be the last. The MAN-ual appears to have a collection of holiday food and drink recipes that you can make using Newcastle Brown Ale. The excerpt included a recipe for a Beer-Nog Shooter and a recipe for a cheese/beer infused fondue. It looked good from the pictures that were included.

I've heard of 1 or 2 other beer bloggers that received a similar offer from them. For anyone who has gotten this offer or from those who have tried this before I'd be interested in your opinion of this beer.

Thanks to Liz Murphy and Leah Dukes from formulaPR for extending this offer to me. I'm more than happy to give my opinion of this imported ale. Look for a review coming soon. If any other brewer would like to offer up a sample of their beer for evaluation please contact me via the email found in the GIF image on the left column of this blog.

Related articles:
- Beer reviews by style.
- Brewing Definitions.
- Colorado Brewers List.
- Colorado Homebrew Supply Stores.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Avery Ale to the Chief review

Avery Ale to the ChiefI purposely kept from tasting this beer until the last televised Presidential debate of 2008. Earlier this year, Avery Brewing Company of Boulder Colorado came out with a beer in honor of the 2008 Presidential Election - Avery Ale to the Chief. Billed as both a double IPA and an American Strong Ale, Ale to the Chief debuted shortly before the national party conventions and got a lot of buzz in the beer news. I picked up a bottle of this shortly after it came out but hadn't opened it up until now.

Appearance: Ale to the Chief poured a clear copper red with a decent near white head. The foam left a slight lacing along the side of the glass.

Aroma: The brew had the aromas of pine and grapefruit citrus and smelled like a classic IPA. The smell was very inviting.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The ale had a full bodied mouth feel. It was strong on taste and strong in ABV (8.75%). It was ever so slightly sweet and bitter. It seemed spot on for style. The taste had a dry finish to it. The hops seemed well balanced with the malts.

Due to it's higher alcohol content you must approach this beer with some respect and enjoy this in moderation as the alcohol tended to sneak up on me later in the sampling.

The aroma of this beer intrigued me immediately upon opening. That's always a good sign in my book. The taste later confirmed my impression that this was a fine strong ale / DIPA.

Overall: I fear that this beer was made only on a limited run and may not be available for long. I'd better go out and grab another one before they are all gone. I'm going to give this beer a big THUMBS UP and a repeat buy recommendation. I wish they'd make this all the time and in 6-packs. The bomber bottles are fine for sharing but if you are wanting to take this with you and just have one (and one will do you just fine) I'd rather have it in a 12oz bottle. Dogfish Head puts out it's IPAs in 12oz bottles and I wish Avery would do the same with these beers.

Have you tried this brew yet? What were your impressions? Is this beer as good as others you've tried? Please let me know your comments on this beer.

Related articles:
- Avery White Rascal review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Hog Heaven review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Avery Fifteen Anniversary Ale review.
- Avery The Reverend review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2008 GABF video tasting notes

2008 Great American Beer FestivalWhile attending the Great American Beer Festival this year, I brought along my trusty notebook to keep track of all of the beers I tasted during the session. I also took along my pocket video cam and recorded my reactions to the various ales being offered. I found that in most cases this year, I spent just as much time talking with people as I did sampling beers. There's always something to talk about when sampling through an extremely large amount of beer selections. I got to see and meet several brewers and interesting attendees along the way. Check out the video below for part one of my video tasting notes from the Saturday afternoon members-only tasting session at the 2008 GABF.

I admit, after a while it was difficult to taste all those different beers and be able to distinguish certain flavors. My taste buds got absolutely saturated during the event. That's why it is important to drink a lot of water between tastings and eat something like pretzels to try to clear up the palate. I wore my trusty pretzel necklace during the event and made frequent stops at the water coolers. A good rule of thumb is to drink as much water as you do beer.


Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Chris Wright of The Beer Journal (a handy way to take notes on your beer samples), the Beer Drinkers Guide to Colorado, the ever tasty Beer Chips, and a cast of thousands.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The people you meet at the 2008 GABF

Here is a quick collection of video clips I took of various people I met from the 2008 Great American Beer Festival (GABF). I call this post nano-beercasting. These clips are all very short. Take a look. Did you meet any of these people as well?

James Spencer - Basic Brewing
James is one of those guys that you warm up to immediately. He's the creator of Basic Brewing Radio (and Video too) and is very knowledgeable on the art of homebrewing. James makes his home in Arkansas and is a frequent visitor to the GABF. Check out his site at:

Erik Boles and Eli Shayotovich of BeerTapTV
These two Colorado guys are big fans of craft beer. They are two of the three guys that put out 3 or 4 episodes of BeerTapTV every week, a show about craft beer reviews and news. Based in Colorado Springs, CO.

Sam Calagione - Founder - Dogfish Head
You gotta hand it to Sam Calagione. He is a very outgoing and personable guy. He loves to talk about just about any subject including his favorite: making beer. He's the founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Deleware and an author of several books. He is what craft brewing is all about.

Related articles:
- Behind the Scenes video at the 2008 GABF.
- Day in the life of a volunteer at the 2008 GABF.
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes.
- 2009 GABF ticket sales announced.

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What did you drink at the 2008 GABF?

2008 GABFWhen you attend the Great American Beer Festival, time has no meaning as the hours seem to just fly by when you're having fun. If you don't want to forget all of the great beers that you sampled during your session, you owe it to yourself to take notes. I brought along my trusty compact spiral notebook and jotted down as much info as I could about each sample I tried. Good thing too, otherwise I would have forgotten half of the ones I tried. Here is a run down of all the beers I tried this year at the GABF.

Tastings from the 2008 GABF

Allentown / Bethlehem Brew Works (PA) – Framboise, Pumpkin Ale, Pawnshop Porter, Blueberry Belch, Bagpipe Scottish Ale
Ommegang Brewery (NY) - Ommegeddon
Russian River (CA)– Consecration
Dogfish Head (DE) – Theobrama, 120 Minute IPA
McKenzie Brew House (PA) – Saison Vautor
Boston Beer Co (MA) – Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
Allagash (ME) – Tripel
Maui Brewing Co (HI) – Coconut Porter, Black Pearl Coconut Rum Porter
Deschutes Brewery (OR) – Hop Trip
Fredericksburg Brewing Co (TX) – Honey Cream Ale
Jolly Pumpkin (MI) – Calabaze Blanca, La Roja
Great Divide (CO) – Fresh Hop (cask)
Brooklyn Brewery (NY) – Grande Cru
Lost Abbey (CA) – Red Poppy
Alaskan Brewing (AK) – Winter Ale
Six Rivers Brewery (CA) – Sour BOMB
Flying Dog Ales (MD) – Dogtoberfest
Oskar Blues (CO) – Momma’s Little Yella Pils
Bear Republic Factory Five (CA) – Racer 5, Racer X
Cascade Brewing (OR) – Cascade Kriek Ale
Rattlesnake Mountain Brewing (WA) – Smokey Porter
Rogue Ales (OR) – Double Dead Guy Ale
Duck-Rabbit (NC) – Duck-Rabbit Porter
Saint Arnold (TX) – Amber Ale, Oktoberfest
Surly Brewing (MN) – Cynic Ale
Piece Brewery (IL) – Dysfunctionale
New Glarus (WI) – Unplugged Lager
New Belgium (CO) – Eric’s Ale
Smuggler’s Brewpub (CO) – San Juan SkyHOP
Trinity Brewing (CO) – Soul Horkey
Gunnison Brewery (CO) – Gunnison Pub Ale

Different Brews Sampled - 40 - Beers in Green were my favorites.

Of all the beers I tried during my two days at the GABF I really enjoyed the sour beers the most. Anytime I came across something that looked or sounded like it was a sour I tried it. Most noteworthy: Sour BOMB from Six Rivers Brewery from McKinleyville, CA. Another impressive brew (non-sour) was the Black Pearl Coconut Rum Porter from Maui Brewing in Hawaii. "Why is the Coconut Rum Porter always gone?"

For those of you who also attended: which beers did you try and enjoy the most? With over 1900 different beers available it may be difficult to come across a similar list. Post your links to your tasting lists.

Related articles:
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes.
- Behind the Scenes video at the 2008 GABF.
- Day in the life of a volunteer at the 2008 GABF.
- The people you meet at the GABF.
- Beer reviews by style.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Colorado brewers earn 2008 GABF medals

The medal winners at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival were announced tonight and the brewers of the state of Colorado finished very well this year. Of the 225 medals that were awarded, Colorado brewers took home 33 of them including 11 Gold, 12 Silver and 10 Bronze. In the Brewery of the Year Awards, Rock Bottom Brewing of Louisville, Colorado won for best Large Brewpub in 2008.

Colorado brewery 2008 GABF winners:

Category 6: Coffee Flavored Beer (28 entries)
Gold: Java the Hut. CB & Potts Restaurant & Brewery - Broomfield, CO
Silver: Big Shot Espresso Stout. Twisted Pine Brewing - Boulder, CO

Category 9: Specialty Honey Beer (33 entries)
Bronze: Honey Moon Summer Ale. Blue Moon Brewing Co - Golden, CO

Category 10: Session Beer (33 entries)
Silver: USS Minnow Mild Ale. Dry Dock Brewing - Aurora, CO

Category 11: Other Strong Beer (32 entries)
Gold: Derail Ale. Durango Brewing Co. - Durango, CO

Category 12: Experimental Beer (82 entries)
Silver: Fifteen Avery Anniversary Ale. Avery Brewing Co - Boulder, CO

Category 14: American-Belgo Style Ale (36 entries)
Silver: Brush Fire Ale. Pump House Restaurant & Brewery - Longmont, CO

Category 17: Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer (79 entries)
Silver: The Legend of the Liquid Brain Imperial Stout. Bull & Bush - Denver, CO

Category 21: Smoke-Flavored Beer (31 entries)
Bronze: Second Hand Smoke. The SandLot - Denver, CO

Category 22: International-Style Pilsener (22 entries)
Silver: Yep, Still Boneheads. The SandLot - Denver, CO

Category 24: Bohemian-Style Pilsener (34 entries)
Gold: Pleasantville Pils. Durango Brewing Co - Dugango, CO
Silver: Pallavicini Pilsner. Pug Ryans Brewery - Dillon, CO

Category 25: Munich-Style Helles (30 entries)
Bronze: BS Helles. The SandLot - Denver, CO

Category 25: Dortmunder / German-Style Oktoberfest (16 entries)
Silver: Westy Export. CB & Potts - Broomfield, CO

Category 35: German-Style Schwarzbier (23 entries)
Gold: B3K. Wynkoop Brewing Co - Denver, CO

Category 36: Bock (39 entries)
Gold: Goat Rancher. The SandLot - Denver, CO
Bronze: Butt Head Bock. Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO

Category 45: American-Style Strong Pale Ale (71 entries)
Gold: Hop Bomp. Rock Bottom Brewing - Louisville, CO

Category 49: Imperial or Double Red Ale (30 entries)
Bronze: Weekender Red Ale. Amicas - Salida, CO

Category 50: Bitter or Pale Mild Ale (42 entries)
Silver: Hopsmith Pale Ale. Bull & Bush - Denver, CO
Bronze: Sawtooth Ale. Left Hand Brewing Co - Longmont, CO

Category 51: Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter (43 entries)
Bronze: Standing Wave Pale Ale. Kannah Creek Brewing Co - Grand Junction, CO

Category 53: Irish-Style Red Ale (31 entries)
Gold: Red Rocks Red Ale. Rock Bottom Brewing - Louisville, CO

Category 54: English-Style Dark Mild Ale or Brown Ale (48 entries)
Gold: Sweet George's Brown. Dillon DAM Brewery - Dillon, CO
Silver: Old Elk Brown Ale. Walnut Brewery - Boulder, CO

Category 57: South German-Style Hefeweizen (52 entries)
Gold: Wixa Weiss. Wynkoop Brewing Co - Denver, CO

Category 59: Belgian-Style Witbier (53 entries)
Gold: Mothership Wit/Organic Wheat Beer. New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, CO

Category 64: Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale (44 entries)
Bronze: Golden Armor. CB & Potts - Highlands Ranch, CO

Category 65: Brown Porter (30 entries)
Bronze: Prospector Porter. Tommyknocker Brewery - Idaho Springs, CO

Category 67: Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout (19 entries)
Silver: Shaft House Stout. Dostal Aley Brewpub & Casino - Central City, CO

Category 69: American-Style Stout (23 entries)
Gold: Terminal Stout. Rock Bottom Brewing - Louisville, CO

Category 70: Sweet Stout (19 entries)
Silver: Milk Stout. Left Hand Brewing Co - Longmont, CO

Category 72: Imperial Stout (44 entries)
Bronze: Yeti Imperial Stout. Great Divide Brewing Co - Denver, CO

There you have it. Quite an impressive list of Colorado brews and breweries. Congrats to all of the local and out of state winners. For a complete list (PDF form) of all 2008 Great American Beer Festival winners - please visit the Brewers Association website.

Update: Check out the 2009 Colorado GABF Medal Winners!

Related articles:
- Behind the Scenes video at the 2008 GABF.
- Day in the life of a volunteer at the 2008 GABF.
- The people you meet at the GABF.
- 2008 GABF video tasting notes.

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Final day of the Beer Diet Challenge

Before and AfterIt's been a long eight weeks of trying to lose weight while still managing to enjoy fine craft beer at the same time. When I came up with the idea for losing weight I was already highly motivated to drop some pounds. At my heaviest weight this year, I weighed nearly 205 pounds and I was getting unhappy with myself. With 26 years of marriage and having added nearly 40 pounds of weight during that time, my size was starting to show. I started cutting out snacking and eating smaller portions and dropped below 200 pounds. I started believing I could do this.

Then, back in July, I was given the gift of a Nintendo Wii Fit exercise board from my family. I was skeptical that something designed to be a game would do me any good, but I decided to give it a try. If anything, the Wii Fit gave me incentive to get off my butt and move around a lot more. Within a couple weeks I had dropped a few more pounds and felt better.

It was then that the idea of using my blog to motivate myself and challenge others to lose weight with me came up. Thus the Great American Beer Diet Challenge was born. I managed to get 2 other people to compete to see who could lose the greatest percentage of body weight by the last day of the Great American Beer Festival.

The motivation of the contest helped me get going during the first several weeks. I felt as if I could drop down to the mid-170s if I kept at it. But staying motivated became a hard thing to keep up. My seasonal allergies came back with a vengeance in September and kept me from exercising for two to three weeks. My job started getting real busy and stressful. Exercising became something I had to force myself to do again.

My weight loss seemed to have hit a wall. For weeks, I'd fluctuate between 186 and 191 and seemed to be going no where. Last week, I realized that I only had 1 week left to go and I was stuck at 189. I only managed to exercise once or twice during the last week and then the GABF came up.

Volunteering for the Great American Beer Festival all day on Thursday was like the equivalent of three to four exercise sessions all in a row. I lifted kegs, bags of ice, moved around tables and must have walked several miles during the day. By the end of the long 14-hour work day - I was exhausted. I must have lost 3-4 pounds that day alone.

Yesterday, I stayed at home because I was still very tired. By the afternoon I was feeling better. My wife put me to work outside in the yard hauling rocks from one end of the yard to the other in a wheelbarrow. OMG. I quickly became tired once again. I must have lost another couple of pounds.

Today was the last day of the Challenge. I stepped on the scale this morning and got my final weight for the competition. My final weight today is 185. Now granted, when I officially started the competition my official starting weight was 192. So, I only lost 7 pounds total, but when I came up with the idea for the competition I weighed 196 pounds and unofficially lost 11 pounds. I won't gross you out with another "gut" shot this time however.

So for the competition, I officially lost 7 pounds or 3.65% of my starting weight. It's less than I thought I could lose and I certainly could have done much better. Now's the time for my competition to chime in and let me know how they did. The one who lost the biggest percentage of weight will win a 6-pack from me of Colorado craft beer.

So, now that the competition is over, will I continue to try and lose weight? Yes. I'd like to get down to about 175 if possible, but knowing how hard it is to stay motivated during the cold months and holidays can be, I'll be lucky just to maintain my current weight over the holidays.

So while it IS possible to drink about 1 beer a day and still lose weight, it can be very difficult. If you drink a beer too early in the day, you'll lose your motivation for exercising. Simply by reducing your food intake and sticking with that helps a lot. Exercising and getting your heart pumping helps you overall.

I realize now that in order to really enjoy life, you have to be in good shape. Drinking a lot of beer won't help you stay in shape but it can be a celebration in your life. Everything in moderation can be a wonderful thing. Cheers!

Related articles:
- Celebrating Anniversary at the GABF.
- Great American Beer Diet Challenge.

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